To Dr Jno Wilson
New Fane 24th Septr 1824.
28 Jany 1825. Received by the hands of
Dr Joth: Burnet & Mr Sl French
the Sum of Twenty Four Dollars & forty seven cents
being payment in full of the above acct.
Dr Jno Wilson New Fane
Dr. John Wilson was called suddenly on Thursday, March 4, 1824 to attend to Captain Seth Briggs in West Dummerston, mine host of the Briggs Tavern with Hannah Merrick, his wife, and probably several of their eleven mostly grown daughters---Hannah, Sarah, Mary, Patty, Lucinda, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Abigail, Harriet, Fanny, and Laura.
The condition proved to be fatal on Sunday, March 21, 1824.
Dr. Wilson called into consultation, during the first week, Dr. John Locke Dickerman of Brattleboro. The patient died intestate and declared insolvent, but sums were promptly paid to Ephraim French for the coffin four dollars, six dollars for the funeral service, for Dr. Dickerman $6.50, and to Dr. John Wilson $24.67.
Seth Briggs was born in Rochester, Massachusetts on July 11, 1760, the son of Samuel Briggs and Elizabeth Besse, then baptised May 3, 1761 in Wareham. He was described as being five feet and eight inches tall and darkly complected, when he was a young soldier. Briggs came to West Dummerston to purchase land and to marry in 1784.
When Dr. John Wilson entered the Cape style house with the central chimney set in over thirty acres of land still remaining in the family, he would see the feather beds on their cords, the woolen blankets and coverlets, quilts, the wooden clock in its case, the cheese press in the kitchen, and the great Bible.
The deeds to three pews in the nearby Baptist Church were not displayed.
The barns contained the two-horse sleigh, a lame horse, and the three year old colt that hired hand Moses Childs would "go after" when free from "getting out" the corn, the yearling steer, cows, bull and stag, the eleven sheep, hay, and twenty-four pounds of flax stored.
Seth Briggs was comfortable, and his creditors were reliable and well-known in Dummerston---Daniel "Corn" Fisher, Samuel Dutton, Henry Willard, cabinet maker Benjamin Prescott, Simon Fisher, William H. Williams, Benjamin Stickney, Solomon Wilder, Asa Knight, Lincoln Bixby, Daniel Wilder, John Holbrook, and Asa Underwood, Jr. in Williamsville.
Presented To The Capt. Seth Briggs Estate
This case is remarkable for the nine applications of an "Operation of Electricity" beginning during the first week, and for the medicines employed, as, tincture of opium, castor oil, "bitter", injections, and the guaiac. Dr. John Wilson considered himself to be consistent with the Eclectic School in medicine---neither strict allopath, nor herbalist---and was a capable surgeon, a sound obstetrician who reportedly liked children.
Called The Thunderbolt House, About 1913
John Wilson purchased an electrical machine on Friday, April 12, 1822, from the William H. Williams store in the village of Williamsville in Newfane, along with twelve crackers and one quart of rum, while he was still resident in Brookline, teaching at the round schoolhouse. This machine may have been for class demonstration purposes, as well as for patient treatments.
Dr. Wilson also purchased at Williamsville almost all his medicines, and the "Electric ball", the "Electric jar", glass rod, tin foil, and the large wire. The probate inventory for Dr. John Wilson in late 1847 included two electrical machines, one "in a box", the other not in a box.
Electrical studies in medicine and attention to "animal magnetism" at this time received considerable impetus from the vivid descriptions of the electrification of the corpse of the hanged murderer Thomas Forster at the Royal College of Medicine in London, and also from Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's romance concerning Dr. Victor Frankenstein's enterprise.
Dr. John Wilson, Captain Thunderbolt is a pictorial history of Thunderbolt's life and career in Boston and throughout Windham County, including eyewitness accounts and descriptions of his appearance and activity.