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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

A Visit To Klingling's Prescription Book

Dallas Bogan on 17 August 2004
original article by Dallas Bogan
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

Mention was made in a previous article concerning John R. Klingling (Oct. 10, 1993) who was the brother of Mary Ann Klingling, the founder of the Children's Home in Lebanon.
An article in The Western Star written by Lee L. Dodds, features an old prescription book written by Mr. Klingling. This writer found it very interesting. I shall now draw from this column.
Mrs. W.C. Bowyer who was asked to furnish antique articles regarding the drug trade for decoration of the window in the Wight & Decker drug store furnished the prescription book.
The building occupied by Wight & Decker was possibly one of the first brick buildings built in Lebanon, dated about 1807.
The original owner, William Lowry, was not listed as a businessman in 1805, but was so listed in 1810.
The next owner was listed as Joseph Nipton, who sold out to Johrun Richard Klingling. The property was later sold by Mary Ann Klingling (in 1870) to John McCowen, who later sold it to his clerk Henry Reid (in 1881) who became his partner. Reid's sons continued the store in operation until 1937.
Mr. Reid furnished Mr. Dodds with two old invoices regarding the prices about 1870. One is for a barrel of whiskey, billed at 90 cents per gallon. The other is for one sixth dozen cotton stockings at $42 per dozen, or $3.50 per pair. Mr. Klingling's prescription book contains notes regarding his many occupations as a pharmacist such as: a druggist, doctor, horse and animal doctor, and source of general information.
Some of his prescriptions would seem rather entertaining today, but in the days of old they were rather serious cures.
Cholera was one of seriousness in the early days of the pioneers. Dr. Klingling lists several different combinations for its cure. Sometimes the medicine prescribed should be determined whether for man or beast. Some of the treatments are in Latin, German, but mostly in English; sometimes all three languages are combined.
Dr. Klingling was undoubtedly some type of a humorist. One prescription was, "Cure for your piles, Carry three buckeyes in your pocket." Another prescription of sort read: "Interesting to people who burn bituminous coal, to detect the presence of dirt. Take a mixture of oxigen and hydrogen, (equal parts) and dissolve them in a preparation of the carbonate of soda and sulphuric and immerse the substance, (hands for instance) suspected to contain the dirt and of applying friction a black precipitate goes down. In other words wash the hands in soap and water."
The chemical composition of water (H2O) was somewhat put aside in the early days due to the ruggedness of the male individuals. For instance, the shaving chore called for the following: "Caustic Potash - to shave with for putting off the beard." Also - "An item for grey beards: Lac Sulphur, Sugar of Lead and Rose Water. Mix them, shake the vial on using the mixture and bath the hair twice a day for a week or longer if necessary." The actual ingredients were in the prescription book, but Mr. Dodds decided against using them in his article.
The "Fever" and "Ague" were common complaints of the early days and the druggist had his favorite remedy. "Camphor, Cayenne Pepper, Hartshorn and Number Six, equal parts mixt together with Spirits of Turpentine and rubbed from the neck to the bones - that you get in sweats, that will cure fever and ague."
Dr. Klingling made a trip in August 1838 to pay bills totaling $955.44 1/2, and notes the following: "Over night in Dayton, $1.50. Stage to Miamisburg, 75 cents. To Middletown, Cin. and Xenia, $2.81 1/2. To Lebanon, $2.00. 2 nights in Cin., $2.25. Beer and cheese, 12 1/2 cents."
Dr. Klingling's store must have done a booming business as suggested by his cash drawers on various dates in 1839, ranging from $185.00 to $335.00.
An inventory of his stock showed a most complete list of drugs and herbs on hand.
Synthetic products were unknown in this era. One of his "artificial" remedies was: "to make new whiskey old in a short time. Put about four pounds of the ross (?) bark of sassafrass in 1 barrel and shake it every two or three days - in about 1 or 2 months the whiskey is old."
The contents of the book were apparently full of old remedies and prescriptions for the cure of every ache and pain known at that time. The relationship between the old and the new remedies would be only for a capable physician to determine. Mr. Dodds did not expose any of the drug mixtures because of danger of public usage.

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This page created 17 August 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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