Tag Archives: victorian

What is This? Thanks to Sarah More

What is This? Thanks to Sarah More
Photo Sarah More

Hi, do you know if Carleton Place issued a commemorative cut glass jug around 1920? There is no date but it seems to match another dish from 1918.

The writing is hard to read on the little jar but it says something about “Souvenir of Carleton Place.” It’s 4″ tall. The 5-1/2″ jug says “Mother 1913” and came in the same box. Sarah More

Sarah this is souvenir ruby glass– yesterday’s equivalent to today’s vacation take-home tee-shirt. One of the most popular types of souvenirs from the turn of the 20th century was a unique style of red glass simply called ‘Souvenir Glass’. The ability to personalize the souvenir was a fairly new phenomenon, and the cheap cost of the glass production made them extremely popular. Since the coloring was painted on, it could be scratched off to engrave the glasses.

The detail and precision of the engraving depended on the individual doing it- some appear to be hand-drawn while others were carefully etched with a lathe. During the early 1900s, it was popular for tourists to pick up these engraved ruby red glasses as memorabilia of their trip. The glasses would have the location, date, and could be pre-engraved with sentiments like ‘Mother’ or ‘Father’, or they could be personalized with the individual’s name.

Cups, tumblers, pitchers, creamers, vases, goblets, sugar bowls, candy dishes, toothpick holders, sherry glasses and salt and pepper shakers in a variety of patterns, shapes and sizes were produced simply as decorative souvenirs rather than practical, utilitarian objects.

They were sold in vast numbers at fairs, monuments, train depots and resorts from the 1880s to 1910 and to a lesser extent through the late 1920s. The charm of this glass is not only in its beauty. Ruby stained souvenir glass was affordable. So even though we had a huge Canoe Club regatta that year in 1913, it could have been bought as a gift or received as a gift at one of the stores in town. Great set– Cherish it.

The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum also has a small ruby cup and it was donated by Lorna Drummond.

Linda’s Mother Cup from Germany 1910

events of 1913 in Carleton Place
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
15 May 1913, Thu  •  Page 4
— this was a very popular place for china and glass and it could have been bought here
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
24 Sep 1913, Wed  •  Page 1

Flour Shampoo

Flour Shampoo

 - Montreal River Miner and Iron County Republican
Hurley, Wisconsin
18 Dec 1900, Tue  •  Page 2

Rye flour shampoo:

  • 1-2-3 tbsp fine grounded light rye flour (depending on your lengths of hair)
  • Mix with water until you have a slightly running paste (some say it works better for them if the paste is really running, I find it easier if it is not too thin)
  • Wash out thoroughly and if you like use an apple vinegar rinse too.
  • If you hair feels still dry, try and use a tiny tiny bit of coconut or argan oil to rub into your hair ends. Too much will make your hair look greasy straight away, and I can only use it the evening before I wash my hair, because else I look like I have really fatty hair. But for people with thicker hair it works great.
  • If you are in a rush and can’t wash your hair, you can mix starch with unsweetened cocoa powder plus a tiny bit of cinnamon to make your own dry shampoo.


  • Don’t make rye flour shampoo in advance. It will become kind of a stinky sour dough something. I tried it once accidentally when I made too much and kept if a few days for the next wash, it was not really fancy 😀


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By the early 1900s, several hair care changes were afoot. Bathing had become an essential aspect of personal hygiene, and shampoos and cleansers for the hair became more common.

During the Victorian Era, thousands of doctors were hitting the streets, proclaiming the health-benefits of bathing to the world. The Victorians were famously fascinated with new, industrialized products and health fads. Washing hair with lye was still common, but a challenger appeared on the scene in the form of the humble egg. Now, about once a month (as was the recommended amount), women would crack eggs over their heads, work the gooey egg up into a lather in their hair, and then rinse it off.


The history of the famous Breck Girl shampoo ads, plus 25 iconic ...


Finally, in 1930, in Springfield Massachusetts, Dr. John H. Breck founded Breck Shampoo. It was because of his clever advertising campaign that commercial shampoo began to be used as the hair-washing product. Breck ran ads in Woman’s Home CompanionSeventeen, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamor, and even Vogue, under the slogan “every woman is different”, claiming to create a personalized shampoo that would result in beautiful hair, every single time. By the 1950s, his shampoo was available nearly everywhere. The campaign remained popular until the 1970s, creating a cultural expectation of frequent hair-washing.




The Stack Perm or the Disco Wedge ? 1970s Hair Fashion

Should Girls Speak to Strange Men in Uniform? 1917

Why Were These Folks Facing Backwards?

The Best Little Chin Hair Post on the Prairie

Lois Lyman–A Hair of a Blunder!

