New York, USA
6 May 1864
THE INDIAN DOCTOR ON THE WAR PATH--HOW TO SETTLE AN OBSTINATE PATIENT.--The readers of the EAGLE have heard of the great Indian Herb Doctor, who advertises to cure all the ills that flesh is heir to, by simple herbs "culled from the dewey lea." Most of them have probably seen an unusually elongated young man, with a mustache that has excited the admiration of young ladies, the envy of young men, and the astonishment of everybody else. Whether this remarkable hirsute appendage is a product of "simple herbs," or somebody's onguent, is a secret only known to the Indian Doctor himself. To add further to these characteristics which distinguish him from ordinary human beings the Doctor wears a butternut-colored suit, the unusual width of his pantaloons being counter balanced by the brevity of his coat tails. A pork-pie cap and a stout yellow cane complete the outfit of this singular personage. He is generally accompanied by a large yellow dog, long and lean, which looks so much like his master that one is supposed to know nearly as much as the other. The Doctor has been seen on horseback, but generally travels on foot, accompanied by his faithful poodle. The Doctor is a mystery; his presence being too awe inspiring to permit anybody to inquire into his history. He is supposed, however, to be as genuine an Indian as most of the Indians exhibited in this latitude. It is given out that he was a great medicine man of the Saltz-an-Sennah tribe, who, instead of placing himself in the Museum of the L. I. Historical Society, as a curiosity, concluded to make a living and bless his fellowmen by practising the healing art.
We append this personal sketch to introduce the Doctor, because he was introduced to the Police Court this morning by our old friend, officer Riggs of the 41st, on the plain charge of kicking a white man downstairs. The aggrieved party was a patient of the Doctor's, named Fenton Scully, who came all the way from 21 Bethune street, New York, attracted by the fame of the medicine man. Mr. Scully, who was not a healthy subject, had been suffering from asthma. The Doctor contracted to cure him by the job for $15. The Doctor gave him plenty of medicine for his money, and he was directed to take it in liberal doses, a wine glass full, say every five minutes, until he was better or worse. Scully's asthma obstinately resisted the deluge and got worse, and he concluded, while he had breath enough left in his body to go and see the Doctor again. He called on him yesterday; and told him the circumstances. The Indian Hippocrates told him that his case was hopeless, and recommended resignation. Mr. Scully then suggested that as the Doctor had not completed his contract he ought to refund some of the money. This was entirely too much for the Doctor's professional equanimity. It was bad enough to have a patient who obstinately refused to be cured; but to ask for his money back was adding insult to injury. He ordered Scully to leave the premises. Scully, like his asthma, was obstinate, and wouldn't go. The Doctor then tried a course of physical treatment on the refractory patient with the most signal success. The prescription read: Patient taken vigorously by the collar; well shaken after taken; sole leather promptly applied to the base of the dorsal vertabrae; result, prompt evacuation--of the premises by the patient.
Mr. Scully did not consider this satisfactory treatment, for a man in delicate health, so he consulted Officer Riggs, who was of the same opinion, and took Scully before Justice Perry, who granted a warrant, which led to the production this morning of the Indian Doctor. Instead of his faithful dog, the Doctor was accompanied by Mr. Parmenter, once a legal luminary in the Police Court, at whose suggestion the examination of the case was postponed until Monday next. On being asked his name, that the case might be properly recorded, the Indian Doctor gave his name as Francis Tumblety.