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John Butter: Decr. 12th 1865. Jno. Butter M.D. M.B. S & L.S

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 December 2023

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Summary

I was Born at Woodbury near Exeter on the 22nd of January 1791 and died on the … My Father Jacob Butter and my Mother Catherine each lived to the age of 77 years and died leaving three children – two sons and one daughter.

A remarkable circumstance attended my birth and the subject of this narrative. I had seven grandfathers and grandmothers all living at my birth and had I been born 3 months earlier I might have had eight. Another remarkable circumstance is that my father and mother were not married until they had passed their thirtieth year of age and that I was not born for 15 months after their marriage. At my Christening another remarkable circumstance occurred: two of my great-grandmothers, both above 90 years of age, rode on a horse with side-saddle pillion two miles forward and two miles backward and the united ages of the three, including the horse, amounted [to] 206 years.

My father practised the Medical Profession at Woodbury and the surrounding parishes above half a century and succeeded his grandfather Langdon in that parish. I and my brother Jacobus both received a classical education at the Exeter Grammar School under the Revd Mr Bartholomew. We both chose the medical profession.

1807

On leaving school at 16 I performed my first surgical operation by a tooth for my own Father whose sufferings prompted him to ride to Exmouth and Budleigh without success for the purpose of getting this Tooth extracted. Necessity obliged him to instruct a Schoolboy in the art of using a German Key+ with which I extracted my Father's Tooth so much to his ease and comfort that it induced him to present me with my first fee. I then undertook the treatment of a poor boy in the village who had long been afflicted with scald head alias Tincea Capita.+ This patient had bid defiance to my Father's skill and had baffled the treatment received at the Devon & Exeter Hospital. He was cured by taking a Plesner's pill every night and a purging powder twice a week, and externally by the application of Tar Ointment to the head every night, covered with a silk cap and washed off every morning with a lather of yellow soap.

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