John Graves Simcoe was the first Governor of Upper Canada (now Ontario). While traveling on business, he fell ill at Kingston. His wife, Elizabeth Simcoe, told the story in her diary:

Friday Apr. 14, 1795

"The Governor has been so ill since the 21st of March that I have not left his room since that day. He has had such a cough that some nights he could not lie down, but sat in a chair, total loss of appetite and such headaches that he could not bear any person but me to walk across the room or speak out loud. There was no medical advice but that of a horse doctor who pretended to be an apothecary."

Rather than trust the advice of the "horse doctor," Elizabeth Simcoe turned to Molly Brant, sister of the Mohawk leader and British ally, Joseph Brant.  "Capt. Brant's sister prescribed a root - it is, I believe, calamus, a genus of palm, one species of which yields a resin called dragon's blood, the root of which is the sweet flag…."

Coalition of Canadian Healthcare Museums and Archives

© 2005, Coalition of Canadian Healthcare Museums and Archives

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans