Sunday, May 1, 2011

Healing Hands…


Hello, dear friends!

Did you all watch the Royal Wedding???  I stayed up with my girls to do just that—not much sleep for us last night!  But a lovely experience shared…that’s all that matters…we can sleep later this weekend!  My husband even watched it with us…what a good sport!

A long ago story to share with you today…

{silhouette image found online}

Margaret—a young mother living in rural Tennessee in the early 1800’s…a loving husband and four children to care for…life was hard. “I made light of hard living”, she said…but still, she needed all the help she could get…

Six months after the birth of her fourth child in 1833, she became acquainted with a book—“Thompson’s Guide to Health”.  She looked into it and felt very strongly that she needed to purchase the book to help her care for her young family.

{old book image found online}

This was a very weighty decision, as the price was $20…no small fee in those days. (I did a quick bit of research: $20 in the 1830’s would be the equivalent of just over $350 today!)  She REALLY felt inspired to have that book!

DSC02955_edited-1 {copy of the title page of Margaret’s actual book, along with copies of $20 bills from the 1830’s—nicely crumpled & “aged”, of course!}

In Margaret’s own words:

“I thought it a great work, for it seemed to me that natural things were set forth in the most natural manner.  And I thought if the pattern was observed, our lives would be longer, and our constitutions stronger…”

hpqscan0001_edited-1 {Title page of the 1832 printing of “Thompson’s Guide to Health”…while I don’t have the actual book, I do have this image of it…wonder where it is now…?}

A move with her young family eastward to Kentucky for some years…then off on a new adventure to the Wild West…always with her treasured “Thompson’s Guide” by her side…

DSC02969_edited-1 {a bit of lovely crocheted lace, scrumptious seam binding, and a perfectly perfect vintage button…}

Nine children were born to Margaret and her husband Samuel.  She writes that her last five children were all born with “no assistance, except my husband and Dr. Thompson’s medicine.  But I did well.”

Over the years, and as her skill and knowledge grew, Margaret was called upon time and time again to help those around her with all kinds of medical problems, great and small…

Margaret Cooper West

Margaret Cooper West

When they arrived in Arizona in 1879—her final home--she was the only “doctor” of any kind in their settlement.  Thompson’s Guide, again, was her constant companion.

Her treatments and remedies were never guaranteed by her, but she did promise those she helped that they were “harmless”. 

DSC02975_edited-1 {beautiful vintage botanical print from Crafty Secrets’ “Birds & Botanicals” Images & Journal Notes booklet}

My great-grandmother Mary wrote of Margaret’s work:

“She used herbs, natural remedies, much honest perspiration and very much inspiration in her wonderfully generous care for everyone.”


{Gorgeous rose journaling image from Crafty Secrets’ new “Love Mail” Creative Scraps…just a TOUCH of iridescent glitter added to the roses}

Margaret wrote to a daughter in 1862:

“If you need anything in your sickness, do not be afraid of the Thompsonian medicines or steaming.  They are all natural methods.  If you take medicine be sure to drink plenty of warm water.  I have used these remedies for many a year—they are harmless and very effective for good.

                                                     Your loving mother.

Following their mother’s path, her daughters inherited the same gift for healing…more hands to help the lives of others around them….

Margaret’s healing hands finished their work in 1882…years of loving service to her family and community would be the legacy she left behind…

DSC02979_edited-1 {a single VERY old mother-of-pearl button…carved in a beautiful pattern…and threaded by other hands, years ago.  Fabric strips left behind—from what, I wonder?—I chose to leave them on the button…seemed perfect, somehow…}

A new page made for my ever-growing heritage scrapbook…

DSC02981_edited-1 {wonderful green glen check print from Crafty Secrets’ soon-to-be-released Vintage Paper Patterns CD…}

…elements pulled together to tell the story of my third great-grandmother—Margaret Cooper West—and the book that guided her through most of her life…

Another bit of online-looking brought me this wonderful image of a $10 bill from the 1830’s—just perfect to help to illustrate her story…


Sometimes $20—and a LOT of faith, prayer and courage—can really change your life!

Wishing you all a wonderful day…

See you soon with something new.



  1. Good Morning, Julie! I woke up just before 5 (our time) and watched the ceremony. I am constantly amazed at the inspiring women of your heritage. No wonder you are so wonderful! Have a nice day! Twyla

  2. Hello Julie,
    I just loved this post! I don't know much at all about my ancestors and wish I did. I think it is wonderfu what you are doing with your knowledge of yours. You grandchildren and great-chilchildren will cherish this. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring woman. You should be proud.

  3. Hi Julie,
    This is such an amazing post! I love the page you made to commemorate her and the whole story is so awesome....The beauty you create is so totally inspiring! I wish we could sit down and craft one day--we have so much fun!

