“Dreadful Medicine” Living History

Dreadful Medicine
Thursday afternoons between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m., June through September
WEATHER PERMITTING

Fort Phoenix, south end of Fort St., Fairhaven, MA
Display and discussion near fort flagpole and cannons

Visit with Ezekiel Hale Boggs, a barber-dentist-surgeon from Oxford Village in the 1770s, to learn about tooth pulling, amputation, blood letting, and other scary medical practices in the days before anesthesia and clean tools were the norm. During the American Revolution the village barber-surgeon often provided medical aid on the battlefield. Mr. Boggs has an extensive collection of medical instruments that were the daily tools of his profession.

On many afternoons Mr. Boggs will be joined by Oxford village midwife Lucy Daggett who cares for village women during childbirth and treats her neighbors’ illnesses with useful herbs she grows or collects in the woods. She performs these important duties while still attending to her household duties, making clothing, watching over grandchildren, and keeping the garden and livestock.

Find out where the expression “bite the bullet” comes from or what might be prescribed to cure the “bloody flux.” No people will be harmed (we hope) during these entertaining and informative demonstrations. The program is ongoing from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., so spectators may come and go as they please.

Produced by Christopher J. Richard. Weather permitting. Disabled accessible. Free. 

Other tours are shown here: TOURS

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