Thursday, April 30, 2009

1818 Letter from Dr. Christopher C. Yates to Jabez Wright

On April 30, 1818, Dr. Christopher C. Yates, an Albany physician, sent a letter to Jabez Wright in Huron Township, which was part of Huron County at that time. (Erie County was formed in 1838.)
In his letter, Dr. Yates discussed Jabez Wright’s health issues, which involved nervous irritability. Jabez Wright seemed to think his medical problems stemmed from a lingering virus, but Dr. Yates did not agree. He urged Jabez not to use patent medicine, stating that once patent medicine is begun “you will never abandon again, it will be as necessary to you as rum to the toper, or tobacco to the sailor.” The letter concludes with Dr. Yates advising Jabez Wright to take his old advice, presumably from a previous visit to the doctor, and not to seek further treatment.

Dr. Christopher C. Yates was a prominent doctor in Albany, New York, the son of Christopher J. Yates and Catharina Lansing. In 1818, he co-authored an essay on bilious epidemic fever. He was married to Emma Willard in 1838, but they divorced in 1843. Dr. Yates eventually moved to Canada, and he died in Nova Scotia in 1848.

Jabez Wright was an early surveyor of the Firelands. He was a justice of the peace in Huron Township, and was also an associate judge, holding court in Huron County as early as 1815. In an address to the Firelands Historical Society on February 22, 1888, Rush Sloane stated that Jabez Wright was one of the first men in the State of Ohio to aid fugitive slaves. The Ohio Historical Society placed a historical marker noting Judge Wright’s home as a station on the Underground Railroad.

You can see several items which once belonged to the Wright family at the Follett House Museum, including an 1825 tea canister and a side saddle used by Mrs. Jabez Wright.


Lori E said...

You don't often hear of divorces from that time period. Interesting.

Beverly said...

Mrs. Jabez Wright is Tamar Ruggles. In the book "A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio" by Hewson Lindsley Peeke, Lewis Pub. Co., 1916,(page 101) Tamar Ruggles was the daughter of Almon Ruggles - also a surveyor, and married Jabez' son Winthrop. Almon didn't have a daughter by this name but his twin brother Alfred did - not sure if it's the same Tamar but she did marry Jabez. I would like to get more information on the Wrights and Ruggles to try and piece this together correctly....