Georgia Fever Bark

Fever in the Wiregrass

In the days when pioneers of Ray City, Georgia  fought with Indians, panthers and wolves  they also fought with fever.  Whether it was malaria, typhoid fever, or “intermittent” fever, the real causes were little known and the effective treatments were few.

One pioneer fever remedy was Georgia Fever Bark.

“In bottom lands the soil is richer and colored almost black by decayed leaves and other vegetation, and the growth is poplar, cypress, and titi, with some pine and “fever tree” or “Georgia fever bark.” It was valued in the South throughout the Civil War.

 

A Confederate States Army want ad for Georgia Fever bark ran in the Savannah Daily Morning News, July 19, 1862

A Confederate States Army want ad for Georgia Fever bark ran in the Savannah Daily Morning News, July 19, 1862

Savannah Daily Morning News
July 19, 1862

Notice.
Confederate States of America
Medical Purveyor’s Office
Savannah, Ga., July 12, 1862

The following barks are wanted for issue to the troops, as preventative of Country Fever:

Bark of the Dogwood
Bark of the Willow
Bark of the Poplar
Bark of the Pinckneya pubens

Forty cents per pound will be paid for these Barks if delivered, properly dried, at either of my officers in Savannah or Macon.

W. H. Prioleau,
Asst. Surgeon C.S.A., and Med Purveyor, Fourth District

After the war fever bark remained in the pharmacopoeia of local doctors.  Later, in the Spanish-American War, Georgia men were recruited into special units, called the Immunes, to fight in Cuba because they were thought to be immune to malaria.

Pinckneya pubens

Pinckneya pubens

In 1833 in The dispensatory of the United States of America , Dr. George B. Wood and Dr. Franklin Bache of Philadelphia wrote about the use of the Georgia Fever Bark, Pinckneya Pubens, to treat intermittent fever.

PINCKNEYA PUBENS. Michaux. A large shrub or small tree, growing in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, in low and moist places along the sea coast. It is closely allied, in botanical characters, to the Cinchone, with which it was formerly ranked by some botanists. The bark is bitter, and has been used with advantage in intermittent fever. Dr. Law, of Georgia, cured six out of seven cases in which he administered it. The dose and mode of preparation are the same with those of cinchona. The chemical composition and medical properties of this bark deserve a fuller investigation than they have yet received.

John C. Gifford related a story on the use of Georgia Bark, also known as Florida Quinine, during the Civil War.

“Intermittent fevers were common throughout the South, and  among many bitter barks the Florida-quinine, or Georgia-fever-bark, was a common household remedy. The bark was soaked in rum, and at regular intervals the family and slaves lined up for their proper doses. Down on the Keys prince-wood bark was used. Both belong to the quinine family and have been almost exhausted. Dr. Perrine introduced the first powdered quinine into this country from France. Without this quinine exploration of the tropics would have been much delayed. It is still necessary in many places. During the Civil War the supply of quinine and other drugs was short in the South, and my friend, Dr. Charles Mohr of Mobile,  now dead, was delegated to find substitutes in our own fields and woods. In this line he was very successful, and we have many things  now  not used, quite as good as articles imported from foreign parts. We need to study what the Indians and early settlers knew before it is too late.

Five Plants Essential to the Indians
and Early Settlers of Florida
 by JOHN C. GIFFORD

Florida-quinine.
Bitter barks have been used for many years in all parts of the tropics for the control of intermittent fevers. For this purpose the plants belonging to the madder family have long been famous. Various forms of malaria constitute our worst tropical diseases, and according to recent reports are actually on the increase. There is general agreement as to the efficiency of quinine, but we must bear in mind that manufacturers will insist that there is no substitute for it, although in time past it was criminally adulterated by many dealers. Some doctors in self-defense used the crude powdered Peruvian bark. The first powdered quinine was introduced into this country from France about a century ago by Dr. Henry Perrine of Florida fame. In fact, it was poor quinine that had much to do with the passage of the Pure Drugs Law. Quinine has always been scarce in wartime. This same feeling existed during the Civil War in this country when importations from foreign parts were seriously curtailed. My old friend Dr. Charles Mohr, a druggist in Mobile, worked for a long time for suitable native substitutes for imported drugs during the Civil War and for quinine he used the bark of the Georgia-fever-tree. The tree long famous for this purpose was Pinckneya pubens, Georgia-bark, fever-bark, maiden’s-blushes, or Florida-quinine. The tree was named for Charles C. Pinckney, the revolutionary patriot of South Carolina. Pubens means hairy and it is sometimes referred to as the pubescent Pinckneya. It has showy flowers, white, tinted with red. It is a little tree growing in the swamps, but now very scarce. Professors Coker and Totten in their excellent book on the trees of the Southeastern United States say that “Pinckneya is a close relative of the cinchona tree of South America that furnishes the quinine of commerce and probably contains the same curative element, as its effectiveness in curing malaria has been repeatedly proved.”

Years ago at regular intervals the slaves on the plantation were lined up and required to take their dose of fever-bark soaked in rum.

The writer is certain from experience that not only quinine but several other bitter barks are excellent preventatives of malarias of various kinds.  The amoebae that cause them do not flourish in the body of a person saturated with these bitter drugs.

 

According to David H. Rembert, author of The Botanical Explorations of William Bartram in the Southeast, it was during the spring and summer of 1773 when William Bartram was travelling through Georgia making observations and collecting plant specimens that   Bartram made a painting, now lost, of the plant Pinckneya pubens

Also at the same time William Bartram identified Franklinia in the Altamaha River Valley of Georgia, he discovered a plant that he placed in the genus Bignonia. This plant today is known as the Georgia Fever Tree or the Feverbark tree and was correctly identified by Andre Michaux in his publication in 1803. Michaux named the plant Pinckneya for Charles Coatsworth Pinckney of Charleston. This plant was a very important species during the Civil War and it was used as a substitute for quinine, being very closely related to the Chinchona tree of Peru. It is from this Peruvian species that we get the extract quinine for the treatment of malaria.”