To Die Dying Your Hair

The Fasting Girls — Part 2- Josephine Marie Bedard of Quebec

The Fasting Girls — Part 2- Josephine Marie Bedard of Quebec


A fasting girl was one of a number of young Victorian girls, usually pre-adolescent, who claimed to be able to survive over indefinitely long periods of time without consuming any food or other nourishment. In addition to refusing food, fasting girls claimed to have special religious or magical powers. Was it for money? Fame? The Fasting Girls did receive gifts from the public, but they came from pretty well-off, middle to upper-class families and didn’t really need money. As public interest in the women grew, the Nickelodeon and Stone and Shaw’s Museum tried to figure out ways to make the Fasting Girls part of their playbill.

In 1889 Josephine Marie Bedard, a French girl of 15 born in St. Hubert, Quebec living in Tingwick, Quebec was reported in the newspapers to have eaten nothing for seven years, and was still alive. When Josephine’s mother Marie Houle died, the young daughter  mourned to such an extent it made her seriously ill. Josephine, however, being of strong constitution recovered, but she refused all food and took only a small quantity of warm water each day in the way of nourishment.

When the family was at the table she left the dining room as the sight of food displeased her. Despite the long fast, the girl seemed to be in good health, and certainly was rosy cheeked and well developed for one of her age. Her father was something of a spiritualist, and thought he saw visitations of the hand of God in her case. The case baffled the best physicians and experts in Canada. 

One would think that such a daughter would be a great relief to her father the newspapers said, particularly to a father like hers. Ambrose Bedard, who had nine other children, two by his first wife who he said now slept in the little churchyard of the parish at home in Canada. A new wife produced seven children and Mme. Bedard, was in charge of their little farm, the store and the family, while her husband was down in Boston looking out for Josephine Marie and his brother-in-law.

Mme. Bedard’s brother Joseph had crossed over to the states a long time ago, and the letters which came from him told that he was doing great in the little business he had established in Lewiston, Maine.

Ambrose decided to visit his brother-in-law and see what chances there were for him. He decided to take little Josephine too so that she might see something of the world. This matter of Josephine’s non appetite was not thought of in connection with the journey, beyond the fact that no lunches had to be prepared for his daughter. When others would eat she would chew gum. When Josephine stopped eating years ago it was a decided relief to him, as now it was one little less Bedard to feed.

In fact everyone in the family had stopped worrying about the girl a long time ago. She could dance with the best of them on village celebration days, and was quite a belle among the farmer boys. If she didn’t care to eat it was her own affair, and they simply showed their attentions in some other way than in buying sweets.

While she was in Lewiston visiting the story of her odd way of living somehow got into the papers. A gentleman came to her father, who wanted to take her to a hall, promising what seemed like a fortune if she would go upon exhibition.

Josephine felt terribly about it, and cried when her father, tempted by the money which would go back home, tried to persuade her. While this first offer was pending, a letter came from another museum manager in Boston offering the bewildered father $100 a week if he would bring Josephine to Boston.

Another offer came of 2,000 francs a week which was more than his whole farm, house, store and all put together were worth. Neither Ambrose nor Josephine could speak a word English. They found it a strange mixed up language which the museum people and others in the strange country talked. Brother-in-law Joseph settled it all out, but not like he thought. He made a mistake of signing her up to two museums at the same time and of course a court case went all the way to the *Supreme Court. In the case of Josephine Marie Bedard, two different Boston-based enterprises, the Nickelodeon and Stone and Shaw’s museum, competed in court for the right to “exhibit the girl” publicly.  Court case or no court case a biography for Josephine suddenly appeared in the newspaper.

Her biographer says she was born at St. Hubert, province of Quebec, in April, 1871, lost her mother when three months old, moved with her father’s family to St. Paul when five years old, where the beginning of her long fast took place, and returned to Tingwick, Canada, where she now lives in the family of her father, who is a farmer and country storekeeper.


The Boston Globe
Boston, Massachusetts
20 Jan 1889, Sun  •  Page 11

As they say on Project Runway:”– ‘One day youre in and the next day youre out !” In 1889 the gravy train began to run out for Josephine.

The Boston Globe ran a story in 1889 called: “Who Took the Cold Potato? Dr. Mary Walker Says the Fasting Girl Bit a Doughnut.”  Dr. Walker reported that Josephine Marie Bedard, known as the Tingwick girl, was a fraud. The evidence was circumstantial: “At the hotel I searched her clothing and found in one of her pockets a doughnut with a bite taken out of it…. On the last day I had a lunch served to me… I left a platter with three pieces of fried potato on it. I went there and one of the pieces was gone. When I returned, Josephine had her handkerchief to her mouth.” Asked whether that was all the evidence, she said, “after I accused her of it she broke down and cried.”

In order to obtain both sides of the story the reporter went to William Austin, the owner of the Nickelodeon, “The Tingwick girl speaks not a word of English”, said Mr. Austin, “but I will tell you all that I know about it. Sunday I took breakfast at the hotel, and one of the waiters, said to me. ‘Dr. Walker says that your fasting girl eats.’ I went at once to the doctor and she would say nothing, saying she would explain all when she gave her lecture Monday. You have heard what she has to say”.

