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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Journal

John Sevier

published in Vols. V and VI
of the Tennessee Historical Magazine,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though, please let me know!


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This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

John Sevier's Journal

Vol. VI
April, 1806.

Wed. 2 Frost last night Clear day.


Memo. Take chery tree and dog wood barks, & poplar root bark make a tea of the same, is good for a pain in the back — red precipitate as much as will lie on the point of a pin knife rolled up in butter is the best thing for botts in horses. When rolled up must be put down the horses throat as far as possible. . . .

August, 1806.

Sat. 2 . . . Memo. Take a handfull of the inside bark of prickly ash 6 Inches long the same quantity of red earth worms and about the same quantity of both those articles of the oil of hogs feet, & stew all slowly together until the worms are dissolved: strain out the sediment and anoint with the oil for the Rheumatism.

. . . . . .

Sun. 31 Went early into Knoxville Granted a pardon for a negro girl name Harriett the property of John Record of Williamson county at Harpeth. The girl (?) for drowning her masters daughter named Po (?).

October, 1806.


Sun. 10 Memo. Stew red pepper in hogs lard and anoint for the Rheumatism, is thought to be efficacious, and afterwards bathe in water wherein oats in the straw have been boiled, & wrap the straw around the parts affected when as warm as can be bourn. . . .a

November, 1806.

Sun. 7 Recipe for the cure of the dropsy, put into a stone, or earthen Jug, a gallon of stale Senna (?) Cyder, together with a double handful of parsley roots & hops cut fine; a handful of scraped horse radish; two table spoonfuls of bruised mustard seed; half an ounce oxymell of squills and an ounce of Juniper berries. The liquor to be keeped warm by the fire, twenty-four hours; to be often agitated and then strained for use. dose for a adult, half a wine glass full three times a day, on a empty stomach. The dose may be encreased if  p39 necessary. After the water shall be discharged the patient should use moderate exercise. Subsist on dry nourishing diet & abstain from all liquors as much as possible. (A proved cure).

. . . . . .

Thayer's Note:

a As 21c readers we should be very careful not to fly into loud, superior guffaws at this. Both the lard-and-pepper concoction and the oats liquid are in common modern use, except under proprietary names with scents and emulsifiers and other ancillary chemicals, and the price jacked up. Hot pepper is the basic analgesic ingredient in topical ointments for arthritis and rheumatism (a frequent tipoff is a brand name derived from capsicum, Latin for "hot pepper"); and oats (Latin: avena) are a common compound in skin lotions. Both of Sevier's nostrums are in my own medicine cabinet.

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Page updated: 24 May 09