Related References

William Sloan Attended Stanley’s Business College

Dr. William David Sloan (1879-1935) was born in the Rays Mill District and practiced medicine in Berrien County for many years. Before entering medical school, William D. Sloan was educated at Stanley’s Business College at Thomasville, GA, an institution whose president was said to be “a man of high moral standing, honest, sober.”

012-drwillsloan

Dr. William David Sloan (1879 – 1935) (image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/)

The June 12, 1897 Thomasville Times - Enterprise noted that William D. Sloan was enrolled at Stanley's Business College.

The June 12, 1897 Thomasville Times – Enterprise noted that William D. Sloan was enrolled at Stanley’s Business College.

 Thomasville Times-Enterprise June 12, 1897 Messrs. Lane Young and W. D. Sloan, of Ray’s Mill, Ga.,  Mr. George Bergman, of Micanopy, Fla., and Mr. H. V. Simmons, of Quitman, have lately entered Stanley’s Business College for a full business course.

 

Stanley's Business College, Thomasville, GA, Book-keeping, School of Shorthand and Telegraphy.

Stanley’s Business College, Thomasville, GA, Book-keeping, School of Shorthand and Telegraphy.

Stanley’s Business College was operated by Professor G. W. H. Stanley at Thomasville, GA from about 1891 to 1904, when he relocated the school to Macon, GA.  The school had the endorsement of a number of prominent businessmen of Thomas County, including Judge A. H. Hansell, who served 50 years on the bench in the Southern Circuit.  Judge Hansell was known to everyone in Wiregrass Georgia and had tried or presided over the most prominent cases of Rays Mill, Troupville, Nashville, and other south Georgia towns.

Advertisement for Stanley's Business College, Thomasville, GA.    Tifton Gazette, Jun. 11, 1897.   The ad included an endorsement by Judge Augustin H. Hansell and other Thomasville men of note.

Advertisement for Stanley’s Business College, Thomasville, GA. Tifton Gazette, Jun. 11, 1897. The ad included an endorsement by Judge Augustin H. Hansell and other Thomasville men of note.

Advertisement for Stanley’s Business College Tifton Gazette June 11, 1897 Stanley’s Business College. Thomasville, Georgia. Home Indorsement of Bankers and Business Men. To the Public – We take pleasure in recommending Stanley’s Business College and do not hesitate to speak in the highest terms of its success. So far as we know its graduates have been successful, several of them being employed in the best business houses of the city. Its course of instruction is thorough, practical, competent, meeting all the demands of any business of to-day. We are personally acquainted with Prof. Stanley, its president, and can most earnestly recommend him as being a man of high moral standing, honest, sober, upright and sincerely interested in the welfare of each student. He has built up an educational institution of the most substantial kind, and the rapid growth and reputation of the college demonstrates his eminent qualifications as a manager and instructor. We cheerfully recommend Stanley’s Business College to all young men and women, who desire to acquire a thorough practical business training, believing as we do, that it ranks second to none in the country in the thoroughness of its course of instruction and ability of its teachers:

In a column titled “Lois Notes” the Tifton Gazette reported William D. Sloan graduated and returned to the community of Lois, GA just west of Rays Mill (now known as Ray City, GA).

William D. Sloan graduated from Stanley Business College in 1898.

William D. Sloan graduated from Stanley Business College in 1898.

Tifton Gazette January 21, 1898 Mr. W. D. Sloan has just returned [to Lois, GA] from Stanley Business College, at Thomasville, with his diploma.

Related Posts: Dr. Sloan Had Ray City Roots Ida Sloan Ray Endorsed Doan’s Pills Minnie Gordon Sloan Married Meritt E. Johnson J. M. Sloan Dies after Throw From Horse Ray City Child Dies From Bite Of Rattle Snake, 1925 Perry Thomas Knight Attended Oaklawn Baptist Academy

Guy Stokely Selman and Betsey Lurine “Bessie” Cheney

Guy Stokely Selman and  Betsey Lurine “Bessie” Cheney

Guy Stokely Selman, born October 24, 1886 was a son of Joseph Landrum Selman and Nannie L. Abercrombie of Douglasville, GA.  In the early 1900s, the Selmans came to have connections with Ray City and Nashville in Berrien County, GA.

Guy Selman’s father was a doctor, and the family had many social connections with other physicians.  As Guy grew up and completed school, he and his siblings were influenced by this exposure.  The Selmans were staunch Democrats; Guy’s father, as well as his uncles James H. Selman and Thomas Hurt Selman, were Douglas County representatives to the state Democratic Convention in 1906.

Society items from the Atlanta Constitution show the mix of  Guy Selman, his brothers, sisters, cousins and classmates with the doctors and social set of Atlanta. A spring social in 1902  in honor of his sister, Bessie Selman, was attended by Guy and also by his brother Paul Selman.  Another guest of the party was his soon-to-be  brother-in-law, Dr. Foster Pierce Key:

The Atlanta Constitution
April 13, 1902

Miss Camp Entertains.

Miss Jessie Camp delightfully entertained a number of her friends last evening in honor of her guests, Miss Bessie Selman and Miss Coburn Morris, of Douglasville, at her home on Mitchell Street.     During the evening delicious refreshments were served.     The invited guests were Misses Annie Kate Bondurant, Bessie Selman, Ida Sewell, Birdie Dunlop, Coburn Morris, Bessie Northen, Annie Lou Keown, Edith Thomas, Maggie Dunlop, Alice McLauchlin, Daisy Brown, Clifford Layfield, Tenine Aderholt, May Layfield, and Beatrice Anderson and Messrs. F.P. Key, M. O. Colston, A. F. Campbell, Clevland Kiser, Emmet Harding, Paul Selman, Frank Hanle, D. H. Camp, Morris Askew, E. W. Livingston, John Keown, Charlie Wheeler, Guy Selman, John Camp, Loy Campbell, A.T. Dunlap, John Knight, Willie Selman, J. J. Barger, Irvin Barge, and Joe Keown.

