Pioneer Trails and Tales south georgia today

Doctors and Their Services

Editor’s Note: This is part two of a four-part series regarding what citizens of Lowndes County, Georgia and the surrounding area paid for goods and services between 1854 and 1873.

The vast majority of available data regarding doctors in Lowndes County, Georgia begins after Troupeville replaced Franklinville as the county seat. Between 1825 and 1837, the names of all doctors practicing in Lowndes County could be recorded on one side of a match box. As the population of the county grew, and commerce increased, more professionals were attracted to the area.

Dr. William Ashley (1824-1863) and Dr. Henry Briggs (1810-1885) are considered the first doctors to establish practices in Lowndes County, Georgia. Other physicians who practiced in Lowndes County and the surrounding area between 1837 and 1873 were Nehemiah F. Rodgers, M.N.B. Outlaw, Ezekiel H. Taylor, A.R. Taylor, John Walker, L.A. Folsom, M. Schley, William P. Allison, John Rambo, Henry M. Fearnside, John G. Polhill, J.W. Tally, Henry J. Parramore, S.H. Jackson, John F. Tripp, D.B.  Barger, E.A. Jelks, L. Stanley, Paul Pritchard, M.H. Rogers, J.F. Moore, W.A. Rowland, J.T. Godfrey and E. Durr.

One reliable source of information regarding fees charged by doctors in southwest Georgia during the period in question are the records of the Lowndes County Court of the Ordinary. These records contain the annual returns of administrators, executors and guardians. When estates were being settled and guardians were performing their duties, invoices from doctors and other service providers were submitted for payment.

There is evidence that some doctors in Lowndes County maintained offices. A large part of the work of all doctors in the area was however conducted out of a horse and buggy while making house calls. Records also indicate many doctors in southwest Georgia established and maintained side line businesses. Mercantile operations and black smith shops seem to have been two of the most popular.

The following excerpts are taken from Annual Returns 1861-1871. They were selected based on content and the space allowed for this article. The reader should remember, these excerpts are transcriptions from an original record. Wording, spelling and grammar have been presented as they appear in the original record. Dates in bold and separation of items using colons and semicolons have however been inserted for “reader friendly” purposes.

Voucher 23 1860 Estate of Benjamin Lane to A.R. Taylor

September 19 Mileage and visit to negro at night $3.00; September 28 Medicine for wife Prescription for self $0.50; December 2 Consultation for self $10.00; December 4 Visit and attendance day & night $8.00; December 5 Visit and attention to wound in day $2.50; December 6 Visit and attention to wound in day $2.50; December 7 Visit and attention to wound in day $2.50, Medicine for Mrs. O’Neal’s child $0.50; December 9 Visit and attention to wound in day $2.50; December 11 Visit and attention to wound in day $2.50; December 13 Visit and attention to wound in day $2.50, Visit and attention to wound in night $8.00; December 16 Visit and attention to wound in night $8.00, Visit attention for culling Nerve $18.00; December 17 Visit attention to wound in day $2.50; December 18 Visit and attention to wound in day $2.50; December 20 Visit and attention to wound in night $8.00; Account $84.00

State of Georgia Lowndes County} A.R. Taylor came before me M.M. Caswell JP and swore the within acct was just and true this 6th day July 1861

Received of Solomon B. Smith Executor payment in full for this medical bill for 1860 A.R. Taylor

Estate of David P. Robinson with C.C. Williams Adm

Voucher 1 1861 D.P. Robinson to Outlaw & Fox April 23 for 105 feet plank for boat $1.55; Jan 19 Blue Mass $0.25; Feb 21 Blue Mass $0.25; Jun 17 Blue Mass & Cream $0.50; July 16 Blue Mass $0.25; Aug 17 Blue Mass $0.50 Dec 24 Prescription & Medicine for self $2.00; Dec 31 Visit in Morning & Evening $3.50; January 1, 1862 Visit Morning & Evening $3.50; Jan 2 Visit & Medicine $2.50; Jan 3 Visit & 4 oz. Expectorant $3.50, 5 ½ lbs. Cured Hams @ 20 $1.10; Jan 4 Visit & Med $2.25; Jan 5 ditto $2.25; Jan 6 Prescription and Venesection & Medicine $2.25; Jan 8 Visit $2.00; Jan 9 ditto $2.00; Jan 10 ditto $2.00; Jan 11 ditto $2.00, 9 lbs. Ham @ 20 $1.80; Jan 13 Visit & Medicine $2.50; Jan 18 1 Box Blister Salve $1.00; Jan 21 1 Bottle Expectorant $2.00; Jan 23 Visit $2.00; Jan 24 1 Box Pills $1.00, Prescription & Eight oz. Expectorant $2.50; Jan 25 Visit & Prescription $2.00; Jan 26 ditto $1.50; Jan 27 ditto $1.50; Jan 28 ditto $1.50; total $53.45

