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|NG&HS welcomes ULM's Sirmans|
The Northeast Genealogical & Historical Society met on Sunday, Feb. 8, at the main branch of the Ouachita Parish Public Library on Stubbs Ave. in Monroe.
James Free presided. He welcomed guests and made announcements. The minutes were read by Margie Brown, secretary. Free turned the meeting over to Lois Ferguson, programs chairperson.
She announced that the next meeting would be March 8, entitled "History of Downtown Buildings and Businesses in Monroe," by George Weaks.
She reported that since the library will be closed on Easter Sunday, the April meeting will be on Sunday, April 5. That program will be: "What is it Worth?" presented by Trenton Street Antiques-Mike McMahon.
Ferguson then introduced the speaker, Susan Sirmans, ULM-Pharmacy Professor, who gave the program on: the "History of Pharmacists and pharmacy in Ouachita Parish to the Present Day."
Sirmans has done much research over the years, not only on pharmacy, but the history of the Monroe area as it concerns pharmacy and the families of these people. She said she started her research with early newspapers and the courthouse. She realized that information was scarce before the late 1800's. She soon realized that when a person died, those in attendance gave many interesting clues to whom may have been "pharmacists or doctors."
The list of household items included all sorts of "drugs" for medicinal purposes. People were not required by law to have a license at this time, and some just didn't bother to try to procure one from New Orleans when they were required to later on, although, in order to collect bills, a person had to be licensed.
Sirmans had lots of advertisements of people who sold all sorts of items for medicinal purposes, such as new shipments of morphine, quinine, calomel, bloodletting devices, etc. Bull sasparilla and fever tonics and even cork-soled shoes were advertised as a cure for almost anything.
Sirmans said people with large plantations seemingly ordered large supplies of these items and probably did their own doctoring. A pharmacist could sell all these drugs and home remedies along with dry goods, groceries, clothing and liquor. Sirmans had lots of pictures of pharmacies from early ones to later ones.
Susan had lists of many pharmacists and family information on some of them. In attendance was one of the descendents of Dr. Christopher Hunt Dabbs (1849), Julia A. Scott, who lives in Crossett, Ark. She is a member of the society. The public welcome to meetings.