In 1903 Guy’s sister, Bessie Velma Selman, married Dr. Foster Pierce Key and moved with her husband to Nashville, GA .  Guy Selman continued his social networking, while attending Mercer University.

The Atlanta Constitution
August 15, 1905

HOUSE PARTY AT CAMPBELLTON.

Campbellton, Ga.  August 14. – (Special.)  A delightful house party has been in progress at the country home of Missess Sue Ola and Carrie Henley, at Campbellton.  Those present were Mrs. R. B. Marsh and Mrs. E. A. Moore, of Atlanta; Misses Mattie Lee and Nettie Burton, of Smithville; Miss Mamie Little, of Carnesville, and Miss Elizabeth Marsh, of Atlanta; Messrs. Tom Selman, Emmet Marding and Dr. J. W. Whitley, of Atlanta; R. L. Henley, of Campbellton; Furman Bullard, J. A. Johnstone and Dr. E. A. Smith, of Palmetto;  B. H. Bomar, Guy Selman and Sanford Abercrumbie, of Douglasville.

When Bessie Selman Key died in 1907, Dr. F. P. Key continued to live in Nashville for a while, boarding with Jonathan Perry Knight and his family. In 1911 he remarried and moved to Atlanta.

After graduating from Mercer University in 1905, Guy Selman entered the Atlanta Medical College.  He must have been a good student, for he completed the four year program in only three years, graduating on April 22, 1908. (Other Ray City alumni of Atlanta Medical College include Dr. John Thomas Clower, 1862)

Guy S. Selman graduated from Atlanta Medical College

Guy S. Selman graduated from Atlanta Medical College

Shortly after graduation from Medical School, young Dr. Selman came to Ray’s Mill to enter practice.  The town, on the verge of municipal incorporation,  was being formed by the likes of Dr. Charles X. Jones, who served as its first elected Mayor.  It was situated on the route of the new Georgia & Florida Railroad, and the headlines of a local booster article  read “Ray’s Mill has Arrived.”

From the Atlanta Georgian and News, Jul. 5, 1909 — page 6, comes the following Society item:

Miss Nannie Love Selman has returned home [to Douglasville] after spending several weeks with her brother, Dr. Guy Selman, at Rays Mill, Ga. 

Dr. Guy Selman was one of the first medical doctors in the town of Ray’s Mill, GA .  He set up his office in H.H. Knight’s  old mercantile store which stood on Pauline Avenue. Dr. Selman was one of the men named to serve as city councilmen for the newly incorporated Ray City until the first elections were held on January 10, 1910.

Did Dr. Selman step out of the office and on to the diamond? Maybe. In the summer of 1909, the man on the mound for the Ray City baseball team was pitcher ‘Sellman’. But more information is needed on that point.

bat

On April 14, 1910 Guy Selman and Betsey Lurine “Bessie” Cheney were married in Lowndes County, GA.   The bride, 23 years old, was a daughter of Patrick Mell Cheney, of Valdosta, GA.  Her father was a former school teacher from Penfield, GA who entered the insurance business in Valdosta. The groom, young doctor Selman, was  24 years old, of medium height with a stout build, brown eyes and dark hair.  The marriage ceremony was performed by  John E. Barnard  who was pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Valdosta, and  President of Oaklawn Baptist Academy, Lakeland, GA.

Betsey Lurine “Bessie” Cheney married Dr. Guy Selman

Betsey Lurine “Bessie” Cheney married Dr. Guy Selman

In the 1910 Census, Guy S. Selman was listed as a physician practicing out of his own office.  He and  Bessie were boarding  with Austin Bridges in a house on Jones Street;  Mr. Bridges was a dry goods merchant working on his own account.

The Selman’s were prominent citizens and continued on the social of Ray City, Nashville, and Atlanta.  Mrs. Selman was a member of the Nashville Womans Club.

nashville womans club shower 1915

Nashville Womans Club Shower, 1915

In 1912, The Georgia annual : a compendium of useful information about Georgia : needed by every business and professional man in the state. A.B. Caldwell, Atlanta, Ga. listed Selman as one of three doctors in Ray City, the other two being Dr. Charles X. Jones and Dr. Manning G. Scherrer.

It appears from society page announcements in the Atlanta newspapers that the Selmans relocated from Ray City to Nashville, GA in the spring of 1912.

Atlanta Constitution
July 14, 1912

NASHVILLE, GA
A very enjoyable entertainment was given by Mrs. Guy Selman in compliment to Miss Ruth Selman, of Douglasville.  “Fishing for Love” and “Wink” were played.  Cream and wafers were served. Those present were Misses Clarice Askew, Ina Askew, Myrtle Tyson, Nettie Snead, Jewel Giddens, Ruth Selman, Tyson Fitch, Thelma Knight, and Miss Britt;  Messers. James Stephens, Noble Hull, Dewey Knight, Willie Peeples, Bob Hendricks, Dan Buie, Wallar Wood, Jessie Fitch, Maston Avera and Hobart Alexander.

The Atlanta Constitution
July 21, 1912

NASHVILLE, GA
Miss Ruth Selman, of Douglasville, who has been visiting her brother Dr. Guy Selman, has returned home….Miss Louise Cheney, of Valdosta, who has been the guest of her sister, Mrs. Guy Selman, has returned home.

