George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 29 August 1771]

29. Went to the Mill, & returnd from thence. Miss Manley went home after Breakfast and Mr. Jno. Johnson who has a nostrum for Fits came here in the Afternoon.

Dr. John Johnson (b. 1745), of Frederick, Md., had for the past few months been sending the Washingtons a special herbal medicine to relieve the seizures that had been plaguing Patsy Custis (Thomas Johnson to GW, 18 June 1770, MnHi). His remedy had proved to be totally ineffective, but Johnson had come to Mount Vernon to prescribe further treatments (GW to Jonathan Boucher, 5 June 1771, WRITINGS description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed. The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799. 39 vols. Washington, D.C., 1931–44. description ends , 3:42–48). A nephew many years later characterized Johnson as a person who was “extremely indolent, self-opinionated, and had as little of manhood as he had of his profession” (DELAPLAINE description begins Edward S. Delaplaine. The Life of Thomas Johnson: Member of the Continental Congress, First Governor of the State of Maryland, and Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. New York, 1927. description ends , 351).

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