Georgia Echols County} Personally came before me Wm M Swilley, M.N.B. Outlaw who swore the within account is just and true January 28/63 Wm M. Swilley JP

Received February 18th 1863 of C.C. Williams Adm Estate David P. Robinson $53.45 on the within account M.N.B. Outlaw 

Annual Return Estate of Henry Vickers deceased

Voucher 9 Estate Henry Vickers to John G. Pohill

1860 July 21 Mileage, visit Prescription & Medicine $5.00, July 22 Mileage visit & Medicine $4.00, July 24 Mileage visit & Medicine  $4.00, July 26 Mileage visit & medicine$4.00 and Mileage visit & medicine for negro boy $2.00, July 27 Mileage visit & medicine $4.00 and 1 Large Blister $1.00, July 28 Mileage, visit & Medicine $4.00 and Attention all night $5.00, July 30 & 31 Mileage visit & medicine $4.00, August 1 to 7 Mileage, Visit & Medicine $28.00; August 9 to 11 Mileage, visit & medicine $8.00; August 21 Mileage, visit & medicine $4.00, August 28 Mileage, visit & medicine $4.00, August 27 Mileage from M. Vickers, visit and medicine $2.00; August 30 through 31 Mileage, visit & medicine 8.00, September 1 to 5 Mileage, visit & medicine $20.00; September 7 & 8 Mileage,, visit & medicine for Bob $13.50; September 8 & 10 Mileage, visit & medicine for Bob $9.00 and Castor Oil for Bob $0.50; September 16, 17 & 18 Mileage, visit, & medicine $ 12.00 and one Vial (?) $0.25; September 21, 22 & 24 Mileage, visit & medicine $12.00 and 2 Vials (?) $0.50; September 7 One Vial Godfrey’s Cordial $0.12 ½; total 1860 $185.37

1861 July 21 Prescription & medicine for negro girl $1.50; July 29 Mileage visit & medicine for negro girl $4.50; August 8 Prescription & medicine for negro girl $1.50; August 19 Mileage from Jack Bradford’s Visit & medicine for negro girl $2.50; August 21 Mileage visit & medicine for negro girl $4.00; total 1861 $16.00

Total 1860 & 1861 $203. 37 ½

Credits

October 30th by Barter & Martin’s Note $73.29, Credit by Mrs. Lenny Vickers’s a/c $4.00, Credit by my note given Thompson & Co $57.75., Credit by Cash $41.33 ½, no interest charged; total Credits $203.37 ½

State of Georgia Lowndes County} Personally appeared before me an acting Justice of the Inferior Court for said County Dr. John G. Pohill who swore the above account is just and true and remains unpaid July 27, 1863 Jordan Tucker JIC, John G. Pohill

July 27, 1863 Received payment in full John G. Pohill

Estate of Benjamin Lane decd in account with Solomon B. Smith Executor from January 1, 1861

Voucher 14 Judge Ben Lane to John Walker

July 4, 1857 Mileage $1.00, Visit $1.00, Several hours stay attendance in effort to remove placenta for negro woman in abortion $5.00, total $7.00; July 4, 1857 prescription & medicine for acute hemorrhage $1.50; November 5 Mileage $1.00, Visit $1.00, Dyspeptic medicine for negro woman $0.50, total $3.50; November 24, 1857 Night mileage $2.00, Visit $1.00, attendance upon self for injured ankle, Prescription and bottle of Liniment $2.00, total $5.00; August 15, 1858 Prescription chalk & Cyanine for Mrs. B $0.50; September 12, 1858 Box of Blue Mass sent per order for self by negro $2.00; November 1858 Lancing abscess on negro Dan & advice for same $2.00; March 1859 Strychnine for self $0.50; total account $20.50

