Days Gone By - stories from the past

Front Porch Dentistry – it was the only way during the old days

Front Porch Dentistry


Shannon Hollon

I remember my grandmother(Pauline Campbell Bearden) telling me a story once when they were staying with her grandparents( Pappy and Grandma) during the Great Depression.

Dr. Charles Campbell (Pappy) served as the local country doctor for Fosters and surrounding Tuscaloosa county area for many years.

charles campbellDr. Charles M. Campbell MD 1867-1939

On this certain occasion she and her brother(HT Campbell) watched out the front window as Pappy pulled a neighbor(John Ed)teeth with nothing but forceps and a cane bottom chair.teeth pulled

She said John Ed would hold on to the chair and give a grunt with each tooth extraction.

cane chair
Dr. Campbell’s only claim to fame is he delivered a local baby Lurleen Burns Wallace who became the first and only female Governor of Alabama…By the way he was payed a calf for his delivery services of the future governor.

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Exploration: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 1)is a collection of lost and forgotten stories about the people who discovered and initially settled in Alabama.

Some stories include:

  • The true story of the first Mardi Gras in America and where it took place
  • The Mississippi Bubble Burst – how it affected the settlers
  • Did you know that many people devoted to the Crown settled in Alabama –
  • Sophia McGillivray- what she did when she was nine months pregnant
  • Alabama had its first Interstate in the early days of settlement

See historical books by Donna R. Causey

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ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Exploration: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 1) (Paperback)

By (author):  Causey, Donna R

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About Shannon Hollon

Shannon Hollon lives in McCalla Alabama graduated from McAdory High School and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Served 9 years in the US Navy Seabees with one tour in Afghanistan.Currently employed with US Steel and serving on the board of directors for the West Jefferson County Historical Society.

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  1. I remember on summer at my uncles house in Lenox, Al. My cousin rode up on a horse and said he had a tooth ache. Somebody had a pair forceps and pulled out his tooth. He went di

  2. Riding off spitting out blood. I don’t know how far away a dentist was.

  3. When my grandfather, Harvey Nix, graduated from from Vanderbilt and opened his dentist office around 1908 he did this same thing out of Maplesville on either the M & O or Southern. He would make a deal with someone who lived next to a train stop out in the country and their family would get free dental care that day for allowing him to work on their porch. I still have his portable chair and foot pedaled powered drill.

  4. When I was 6-years-old (1947) my mother took me to a Dr. Snow in West Jefferson County. He had a screened in sun porch. There was a hospital type bed on it. I don’t know if it was always there or he put it there for me. Dr. Snow put me to sleep by placing a cloth over my face with ether on it from a pan next to the bed. A dentist came from somewhere and pulled two wisdom teeth. (They called them “jaw teeth” in those days). I remember awful nightmares and being terribly sick when I woke up and throwing up in a pan. My mother bought me a milkshake on the way home and I felt better. I never saw the dentist.

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