Josephine explains that when she went into the office she kicked the doughnut which was on the floor. Upset, she picked it up and tried to hide it from the doctor. She was afraid she would accuse her of having eaten some so she put it in her pocket. She was confused and acted rashly. The doctor had no other proof, the story of the potato was not holding water, and at best one small piece was lost off the platter.

Mr. Austin concluded, “I offer Dr. Walker $12,000  to go into a room and remain there for 12 weeks with the Tingwick girl.  But she won’t. Dr. Walker has announced that Josephine has not eaten in 12 days. If she is a fraud I want to know it. But I want evidence that will stand a decent test. But remember, she has not seen her eat anything in 12 days”.

Because fasting girls were such a curiosity in the Victorian era, many companies and individuals rushed to put them on display.  Still, even as she was used for blatant commercial gain, there was also an element of scientific inquiry in regarding Bedard as a medical phenomenon. While a modern institutional review board would not have approved the violation of privacy for these young women for commercial gain, the practice was allowed in the Victorian era. So in the end Josephine went home and what happened? Well wax figures were involved….


The Boston Globe
Boston, Massachusetts
25 May 1890, Sun  •  Page 11

The Court Case *


The Boston Globe
Boston, Massachusetts
08 Feb 1889, Fri  •  Page 8

Read more: The Victorian Fasting Girls- Thanks to Dennis Riggs

She Came Back! A Ghost Divorce Story

She Came Back! A Ghost Divorce Story


A True Story from the Newspaper Archives 1897

When Miss Rippledeane married Mr. Baldwin in 1897 he was a widower. The marriage hit the skids pretty quickly and Mrs. Baldwin brought suit for divorce. It must have baffled the lawyers and judge as the grounds was because a ghost of former Mrs. Baldwin, his first wife, insisted on still jointly sharing the house and interfering with their matrimonial happiness in spirit.

Mrs. Baldwin insisted she was once a cheerful healthful woman, and now she was in a nervous frame of mind altogether owing to the ghostly persecutions of her husband’s former wife.

Apparently the former missus was waiting for the new missus the day they got married and the new bride saw her standing in the doorway dressed in white waiting for the new couple. The new Mrs. Baldwin asked her new husband who the lady was and he said he saw nothing of the sort. She thought he was jesting and upon giving the description of the ghostly vision the maidservant gave way to emotion declaring it was none other than the dead wife herself, Rosamond Baldwin.

Since that initial encounter the ghost followed her wherever she went, pinching her, pulling her hair, and causing her to cry out in front of guests. To collect further evidence she called for her sister Miss Anna Rippledeane to come visit, not telling her that the former Mrs. Baldwin was still calling her former residence home. One day Anna screamed in fright insisting that she too saw the lady in white. She made her new brother-in-law search for the ghost under the bed, which was futile.

In Mrs. Baldwin’s suit she claimed she once overheard her husband begging: “Rosamond please go away and leave him in peace”. Upon being interviewed Mr. Baldwin refused to speak about the incident. But, the divorce suit was brought forward and will determine whether Mrs. Baldwin is entitled to a divorce and whether Mr. Baldwin is creating bigamy by having one under the quick and even the dead.  if the divorce has granted Mr. Baldwin has assured his current wife that he will not marry again.




Another sad Baldwin Tale




Clipped from The Inter Ocean26 Apr 1889, FriPage 7


Come 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.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)





To Be Manic Depressive in a Rural Town — Kingston Insane Asylum

The Insane Spinster Ghost of Appleton Ontario

Embroidery of the Insane?

The Smallest Babies in the World?

The Smallest Babies in the World?




Manitoba Free Press Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada –Tue, Nov 16, 1886 – Page 6
Seeing the smallest baby in the world born in 2016 Emilia Grabarczyk is barely 9 pounds a year later after intense medical attention I wondered if the Carleton Place baby born in 1886 survived. When Emilia was born after just 26 weeks in the womb, she weighed only 8 ounces and measured 22 centimeters (8.7 inches). Her tiny foot was just 1 inch long.
Today there are wonderful chances for babies to survive but in the instance of the baby born in Carleton Place did it live or was its body was sold? Poor and desperate women could not only save the cost of a funeral by passing their child’s lifeless body to an anatomist, but also be paid as well. This money would help feed poor families, so the misfortune of one life lost could help their siblings to survive tough times.  The valuable and unique knowledge that could only be obtained from the examination of these developing bodies made them essential to the study of anatomy. Just plain awful and tragic, but that was the way of the world.
I got pretty depressed about it until I found this:


Marjorie Evans was Born October 9, 1899 in Keswick, California and was the smallest baby that the medical profession ever recorded weighing in at 1 and 3/4 pounds.  She was the second child of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Evans and her one year older brother was born at a normal weight.

The nurses were amazed that she was so small and wasn’t covering the palm of their hands and their father placed the baby in one of his handkerchiefs to weigh her. She was never coddled in an incubator, and was fed mother’s breast milk with a straw and a spoon.

