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Lecture:  Medications of the 1840s June 4

CAMPTON HILLS, IL   On Sunday June 4 at 1 pm, Garfield Farm Museum will present “Medications of the 1840s”. This program will be given by museum volunteer Amiee Daramus discussing an era when not even a hint of medical science as known today existed.

       The talk will include the medications that were available to the Garfield family and their neighbors. The information will include the availability, the effects and side effects of everything from opium to peppermint tea, from the local apothecary to the kitchen garden."

      When the concept of germs did not exist the thought of washing one’s hands had nothing to do with sanitation. Likewise, a privy might be located just a few feet from a well where drinking water was drawn, no understanding of the potential for contamination by water born diseases like typhoid, cholera, or dysentery.

       This was in spite of nearby St. Charles, Illinois having over 5 doctors in the 1840s and the first ever chartered medical school in the state, the Franklin Institute. This lack of understanding of the causes of disease forced people to believe solely in fate and destiny regarding how disease could capriciously befall one person and not the other. Any type of plant or concoctions of plant extracts and alcohol that seem to offer relief was not much more than a hope that one’s condition might improve.

     Ms. Daramus’ talk will consider what challenge of illness and how a customer of the Garfield Tavern might depend on the botanicals (plants used for medicine) that Harriet Garfield might grow in her garden to treat sick guests.  

     Ms. Daramus is an experienced historic  interpreter and has worked with  with the Widow Clarke House and Glessner House Museums in Chicago.

       There is a $6 donation for adults and $3 for children under 13 years of age.  Garfield Farm Museum is located 5 miles west of Geneva, IL off ILL Rt 38 on Garfield Road in Campton Hills IL. Reservations are requested to plan for the refreshments. Garfield Farm and Tavern Museum is being restored as an 1840s living history farm and museum by volunteers and donors from around the county. For information or to RSVP please call 630 584-8485 or e-mail