Arkanus Hooper’s places of stay  [see genealogical notes at end of page]




Whereas people migrate, beliefs are dispersed like grains of sand in the wind.  Each particle represents a tradition looking for a new place to settle.  With enough time, a sum of a particular set of particles creates a layer.  This layer then has an impact on this area.  (I could have used mustard seed for this, but that has already been taken.)  

When Dr. Arkalus Hooper came to Poughkeepsie in 1816, he brought with him some traditions that were atypical to the Hudson Valley.  Dr. Hooper was from an area near the New York-Connecticut border that has had several names, ranging from the Oblong Patent to East Harlem and the East Harlem River Valley.    There is a narrow ridge that separated the East Harlem area where towns like Wingdale, Dover and Amenia were developed from the Hudson River Valley.  This enabled these two regions to develop their own local sets of communities during the 1700s, one having little influence upon the other. 

The Hudson Valley was where Dutch culture once dominated, and was partially replaced by English influences as the British laid claim to New Netherlands and finally won their right to control this part of New Netherlands-now-New York in the late 1600s.  In spite of the turnover of the Hudson Rivery Valley to the British, they never really were able to replace the influences that Dutch families and culture had upon this topographically defined region.  The Harlem River valley around and in the Oblong Patent however had a different story.  There remained little to no British influence in this region in spite of King James’s successful overtake of New Amsterdam and New Netherlands.   This region remained close to the hitnerlands of the New York Province that was established, and being so was under New York British control, but never loyalist in philosophy and nature.  This section of land was where one of the most influential religiously-based cultural groups had staked its claim on the New World.  The Quakers controlled this region,and are the reason the Oblong Patent existed back then.    Quaker loyalty was very different from the religious upbringings of both Dutch and English families residing along the Valley.  But Quakers weren’t the only unusual group of settlers with a long family history for this part of New York Province, and later New York State.

At the north end of this Oblong Patent region many of the settlers were Puritans.  They were the direct descendents of the Mayflower Puritans and their followers who came to this country and settled down in areas between Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York.  The Harlem River Valley region, extending upwards in a northrly direction towards the Berkshire Mountain ridge in lower southwestern Massachusetts, is where these Puritans had their strongest influence on the residents of New York, that is until commerce, communication and travel between the two valleys became more possible and lucrative due to the establishment of better roadways. 

This is how Arkalus Hooper and his medical traditions and philosophy, completely representative of Puritan traditions unlike those medical traditions practice by the Dutch and British of the Hudson Valley, came to Dutchess County and to Poughkeepsie. Arkalus’s philosophy and mindset were Puritan.  His personal family history and heritage were Puritan.  His undeniable Puritan claims and philosophy came as a direct result of his descent from some of the first Europeans to settle this country in the New England-New York area–the Mayflower Pilgrims.   

The religions we most commonly think about when the Hudson Valley comes to mind are Reformed Protestant, Episcopalian, Quaker, Judaism, Shaker, it is very uncommon for someone to mention Puritanism, the religion of a more stout, more determined, more fatalistic group of God’s followers who believe much of your life and fate are always in His hands, in the lens of his perpetually working omniscient viewing device.  Adding Arkalus Hooper to the Poughkeepsie setting was the first of several social actions people in the nearby communities would take to make Poughkeepsie into what came to be a common theme in later newspapers.  “Seeing the Elephant” is what later newspapers came to write about with what could happen in the local setting.  Some of these earliest “elephants” were the characters like Arkalus who would occasionally make their way through this part of Hudson Valley life, far from their own home but very close, sometimes too close, to ours.


Source: wikipedia

Understanding a Puritan

The Puritan philosophy of health was very much tied to the teachings of the Bible.  All of Man is guilty for sin, and many of Man’s illnesses are experienced due to sin, due to the poor decisions one makes whenever he goes to the local gambling place, the house of a neighbor who is away at work, or the local pub.  There were some illnesses that Man should try to avoid or abate according to the Puritan tradition.   Your food and drink should be wholesome, your way of life designed to meet the needs of your family, your mind clear of any misguided thinking.  

Hooper added some new concepts to this philosophy.  A century before, the traditional practices as a Puritan lack many of the traditions Hooper would learn to engage in.  They were more like the philosophy discovered, preached and pretty much defined by the earlier Puritan leaders like John Winthrop and William Hathorne.  During Hooper’s life, it was the teachings of Cotton Mather that Puritans learned to adhere to. 

Arkalus maintained most of his Puritan beliefs, but like Cotton Mather he was willing to integrate some of the local traditions and philosophy into his way of preaching and practicing medicine.  Cotton Mather grew up wanting to become a regular doctor as well as a religious doctor.  Arkalus Hooper grew up wanting to become a doctor, and wound up becoming one.  He not only practiced medicine according to Puritan philosophy, but probably also preached their traditions on the side as a core part of his medical beliefs.   In the public’s eye, he was pure and clean as a doctor.  In the eyes and minds of the local doctors, he was Dr. Johann Faust in disguise, and anyone that followed his teachings was probably in need of a good dose of the lancet and some of the new form of opium. 


A Commentary on History and History Writers

When I began reviewing the local newspaper of 1794 to 1810 once again, I wasn’t sure what I might find.  I knew that I was looking at this important piece of local history from a new perspective.  It had been 30 years since I sat down at a microfilm reader, in a much older library with a densely packed viewing room, and jotted down my first notes on the doctors advertising their services to the readers.  It took me just a few minutes to make my first discovery of what I had overlooked these past 30 years, a doctor whose practice I could translate into modern-day terms–I knew that the use of “metalic” (sic) points referred to the use of metalic tractors.  A short while later, I found the reference to a “healer” of sorts who was obviously well-known, but whose form of practice couldn’t be immediately identified.  Still later in this review I came upon the “Botanist” Doctor.  I wondered, ‘how could these important early “healers” in local history have been missed or ignored’?  Then it occurred to me, the historians who noted these physicians were pretty much status quo and bore the philosophy of the medical majority for the time–they were anti-quackery thinkers and doers, the worst kind of medical historian still out there in this particular field of study.

In modern writings, we find medical historians referring to the various different forms of medical practice common for the time as “quackery” when it was not promoted or commissioned by a doctor who was well-respected by the community or its governing leaders.   This habitual form of prejudice is due mostly to physicians and writers of the medical profession who at the time catered more to the needs of the knife or scalpel that to the needs of the poor such as a full bowl of soup or a good set of clothing.  As for the writers of the medical profession, themselves, followers of medicine whose prose usually reflected more upon the successes and accomplishments of being a doctor, not their recent errors and blunders, the pen is mightier than the lancet.  It is easy for a writer to stereotype a past physician who is not status quo as someone who is not in cohorts with the economically privileged.  They can then label him or her as a “Quack” and write all of his or her gibberish off, rather than try to understand the paradigm of health and disease being presented by this alternative thinker.  

Medical historians and medical history have a terrible habit of doing this in their writings.  This practice makes much of medical history the least accurate, most culturally biased form of history that is out there.  One can go to any medical history book highly respected like Fielding Garrison’s History of Medicine and see that it is densely packed work on medical history, quite an achievement, but fail to find anything about doctors and quackery that is non-catering to the elite. Garrison’s work was more representive of a physician’s perspective of the people or his patient load, not an indivual without prejudice against the non-allopathic or irregular physicians for the time.  He, and several other authors of the regular medicine field, injexted into the studies of the history of medicine this cultural bias based on the term and practice of “quackery.”  This use of such a term to sign off historically important events represents a prejudice and non-scholarly, culturally centered, ethnocentric and politicocentric way of interpreting history, such as to define such historians as not true historians at all, no matter how much details, years, dates and names they have put into their writings.   Their work unfortunately has masked much of the true social history of medicine over the past two centuries.  In a modern historical doctoral programs, their work would not be treated as scholarly as we tend to treat it today in academia.  Their work is so full of cultural bias that it is important to read it for its facts and then look each of these up when it comes to studying irregular or non-allopathic medicine.  In studies of African American culture we are asked to call a black man a black man or African-American in United States history.  The traditional medical historians use that other word we tend to avoid as writiers of this important piece of non-caucasian or non-white culture.   Physicians, medical historians and other writers have to this day failed to do the same.  They fail to see how much their personal biasness has pentrated and destroyed the truest history of medicine during the early years in United States history.  Laziness perhaps is perhaps even what prevented many from learning about and telling the truths about early American medicine.  There was no difference from a licensed docotor practicing his own version of medicine, based on his own traditions and philosophy, and the medicine tracticed by a wiser and more in-touch woman who was an elder and herbalist for her neighbors, her church and her local community.  She was not the quack, nor was the doctor she served as a substitute for at times.  The true quack was the physician unwilling to learn about alternative philosophies and traditions, and then try to integrate these into his/her own philosophy.  The true “non-quack” doctor was one who was a man, practicing what he and others were able to concvince the government to grant licesnes for.  No more. no less.  He was no smarter of clinically successful that the local Mrs. Smith praying for a cure or the local Boptanic Physician, like Arkalus Hooper, a doctor whose cultural teacher did in fact know more than the local physicians naive to local herbal medicine and new world cultures.

The tedious task of reviewing old medicine and old medical history involves a review of this material without paying any attention to the secondary history written about such histories.  This is difficult today because academicians and writers are always asking you to cite their work and the work of their predecessors.  But reviewing this work in turn has this influnce on the young researchers minds, and unknowingly and unsuspecting sets up the stage for cultural biasness to become a part of that curious student’s philosophy and line of reasoning.  By focusing 90% of your time on the true past–only the original documents out there–and 10% of your time and effort on the recent or past writers, you develop a better perspective of events in history as a researcher and writer.    This enables all the truths to be told, including the perspectives of doctors who themselves failed in their attempts and why, or others who tried to get acts through the state to outlaw the use of the lancet because it was so fatal.  Garrison and other medical historians haven’t had or spent the time needed to truly engage in this aspect of the work.  As a result, medical historians tell us about the successes which the professions they favor have made over the years, but not the full truth about medical history. 

(more on this criticism is at the end of this page)

Arkalus, the Philosopher and Physician

Arkalus first planted his seeds of Puritan medicine in the minds of neighbors in Pittsfield, Massachusetts around 1791.  He was fairly young at the time and his preachings unique enough to have listeners consider him an expert in this philosophy as one of the offspring of the famous Mayflower descendents.  Arkalus then had to prove to his listeners that the Puritan faith was different from other faiths heavily promoted throughout the region.  Arkalus had to make sure they knew that he was not a  Baptist, although he sounded very evangelical like a Baptist at times.  He had to make sure that his choice of words and the meaning of these words were not just lessons about sin and God’s revenge for sin.  He had to make sure his listeners knew that the threats they posed upon their bodies were due to a personal lack of respect for something that God Himself had produced for them on His own.  All of this had to be preached, along with making mention of whatever unhealthy signs Arkalus saw existed out there in the body, mind and soul of onlookers and listeners. 

Like many religious groups, one need only turn to the first books of Moses to see where these sins were first manifested.  Dr. Hooper made his listeners ask themselves just how often do they personally engage in regular prayer?  How much did they follow the Mosaic laws regarding cleanliness, health and life?  How much were they able to successfully control their tendencies to gamble, fornicate with thy neighbor’s wife, imbibe spirits, or do anything else close to the realms of social sin? 

Asking one’s self all of these kinds of questions would have made listeners unfamiliar with Arkalus’s version of these lessons, now feel as though they were being tested by God himself.   Some might even walk away wondring ‘was purity and cleanliness of utmost importance from this point on in life?’   According to Arkalus, engaging in healthy practices would be interpreted by God as meaning one was truly bound to his or her body, practicing the that God wanted them to practice, and more importantly, more devoted to this part of their religion than any of their neighbors for the time. 

 But Arkalus wasn’t in the region of Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County just to promote these ancestral teachings about religious practices which were so much a part of his own personal faith as a physician.  He was there to sell to his listeners the medicines he made available for those who were temperamentally out of balance, at threat of becoming ill, suffering from some potentially debilitating disease like rheumatism due to heritage and typical life behaviors, or in need of some other form of corporeal salvation.   Arkalus was there to cleanse you of your disease promoting behaviors and the disease itself.  He had for you the  salve, tonic or potion needed to cleanse your body of all diseases, the products needed to prevent you from being dirty and unhealthy, and best of all, some of the healthiest of botanic medicines made for you base on the teachings of the most honored Puritan of all, Cotton Mather.  Arkalus had for you the medicines which Cotton Mather developed himself to heal you of your corporeal sins.    