Many stories were told in the article, and one of Dad smoking his pipe while little baby Marjorie slept in his cigar box was a bizarre one caught my eye. Apparently parents Harry and Elizabeth played ‘hide and seek’ with their ‘littlest girl’ up until she was 6 months old. I couldn’t imagine hiding a tiny child here and there–but they did. Young Marjorie lived on for many years, and contrary to everything known in the medical world she did not die or incur dwarfism.

The family decided to move to nearby Shasta for cleaner mountain air for the baby to breathe but one night the Evan’s cottage went up in flames and they lost everything they owned. But, the family was saved and Marjorie was rescued just in the nick of time and carried out under her father’s jacket.

When the article was written in 1902 the baby was three years old and it was said she ran around the home nimbly and weighed as much as any other child that age. The Atlantic Constitution printed that two other babies previously born at such small weight now weighed 225 pounds at the age of 28, and 108 pounds at 15 respectively.

There appears to have been many ‘smallest babies’ that were born into the world -in fact 909,000 items came up when I searched for it. So what happened to Marjorie? I couldn’t find another entry and then I found out as usual they spelled her name wrong. After digging I discovered that she died unmarried on the 17th of December 1957 at the age of 42 in Los Angeles, California.  

When I tried to search for her grave I got: Sorry, there are no records in the Find A Grave database matching your query.” So maybe the Carleton Place baby did live– but since there was no name I sadly came to a dead end.



1901 United States Census 
Harry Evans Head M 30 Wales
Elizabeth Evans Wife F 22 California
Harrald Evans Son M 2 California
Marjory Evans Daughter F 1 California

Katie Plum Servant F 12 Wisconsin

Marjory Evans
United States Census, 1900

Name Marjory Evans
Event Type Census
Event Year 1900
Event Place Shasta Township, Shasta, California, United States
Gender Female
Age 1
Marital Status Single
Race White
Race (Original) W
Relationship to Head of Household Daughter
Relationship to Head of Household (Original) Daughter
Birth Date Oct 1899
Birthplace California
Father’s Birthplace Wales
Mother’s Birthplace California

Marjorie Evans
California Death Index

Name Marjorie Evans
Event Type Death
Event Date 17 Dec 1957
Event Place Los Angeles, California, United States
Birth Date 01 Jan 1899
Birthplace Unknown
Gender Female


Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come 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.




Laundry Babies – Black Market Baby BMH 5-7-66

Babies in the Textile Mills

Believe it or Not? More Strange Canadian Stories

Carleton Place Was Once Featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Our Haunted Heritage

Saved by Her Corset




August 15 1884

Yesterday afternoon Mrs.George Kudlyn, wife of George Rudlyn, and her niece, Miss Annie Wilcox, were in an orchard attached to the family residence engaged in picking cherries, when they were derailed by the loud report of a gun close at hand.

Mrs. Kudlyn w as nearly knocked from the stepladder by a sharp blow on her left side. Before she had recovered from her surprise her niece exclaimed : “I am shot!” and the blood gushed from a wound on her left elbow, where it was afterwards seen the shot had entered from a gun fired by George Ellery, who was standing in bis own garden.

He fancied Mrs. Kudlyn’s dress was a pigeon, and blasted away at it over the fence. The ladies hastened into the house, where Mrs. kudlyn found that her life had been spared by her corsets, nearly the whole charge having lodged among the steel  ribs. The charge came with such force as to shatter the skin and leave the impressions of the steel ribss. Doctors were summoned by telegram and arived to the house. They did not succeed in extracting the shot from Miss Wilcox’s elbow, but it is hoped that it will be removed eventually; otherwise a stiff arm will re­sult.


Among the anecdotal examples of the corset as undergarment of death and destruction:

  • A 21 year old prostitute who died of syphilis, consumption, and corsets while sitting in a police station.
  • A chambermaid who was found dead after suffering from extreme stomach pains. Upon her death, her stomach was found to be nearly severed in half “leaving a canal only as narrow as a raven’s feather.”
  • Part of the reason was that 19th century medicine held that women’s internal organs needed support. It was said that a woman’s midriff was weak and not up to the job of supporting her womb. Ironically, this was a self-fulfilling prophecy because the constant use of corsets weakened the abdominal muscles.



Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun


Related Reading

It’s Electrifying! Dr Scott’s Electric Corset

Death by Corset? Bring Out Your Dead and Other Notions!

Tales of the Chatteron House Corset — Queen’s Hotel in Carleton Place

“Sex in the Pan” Memories – A RIP Fashion Violation Photo Essay


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun

Bring in the Clowns–Really–Bring in the Clowns



I used to joke with my son about my fear of clowns. It was at the point where he would sneak up on me and scare me to see my reaction. Now, there are many reports of clowns on the news who think it’s funny to chase kids and adults. You think if you were a clown you would want to be booked not blacklisted. However you can see the pull many people have to performing as a clown.

Victorian era circuses were a part of its culture as it was regarded as a form of entertainment. By the mid-Victorian period, there were numerous circuses which were running their shows in England.

The rise of circus from mere a performance of artists to being a form of entertainment for the Victorian people was because of its demand. During the Victorian period, only a certain class of society would watch the circus, but after its popularity all the classes watched it.

