Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dr. Traylor Letter #1

Date: 23 May 1857

As the first letter from Dr. John Randolph Traylor, Sr. to John Hill begins, we see they have already been exchanging letters recently. It appears John Hill may have asked about treating Typhoid Fever, as almost the entirety of Dr. Traylor's letter deals with how to treat the disease. It is possible the Hill family in Texas or neighboring families were facing the disease at the time. Quite interesting reading!



Col. Jno Hill                                 Marion May 23d 1857
Waverly, Texas

     Your favour of the sixth was Rec'd by our last mail. I thought you would here [sic] from us sooner by wating [sic] for Mr. Blom (?) & Trove as they are to start this morning.
     I have written to you so resently [sic] that I beleave [sic] I have nothing to say about business.
     In regard to our manner of treating Typhoid Fever, it comes as near the do nothing plan as can be to do anything. If it should be complicated, that, is connected with chill & fevers or any others disease, it should be treated, but in a way that, it will do no harm for instance if it is complicated with chill & fever give Quinine, it will cure the chill & do no harm to the other disease. We make it a point when Typhoid fever is prevailing, no matter what - disease we may be caled [sic] on to treat, to do nothing that, mite [sic] injure the case should Typhoid fever also be present. We use no active medicine whatever in this fever. Mercury in all its forms & in any quantity we have intirely [sic] thrown a side. having found it almost poisonous in this disease. One active dose of calamel I have seen, make what, was before a mild case a bad & sometimes an incurable one.
     Typhoid fever when un mixed often makes its approach so gradually, that, the patient droops perhaps a week before he is really sick, & if let alone at the end of two weeks one half of the caces [sic] at least will get will [sic] without being at any time seriously sick.
     It is the opinion of a very eminent Physician in N.O. that, many cases may be cured at once by thourally [sic] clensing [sic] the lower bowells [sic], by pumping quantities of cold water into them so as to remove all iritating [sic] matter from them. Let the patent [sic] [be?] quiet live [lite?] I have thought milk & mush as good as anything they can eat. Should the bowells [sic] become swolen [sic] or tender, poultis [sic] & move then in the quietest (?) manner possible, by injections of slipery [sic] elm or teaspoonfulls [sic] doses of caster [sic] oil with a fiew [sic] drops of spt. Turpentine or very small portions of Epsom salts in pepper tea, remember always that, what you have to dread is ulceration of the bowells [sic].
     Should dyarrhea [sic] occur use laudanum & astringent, Tannin, sugar of led (?), dubury [sic] or blackbury [sic] root tea. I would occasionally give 10 drops of spt. Turpentine 3 times a day. If much fever should prevale [sic] spunge [sic] it off with tepid water or cold should the skin be very hot. Sage or balm or pepper tea may be allowed if the patient likes them, but do not give if disgusting to the tast [sic].
     If pneumonia should occur along with it poultis & use linaments [sic] to the chest. do not use any thing that may iritate [sic] the bowells [sic].
     This fever is infectious. In order that, it may not spread amongst your people, have the houses of the sick well ventilated. There [sic] clothes should be changed often. There [sic] bed clothes hung out to sun & air every day.
     As Mr. Blom (?) & Powell can give you much fuller information about the news weather crops & all (?) than I can, I will say nothing upon these subjects.
     This lives [sic] us all will [sic].

                 Give my love to all
                              Respectfully Yours & all (?)
                                       Jno. Traylor

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