Linda Broday: Dr. Benjamin Thomas Crumley, Old Indian Doctor

scenery It’s strange at the things that catch my interest. An old friend of mine is always sending me things she finds in magazines. A few days ago, I received a thick envelope full and among the articles was one about Dr. Benjamin Thomas Crumley.

Dr. Crumley was known far and wide as “the old Indian doctor.” He was born in 1822 and was part Cherokee. In Texas, he was a bit of an oddity because he wore his hair very long. No one knows for sure if he went to medical school but it was common knowledge that he studied with the Cherokee for seven years.

A resident of Buttercup, Texas which is now Cedar Park , he treated his patients with plants, roots and herbal remedies for almost 50 years. Such as horehound for coughs, colds and sore throats. Sassafras to settle the stomach. Chest colds with a mustard plaster. Willow bark for fever. Johnson grass or broomcorn for kidney and urinary problems. Chicory root as a sedative. Asafetida for stomach flu and sour stomach.

Dr. BenjaminThomasCrumley & wife LuLuIn his saddlebags, he carried his trusty “madstone” for treating rabid animal bites. Madstones were often found in the stomach of deer. It was an oval, quartz-like stone about 1 ½ inches in diameter and ¾” thick. Patients swore by the stone’s healing properties.

Dr. Crumley achieved quite a reputation across the state and doctors in larger cities were always asking for his help with difficult cases.

I would love to have seen him. It’s said that he wore a white linen suit and rode a white horse to visit patients.

Once he was abducted by masked horsemen and taken to a remote hideout to treat the outlaw Sam Bass.

The photo shown on the page is of him with his third wife, Lulu. She looks thrilled to death, doesn’t she?

In my work in progress, I have a woman who was born and raised in the mountains. She knows all about natural medicines and what they cured. So no wonder this article caught my eye!

The countdown is on for the May 5th release of TWICE A TEXAS BRIDE. This is book two of the Bachelors of Battle Creek series and is about Rand Sinclair, the middle brother.

I’ll tell more about this book in my next blog on May 5th and will be giving away several copies.

Have you ever used or heard of any of these remedies or a madstone?
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Here in the Texas Panhandle, we do love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson and jeans that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!

24 thoughts on “Linda Broday: Dr. Benjamin Thomas Crumley, Old Indian Doctor”

  1. Hi Linda. This was interesting. And, yes I have heard of some of these cures. I think we might be better healthwise with natural cures now. All the meds we take have so many dangers they can cause that most times I don’t even want to use them. But, scared not to. Maxie

    • Good Morning Maxie…….Great to see you. I’m glad you enjoyed reading about Dr. Crumley. I agree that often the old medicines are best. But, I hated the taste of horehound. My dad kept it on hand for colds and sore throats. It was so bitter. I decided, I’d rather suffer with a sore throat. I had an uncle who used to gargle with kerosene to cure his. That definitely couldn’t have been good for him. Strangely, he got pancreatic cancer and died. I wonder if that kerosene caused that. Even though I was a little girl, I knew that wasn’t good.

      Have a great day, my friend!

  2. Hi Linda, interesting post. Yes, I’ve heard of mad stone, which is actually a hairball. Never knew it had healing powers. I agree with Maxie: we’d probably be better off with natural cures, but not sure that I’m ready for mad stone.

    • Good Morning Margaret…….I’m glad you found my post interesting. I’m with you. I don’t see how a stone created from a hairball could cure anything, much less rabies. But, there were lots of testimonials from people who were cured. Very weird if you ask me.

      Thanks for coming by. I hope your day is smooth sailing.

    • Good morning Janine………Yes, poor LuLu! She has the sourest face I’ve ever seen on someone. I wonder what she was thinking. Maybe she hated taking care of his children. It was hard to find if he had children but he did. There were six children by the time he married LuLu and they had three more. And I found that LuLu was only 17 years old when they married and he was 57.

      Have a great day!

  3. Quite frankly I believe the natural remedies are probably better in many ways with definitely less side effects. My daughter has some interest in stones and the native indians use to carry them in their medicine pouches. Quartz is a popular stone for healing I believe.

    • Good Morning Catslady…….I’m glad you enjoyed my post and about the madstone Dr. Crumley carried. I, too, am interested in stones and have collected a good bit. Quartz, especially the clear, was used in healing ceremonies. I just love my stones. Most people look at me kinda strangely when I say I collect rocks. LOL

      Have a great day, Miss Catslady!

  4. What an interesting piece, Linda. I’m so glad you shared. I love that he was abducted to treat Sam Bass. Doesn’t that just sound like something that would happen in the pages of our novels? Perfect! And how amazing that he overcame the prejudice of his time to be an influential “doctor” that even professional sought out for counsel. Great story!