Arkalus first preached his philosophy in a circuit that was appropriately positioned at the tristate border of New York-Connecticut and Massachusetts.  If anyone hearing him was into the trinity for the time, and there is ample evidence that many of the locals believed strongly in this sort of symbolism due to the recurring three years cycles of yellow fever, these people would have realized that they had to listen to his teachings.  The trines of Arkalus’s place of origin were symbolic of the signs of the plague.  These locals probably also felt that perhaps Arkalus was here because they indeed needed the insights of a new type of religious leader, someone trained in body, mind, and soul.  Arkalus was a Puritan doctor, not a Protestant or Methodist Doctor practicing a healing tradition for only a small portion of his working time.  All of these clues were symbolic of the trines, and those who were alert to this symbolism and numerology would have tested this symbolism for its authenticity.

With all of this symbolism in mind, the evidence for this interpretation of Arkalus’s purpose and function  in the local Poughkeepsie setting suddenly makes sense.   From this philosophical perspective of Arkalus’s philosophy, work and practice, we can get a basic idea on who and what Arkalus was, by turning to the advertisement he posted about his services that he posted in the Poughkeepsie Journal in 1816.   His advertisement tells us that although the physical state of being we are in is a simple by-product of our physical reality, the soul and spirit are a direct gift from God.

Arkalus, the Local Advisor

 The Yellow or Bilious Fever was considered God’s Curse to the urban settings of 1793.  One of the underlying, unpublished social and moral questions for the time was ‘why?’  What were the people in Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania, the center of this epidemic, doing that was so wrong?   Did some also believe the same was happening in New York City as well?  What evils in life did both of these very large urban centers have to share?    Was the heavily settled town of Poughkeepsie next to be due for this curse, a performance of vengeance well-defined in the Old Testament?

Philadelphia, New York and even some smaller cities like Newport, Providence and large towns along the mid-Atlantic were threatened, punished, and victimized by the recurring yellow fever epidemic during the 1790s and early 1800s.   Since the year of the second coming of this great black plague in 1797, whenever the first cases began to erupt for the year, which was usually some time in July or August, there was a new expression of these social concerns that the deaths experienced just a few years were due to our unhealthy life style.  This concern was in the minds of all physicians and government officials, in a way much different from how and why it was in the thoughts and prayers expressed by the local religious leaders.   These two very different groups of officials interpreted this problem very differently. 

There was probably no more of a sense of being directly warned by God about a community’s misbehaviour than the feelings expressed by Philadelphians, the heart of this plague several times over.  Whereas regular doctors were busy searching for some environmental cause for this problem, such as changes in climate or the production of too much stench by decaying matter in the shipping ports, religious leaders on the other hand were looking for signs of what to do to subside the anger that God was expressing to them.   People couldn’t wait to learn the answers to these moral questions, and they didn’t.  Many of them, by the tens of thousands, left the cities where God or Nature was expressing His or Her dissatisfaction with them.

Adding to this were the growing social problems of an increasingly international form of commerce and life.  There were the problems related to all the small wars and skirmishes taking place around the world, with the War of 1812 (which lasted 1812-1815/6) having the most influence on the young United States.   There were also the problems linked to commerce and trade.  The fact that a large country like the United States was growing, and its needs for goods increasing, the international trade markets either became less and less capable of meeting these demands, or refused to allow for such trade to take place without first imposing still more charges (taxes) for this form of commerce.  In 1810, as the United States was becoming its own producer of many goods, sold domestically but made available to international businesses as well, government acts like the Woollen Act came to be.  This added a tax to one of the main products of the United States, due to the effects the sales of the more popular United States products were having upon the income generated by the British export industry.  With one country’s economic success, came the development of another country’s growing economic failure.

Due to these unstable economic conditions, the greatest socially experienced malevolence for the time was the government’s lack of concern for the poor and the overall reaction to poverty.   Society had split into two distinct categories of people–the rich and the poor.  There were those who could afford to have a physician come to their home to treat them for their various physical and emotional ills, and those who could not afford even a simple doctor’s visit, and so were forced to rely upon almshouses for care for their problems due to malnutrition, weak heredity, poor temperament, inability to acclimate and adjust to the ever-changing urban setting.  This Malthusian state of people was taking place in a fairly young country, and was a result of rapid population growth.  Due to the increasing in-migrations of even more people this new living environment and setting, not at all adapted to its unique climate, humidity and temperatures, even more of these problems were erupting over time.  Epidemics like the yellow fever and ship’s fever (typhus and at times typhoid) were getting worse.  According to religious leaders, this was due merely to poorer distribution of wealth that was occurring over time.  Something the leaders of this country could prevent or stop. 

