A Letter between Two Doctors about working together at a Sanitarium and the Use of Homeopathic Medicines
Dr. Butler Wilmarth was born on December 18, 1798 in Montague, MA to Peggy Coleman. He was an illegitimate child, and while his biological father was never named, Butler believed that he was a man of some note in town. In 1802 he was bound out to town selectman Amos Wilmarth of Rowe, who would eventually adopt him, and Butler would take his name. He began studying medicine at the age of 23 under the tutelage of Dr. William F. Selden. On March 1, 1831 he married Phila Osgood (1806-1859). Together they had two children: Jerome Terome Wilmarth (1831-?) and Phila Wilmarth Weston (1841-1903). In 1841 he would become a convert to hydropathic remedies, after he himself fell it and was cured by such treatments. He worked and established a variety of different bath houses in Massachusetts and New York before establishing one with a former student of his, J. H. Hero in Westboro, MA. In 1851 he was elected President of the Hydropathic Association of Physicians and Surgeons. On May 6, 1853, while returning from the association's annual meeting, the train he was on suffered a catastrophic collision at the Norwalk Bridge in CT. Wilmarth and over forty-five others would perish in the train accident, which is considered to be the first major US railroad disaster. .
John Henry Hero was born on December 30, 1820 to John Hero (1787-1861) and Polly Claffin (1791-1832) in Milford, MA. He had several siblings: Susannah H. Hero (1811-?), Horace B. Hero (1812-?) Eliza H Hero (1814-1867), Hannah H Hero (1817-?), Izanna Chamberlain Hero (1823-1914), and Edwin H Hero (1831-?). He married Irene Morse Parkhurst (1822-1906) on September 22, 1850. They had three children: Butler Wilmarth Hero (1859 -1932) who was named after John's friend, mentor, and business partner, George Hoyt Hero (1861-1933), and John P. Hero (1863-1865). John studied medicine with Dr. Butler Wilmarth of Hopedale and graduated from Central Medical College in Syracuse, NY. Him and Wilmarth formed a strong mentorship bond that, in 1852, resulted in him and Wilmarth going into business with one another in Westboro by opening a bath house. In 1853, after Wilmarth's death, Hero would become the sole owner. On January 6, 1898 John would die of heart disease, which was a complication of his stomach cancer.
"But I am in quite an interesting and instructive school myself and I wish you was here to share a part in the labor and responsibleness of the institution. Here is considerable head-work to do, I assure you - I have about all sorts of diseases and dispositions to deal with and need much wisdom as well as some patience to get along with so many crooked patients, bathmen [sic], cooks, waiters, &c. I have been able to keep things pretty straight yet. We have 28 patients now. Some are doing well, some stationary some growing worse if any thing. It is no small task to answer all their questions, explain all their difficulties, and encourage them to hope and persevere. Some of the are quite homeopathic and want to be swallowing pellets and powders. Dr. Foster has lots of homeopathic medicine, so I give a little hurf [also known as cress or lepidium sativum], and coffea [coffea cruda] and bell [belladonna?] and hyos [hyoscyamus niger] and bryonia and mercurius. But for my life, I can't tell whether it does any good or not."
"I hope to return in about 2 weeks, and that cant make a thousand dollars difference with the cold hearted owner. I think - if it does - let it go to the first bidder. There are more places in N.E. (New England) than Grapton or Worchester or even Milford.... It is some expected Dr. Tortes will leave here. I have been invited by the owner to hire, or buy, this their stand in such an event. Here everything is ready, furniture and all for operations. Never fear (if the Lord will) we will do something next season some where." General wear with letter folds.