By 1915, Dr. Guy Selman was exercising leadership of the Berrien County Medical Society:

Atlanta Constitution
January 15, 1915

Berrien County Physicians.

Nashville, Ga., January 15. – (Special.)  The Berrien County Medical society held its monthly session here Friday night.  Dr. G. S. Selman was elected president; Dr. Lacy Lovett, vice president, and Dr. D. E. Carter, secretary and treasurer.

The Medical Association of Georgia places Dr. Selman at Nashville in 1917, along with Dr. William Carl Rentz; the Ray City doctors at the time were Dr. Francis Marion Burkhalter and Dr. Lawson S. Rentz.

With America’s entry into World War I, the medical men of Ray City, GA were called into service, along with many other men of Berrien County. Dr. F.M. Burkhalter was sent to Fort Oglethorpe, then to France with the American Expeditionary Force.  Dr. Lawson Rentz went to Camp Wheeler, then to the Embarkation Service in New Jersey.  Dr. Gordon DeVane was  busy treating the victims of Spanish Influenza at home in Berrien County; he was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Medical Reserve Corp, but died before he was deployed.

The June 8, 1918 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association included updates on the Medical Mobilization for World War I and the Orders to Officers of Medical Reserve Corps. The Honor Roll of physicians who had applied for or accepted commissions included Dr. Guy Selman:

To Camp Jackson, Columbia, S.C., for duty, Lieut. Guy S. Selman, Douglasville, GA

WWI service record of Guy S. Selman

WWI service record of Guy S. Selman

Dr. Selman was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in the Medical Corps on May 27, 1918. He was stationed at Camp Jackson, SC. By the time Lieutenant Selman, M.D. arrived at Camp Jackson, more than 42,000 men had reported there and more than 1,500 buildings had been constructed.  The base hospital was a medical complex,  with more than 80 buildings covering 12-15 acres of land.  There were 32 hospital wards adequate for the treatment of 1,000 patients.  The  hospital was staffed by about 450 men and nurses.  Selman was one of the fifty doctors and dentists assigned to the group.

That September, 200 cases of “Spanish Influenza” suddenly struck Camp Jackson.  The Spanish Flu quickly spread through the camp, infecting more than 5,000 people.   At Camp Jackson alone there were 300 deaths from the disease.   No doubt, Dr. Guy Selman played his part in treating the stricken soldiers of Camp Jackson.

1918 military hospital ward filled with

1918 military hospital ward filled with “Spanish Flu” cases.

The Spanish Flu of 1918-19 was the worst epidemic in history,  killing  over 600,000 Americans and over 40 million people world-wide. A little children’s rhyme attributed to popular comedian Joe Cawthorn appeared in print by October, 1918,  making light of the death that touched everyone:

I had a little bird,
And its name was Enza.
I opened the cage,
And in flew enza.

A month later, November 11, 1918 the Armistice ending WWI  was signed.  Lieutenant Selman’s  service at Camp Jackson continued another two month until his discharge came through January 8, 1919.  After the war, Dr. Selman and Dr. Rentz returned to Berrien County.  Dr. Burkhalter died in France of Lobar Pneumonia, probably induced by the Spanish Flu, as was Dr. DeVane’s death in October, 1918.  Many other  Ray City men were Veterans of World War I,  some gave their lives (Armistice Day Memorial to Soldiers from Berrien County, GA Killed During WWI).

As a veteran of stateside service Selman would have worn silver chevrons on the left cuff of his Army uniform denoting service on American soil. Gold chevrons were for men who saw foreign soil, worn on the left cuff to denote overseas service, or on the right to indicate a wound or gassing received in combat.  For many who did stateside service the Silver stripes instead of gold became a badge of shame.

In the 1920 census, Guy Selman continued his medical practice in Nashville, GA. His wife was teaching  public school. They were boarding with Jesse D. Louetie. Another boarder was Barnert Hall, Clerk of the Superior Court.

Some time after 1920 the Selmans moved to Florida. In 1928 Dr. Selman was elected president of the Seminole County Medical Society, Seminole County, FL.

1922 home of Dr. Guy Selman, Sanford, FL

1922 home of Dr. Guy Selman, Sanford, FL
Built in 1922, this Colonial Revival house was originally owned by Dr. G.S. Selman. There are “eyelash” dormers on both the house and garage. Read more: The Sanford Herald http://mysanfordherald.com/bookmark/691026

-30-

Related Posts:

Charles Russell Herring ~ Killed by a Rattlesnake

As summer draws to a close  it is not unusual to spot a rattlesnake along the roadsides or fields of Berrien County, GA.   On September 3, 1937 the Clinch County News reported a fatal rattlesnake encounter at Ray City, GA

Charles Russell Herring was a son of Minnie J. and Charles B. “Barney” Herring, of Ray City, GA. He was born March 4, 1910 and raised in Berrien County, in the Connell’s Mill district just west of Ray City.  His parents owned a farm on the Hahira, Cecil & Milltown road.

Obituary of Charles Russel Herring, killed by a rattlesnake, Ray City, GA, 1937

Obituary of Charles Russel Herring, killed by a rattlesnake, Ray City, GA, 1937

Charles Russell Herring

Russell Herring, 27, Ray City farmer, was bitten Tuesday afternoon by a rattlesnake, dying the next day.  Anti-venom serum rushed  to Nashville to save his life, arrived too late.  He was bitten as he and a companion were sawing wood in a swamp near his home.

Grave of Charles Russell Herring, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Grave of Charles Russell Herring, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.  Image source:  Robert Strickland.

Related Posts:

Dr. Julian ~ Railway Surgeon

For a brief period in the late 1890s, Dr. Bailey Fraser Julian, Jr. made his practice as one of the Medical Men of Ray’s Mill (now known as Ray City). A fire on the night of Monday, October 3, 1898 burned out his drug store and office (see Dr. B.F. Julian Burned Out at Ray’s Mill).