Georgia Lowndes County} Personally, came before me John Walker who swore the within account of $20.50 was just and true April 15th 1861 J.W. Patterson Not Pub L C

Final Return of A. Averett Adm in account with Thomas Sutton

Voucher 6 1861 Archibald McIntyre to H.M. Fearnside

August 3 Two Prescriptions written for child and 4 doses Medicine, 1 doz. Fever powders, Syringe and. 4 oz. quinine $7.00; Aug 4 Written Prescription for child $3.75; Nov 27 1863 Visit to self-five miles in rain $10.00, Consultation with Drs. Taylor & Rambo $10.00, 2 doz. opiate of silver complex $2.00; total 32.75

Georgia Brooks County} Personally came before me a Justice of the Peace H.M. Fearnside who swore the above a/c is just & true this Sept 29th 1865 Edward Bond JP

Voucher No. 3 1862 Wm. T. Brinson Guardian for M. Brinson to Wm. P. Allison MD

March 1 Prescription for Frank $1.00; March 11 visit woman, medicine and prescription $3.50; March 25 Extracting tooth of woman Nancy $1.00, Bottle of Bitters for Charity $1.00, Extracting tooth of woman Nancy $2.00; total 7.00

1862 April 23 visit Nancy, medicine & prescription $2.00, visit Nancy night medicine & prescription $2.50; April 24 visit Nancy medicine & prescription $2.00; April 28 medicine & prescription Nancy $1.00; May 19 Medicine & prescription Nancy $1.50; June 5 visit negro Odet at night medicine & prescription $2.50; June 6 visit Odet twice same day medicine & prescription $3.00; June 9 Odet medicine & prescription $2.00; June 10 medicine & prescription for Odet $2.00; June 16 visit Nancy at night medicine & prescription $2.50; June 18 visit Nancy medicine & prescription $2.00; June 19 visit Nancy medicine & prescription $2.00

 June 20 visit Nancy medicine & prescription $2.00; June 20 visit Jim night medicine & prescription $2.50; June 20 visit Nancy medicine & prescription $2.00; July 21 extract tooth Odet $1.00; July 21 Peas destroyed by hogs $10.00; total $49.99

January 2nd 1863 Recd payment on settlement from Wm. T. Brinson guard Wm. P. Allison

Voucher 18 1863 & 1864 Estate of George W. Folsom to John G. Polhill

November 5, 1863 Prescription & 4 doses quinine child $5.00; November 9 Mileage visit & medicine $6.00; March 2, 1864 Prescription & medicine negro boy $2.50; November 4 Mileage visit medicine negro boy $7.50; November 5 Mileage visit medicine & blister $10.00; November 6 Mileage visit med negro boy $7.50; November 7 Mileage visit medicine & blister $7.50; November 8 Mileage visit medicine negro boy $7.50; November 9 Mileage medicine visit & blister $8.00, 4 doses quinine $4.00; May 29 Mileage night visit & medicine child $12.00; total $77.50

By Deduction as Soldier’s widow $17.50, by Cash to Bal a/c $60.00

State of Georgia Brooks County} Personally appeared before me Dr. John G. Polhill who swore the within account is just & true this October 25th 1864 B.H. Martin JP

October 24th 1864 received payment of S. Bradford Adm John G. Polhill

1865 Archibald Averett Executor In acct with Wm. Robuck

Voucher 10 1864 William Robuck to E.H. Taylor

May 5 Blister $0.50; May 6 Visit Mil Medicine self $5.50; May 7 Visit Mil Medicine self $5.50; May 8 Visit Mil Medicine self $5.50; May 9 Visit Mil Medicine self $5.50, attention & detention all day $20.00; May 10 attention & detention all day $20.00, Blue mass injection & cupping $10.00; May 11 Visit Mil Medicine self $5.50, attention all day $20.00; May 12 Visit Mil Medicine self $5.50, attention all day $20.00

