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Sickness and Death on the Frontier

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Time Frame: 1800's

A re-enactment of a mother reporting the steps she takes to doctor her family back to health in the 1800s.
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“The Prairie Pioneers,” The Iowa Heritage: Program # 4, Iowa Public Television, 1977.

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Because medicine was primitive and living environments often unclean, sickness and death were common on the frontier. And it was the women who filled the role of doctor and nurse.

Death has again entered our home. This time it claimed our dear little John for it’s victim. Sara Ann felt cold and chilly, as if she was going to have an ague chill. She went to bed and we gave her a sweat. Gave her to make a ginger once an hour. She appeared to be somewhat better. I sat up until 2 o’clock and I feel my own health is giving way; a bad cough and pain in my side is telling me disease is making end roads on my system.


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