For some time Dr. Julian made his home in Clinch County, GA. He also practiced medicine in Tifton, GA and in Florida.

Dr. Julian was active in the Plant System Railway Surgical Association.  The Plant System included the Brunswick & Western Railroad which ran 171 miles from Brunswick, GA to Albany, GA and passed through Waynesville, Waycross, Waresboro, Pearson, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Enigma, Vanceville, and Tifton.

RAILWAY SURGERY.

Railway surgery comes to us as one of the latter-day necessities, in the growing demand for special recognition of certain conditions which have sprung up out of the general order of medicine.  While injuries upon the railway have existed ever since the birth of the iron highway, yet anything peculiar or distinct in regard to them did not impress the observer until, as time advanced and this traffic became general, the injuries multiplied so rapidly that their peculiar features made themselves apparent to those coming into contact with such cases. As all the nowaday specialties have been born in substantially the same manner, so railway surgery takes its stand upon the ground that distinct features mark the necessity for special consideration of the wounds received in railway work. The surgeon who makes a special study of these features and their appropriate treatment, by coming more frequently into contact with this class of injuries, is entitled to be recognized as a railway surgeon.

1899 Hospital Car. Railway Surgery: A Handbook on the Management of Injuries.

1899 Hospital Car. Railway Surgery: A Handbook on the Management of Injuries.

Fig. 5. - 1899 Hospital Car (Plant System, Fla.), looking from the transportation room into the operating room, showing operating table and other arrangements; also shows the passageway to the opposite end of the car.

Fig. 5. – 1899 Hospital Car (Plant System, Fla.), looking from the transportation room into the operating room, showing operating table and other arrangements; also shows the passageway to the opposite end of the car.

Fig. 6. - 1899 Hospital Car (Plant System, Fla.), looking from the operating room into the transportation room, showing beds made up ready for occupancy.

Fig. 6. – 1899 Hospital Car (Plant System, Fla.), looking from the operating room into the transportation room, showing beds made up ready for occupancy.

1899 Hospital Car. Railway Surgery: A Handbook on the Management of Injuries.

1899 Hospital Car. Railway Surgery: A Handbook on the Management of Injuries.

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John Thomas Clower, Doctor of Ray’s Mill

As mentioned in the previous post, Witchy Women and Wiregrass Medicine, John Thomas Clower was one of the early Medical Men of Ray’s Mill, GA (now Ray City). He practiced medicine in the Ray’s Mill community from  about 1870 until 1887.

John T. Clower was born May 13, 1830 in Gwinnett County, GA, the first born child of Daniel Pentacost Clower and Parthenia Carter Brandon. His grandfather, Daniel Clower, “was born in Germany, July 18, 1762, immigrated to America as a youth, and fought with the colonists in their struggle for independence.” Both his parents died in 1845; he and his siblings were raised by an uncle, Joseph Brandon. Some time before 1860, he came to Berrien County, GA and was enumerated in the household of another uncle William Brandon, where he worked as an overseer.  In 1861 he attended Atlanta Medical College, graduating in 1862.

In December, 1869 about the time he returned to Rays Mill, he married “Delusky Ann Brogdon, who was born in Gwinnett county, Georgia, on March 7, 1849, a daughter of Hope J. Brogdon.”  The 1870 Census of the Ray’s Mill District shows that he was a physician with $125 in real estate and $425 in personal property. His neighbors were Thomas J. Brantley and William R. Brandon.

The community of Ray’s Mill proper, such as it was at the time, was situated on Land Lot 424, 10th Land District,  a block of 490 acres. The Berrien county property tax digest for 1878 shows Dr. Clower owned 12 acres in the  Rays Mill  community on Land Lot 424, valued at $125, and $150 in household belongings, $235 in livestock, and $20 in books and tools. His “town” neighbors on Lot 424 included Jonathan D. Knight and  John G. Knight. Additional portions of Lot 424 were held in the estate of Thomas M. Ray.

 

John T. Clower is listed in the 1886 Medical and Surgical Directory of the United States as the physician in Rays Mill, GA.

 Harden, William. 1913. A history of Savannah and south Georgia, Volume II, Illustrated. Chicago and New York. p. 937-939

 “John Thomas Clower, M. D., the eldest child of the household, was born in Gwinnett county, in Georgia, May 13, 1830. He availed himself of every opportunity afforded him for the acquiring of an education while young, and subsequently went to Bartow county, Georgia, as an overseer on the plantation of his uncle, Thomas Brandon. Then, after working at the carpenter trade for a short time, he entered the Atlanta Medical College, from which he was graduated just as the war between the states was declared. Immediately enlisting as a soldier, he was made second lieutenant of his company, which was attached to Major Laden’s Battalion, in the Ninth Georgia Regiment, and with his command joined the Western army. Later Dr. Clower was appointed surgeon, and was with the army in its many campaigns and battles until the last of the conflict.”

 “Locating in Gwinnett county when he returned to Georgia, Dr. Clower was there engaged in the practice of medicine until 1870. The next seventeen years he practiced at Rays Mill, Berrien county, Georgia, from there coming to Brooks county in 1887. Buying a plantation in the Morven district, he carried on farming in connection with his professional work, becoming noted both as an agriculturist, and as a physician of skill and ability, and continuing thus until his death, March 12, 1893.”

“Dr. Clower was an active member of the Methodist Episcopal church South, to which Mrs. Clower also belongs, and for a number of years served as a member of the county school board. Mrs. Clower has never forgotten the art of spinning and weaving which she learned as a girl, but occasionally gets out her wheel and spins the yarn which she later knits into stockings. The doctor and Mrs. Clower reared three sons, namely: John P., R. Jackson and W. L. Pierce Clower.”

