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.