The impact of these circuses was so powerful that even the 19th century theatres included circus acts like jugglers, aerial acts, etc. Trapeze wires were strung from the roofs of these theatres and the artists would show their acts above the crowd of people sitting in the stalls.

The Victorian circuses included skilled artists who performed the dangerous tricks and the basic goal of these circuses was to create excitement amongst the audience. The circuses in the Victorian period showed the performances of their artists either inside a small tent or in the open air.

However, carrying on with the circus business was not easy. The circus industry was always torn between appeasing the regulator and the audience and at the same time trying to build some reputation for circus.

One of the key factors that helped circus become so appreciated was the fact that the entertainers or artists who performed at these circuses travelled from place to place for their audience, even if it was the smallest town. This touring circus was also known as Tenting circus, which became popular in the 19th century.

Recently I stumbled across an episode of The Big Comfy Couch on Youtube. If you’re not familiar the show was a Canadian children’s program featuring a young clown and her daily life in a world filled with puppets and other clowns. From an artistic and theatrical standpoint it was quite well done.

Honestly, I’m just amazed there’s still a thriving clown market out there. If you ever have a chance to witness a Clown Convention, I highly recommend it. The best part is that parking isn’t a problem, since all of the clown performers arrive in the same car…and that’s no joke:)


What was Puking Fever? Child Bed Fever?


Yesterday I read that when one had appendicitis in years gone by– it was simply called “Inflammation of the Bowels”– I found that mindboggling until I found a list of other names. Feast your eyes on this–like Puking Fever was for someone with a milk disorder? Which today would be called being Lactose Intolerant..


This old house is located at Clydeville, on lot 9, concession 3 of Lanark Township and was at one time the home of a Doctor from Lanark Village.

Property pictured on Con. 3 lot 9 belonged to Dr. Holmes of Lanark. At one time the Manson family of Middleville rented this property. In the past two years it has been restored/renovated and is once again beautiful– Kevin Bingley

Thank you Kevin!!


List compiled by Don Wright.