    • Good Morning, Karen………I found that very interesting also. We do put things like that in our stories all the time. I’m sure it occurred very frequently because outlaws were always getting shot. Makes sense they’d abduct a doctor for treatment. They certainly couldn’t go to him unless they wanted to be captured. I’m sure Dr. Crumley did face a lot of prejudice. The time in which he lived saw lots of fighting between the whites and the Indians.

      Blessings to you, my Filly sister!

  5. very interesting post,enjoyed reading it,,no i havent used any of those but my granny had some of her own,,my sister burned her hand once and she immediately put in under running cold water and then smeared butter on it,,it must have helped ,,it got better,this is gross,my granny used stuff and chewing tobacco,,she was old when we were born,but anyway if we got stung by a bee she would put that moist tobacco glob on the sting and it did work if you could stop gagging to watch

    • Hi Vickie…….Your granny sounds like quite a character. She reminds me of mine who also dipped snuff. Mine didn’t chew tobacco though, buy my dad did way back when I was little. I’ve heard of tobacco taking the sting from a wasp or bee. I’ve also read of the Indians way back there using tobacco to heal wounds. One of research books I have has people putting chewing tobacco on gunshots. I guess it had lots of healing properties. I’ve also put butter on burns, even sunburn and it helps. Then, one time my mother smeared globs of mayonnaise on my sunburn. Seemed strange but it did help.

      Wishing you a wonderful day!

  6. I have heard of using a mustard plaster and Willow bark, but have not heard of the others especially the madstones… interesting stuff.

    • Hi Colleen…….Thanks for coming by. I’m glad you found my blog interesting. Like you, I had heard of some of this but not all. I wondered why the madstones could only be found in deer and a select few. Kinda odd. But I love finding out about new things.

      Have a great day!

  7. Very interesting post, Linda! I have a book on old Texas Medicine, but I don’t recall anything about madstones. It really is something how the old-timers figured out cures. thanks for a fascinating post!

  8. Hi Kathryn…..Thank you for coming to leave a comment. Yes, the madstones are interesting. I was reading this morning that the doctor would place it in warm water for a bit before applying the stone to a patient. It’s said to draw out the poison and people swore they saw it happening.

    Have an awesome day!

  9. Hi Miss Linda, what a great blog. We’ve talked about a lot of this but I didn’t realize you’d found this particular doctor in the notes. Fantastic! I hope everybody goes over to Amazon or BN and preorder your book, so it’ll be in their hands early. They won’t be sorry! It’s fantastic. Much love to my precious filly, P

    • Hi Phyliss…..Thank you for stopping by. I’m very glad you enjoyed reading about Dr. Crumley and his amazing career. He was sure a colorful character. But then you can’t throw a rock here in Texas without hitting one.

      Have a great evening!

  10. I’ve never heard of a madstone. Hairball yuck!

    I’ve used aloe for sunburn. You can buy aloe pieces in our grocery store( Florida).

    Garlic is good for preventing heart problems. My neighbor ate a clove a day. He reeked!

    My MIL gave us chamomille tea to calm us down and to calm our stomachs. Peppermint tea too to calm your stomach.

    Purple cornflowers echinecia- build your autoimmune system to fight infections.

    Cranberry juice is good for urinary infections.

    Honey was used as a contraceptive.

    Honey and lemon for sore throats.
    Also gargling with salt for sore throats.

    • Hi Laurie! You really know your herbal remedies, girl! I’m impressed.I wish they pieces of aloe in stores here. I love that stuff. There is nothing better for burns of any kind.

      I may have to come to you for information on what to use for what. That’s great stuff to know. Thanks for coming by.

  11. Your mention of madstones sent me on a search to find out more about them. It turns out I have heard of them. They are also called bezoar stones and were mentioned and used in the Harry Potter series. I have now put in a request with the family members that hunt to check the stomachs of any deer they get.

    Except for the madstone, I have heard of all the cures you listed. The only one I have used is horehound. My grandmother swore by it. It is definitely an acquired taste.

    Best wishes for a successful release of TWICE A TEXAS BRIDE.

    • Hi Patricia B! Sounds like you are on the hunt. That would be so exciting to find. Please let me know if you do happen to run across one. I didn’t know that they’re also called bezoar stones. Interesting. Yes, horehound is not a taste I’ve acquired. My daddy ate it like candy. He bought sacks of it to keep on hand. To this day I cannot stand it.

      Thanks for the wishes for Twice a Texas Bride! I really appreciate that.

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