Accidents, Amputations and Agony: Bellamy Doctors and Medicine in the 19th Century

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Thomas Massey will speak on the historic links of the Bellamy Mansion to medicine and the limitations and occasional horrors of nineteenth century medical practice. (Courtesy of Bellamy Mansion)
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C19th Century medical instruments. (Courtesy of Bellamy Mansion)

WILMINGTON — John D. Bellamy – builder of the museum site – was a slave owner, planter, banker, mill owner, and railroad investor. He and three other generations of his family were also medical doctors. For example, John trained with a Dr. Harriss on Dock Street and married his daughter, Eliza. From that marriage came 10 children, one of whom, William, was a highly-regarded local doctor himself.

That will be the focus tonight, Thursday, Feb. 16, when Cape Fear Community College history lecturer Thomas Massey’s speaks at the Bellamy Mansion at 6:30 p.m.

A newspaper from the period notes, β€œIt is but just tribute to Dr. Bellamy that mention be made of his skill, as shown in the gratuitous operation performed on John Jackson, son of Mary Jackson, who had both legs crushed by the train a few weeks ago. Not more than three-quarters of an hour was consumed by the Doctor for amputation, and though no-one supposed that the boy would survive, the little fellow has come out bravely and is now perfectly well, and he has much thanks.”

This quote highlights two things you will learn in the course of discussion: The historic links of this site to medicine and the limitations and occasional horrors of nineteenth century medical practice.

This discussion is free to the public with a suggested donation of $5 for educational programming

-Content provided by Bellamy Mansion

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