Wicomico County MDGenWeb

A Witch and Some Old Remedies

This was submitted by Al Wootten. It is an excerpt from the journal of a cousin, Etha Parsons Yohe (1875 - ??) of Parsonsburg, Wicomico County, Maryland, reflecting on some events of her childhood, and some old remedies she was taught to use then.

"When I was about 8 years old, the Preacher of the church was due to go to a conference. His wife expected a baby and my mother invited her to stay in our home. There were many carriages-- droves were passing our house going toward Ocean City. Someone stopped for a drink or some business. My mother asked what happened. They said a girl had been bewitched and Old Zippy Tull had put a spell on her. This Zippy Tull was feared by everyone. She was supposed to have bewitched a chicken dinner at Melson's Camp. About thirty people nearly died vomiting and bowels going, sent everywhere for the doctor. A little girl said she saw an old woman put something over the pot. The doctor said it was some kind of poison. She was to be doing something to eveyone who made her mad. This child, a girl about 16, was a daughter on the joining farm and they had trouble over a ditch so she bewitched the child. Blood was coming like perspiration and blood was coming from her eyes. They would the covers and something big as a cat run up and down the bed under the covers. Everyone was telling it, of course growling all the time. In after years when I grew up the Preacher had been sent Gunborra (ed. note: probably laudanum, a tincture of opium) teaspoon turpentine 2 tablespoons castor oil, shake to mix well, take ten drops for dysentery.

Dropping from sheep sealed the black beads and dried for tea for "Yaller Jawders". An old woman claimed she cured her children from jaundice of Yaller Jowders. She lifted a log and a soft long bug gathered under boards or logs. They were called blue sows. She said she put one in a spoon full of molasses as it could not crawl and gave it to her children and it cured them.

Boil chestnut tree leaves and make a tea. Wash the ulcerated sore leg in this tea, cleaning the wound well.

For toe itch--they call it athlete's foot now--watch the cow eliminate and while smoking hot stick your sick foot in it for a while. A healthy cow does not have odor but a perfume of clover and new mowed hay."

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