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MEDICAL MARVELS in EARLY L'ARDOISE

Originally compiled by Paul Pâté


Sources: Betty Westlake, Tommy McGrath, Tom Berthier, Mrs. A. Burke



  1. Save the bones of an animal, burn them, scrape off burnt bones and use as core and poultice.

  2. If a person had a cut that would not stop bleeding, go into a barn where there are many cobwebs and place the cobwebs on the cut. This will stop the bleeding.

  3. Another remedy for bleeding cuts was taking gum off a tree and placing it on the open sore.

  4. For relief from asthma, the person suffering from it would be measured on a doorcase for his height. Once that was determined, a hole would be drilled into the door case and a lock of hair from the sick person would be placed in the hole and corked. THen he would walk by the hole and the asthma would be relieved.

  5. If a person had a wart on his hand, in order to get rid of it, a wedding ring would be rubbed on and around it.

  6. If a child had an ache or pain, a bag of herbs and spices would be hung around his neck and the next morning, this ache or pain would be gone.

  7. Tonics were made from cherry and dogwood trees. First the bark was taken off and the membrane cut off. It was boiled, strained, and once more boiled with sugar.

  8. Gum from a tree, boiled and ginger added was made into a plaster and put on a person’s head or back depending on where it ached.

  9. Care for Measles was to mix molasses with dried out sheep manure and then give it to that person to drink. Most people would probably want the measles.

  10. For colds, Balsam was pit in a dipper and placed over the stove. It would become thick and the sick person would take it before going to bed.

  11. Black berry roots were boiled in some water and this was used to stop internal bleeding.

  12. To relieve a sore throat, you would tie a salt herring around your neck and then place a cloth over it.

  13. To relieve sore eyes, you would place tea leaves on your eyes and place a cloth on it.

 

In 1932 or 1933, l’Ardoise had a doctor here by the name of Goathier. His office was at the hotel run by Jeffery Mombourquette. This hotel is now the convent.


Dr. Goathier is known as the “fake” doctor because he was not registered in Canada, and this is illegal. He came from Newfoundland. Dr. Digout was the one who found out about his credentials and put the police on his trail. The night he left, he took Jeffery Mombourquette’s buffalo coat for a disguise. He made it to the train station and left from there.


Although he was practicing illegally, he did cure people. For example, a Strochon (family name) girl in St. Esprit who was unconscious. He went to her side in a snowstorm and diagnosed it as a tumor on the brain. She thought she should go to Toronto as there was a neurosurgeon available there. The minister met Anthony at the crossroads for her medication. In order for them to reach the train in St. Peter’s the next day for Toronto, everyone gave a hand and shoveled the roads. She was taken to the hospital and the operation was a success.


Dr. Goathier did not believe in giving patients small bottles of medicine like other doctors. He would give his patients gallons of it.


One day he was visiting Isaac Mombourquette who had a toothache. He did not have any tranquilizers with him. It was winter and the temperature was -10 degrees. Dr. Goathier placed Isaac on the porch that was at this temperature. It froze Isaac’s mouth and the tooth was removed.


Joseph Jones was sick and needed a doctor. He and his sister Sally lived by the Thomas’ in Point Michaud. In order to get the doctor, you had to send a telegram. Sally had arthritis so she could not go to the telegram office, therefore he had to go. The doctor arrived at his home before Joseph arrived home because he had stopped to have tea with a friend. The doctor had to sit and wait for his next patient.


Source: Annie Mombourquette


  1. If you had a headache, you would peel a potato and put vinegar on it, and place it on your forehead. The potato’s peels would turn black in no time at all.

  2. For a cold, onion and sugar would be left to stand for a while and the juice of the mixture would be drained off and drunk.

  3. Wild cherry and dogwood trees’ bark would be peeled and rendered down. This would be given for poor appetites.

  4. For cuts, tree sap would be placed on the cut and a bandage would be placed on it.


Source: Mr. Wilfred Pate


  1. They would boil grass and drink the juice for a cold.

  2. Cherry and dogwood berries - mix this with brandy for a cold.

  3. If anyone found blood in their urine, they would boil “des racine de mer noire” (the old of black sea roots) and drink it. It was believed to be good for a cure.

  4. When he cut his knee while cutting firewood, his father put molasses and mud on the cut to stop the bleeding.


Source: Mr. Edgar Cote


When Mr. Cote was a boy, he was cutting firewood after a rain storm and slipped on the bark. His arm fell on the ax and was cut from the middle of his palm to half way to his elbow. He still has a scar. The only thing that his father placed on it was balsam. He never needed any stitches because the balsam kept the skin together.


Source: Mr & Mrs. James A. Landry


  1. In the olden days, when a person would get a cold, he would cut down a small tree, peel its bark, then put it in a dish on the stove mixed with molasses and left soaking on the stove. This was said to be the cure for the common cold.

  2. Cobwebs were used to stop bleeding. Once he cut his foot on a broken bottle so his grandfather went to the top of the barn and got some cobwebs and put them on the cut. Immediately it stopped bleeding.

  3. Balsam was used to cure arthritis pain. They would collect the balsam from the trees and place it on their sore spot. The next day the pain would be gone.


Source: Mary Mombourquette


  1. Any person that was anyone would take sulfur and molasses every spring which they believed would cleanse your blood.

  2. They would go into the woods and dig up a moss hill where they would find threads of gold colored roots. They would then boil it in water and drink it. They also believed that this would cleanse their blood.

  3. An old fashioned potent, which is not used today, is rolled oats between two cloths. You would put it on a sore or especially on boils. A lot of people had boils back then, so this would get rid of the boils.

  4. People would collect sap from the trees and use it as chewing gum. This sap was also used to put on cuts which was very effective.

  5. Some people would wear copper bands around their wrist to relieve the pain of rheumatism.


Source: Sophie Martell


  1. Rum from “The Winter of the Rum” (the mid 1930s) was placed on the bottoms of a baby’s feet to cure colic. Also, if a baby wouldn’t burp, he would be hit on the soles of the feet.

  2. Senna tea was used to relieve constipation. They bought the Senna leaves from the drug store and left them to soak in water overnight, then drink it in the morning. A lot of cramps involved.

  3. To get rid of a dry patch of skin called “des dates” a piece of writing paper, which was plain, was crumbled into a ball then placed in a dish and set on fire. A gold color ointment was left in the dish which was put on the dry patch. We tried it and it works.



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