Days Gone By - stories from the past

FUNNY FRIDAY: This is hilarious! But I imagine it was true. . .


A prominent physician of Baltimore tells of an amusing experience of the early days of his practice when he was residing in a small town where by far the majority of the workers were miners.

“I was greatly distressed at the unsanitary conditions prevailing in their cottages,” says the doctor. “and, among other things, I tried to explain to each household the importance of maintaining a wholesome atmosphere in their sleeping rooms.

Stock of thermometers distributed

I laid in a stock of thermometers, which were distributed to the household where they were most needed. I took pains to point out to each family in turn just how this thermometer would indicate the proper degree of temperature.

“As I was making the rounds one day I inquired of the woman at the head of one establishment, wherein I observed my thermometer proudly displayed at the end of a string, whether she had followed my instructions.

She followed directions

“Yes sir,’ answered she; ‘I’m very careful about the temperature, I watch the thing all the time as it hangs up there.”

“What do you do when the temperature rises above us?”thermometer on string

“I take it down sir, an’ put it outside till it cools off a bit.”

(from Harper’s Weekly 1908)


Vinegar of the Four Thieves was a recipe that was known for its antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic and antifungal properties for years. It was even used to cure the Bubonic Plague. See Thomas Jefferson’s recipe in VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past

Vinegar of the Four Thieves: Recipes & Curious Tips from the Past (Paperback)

By (author):  Donna R Causey
List Price:$9.77 USD
New From:$9.77 USD In Stock
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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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One comment

  1. This has not been published, as far as I know, but in the 1960s I heard this from a University of Alabama professor – I do not know the exact time frame.

    Dr Margaret Quail was a professor of psychology at UA. (There was a building named for her.)

    Dr Quail received a call from a friend saying that the friend’s maid had not come to work. The maid said that she was dying because someone had placed a hex on her. Dr Quail went to the maid’s home and said that she was Dr Quail from the University of Alabama and that she was the official hex breaker for the state of Alabama. Dr quail gave the woman a “potion” to break the hex. The maid took the potion and went back to work.

    The rest of the story – Within weeks Dr Quail received calls from all over the state asking about the potion.

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