- Ludlow Family
Submitted by Rev. Norman A. Bowen
Huron County First Family Member #22
DR. BURTON DAY WILLIAMS, the great-great grandfather of this writer was born in Genessee county, New York, 18 January, 1812 to WILLIAM WILLIAMS and SARAH REED. One older sibling, BURETTE H. WILLIAMS, had preceded BURTON DAY and two more, BRADLY and MARYETTE, were born in New York and then the family migrated to Ohio. Three more children, BARBER, WILLIAM, and MELISSA were born in Sherman township, Huron county, Ohio.
Later, BARBER WILLIAMS would die, tragically, in the explosion and fire on the steamship Erie. This tragedy is detailed in GREAT LAKES SHIPWRECKS AND SURVIVORS.
Upon arrival in Ohio, BURTON DAY WILLIAMS, became acquainted with DR. MOSES SAURDERS, a practicing physician in Peru, and began his "preceptorship" with him. This was also known as "reading medicine" and was the standard procedure for gaining a medical education on the frontier. In addition to being privileged to study Dr. Saunders' few medical books, and observing the doctor at work, BURTON DAY WILLIAMS' duties consisted of washing bottles, packaging "papers" of powdered medicine, and making certain there was a horse ready and waiting for mid-night calls to lonely cabins.
Later in life, Dr. WILLIAMS did attend several courses at Western Reserve University to augment his medical knowledge. As time permitted Dr. Saunders would advise his fledgling pupil of methods of diagnosis and the treatments administered.
There were bands of native American Indians traversing Huron and Seneca counties on their hunting and trapping expeditions. One is led to wonder if the young "doctor" did not learn and utilize many of the herbal remedies from the Indians. Medical knowledge in pioneer days was pitifully meager compared to modern standards. It is not at all improbable that many of the native herbal remedies were more efficacious than those carried by the doctor in his saddlebags.
There is a tragic account of an Indian girl being very badly scalded at a campsite. The "young doctor" was called. (It had to be in the days of his preceptorship), but there was nothing he could do. Even now, the case would have terminated fatally. One contemporary account has it, "And she died, amid the prayers of the settlers and the incantations of the red men."
There was one contribution the "doctor" could and did make. He and his father, the elder WILLIAM WILLIAMS, did construct a sled that was then used by the grieving Indians to transport the body to their burial ground near Upper Sandusky.
On 13 June 1841 Dr. BURTON DAY WILLIAMS and Miss Louisa A. Ludlow were married. To this union were born three child, ELIZA, who died of scarlet fever in childhood, and JOSEPH LUDLOW WILLIAMS and WILLIAM JAMES WILLIAMS both of whom served in the Civil War. Both returned after the cessation of hostilities, but WILLIAMS JAMES was a prisoner of war at Belle Isle prison for some months. Dr. BURTON DAY WILLIAMS died at the age of 70 years. The only cause of his death is given as "heart”.
Dr. BURTON DAY WILLIAMS, his wife and three children are buried, with their families and descendants, in Omar Cemetery, Reed township, Seneca county, Ohio, where they will be joined one day by the cremains of this writer.