May 13 Visit Mil Medicine self $5.50, attention all day $20.00; May 14 attention all day $20.00; May 15 Visit Mil Medicine self $5.50, attention half day & night $20.00; May 16 Visit Mil Medicine self $5.50, attention half day & night $20.00; May 17 Visit Mil Medicine attention all day $20.00; May 18 Visit Mil Medicine Prescription self $5.50, attention all day & night 30.00; May 19 Visit Mil Medicine self $5.50; May 20 Visit Mil Medicine self $5.50, attention day & night $20.00; May 21 Visit Mil Medicine self $5.50, attention all night $5.00; May 22 Attention day & night $30.00; May 23 Visit Mil Medicine self $5.50, attention all night $10.00; May 24 attention day & night $30.00

May 25 attention day & night $30.00, 9 treatments Copperas $67.00, Cash loaned $5.00, 1 Bottle Brandy $40.00; total $625.00

“five times in Confederate money” $3125.00

Credits

111 lbs. Sugar $249.75, 85 lbs. Lard $171.95

Balance due $2744.00

Georgia Lowndes County} Personally came before me E.H. Taylor who swore the above record is just & true as it stands Jos. J. Goldwire JP

June 2, 1865 Received of Archibald Averett Executor Wm Robuck $3025 in full E.H. Taylor

Estate Samuel M. Varnedoe in account with J.O. & C.C. Varnedoe Adms

1868 Est of S.M. Varnedoe to H.J. Parramore

May 7 1 doz. Lamp wicks $0.60, 1 Lamp chimney $0.20; May 13 1 oz. Paregoric; May 23 1 Lamp Chimney $0.20; Feb 14 1 Lamp Chimney $0.20, Juice $0.15, 1 Box Mustard $0.30; June 19 1 Box Mustard $0.30, 1 Lamp chimney $0.20; June 23 Prescription filled Dr. Briggs & 3 Sheets paper $1.15; June 26 1 Bot Varnish & 1 Bot Turpentine $2.00; July 4 1 Bot Varnish & 1 Lamp Chimney $1.70; Aug 1 Gents Solution & 2 grams Rutabaga $0.65; Aug 16 2 oz. Rutabaga $0.40 Drumhead Cabbage $0.50; Sept 16 4 oz. White Globe Turnip $0.80; Sept 25 Prescription filled $1.00; Sept 26 1 Box Mustard, essence of lemon, Visit & Prescription $3.25; Sept 27 Visit Prescription Medicine & advice $3.00; Sept 28 Prescription Medicine & lectic acid $2.25; Oct 5 1 large box Quinine pills $2.75; Oct 21 1 oz. Quinine $4.50; Nov 5 1 Box Mustard $0.42; Nov 27 1 Box  of 4 doz. Pills for Miss Sallie $1.00; Dec 14 (? Shellic) Chloride, (? Limes) & (? Roses) $0.60; Dec 15 Chlorate (?) $0.20; Dec 24 1 Box Mustard $0.50; total 29.00

1869 July 4 2 Visit Prescription Med & advice $2.50; July 20 Bot Hair Oil for Miss Sallie $0.50, Visit Medicine & Prescription $2.50; July 21 2 Visits Prescription & Medicine $2.50; July 22 2 Visits Prescription & Medicine $2.50; July 25 ditto $5.00; July 31 ditto $2.50; Feb 2 ditto $2.50; Feb 3 ditto $2.50; Feb 5 1 Box Col Mustard $0.42; Mar 10 Visit Prescription & Medicine $2.50; Mar 13 Prescription & Medicine $2.00; Mar 20 Prescription & Medicine $2.50; May 17 1 Box Blue Mass $0.50; Mar 18 2 Visits Pres & Med $2.50; May 22 Cream Tartar & July 5 1 large Bot Hair Oil $1.00; July 14 Visit Mileage Prescription & Medicine & Physical Exam $5.00; July 21 Alcohol $0.65; July 29 Prescription Medicine & advice $2.50; Sept 8 1 oz. $0.10; Sept 29 Prescription Medicine & advice $1.50; Dec 14 Spirit of Ammonia $0.25; total $50.35

1870 Jan 29 1 Box G Pills, ½ bu. Potatoes $2.00; Mar 4 Prescription Medicine & advice $2.00, Chlorine order $0.20; Mar 20 Caustic $0.10; Mar 22 Visit Prescription & advice at night $5.00; total 9.50