Ablepsy – Blindness
Ague – Malarial Fever
American plague – Yellow fever
Anasarca – Generalized massive edema
Aphonia – Laryngitis
Aphtha – The infant disease “thrush”
Apoplexy – Paralysis due to stroke
Asphycsia/Asphicsia – Cyanotic and lack of oxygen
Atrophy – Wasting away or diminishing in size.
Bad Blood – Syphilis
Bilious fever – Typhoid, malaria, hepatitis or elevated temperature and bile emesis
Biliousness – Jaundice associated with liver disease
Black plague or death – Bubonic plague
Black fever – Acute infection with high temperature and dark red skin lesions and high mortality rate
Black pox – Black Small pox
Black vomit – Vomiting old black blood due to ulcers or yellow fever
Blackwater fever – Dark urine associated with high temperature
Bladder in throat – Diphtheria (Seen on death certificates)
Blood poisoning – Bacterial infection; septicemia
Bloody flux – Bloody stools
Bloody sweat – Sweating sickness
Bone shave – Sciatica
Brain fever – Meningitis
Breakbone – Dengue fever
Bright’s disease – Chronic inflammatory disease of kidneys
Bronze John – Yellow fever
Bule – Boil, tumor or swelling
Cachexy – Malnutrition
Cacogastric – Upset stomach
Cacospysy – Irregular pulse
Caduceus – Subject to falling sickness or epilepsy
Camp fever – Typhus; aka Camp diarrhea
Canine madness – Rabies, hydrophobia
Canker – Ulceration of mouth or lips or herpes simplex
Catalepsy – Seizures / trances
Catarrhal – Nose and throat discharge from cold or allergy
Cerebritis – Inflammation of cerebrum or lead poisoning
Chilblain – Swelling of extremities caused by exposure to cold
Child bed fever – Infection following birth of a child
Chin cough – Whooping cough
Chlorosis – Iron deficiency anemia
Cholera – Acute severe contagious diarrhea with intestinal lining sloughing
Cholera morbus – Characterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, elevated temperature, etc. Could be appendicitis
Cholecystitus – Inflammation of the gall bladder
Cholelithiasis – Gall stones
Chorea – Disease characterized by convulsions, contortions and dancing
Cold plague – Ague which is characterized by chills
Colic – An abdominal pain and cramping
Congestive chills – Malaria
Consumption – Tuberculosis
Congestion – Any collection of fluid in an organ, like the lungs
Congestive chills – Malaria with diarrhea
Congestive fever – Malaria
Corruption – Infection
Coryza – A cold
Costiveness – Constipation
Cramp colic – Appendicitis
Crop sickness – Overextended stomach
Croup – Laryngitis, diphtheria, or strep throat
Cyanosis – Dark skin color from lack of oxygen in blood
Cynanche – Diseases of throat
Cystitis – Inflammation of the bladder
Day fever – Fever lasting one day; sweating sickness
Debility – Lack of movement or staying in bed
Decrepitude – Feebleness due to old age
Delirium tremens – Hallucinations due to alcoholism
Dengue – Infectious fever endemic to East Africa
Dentition – Cutting of teeth
Deplumation – Tumor of the eyelids which causes hair loss
Diary fever – A fever that lasts one day
Diptheria – Contagious disease of the throat
Distemper – Usually animal disease with malaise, discharge from nose and throat, anorexia
Dock fever – Yellow fever
Dropsy – Edema (swelling), often caused by kidney or heart disease
Dropsy of the Brain – Encephalitis
Dry Bellyache – Lead poisoning
Dyscrasy – An abnormal body condition
Dysentery – Inflammation of colon with frequent passage of mucous and blood
Dysorexy – Reduced appetite
Dyspepsia – Indigestion and heartburn. Heart attack symptoms
Dysury – Difficulty in urination
Eclampsy – Symptoms of epilepsy, convulsions during labor
Ecstasy – A form of catalepsy characterized by loss of reason
Edema – Nephrosis; swelling of tissues
Edema of lungs – Congestive heart failure, a form of dropsy
Eel thing – Erysipelas
Elephantiasis – A form of leprosy
Encephalitis – Swelling of brain; aka sleeping sickness
Enteric fever – Typhoid fever
Enterocolitis – Inflammation of the intestines
Enteritis – Inflations of the bowels
Epitaxis – Nose bleed
Erysipelas – Contagious skin disease, due to Streptococci with vesicular and bulbous lesions
Extravasted blood – Rupture of a blood vessel
Falling sickness – Epilepsy
Fatty Liver – Cirrhosis of liver
Fits – Sudden attack or seizure of muscle activity
Flux – An excessive flow or discharge of fluid like hemorrhage or diarrhea
Flux of humour – Circulation
French pox – Syphilis
Gathering – A collection of pus
Glandular fever – Mononucleosis
Great pox – Syphilis
Green fever / sickness – Anemia
Grippe/grip – Influenza like symptoms
Grocer’s itch – Skin disease caused by mites in sugar or flour
Heart sickness – Condition caused by loss of salt from body
Heat stroke – Body temperature elevates because of surrounding environment temperature and body does not perspire to reduce temperature. Coma and death result if not reversed
King’s evil – Tuberculosis of neck and lymph glands
Hectical complaint – Recurrent fever
Hematemesis – Vomiting blood
Hematuria – Bloody urine
Hemiplegy – Paralysis of one side of body
Hip gout – Osteomylitis
Horrors – Delirium tremens
Hydrocephalus – Enlarged head, water on the brain
Hydropericardium – Heart dropsy
Hydrophobia – Rabies
Hydrothroax – Dropsy in chest
Hypertrophic – Enlargement of organ, like the heart
Impetigo – Contagious skin disease characterized by pustules
Inanition – Physical condition resulting from lack of food
Infantile paralysis – Polio
Intestinal colic – Abdominal pain due to improper diet
Jail fever – Typhus
Jaundice – Condition caused by blockage of intestines
Kruchhusten – Whooping cough
Lagrippe – Influenza
Lockjaw – Tetanus or infectious disease affecting the muscles of the neck and jaw. Untreated, it is fatal in 8 days
Long sickness – Tuberculosis
Lues disease – Syphilis
Lues venera – Venereal disease
Lumbago – Back pain
Lung fever – Pneumonia
Lung sickness – Tuberculosis
Lying in – Time of delivery of infant
Malignant sore throat – Diphtheria
Mania – Insanity
Marasmus – Progressive wasting away of body, like malnutrition
Membranous Croup – Diphtheria
Meningitis – Inflations of brain or spinal cord
Metritis – Inflammation of uterus or purulent vaginal discharge
Miasma – Poisonous vapors thought to infect the air
Milk fever – Disease from drinking contaminated milk, like undulant fever or brucellosis
Milk leg – Post partum thrombophlebitis
Milk sickness – Disease from milk of cattle which had eaten poisonous weeds
Mormal – Gangrene
Morphew – Scurvy blisters on the body
Mortification – Gangrene of necrotic tissue
Myelitis – Inflammation of the spine
Myocarditis – Inflammation of heart muscles
Necrosis – Mortification of bones or tissue
Nephrosis – Kidney degeneration
Nepritis – Inflammation of kidneys
Nervous prostration – Extreme exhaustion from inability to control physical and mental activities
Neuralgia – Described as discomfort, such as “Headache” was neuralgia in head
Nostalgia – Homesickness
Palsy – Paralysis or uncontrolled movement of controlled muscles. It was listed as “Cause of death”
Paroxysm – Convulsion
Pemphigus – Skin disease of watery blisters
Pericarditis – Inflammation of heart
Peripneumonia – Inflammation of lungs
Peritonotis – Inflammation of abdominal area
Petechial Fever – Fever characterized by skin spotting
Puerperal exhaustion – Death due to child birth
Phthiriasis – Lice infestation
Phthisis – Chronic wasting away or a name for tuberculosis
Plague – An acute febrile highly infectious disease with a high fatality rate
Pleurisy – Any pain in the chest area with each breath
Podagra – Gout
Poliomyelitis – PolioPotter’s asthma – Fibroid pthisis
Pott’s disease – Tuberculosis of spine
Puerperal exhaustion – Death due to childbirth
Puerperal fever – Elevated temperature after giving birth to an infant
Puking fever – Milk sickness
Putrid fever – Diphtheria.
Quinsy – Tonsillitis.
Remitting fever – Malaria
Rheumatism – Any disorder associated with pain in joints
Rickets – Disease of skeletal system
Rose cold – Hay fever or nasal symptoms of an allergy
Rotanny fever – (Child’s disease)
Rubeola – German measles
Sanguineous crust – Scab
Scarlatina – Scarlet fever
Scarlet fever – A disease characterized by red rash
Scarlet rash – Roseola
Sciatica – Rheumatism in the hips
Scirrhus – Cancerous tumors
Scotomy – Dizziness, nausea and dimness of sight
Scrivener’s palsy – Writer’s cramp
Screws – Rheumatism
Scrofula – Tuberculosis of neck lymph glands. Progresses slowly with abscesses and pistulas develop. Young person’s disease
Scrumpox – Skin disease, impetigo
Scurvy – Lack of vitamin C. Symptoms of weakness, spongy gums and hemmoraging under skin.
Septicemia – Blood poisoning Shakes – Delirium tremens
Shaking – Chills, ague
Shingles – Viral disease with skin blisters
Ship fever – Typhus
Siriasis – Inflammation of the brain due to sun exposure
Sloes – Milk sickness
Small pox – Contagious disease with fever and blisters
Softening of brain – Result of stroke or hemorrhage in the brain, with an end result of the tissue softening in that area
Sore throat distemper – Diphtheria or quinsy
Spanish influenza – Epidemic influenza
Spasms – Sudden involuntary contraction of muscle or group of muscles, like a convulsion
Spina bifida – Deformity of spine
Spotted fever – Either typhus or meningitis
Sprue – Tropical disease characterized by intestinal disorders and sore throat
St. Anthony’s fire – Also erysipelas, but named so because of affected skin areas are bright red in appearance
St. Vitas dance – Ceaseless occurrence of rapid complex jerking movements performed involuntary
Stomatitis – Inflammation of the mouth
Stranger’s fever – Yellow fever
Strangery – Rupture
Sudor anglicus – Sweating sickness
Summer complaint – Diarrhea, usually in infants caused by spoiled milk
Sunstroke – Uncontrolled elevation of body temperature due to environment heat. Lack of sodium in the body is a predisposing cause
Swamp sickness – Could be malaria, typhoid or encephalitis
Sweating sickness – Infectious and fatal disease common to UK in 15th century
Tetanus – Infectious fever characterized by high fever, headache and dizziness
Thrombosis – Blood clot inside blood vessel Thrush – Childhood disease characterized by spots on mouth, lips and throat
Tick fever – Rocky mountain spotted fever
Toxemia of pregnancy – Eclampsia
Trench mouth – Painful ulcers found along gum line, Caused by poor nutrition and poor hygiene
Tussis convulsiva – Whooping cough
Typhus – Infectious fever characterized high fever, headache, and dizziness
Variola – Smallpox
Venesection – Bleeding
Viper’s dance – St. Vitus Dance
Water on brain – Enlarged head
White swelling – Tuberculosis of the bone
Winter fever – Pneumonia
Womb fever – Infection of the uterus.
Worm fit – Convulsions associated with teething, worms, elevated temperature or diarrhea
Yellowjacket – Yellow fever.

Perth Courier, July 10, 1874-Dr Ferguson of Carleton Place

Change of Base Among the M.D.sDr. Ferguson, of Lanark, has removed to Carleton Place to practice, and Dr. Joseph Campbell of Bristol, has moved to Lanark to supply his place, which no doubt he will do with efficiency.

Perth Courier, September 4, 1874.

Illness of Dr. Ferguson—We regret to learn that Dr. Ferguson, of Carleton Place, is confined to his late residence in Lanark Village by a severe attack of typhoid fever.  We trust that he may speedily become convalescent.

Carleton Place Herald- 1888

Two new medical men have come to cast their lot with us during the past week, Dr. Downing from Lanark, whose office is in the Struthers block, and Dr. Smith, from Brockville whose office is in the brick building opposite the Taylor block.

Lanark County Genealogical Society Website

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News


Related Reading

Think the Smallpox issue on Outlander was far fetched?

Smallpox in Carleton Place — Did You Know?

The Great White Plague

I Will Take Some Opium to Go Please —The “Drug Dispensary” at the Chatterton House Hotel



The 19th Century Nervous Breakdown



Photo from Google Image


News items From the Perth Courier from Archives Lanark 1897

John McQuarrie of Lanark was confined in the Perth jail a year or two ago for insanity  and taken from there to the asylum at Kingston died in that institution and was buried in Lanark last week.

Emeline Ferguson, insane, sent to jail.

