George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 16 February 1769]

16. At home all day, Joshua Evans who came here last Night put an Iron Ring upon Patcy (for Fits) and went away after Breakfast.

Joshua Evans is probably the blacksmith of that name who was living in Loudoun County at this time and died there in 1773 (Loudoun County Wills, Book B, 71–79, Vi Microfilm). According to an English folk tradition dating from the fourteenth century, certain rings called cramp rings could relieve or cure epileptic convulsions when worn on a finger. These rings varied in design and composition, depending on a particular blessing, inscription, or material for their supposed efficacy (jones [2] description begins William Jones. Finger-Ring Lore: Historical, Legendary, & Anecdotal. New ed. London, 1898. description ends , 154–55, 162–65, 522–26). GW today paid Evans £1 10s. for his service (General Ledger A description begins General Ledger A, 1750–1772. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , folio 287).

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