Being “bled” by the village blacksmith was one of the ways in which the people of Bell’s Corners and the surrounding country used to keep well in the 1800s. Mr. Wm. Arnold narrates that when he was a boy in the 1860s Thomas Bowes, who kept a blacksmith shop about a mile and a halt up the road towards Hazeldean, had quite a reputation as a “blood letter” and people used to go to him from miles around.
Mr. Bowes did not profess to be a physician in the regular sense, but he did profess to be real handy in opening a vein in the arm and letting out superfluous of diseased blood. It must not be understood that Mr. Bowes put his customers’ arms on the anvil and opened the vein with a two foot steel chisel. Not at all. Mr. Bowes, according to Mr. Arnold, owned some very fine lances such as the surgeons of the day used, and he handled them most expertly. Such was the word of the rest of the blacksmiths in all the counties.
Some said that if Thomas Bowes had had a college education he would have made a very excellent surgeon, as he had, despite his strength a very fine touch, and was very attentive binding up the arm and stopping the flow of blood after the necessary amount had been “let.”
Doctors ‘ were rather scarce in the area, and there was a shortage of leeches, and one had to go to Ottawa for “leeches.” As the reputation of Mr. Bowes as a blood-letter grew, fewer people went to Ottawa for leeches. It was a common thing in or around Bell’s Corners to hear one man say to another, “Where are you going?” and have the other reply, “Oh, up to Tom Bowes’ to get bled.”
Mr. Bowes’ services were mostly called into requisition in cases of bruises or other injuries which caused discoloration. But it often happened that men went to him when they merely felt out of sorts and when they reasoned that a little loss of blood would do them good.
In those days no one had heard of high blood pressure. Had such a thing been known, then it is quite possible that more would have gone to him for blood-letting on that account. Mr. Arnold says that Mr. Bowes, besides being a good blood-letter, was a good blacksmith and that he will long be remembered as one of the “Institutions” at the Bell’s Corners country.
Friday night October 5- FREE! Donations to the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum would be appreciated–
AND it’s on!!! Explore the amusing and ghastly tales of old Carleton Place. Escape into the past as your offbeat guide Linda Seccaspina provides you with an eerie, educational, yet fun-filled adventure. Learn about many of Carleton Place’s historic figures and just like you they walk the dark streets of Carleton Place in search of nightly entertainment, yet, they don’t know that they themselves are the entertainment. Walkabout begins Friday night October 5 at 7 pm in front of Scott Reid’s Office–224 Bridge Street– the former Leland Hotel –and ends at the Grand Hotel. About one hour.
Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and theSherbrooke Record and and Screamin’ Mamas (USACome and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.