Remedies

By Eilene Lyon

Combing through archives is fun and fascinating – at least until the third day, when exhaustion starts to set in.  In November 2017, I put the fabulous librarians at the California State Library in Sacramento through their paces, requesting manuscript boxes, books, periodicals, and more.  One of their many treasures is a copy of Kezia Benton Curtis’ handwritten “receipt” book (her term for recipes).

In addition to recipes for food and beverage items (including spruce beer), household cleaning supplies and personal grooming potions, are remedies for a variety of maladies that plagued citizens in the 19th century, such as diphtheria, smallpox, and fevers.

I highly value what we can learn from our ancestors, and progress comes from an accumulation of knowledge over time, but oh! how I wish I could go back and offer our forebears the understanding of microbes and the gift of penicillin.

(Seriously, my great-great grandfather died of infection after hitting his thumb with a hammer!)

Kezia Benton married her first cousin, Bradner Curtis, in September 1850 and in December, they set out for California where two of her brothers were already mining.  The Curtises sailed around the Horn and arrived in San Francisco in July 1851.  While Bradner worked in the southern mines (from Jackson in the north to Mariposa in the south), Kezia ran a tent store which featured her popular pies.  Apparently her little booklet was a recipe for success.

Because medical professionals weren’t always close at hand, it was important to have remedies that could be applied quickly – as she states “an infalliable cure if speedily applied.”  She must have done a good job as a nurse, too.  Her four children all survived childhood.  And Kezia herself lived over 101 years!

One remedy in her booklet is crossed out and one has to wonder if it either didn’t work, or possibly bad consequences ensued from using arsenic to cure ague.

Here is a sample of Kezia’s recipes:

Egg Soup

Beat up the yolk of a fresh egg and pour on a half a pint of boiling water.  A little wine, salt, and sugar may be added.  This is highly nutritious and generaly [sic] sets easy on the Stomach.

 

To clean black Silk

½ gallon Soft Soap

2 ounces Honey

1 pint – Gin

 

Orange Pie

Cover the pan with a good paste [pastry?], spread it with a layer of butter half a cup of sugar slice the orang [sic] two table spoons full of vinegar a sprinkle of flour the remainder of the cup of sugar another layer of butter now ready for the cover.

7 thoughts on “Remedies

Add yours

  1. I wonder how many peeps are down with the word ‘archival’ and what it means? I mean . . since it’s no an app, it might not garner as much attention, yanno?

    Good for you, keeping those librarians cooking. Doing research in a library . . . I consider that a remedy in its own right!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

National Parks USA

A tour of Public Lands & National Parks with T

Turning My Earth

Genealogy and other musings

Tye's Travels

Head Dog, Leading the Way Across the USA!

M.B. HENRY

Following the Path to the Past

The Glasgow Gallivanter

Adventures at home and abroad

In the Dash

Valarie Gravelle's family history and genealogy blog

Christine's Genealogy Musings

Piecing together my family history

athingirldotcom

never judge a girl by her weight

A Dalectable Life

The little and large things making my life delicious!

thehomeplaceweb

Drop in and stay awhile

Rust Belt Girl

reading and writing the Rust Belt

writing my past

in which I document my genealogical research adventures and explore the people and events from my family's history…

Wrenacres

Genealogy, Family history, and Whatnot

Myricopia

Exploring the Past to Improve the Future

Poetry and Prose

From soul to soul

Holy Cake Day

Nature. Community. Cake.

A Coffee Stained Life

Photography, Gardening, Food, Art, Family, Genealogy, Coffee & Tea

%d bloggers like this: