The following Long Grove History article appeared in the October, 2017 issue of Long Grove Living Magazine.
If you were an early 1840’s settler of Long Grove, and asked the question, “How do I get to the doctor?” the answer, to borrow from an old joke, might well have been, “Well, to get to the doctor, I sure wouldn’t start from here!” With such sparse population, in those days you waited for the doctor to come to you. Early doctors traveled extensively and rode a circuit on horseback through the area they served. Settlers who needed care knew the route, and would leave word that a visit was needed, and the doctor would detour to make the house call.
The first doctor in the area was John Kenicott with a circuit of some thirty or so miles that involved as many as five different horses. Legend has it that he had a special saddle made that allowed him to sleep while on the horse. Payment would have been something in trade as often as it was money. Treatment was not enjoyable, as the prevailing attitude at the time was, “no pain, no gain”, and harsher, more painful treatments were thought to have greater healing power. Bloodletting was a common cure all. Rudimentary surgery was performed right then and there, though was limited to the patient’s pain tolerance, as there was no anesthesia. In the early 1840’s, chloroform and ether came into use, but they could be tricky to administer correctly. There are many deceased fruit flies from my high school science career that can attest to that.
Rumor has it that an old, somewhat crazy, doctor from the past will be performing on patients during the Historical Society’s Annual Ghost Walk. The Walk will be Friday night, October 27th, and advanced tickets from LongGroveHistory.org are required. Perhaps the creepiest setting on the walk is the Covered Bridge trail, with unknown ghoulies lurking about. In that spirit, this month’s Save The Bridge poem has a darker tone:
Our Bridge of myth and wonder
Shall no one put her asunder
Summoning wit and charm
We’ll defend her from harm
And the trolls that lurk there under
You still have a few weeks to help Save The Bridge by purchasing a raffle ticket to win a beautiful original watercolor of the bridge. Pictured is Tony Stencil with his family and the bridge painting he donated to the cause. The winner will be drawn at the Ghost walk. Tickets can be purchased online at https://longgrovehistory.org/bridge-painting-raffle.