Medical Misadventure


Dear Family,

W. T. Lawrence came across these two documents in the course of his West Virginia research on our Tyree family. They are from the Fayette County Circuit Court, File 2645-L. These types of documents bring our forefathers into vivid focus and help us to realize that they were real people with real life struggles. Don't ask me what a "bealing" is; I assume that it is an abscess. Needless to say, infections in the pre-antibiotic era were difficult to manage. I don't know how the "trespass" case came out, whether my great grandfather had to pay the $10,000 or not. In the book entitled "History of Fayette County, 1993" on page 88, "Rev. G. W. Huddleston" is listed as an early settler in Gauley Bridge, a town near Ansted.

- Robert in San Antonio


In the Circuit Court of Fayette County, West Virginia, To-wit:

G. W. Huddleston complains of W. A. Tyree, of a plea of trespass; for this, to-wit: that heretofore, to-wit, on the 20th day of May, 1889, at the County aforesaid, the defendant represented to the plaintiff that he was a physician and surgeon and duly qualified to practice the same, by reason whereof the plaintiff being then and there afflicted with a bealing (sic) in his right hand engaged the said defendant to treat his said hand so afflicted as aforesaid; that the said defendant then and there engaged with the plaintiff so to do, with the representation to plaintiff that he would restore him to good health and enable plaintiff to return to his business in a short space of time, to-wit, in one week; that the plaintiff respected and faithfully followed and kept in every respect whatsoever the prescriptions and directions given him by the defendant in the treatment of his said hand; that the said defendant lanced the plaintiff's said hand on two different occasions, and caused poultices to be applied thereto, which were wholly ineffectual, and sometime thereafter the said hand broke from causes which were independent of the treatment of the said defendant, and discharged a large amount of pus, which afforded great relief to the plaintiff at the time; that he, the defendant, after allowing the pus to discharge from said hand for a period of three days, applied a salve to the same which caused it to heal within the period of one week; that immediately thereafter plaintiff's said hand commenced to swell and give him great pain, indicating that the same had been healed up too soon, or in too short a period of time, which caused the pus then secreted in said hand to be absorbed throughout the system of plaintiff's body, and produce blood poisoning therein, from which plaintiff was confined to his bed and sick near unto death for the period of three months, the result of all which was to permanently injure and destroy the use of plaintiff's said hand; that the treatment of the said plaintiff by the said defendant of his said hand as aforesaid was unskillful, unintelligent and contrary to the rules of medicine and surgery, and by reason of which the plaintiff sustained the permanent injury to his said hand as aforesaid; and other wrongs to the said plaintiff the said defendant then did to the damage of the said plaintiff $10000.00. And thereupon he brings his suit.

St. Clair & Gaines, p.q.


Accompanying the above document is another, smaller document ...


Fayette Circuit Court, Thurmond
April Rules, 1890
G. W. Huddleston
W. A. Tyree
Executed the within on W. A. Tyree by leaving an official copy at his usual place of aboad (sic) with his wife after explaining the purport thereof to her, she being over 16 years of age and a member of his family. After which I met Dr. W. A. Tyree and had him to read this copy in my presence. April 8th 1890.
R. H. Boone
Sheriff of Fayette Co.
West Va.
St'C&G. p.q.


Go to  Home Page or  Genealogy Page


This website has been provided by