Georgia Lowndes County} Personally came Dr. H.J. Parramore who swore the above a/c is just & true Dec 21, 1870 B.S. Stephens JP} “Total amt add up $88.85 to Miss Sallie V. a/c 1870 $55.25 = $144.10”

Received payment January 31st 1871 H.J. Parramore

Annual Return J.W. Boyd Adm & Mary E. Ashley Admx I Acct with the Estate of Jonathan Ashley decd

Voucher 19 1870 Estate of Johnathan Ashley to H.J. Parramore

June 5 Visit Prescription Medicine & Mileage fee $4.00; June 5 Five lbs. Ice & 1 Bot Fine Brandy $2.00; June 4 3 Glasses Soda $0.40, Prescription Medicine & Advice and 5 lbs. ice $2.30; June 5 3 lbs. ice & 1 Bot B Whiskey and 3 ½ lbs. ice $1.55; June 15 6 lbs. ice, 2 Visits Prescription Medicine & Mileage $6.50; June 16 2 Visits Prescription Medicine Mileage $6.00; June 17 2 Visits Prescription Medicine & Mileage $6.00; June 19 Cash paid to telegraph Dr. Briggs $0.50; June 18 2 Visits Prescription Medicine & Mileage and attention all night $15.00; June 19 2 Visits Prescription Medicine & Mileage $1.00; June 19 6 lbs. ice $1.20; June 20 3 Visits Prescription Medicine & Mileage $5.00; June 20 4 lbs. ice order $0.35; June 21 2 Visits Prescription Medicine & Mileage $5.35; June 22 2 Visits Prescription Medicine & Mileage $5.00, ice order $0.50; June 23 2 Visits Prescription Medicine & Mileage $5.00, Bed pan $2.50; June 23 Ice order $0.35; June 24 2 Visits Prescription Medicine & Mileage $5.00; Oct 25 4 Boxes  Candy Mrs. Ashley $1.00; total $79.55

Georgia Lowndes County} H.J. Parramore comes in person before me and swears the within a/c is just and true and is unpaid & due this Jan 31st 1871 J.W. O’Neil JCC, H.J. Parramore

Received payment January 31st 1871 H.J. Parramore

The above examples provide a glimpse of how doctors rendered their services during the period in question. Clearly, they were often forced to accept payment in whatever forms their patients had to offer, i.e. lard, bacon, eggs and sometimes Confederate currency. The ability and willingness of doctors of the period to visit patients in their homes likely saved many a life.

For those interested, many of the medicines and treatments mentioned in this article may be more thoroughly researched. There is sufficient evidence within Annual Returns 1861-1871 to state that Dr. Henry J. Parramore may have been an early adherent of natural medicine, He was clearly prescribing extracts, juices as well as oils made from plants, vegetables and roots. It was surely a very interesting time for doctors and their patients.

Mr. Hightower’s family/ancestors purchased their first land in Lowndes County, Georgia in 1827. He grew up just outside Valdosta, attended Lowndes High School and holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Valdosta State University. After leaving VSU he went to work for a European firm based out of Hamburg, Germany. He then traveled for 33 years, at times based inside and outside the United States, with a variety of International companies. Genealogy and history have always been two of his favorite areas of interest. Since retiring and moving back to Valdosta he has published one book pertaining to the historical records of Lowndes County, Georgia and currently has another on similar subject matter pending publication. He has formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Huxford Genealogical Society and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Lowndes County Historical Society.

Please note: These articles are based on research conducted by the writer/author utilizing a variety of reliable source material. Those wishing to learn more regarding source material utilized or those who may have any other questions, should contact the writer/author via South Georgia Today. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without express written permission from the author.

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C.E Hightower, Jr.
Mr. Hightower’s family/ancestors purchased their first land in Lowndes County, Georgia in 1827. He grew up just outside Valdosta, attended Lowndes High School and holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Valdosta State University. After leaving VSU he went to work for a European firm based out of Hamburg, Germany. He then traveled for 33 years, at times based inside and outside the United States, with a variety of International companies. Genealogy and history have always been two of his favorite areas of interest. Since retiring and moving back to Valdosta he has published one book pertaining to the historical records of Lowndes County, Georgia and currently has another on similar subject matter pending publication. He has formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Huxford Genealogical Society and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Lowndes County Historical Society.

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