  4. A wonderful tribute to this inspiring woman.

  5. Your page is beautiful as is Margaret's tale of selfless service to others. Lovely! Penny

  6. What an amazing story! And what a life WELL LED! Sometimes I think those were the most astounding days for our country. Life was hard but, wow how our country changed with the help of folks like Margaret. LOVE the button with the fabric still tied to it. And what a treasure your book will be when you have finished all those beautiful heartfelt pages. I would love to see it in person one day when I visit California I dream that we will meet in person & have time to laugh, share, shop & continue this marvelous friendship blogging has brought us. HUSG!

  7. Hi Julie, I just love your beautiful tributes to your ancestors!... this is such a wonderful story, and I can just imagine how hard it was to pay $20 for the book back then!... I love what you have created in your great~grandmother's memory... also love the little old button with the fabric strips still attached, and that you left them in place... xoxo Julie Marie

  8. Ok, Julie, this was one of the most moving posts I have ever read on anyones blog, and the music was perfect. I love the project you did for the tribute to her. We have no idea what hardships those before us dealt with and with so little. Thankyou, this has put me into a wonderful state of mind. And thankyou for your sweet comment about the blessing dress i just completed. And thanks for being my friend! Oh and yes, I loved watching the Royal wedding. Oh, and my husband watched some of it too with me as did my 18 year old son. Cool!

  9. I really enjoyed reading that story. I am always humbled by the courage, faith and resilience of our pioneer woman. amazing.

  10. I just found your blog and I love this post of heritage and strength of the American women. I can't wait to see more. Thank you for this story. =D Janet

  11. Amazing! Especially when you could by a ton of land for that amount! Please write a book Julie!

  12. This fabulous song you have is one of my favorite pieces for it is so tender and reminds me of the history of our country. Your vintage items are always so beautifully selected dearest, and what a tender spirit you have. Yes, the royal wedding was one of great splendor and yet more humble than expected...compared to that of Will's mum and dad! But faery tales do exist, when we write the story. Blessings to you and have a magnificent Sunday! Anita

  13. Dear Julie, This is another amazing story of one of your ancestors. There are so many strong women in your family who did things that were really unusal back then. The 20 USD must have been a little fortune for Margaret but it had been a good investment.
    Your page is beautiful. How wonderful that you have the original book. The copies of the bills are a great addition to tell Margaret's story.
    Have a lovely Sunday :-)!
    Hugs to you,

  14. this post is so beautiful, so loving. i had tears in my eyes as i read it. you have a heritage to be proud of and i can see where you gained your lovely gifts.

    wishing you a happy and magical month of May

    with love and warmest hugs xxx


  15. Another lovey page for your heritage album - what a great tribtue to an inspirational woman!

  16. Hi Julie, what a beautiful post and a wonderful tribute to Margaret.... I just love all of your beautiful artwork!
    Have a great day sweet friend!!!
    hugs~~~ Daphne

  17. Thrilled that you found my blog, since it helped me find my way to yours. This post was sooo inspiring. You really have a way with words. Perhaps you should think about publishing a book with your scrapbook pages and stories. I don't think there would be anything out there so precious as to rival this.
    Blessings & Hugs,

  18. Wow..what a lovely story and your scrapbook will be amazing. Thank you for another wonderful story my friend...happy Sunday. xoxo

  19. Such a beautiful post Julie! And what a woman she was! The page you did in her honor is so very sweet. I would love to see your scrapbook someday! Yes, I watched the wedding and loved it to pieces! So romantic!

    Love ya,

  20. Julie, this is
    a tonic for the heart : )
    So amazing that you
    know SO MUCH about her.
    Loved this post from
    beginning to,
    embellishments, words,
    buttons and money!! And
    the music: perfection.
    Have a wonderful week!
    xx Suzanne

  21. An amazingly beautiful post, as always.
    Have a wonderful week, sweet Julie xxxx

  22. What a sweet page! And I enjoyed the story...I love hearing about those who came before us.

  23. Hi Julie,
    I love your blog!! What a lovely story and very special pictures,
    Thanks so much for sharing this
    Have a great day
    Mary x

  24. What a wonderful true story, Julie! I'm currently working on our family genealogy so am deeply enmeshed in all the long ago stories from the past! (Probably why we love vintage so much!) Gorgeous card and a beautiful post!

  25. Hi Julie,
    What a beautiful story, so inspirational! Your artwork is a beautiful tribute to your ancestors. TFS

  26. What a wonderful post, to think that book had so much inspiration on who she would become in her lifetime, $20 well spent. I so Love your family stories.
    Hugs Lynn

  27. Such an amazing lady..and story. Enjoyed reading it very much.
    xo bj (a sistah)

  28. Amazing story! I love family history. :)

  29. Marylnail@bellsouth.netAugust 26, 2011 at 6:26 AM

    I just loved this special story. Thanks for sharing!