Innisville Inklings:  Miss Maggie Steen, a young lady of Innisville, lost her reason last week and was taken to the Perth jail to be cared for.

These days, work stress, postnatal depression and anxiety are addressed hopefully with great understanding. But years ago, the women who suffered from these conditions, were confined to an asylum as they had no other place to put them.

But who decided if a person was mad or not? And just how did you end up in a Victorian asylum? In those days women could find themselves labelled insane and locked up in madhouses for a range of conditions – from postnatal depression to alcoholism or senile dementia, and even for social transgressions such as infidelity (‘moral insanity’).
Nineteenth century doctors knew next to nothing about the mind. They tried to discover what had triggered a mental breakdown, and list that incident as the ’cause’ of the illness. Dr Hugh Diamond, believed that the then new science of photography could help to diagnose mental illness by capturing what he called the ‘exact point that had been reached in the scale of unhappiness’.


Photo from Google Image


Thousands of people passed through the county asylums. But some of the mental health provision  was still in private houses, often run by nonmedical men who did little more than keep patients locked away. With their living coming from the profit, there was little incentive to discharge patients who could be detained.

Anyone who could persuade two doctors to sign certificates of insanity could put away inconvenient or embarrassing relatives in a madhouse. Women – with lower social status, and usually less power and money – were more vulnerable. Some were sent away just because they suffered from severe epileptic fits

One woman had been the only servant in a 20-room house and was unable to keep up with the work over the hard winter months when every room would have required a fire burning in its grate and lamps to be lit early. Doctors  then would diagnose burnout and acute stress as a form of insanity.


Photo from Google Image


Mercury, known as calomel, was considered an effective treatment for hysteria but, like most of the medicines prescribed for mental illness, was highly toxic. Antimony, a toxic chemical now used in fire retardants, was employed to keep patients in a state of nausea, making acts of violence less likely. It was an early example of the ‘chemical cosh’.

Women’s sexuality was a prime focus of male Victorian physicians. Erotomania (hypersexuality) was considered a constant danger in female patients and could accompany hysteria. Most times a  cold bath, a douche and cold applications to the regions of the uterus were all employed as a cure.

Was insanity just a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world? Maybe the same could be said now?





To Be Manic Depressive in a Rural Town — Kingston Insane Asylum

Women in Peril 1868 — Mathilda Routh

The Very Sad Tale of Hessie Churchill

The Criminals of Carleton Place


I’m Every Woman?



Photo from Perth Remembered–Ellen Huddleston’s home for young women in 1902, built for her after her husband Robert had died in 1899. In the 1898-1899 Perth Directory it lists Robert Huddleston’s house as being on the south side of North Street between Lewis and Market Street. Market Street later became Rogers Road. Photo– Lee Huddleston 


Rather than attracting a husband through their domestic abilities, middle-class girls were coached in what were known as ‘accomplishments’. These would be learned either at boarding school or from a resident governess. In Pride & Prejudice the snobbish Caroline Bingley lists the skills required by any young lady who considers herself accomplished:

A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages….; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions…(ch. 8)

It was important for a well-educated girl to soften her erudition with a graceful and feminine manner. No-one wanted to be called a ‘blue-stocking’, the name given to women who had devoted themselves too enthusiastically to intellectual pursuits. Blue-stockings were considered unfeminine and off-putting in the way that they attempted to usurp men’s ‘natural’ intellectual superiority. Some doctors reported that too much study actually had a damaging effect on the ovaries, turning attractive young women into dried-up prunes. Later in the century, when Oxford and Cambridge opened their doors to women, many families refused to let their clever daughters attend for fear that they would make themselves unmarriageable.


No-one wanted to be called a ‘blue-stocking’, the name given to women who had devoted themselves too enthusiastically to intellectual pursuits. Blue-stockings were considered unfeminine and off-putting in the way that they attempted to usurp men’s ‘natural’ intellectual superiority. Some doctors reported that too much study actually had a damaging effect on the ovaries, turning attractive young women into dried-up prunes. Later in the century, when Oxford and Cambridge opened their doors to women, many families refused to let their clever daughters attend for fear that they would make themselves unmarriageable.



Photo– Public Archives
Packard car driven by Elsie R. Gillies, building in background the Baptist Church on Bridge Street Carleton Place

On the Perth Remembered Facebook site Ellen Huddleston’s home for young women was listed. in 1902,  it built for her after her husband Robert had died in 1899. In the 1898-1899 Perth Directory it lists Robert Huddleston’s house as being on the south side of North Street between Lewis and Market Street. Market Street later became Rogers Road.

 There was lots of work for young women in Perth in the different industries so I would image that girls from the country came to town to work and stayed at the boarding houses. There are many ads in the Perth Courier of the time looking for young women workers.


Did You Know About the House of Industry?

Elizabeth Lindsay of Almonte — Victorian Women Business Owners

News of Butter– Fireman— and Women of Stamina in Carleton Place

Some Things Don’t Change in Carleton Place – But Now the Women Do it!

A Tale of Two Women on International Women’s Day