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Kiss of the Red Scorpion

Medical Men of Ray’s Mill
Dr. Gordon DeVane

"The striped scorpion (Centruroides hentzi) is a sandhill / coastal plain species.  They are occassionally found in homes and cabins but their favored habitat is under bark of either alive or dead long-leaf pines and slash pine.  They can hide under bark that is quite flat to the tree and thus are not frequently seen..."   -  http://gregsnaturalhistory.com/729/scorpions-of-georgia/

“The striped scorpion (Centruroides hentzi) is a sandhill / coastal plain species. They are occasionally found in homes and cabins but their favored habitat is under bark of either alive or dead long-leaf pines and slash pine. They can hide under bark that is quite flat to the tree and thus are not frequently seen…” – http://gregsnaturalhistory.com/729/scorpions-of-georgia/

Although a fairly common species of the Wiregrass piney woods,  scorpions are rarely seen by most Georgians. But as a young man living a hundred years ago in the Connells Mill district of Berrien County, GA, Gordon DeVane came face to face with one of the critters.

Tifton Gazette
September 27, 1907 Pg 7

While at Pleasant church Sunday, Mr. Gordon DeVane was bitten on the lip by a red scorpion.  His lip swelled considerable and he had to seek medical attention.  Mr. DeVane was tying his horse to a tree when attacked by the scorpion. – Adel News.

James Gordon DeVane stung by red scorpion, 1907.

James Gordon DeVane stung by red scorpion, 1907.

Naturalist Greg Greer has photographed and written about the scorpions of Georgia at http://gregsnaturalhistory.com/729/scorpions-of-georgia/  He identifies the scorpion common to the area of Ray City and Pleasant Church as the striped scorpion, Centruroides hentzi.  Not a deadly scorpion, but still, who wants to get stung on the lip?

Born May 10, 1886, James Gordon DeVane was a son of  Mary Elmina Morris (1866 – 1918)   and James Patrick DeVane (1863 – 1945).  The DeVanes made their home in the Connells Mill District GMD 1329, at a farm on the Cecil-Milltown road.  The father, “Patrick” DeVane was a farmer, and owned his place free and clear of mortgage. The census of 1900 shows that “Gordon” DeVane was “at school.”  Later records attest that he attended the Sparks Collegiate Institute at Adel, GA.

Sparks Collegiate Institute, Adel, GA, circa 1904.

Sparks Collegiate Institute, Adel, GA, circa 1904.

According to the Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929  James Gordon Devane was educated in Adel at the Sparks Institute before attending the Atlanta School of Medicine. Was it that scorpion’s kiss that inspired him to study medicine?

The Atlanta School of Medicine was  formally opened in October 1905, merged with the  Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1913, and became a part of Emory University in 1915.  At the Atlanta School of Medicine, Gordon DeVane may have been a classmate of Ray City doctor George H. Folsom  who attended the medical college sometime between 1906 and 1910.

Gordon DeVane graduated from the medical school in 1911 and was subsequently licensed to practice medicine in Georgia and Florida. But at the time of the Census of 1910 Gordon DeVane had returned to the Connell’s Mill District GMD 1329 where he was enumerated in the household of his parents, Patrick and Elmina DeVane. Perhaps in anticipation of his graduation, he gave his profession as “physician” and his occupation as “general practice.”

In 1911 Gordon DeVane married Lottie Bell Patilla or Patills, of Atlanta, and for a while the couple made their home in Winter Garden, FL where Dr. Devane engaged in general practice. But about 1914, Dr. DeVane moved back to Berrien County  to practice medicine in Nashville and Adel, GA.

When James Gordon DeVane registered for the draft for World War I in 1918, he  gave his permanent home address as Adel, Berrien County, GA.  He was 32 years old, medium height and build, with blue eyes and brown hair.

Like other Berrien County physicians, Dr. DeVane was called to serve. Dr. F.M. Burkhalter was sent to Fort Oglethorpe, then to France with the American Expeditionary Force.  Dr. Lawson Rentz went to Camp Wheeler, then to the Embarkation Service in New Jersey. Dr. Guy Selman was sent to Camp Jackson, SC.  On Dr. DeVane’s  registration card there was a note: “Has been commissioned and accepted as First Lieutenant, Medical Reserve Corps.”

Gordon DeVane, WWI Draft Registration

Gordon DeVane, WWI Draft Registration

Although the war ended before Dr. DeVane was deployed to Europe, he would fight his final battle  on the home front. The Spanish Flu epidemic that killed so many soldiers was not sparing their families.

The most deadly epidemic to ever strike the United States occurred in 1918. As America prepared for war, a soldier at an Army fort in Kansas reported to the base hospital with flu-like symptoms. There, he was diagnosed as having a strain of flu that was called Spanish Influenza (since it was erroneously believed the strain had originated in Spain). Before the year was out, 675,000 Americans would die from the flu — more than the total of all Americans to die in all wars in the 20th century. The 1918 strain of flu created not just an epidemic — but a global pandemic causing 25,000,000 deaths. In the U.S., the epidemic’s worst month October, when almost 200,000 Americans died from the virus. October 1918 was also the month the flu epidemic hit Georgia…  – http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/1918flu.htm

The same papers that carried news of the October 1918 sinking of the HMS Otranto also reported the flu epidemic at home…

Thomasville Times Enterprise, October 12, 1918 reports spread of Spanish Flu epidemic.

Thomasville Times Enterprise, October 12, 1918 reports spread of Spanish Flu epidemic.

As the epidemic reached its peak entire families in Berrien County were stricken.  Along with other medical authorities Dr. DeVane did his best to respond to the crisis.

