The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954 Page: 266
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
even superstitions took his life. Don Egbert Erastus Braman, in
his book, Information about Texas, published in 1857, illustrates
Texas is infected with none of the pestiferous miasmatic vapors
which arise, in many, otherwise desirable, localities, from swamps,
morasses, and stagnant ponds, and which are so fatal in many new
States. The climate is healthy, and restorative to shattered constitu-
tions. Nevertheless, emigrants should be careful, for a year or two, and
not expose themselves unnecessarily to wet, cold, or hot sun: in the
middle of the day, in summer, labor should be avoided: drink not the
cold spring water when heated, be careful in diet, eat moderately,
and of simple well-cooked food, eschew whiskey and all other poison-
ous drinks, make daily ablutions of the entire body, when first out of
bed, and keep your temper cool and your mind contented; and, if
you are an honest man, a good husband and father, your health, under
ordinary circumstances, will last to old age, and until the human
machine shall have been worn out by lapse of time.
And then after picturing "what a destructive, trying, and ex-
pensive affliction sickness in an emigrant's family is," Braman
adds this caustic sentence: "I would further caution new-comers
who desire peace, prosperity, and health, to avoid lawyers, doctors,
and quack medicines, and all other unseemly monsters."
The scarcity of good physicians in those trying days brought
about a terrific demand for the kind of drugs then available. They
were few in number, but they were consumed in huge quantities.
After annexation in 1845, a great tide of immigration began and
Galveston became a great port. Mrs. Matilda C. Houstoun, in
1844, writes in her Texas and the Gulf of Mexico, "every ship that
comes in is announced as containing leeches by thousands, quinine
by hogsheads, and calomel by lots; to say nothing of the demi-
johns of Castor Oil." When household remedies did not work,
superstition was often resorted to. One instance, given by Judge
Frost Woodhull in his Ranch Remedies, will suffice as an example:
"If the baby is fretful when teething, string three large snake
rattles on a red cord, put around child's neck and do not remove
until it is through teething." If this fails, "let baby chew rattle-
snake rattles, or if they are not handy, sixshooter cartridges."
While these extreme conditions obtained, two men came to
Texas and settled in San Antonio-Dr. George Cupples and Dr.
Ferdinand von Herff. Both became leading physicians and emi-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954, periodical, 1954; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101152/m1/345/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.