November 16, 2013

Back in the Day ~ Dangers of Neglecting a Common Cold

An advertisement for Dr. Williams' Pink Pills appeared in the May 19, 1897 edition of 'The Advocate' in Topeka, Kansas. The subtitle shows 'From the News, Harrisonburg, La.'  A letter from Sicily Island resident, Mrs. A. L. Stafford is quoted in the advertisement.

Courtesy of
Partial transcript:

One should always bear in mind the necessity of exercising a constant vigilance to avoid catching cold. When the temperature in the house is higher than that out of doors, never go out without putting on an additional wrap.  Never sit in a cold room even though you do not feel chilly.  And it is better to suffer a little discomfort from wearing heavy underclothing than to run the risk of a chill.

The following letter from a lady in Sicily Island, La., graphically illustrates the distressing consequences that are liable to follow a simple a cold.
In February, 1896, I had a severe cold which settled on my lungs, resulting in a serious cough.  My appetite failed, and I became so weak that I was scarcely able to walk across the room.  I weighed only ninety-four pounds, and had given up all hope of recovery when I happened to read an article in a newspaper describing some cures effected by Dr. Williams' Pink Pills, and concluded to try them.
I commenced using them, and before I had taken half a box I felt like a new creature. My appetite was restored, my cough grew less, and I was able to sleep soundly at night, which I had been unable to do for months before.
After taking two boxes of the pills I was weighed again and to my astonishment my weight was 113 pounds, a gain of 19 pounds.  Previous to taking the pills I had suffered with cold hands and feet, but now have no trouble whatever from that source.
I can truly say I am now in better health than I have been for years.  The effect of the Pink Pills is wonderful, and I can recommend them in all cases of debility and weakness.  --Mrs. A. L. Stafford
Unsurprisingly, the advertisement does not reveal the ingredients of the "Pink Pills" but it does state the following:

Dr. Williams' Pink Pills contain, in a condensed form, all the elements necessary to give new life and richness to the blood and restore shattered nerves.  They are unfailing(ly) specific for such diseases as locomotor ataxia, partial paralysis, St. Vitus' dance, sciatica, neuralgia, rheumatism, nervous headache, the after effect of la grippe, palpitation of the heart, pale and sallow complexions, all forms of weakness either in male or female.

I have searched for a Mr. A. L. Stafford living in Sicily Island during the late 1890s but have been unable to find documentation.  There is documentation of a Mrs. Amy Lovelace Stafford living in Sicily Island and Catahoula Parish between 1880 and 1900.  Amy was the daughter of John Henry Stafford and Julia Patience Kirkland.  She was first married to John Gilman Peck, Sr., then married David Stafford in 1883.

Could the letter have been from her?


  1. The answer to your question at the end of this post is "yes."
    Mrs. A. L. Stafford (Amy Lovelace Peck Stafford) was my husband's maternal great-grandmother. She was first married to John Peck and, after his death, married Capt. David Stafford in 1883.

    1. Thank you so much for the information and for answering my question!

  2. Their son, Dave Stafford, married Allena Hopkins in 1912.
    In her early 90s, Allena penned her memoirs of growing up in Sicily Island, "My Recollections of Sicily Island, Louisiana."

    1. I have my father's copy of her memoirs. Such a wonderful resource.