CENNTENNIAL EDITION – THE ADEL NEWS
Adel, Georgia

April 22, 1973

Dr. James Gordon DeVane

     Dr. James Gordon DeVane was a general practitioner in the years 1917-1918.  The son of Mr. and Mrs. Patrick DeVane of Berrien County, he was born in 1886.
     He was a graduate of Southern College of Medicine and Surgery in Atlanta.  He married Miss Lottie Bell Patills of Atlanta in 1911.  They had 2 children, Mrs. Margaret (Jack) Parrish, and James G. Devane.
     Before coming to Adel, Dr. DeVane practiced in Winter Garden, Florida, and in Nashville, Georgia. Preparations had been made for his entering World War I when the Armistice was signed.
     When Adel was hit by the “flu” epidemic in November, 1918, he administered and cared for his stricken patients – entire families in some cases.  Nearing collapse, he brought prescriptions in to the drug store for his patients and went home for his first night’s rest in several days.  Within 24 hours the young doctor died — a victim of the terrible epidemic.

http://files.usgwarchives.net/ga/cook/bios/devane.txt

Grave of Dr. James Gordon DeVane, Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County, GA

Grave of Dr. James Gordon DeVane, Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County, GA

The Elixir of Life

According to an interesting  old newspaper article,  there was in 1876 a mineral spring at Milltown (now Lakeland) in Berrien County, GA, not far from Rays Mill (Ray City), with amazing restorative powers. One wonders if the spring was promoted strictly for the tourist trade, or was it visited by the locals of Milltown, Rays Mill, and Berrien County?

In 1876, Dr. Charles S. Herron, of Washington, D.C.,  brought his brother, James B. Herron, to Berrien County seeking treatment for tuberculosis at the Milltown mineral spring .  James B. Herron, a disabled veteran of the Civil War, worked as janitor for the Smithsonian Institute, a position he obtained upon the recommendation of General (later President) James A. Garfield.

Atlanta Constitution
December 17, 1876

THE ELIXIR OF LIFE.

Consumption and Scrofula Cured.

Berrien County Comes to the Front as a Health-Center for Consumptives.

    The resources of Georgia are almost illimitable.  Her people are scarcely cognizant of her grandeur, her undeveloped wealth and natural advantages. Hundreds yearly flock to northern watering places when we have as good in our midst.  Scores visit Hot Springs, Arkansas, when, as the subjoined letter will show, we have a more wonderful spring in our state.
    Quite a number of the citizens of Atlanta have tried the virtues of its waters for scrofulous complaints and were speedily cured.
    The following letter details a wonderful cure by this:

MINERAL SPRINGS NEAR MILLTOWN, GA.

    At Bank’s mills, near Milltown, Berrien county, Georgia, is a spring, the water of which possesses very decided medicinal properties.  The value of the water for the relief and cure of disease is, I believe, of quite recent discovery.  I first heard of the spring in 1874, from friends living in the state of Georgia, and such were the reports I received that I became interested and was anxious to have a test of its virtue under my own observation, but had no opportunity of doing so until January of the present year.
    In 1875 the health of my brother, J. B. Herron, of the Smithsonian Institute, began to fail and he passed into a rapid decline.  His disease was phthisis pulmonasis (pulmonary consumption), the exciting cause of which was doubtless a wound through the lungs, received a few years since.  I need not give a minute description of his symptoms or a history of the case.  There was a general impairment of life, and the functions of nutrition were so prostrated that the tissues wasted by disease could not be repaired.  He expectorated a great deal.  His breathing became very labored, and he could not speak above a whisper without bringing on a paroxism of coughing.
    I had the counsel of the best medical talent in this city in his case, but the treatment proved only palliative.  His case was considered hopeless, and I was told he could never recover.
    As a last resort I was anxious that he should go to Milltown and test the value of the spring in his case, and after a great deal of persuasion I induced him to go, and I accompanied him.  When we left this city it was not expected that he would return alive, and on the way persons who saw him predicted that he was beyond all earthly remedies.
    We arrived at the spring on the 20th day of January, and he immediately commenced to use the water.  For a few days I could discover no change in his condition, but in about a week the change for the better was very marked. His circulation improved rapidly, night sweats were arrested.  His cough gradually subsided, and there was a better performance of the principal functions of the body generally.  He regained his appetite and strength.  His vitality was raised, and there was a rapid renewal of life.   He returned home in March, and has not been absent from the institution on account of sickness a day since his return.
    I used the water freely myself, and its effects were soon very perceptible. I became rapidly invigorated.  There was a renewal of mental and physical activity, and I could perform more labor with less fatigue than I had been able to do for years.
    I have no personal knowledge of other cures affected by the waters, but I have been informed of quite a number of well authenticated cases, principally of pulmaonary and scrofulous diseases, and also a number of very aggravated cases of deranged menstrual function in females and diseases resulting therefrom, and in every case of this nature, in which the water has been tested, it has proved specific.  Some of these cases were very remarkable, and were it not that a detailed account of them would make this article too long, I would relate them.
    For healthfulness, the locality of the spring is unsurpassed by any section of the United States, and is less subject to sudden changes of temperature than many places I have visited further south. 
    Invalids and others who have a taste for hunting and fishing, will find there unlimited opportunities for its gratification, as game is abundant, and fishing is unsurpassed anywhere I have visited north or south.
    So confident am I as to the great value of this spring in connection with the genial climate and other pleasant surroundings that, when consulted, I shall invariably recommend invalids who contemplate going south to visit it.
    The spring is the property of Henry Banks, Sr., of Atlanta, Georgia.  The accommodation for cure can be had in the neighborhood at very reasonable rates.  Valdosta, on the Atlantic and Gulf railroad, is the nearest station from which conveyance can be readily obtained.     What I have written is entirely in the interest of invalids, as I have no pecuniary interest whatever in the spring.  But I have an interest in it far above any pecuniary consideration, for under my own eyes I witnessed its curative effects in case of one who is very dear to me, who, from a condition considered hopeless one year agon, has been restored, and is now enjoying a reasonable degree of health and strength.

Washington D. C., Dec. 4th, 1876.
C. S. Herron, M.D.

elixir-of-life

In the Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution for the Year 1882, Spencer F. Baird, Secretary Smithsonian Institution, wrote:

The melancholy duty devolves upon me of announcing the death of two employes of the Smithsonian Institution during the past year. The two whose loss I have to record are Dr. George W. Hawes, curator of the department of mineralogy and economic geology in the National Museum, who died on the 22d of June, 1882; and Mr. Joseph B. Herron, janitor of the National Museum, who died on the 9th of April, 1882….

Joseph B. Hereon, a native of the State of Ohio, was born August 7, 1839, at New Cumberland, Tuscarawas County. He was engaged in the military service of his country at the period of the late civil war, having enlisted in 1862, in the 98th Regiment of Ohio Volunteers, at the age of 23 years.

It was but a few months after his enrollment in the national defense that he took part in the battle of Perry ville, Ky., on which occasion he received a bullet wound through his body, the ball entering the chest on the left side, passing through his lung obliquely, narrowly escaping the heart, and out at his back on the right side of the spinal column, near the right shoulder blade. He unfortunately lay on the battle-field from Wednesday until Saturday before receiving any medical attendance. From the effects of this severe and dangerous wound he never fully recovered. He was, however, restored to a moderate degree of health and strength, and was able to attend to light duties.

In 1866, on the recommendation of General J. A. Garfield and General E. E. Eckley, he was appointed by Professor Henry janitor of the Museum at the Smithsonian Institution, which position he held until his death. He was always gentle and courteous in his deportment; and though the injury to his lungs incapacitated him for exerting any special activity, or any great physical effort, he was always punctual and attentive to his duties. He was a member of the Society of the “Army of the Cumberland,” and of the “Grand Army of the Republic.” He was one of the Guards of Honor to the remains of President Garfield while they lay at the Capitol in Washington, and accompanied the funeral of the deceased President from this city to Cleveland. In these exertions he probably overtasked his strength; for on returning to this city from the state funeral, he went into a somewhat rapid decline, and though able to walk about his house to the last day of his life, he died rather suddenly of pulmonary consumption at his residence in Washington, on Sunday morning, April 9th at 7 o’clock, at the age of 43 years, after a service in this Institution of sixteen years.

Robert J. Starling was at Emory College, Valdosta, GA 1948

Emory at Valdosta

Robert J. “Bob” Starling, a son of Henry Laverne Starling and Allie Purvis, attended the Emory College campus in Valdosta in 1948. His father was the school lunchroom supervisor at Ray City, and his grandfather, Juniper Griffis Starling, was a pioneer settler of Coffee County, GA.

Bob Starling grew up in his father’s household on Park Street in Ray City, and attended the Ray City School along with his brothers and sisters. The Starling kids were all involved in the Glee Club. In 1939, Bob and his sister, Wylda Starling, played in the school’s Symphonet Band, along with Lamar Hardy, Fain Guthrie, Ferrell Herring, Barbara Swindle, Annie Martha Grisset, Lois Burkhalter, Kenneth Cameron, Billy Creech, Casswell Yawn, and Sadie Griner. His older siblings, Hubert C Starling and Juanelle Starling sang with the school chorus.

Robert J. Starling, 1948, Emory Junior College, Valdosta, GA

Robert J. Starling, 1948, Emory Junior College, Valdosta, GA

Emory Junior College, 1940s, Valdosta, GA

Emory Junior College, 1940s, Valdosta, GA

Bob Starling went on to become Dr. Robert J. Starling. He married a nurse, Frances Carolyn Singletary, and practiced medicine in Donalsonville, GA.  He eventually purchased the hospital in Donalsonville and he and Frances operated it for many years.

A writer on the Donalsonville Forum: Remember the Good Ole Days, posted in 2011:

Dr Earle Moseley built the facility and it was known as Moseley Clinic and Hospital until his death in 1963. After that time, Dr Bob Starling purchased the hospital and it was renamed “Seminole Memorial Hospital”. Dr Jake Holley came that same year and joined him. Later he was joined by Dr Lewis Chisholm for a while, then later Dr Charlie O Walker.

Another writer in 2008 recalled the doctor’s bedside manner:

“Doctor Starling was such a kind and gentle man. I was never afraid of going to him as a child. I wish he was still around for my own children. I cut my hand when I was a senior in High School, and he was on call in the emergency room that day at lunch. I had never been to him; we always went to old man Dr.B….But Dr. Starling took me in, and soothed me quickly. He had 6 stitches in my hand before I could squeeze out another tear for my mom !! I remember Fran and Scott Starling, Linda and Robert too.They always had the best Halloween decorations!”

Related Links:

Ray City Connections of Young Dr. Folsom

Although Dr. George Hill Folsom did not make a home in Ray City, GA until the late 1920s, he had strong ties to the community for some thirty years prior.  His wife’s family lived in the area and two of his children were born at Ray City during the time he was studying medicine in Atlanta. After completing medical school he became one of the medical men of Ray’s Mill.

A previous post on Dr. Folsom ~ Warrior Doctor has been updated with additional information on Dr. Folsom’s children, his wife’s family, and data from the 1940 census.

George Hill Folsom as a young man.

George Hill Folsom as a young man.

George Hill Folsom could trace his ancestry back to Lawrence Armstrong Folsom (1772-1834), one of the first pioneers to settle in Lowndes County, GA, and further, to William Folsom (ca 1745-1785), “who assisted in establishing independence while acting in the capacity of Lieutenant in the Georgia Line.” Lieutenant William Folsom is thought to be a native of Virgina who later moved to Georgia where he lived  and died in Burke County.

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