Arkalus was fortunate so far in his life in that he did not live in these unhealthy community settings.  So he had the opportunity to watch and theorize as to how and why these Divine events were now recurring in the local New York-tristate settings.  The common physicians learned in medicine through apprenticeships, attending lectures, and engaging in copious amounts of book-reading, did not see this problem of yellow fever as anything due only to God.  They interpreted the epidemics that erupted as a consequence of some sort of natural events, perhaps related to climate, weather and such.  But even of this was true, and that they truly  had the natural predisposing factors for yellow fever onset defined, these common doctors had no way of defining its actual cause.  One benefit of this in the New York urban setting was that this led doctors to develop a quarantine practice, which required they hire police to carry this out.  These preventive activities were applied to all of the shipping vessels that came into the local harbors that were suspected of bearing a potential disease threat.  These vessels usually came from the much warmer climates in the tropical parts of the world, in particular the Caribbean, and were suspected of bringing whatever cause for yellow fever that existed in the tropics northward into the United States, thereby creating these epidemics.  In Poughkeepsie, this need for establishing a quarantine practice was not yet required.  Poughkeepsie had yet to experience the sufferings induced by God’s hands.

File:The Snake in the Grass or Satan Transform'd to an Angel of Light.jpg

ca. 1660, The Snake in the Grass or Satan Transform’d to an Angel of Light [Wikipedia]

Arkalus, God’s Healer

During the period of time when this philosophy was very popular amongst the common people, there were religious lines of reasoning shared between neighboring states.  As a Puritan descendent, Arkalus was privy to all of the local religiomedical gossip.  If he was still the same purist as his ancestors were, then he would have possessed a natural theology belief much like their own.  A dominant feature of this philosophy was with regard to religion and health.  The Puritan mindset consisted of a belief which stated that the body was produced in “God’s Image”, therefore the misuse and mishandling of it was simply not allowable.  Many of the common citizens agreed with this philosophy, even if they did not adhere to or following the Puritan faith.   Nevertheless, there were people against this very religious philosophy–to some it was too traditional a mindset.  This was never so true than for the local doctors and political leaders.  

The local political leaders had their important ties to the local church leaders which they had to follow.  The local physicians and pharmacists had their own philosophy and traditions that they had to adhere to.  Like in many local public scenes, whenever a physician failed at healing someone important to a local community, the community began to question the value and efficacy of this physician and his form of medicine.  This was very much a recurring by now locally because most local citizens knew how poorly their local physicians were performed.   Physicians were failing to prevent the deaths of people brought on by the numerous black plagues striking the region–the yellow fever cases for which people’s faces would darken, their vomit turn a darkish hue, and their life force be removed from their body faster than the malingering stench of their illness could be washed out of the blankets or scrubbed aways from the floors, basements, allies and streets.   Dutchess County physicians would second handedly learn about or witness any of the consequences of this new form of the plague, learning about it second-hand from its primary victims residing down in Philadelphia and New York City.

Dutchess County was so far for the most part spared the consequences of yellow fever, but still had ship fever (typhus or typhoid) and spotted fever to contend with in the middle to late 1810s.   Along with these fevers came the ailments brought on by the cold weather during certain parts of the year–the true “cold” disease and its similar which would later become known as influenza.  Regular doctors had just three things that kept their profession active and alive in the valley, a good line of patent medicines that could be sold at the stores, a very important Quaker physician who was still on their side (Shadrach Ricketson), even though some of his traditions and philosophy did not meld so well with their own, and they had the skills and knowledge of inoculating people with kine pox, as a substitute for the more deadly small pox scabs pulled from prior victims, sometimes their own servants. 

This was no doubt the crux of Arkalus’s success with being the doctor that he was, a strong religiously minded man with a knack for knowing the truth about God and Nature, and Nature and God’s medicines.  We have to wonder did Arkalus go to Poughkeepsie (lower left corner of the map below) because he knew about the strong philosophy out there about God’s new version of the “Black Plague”–the Yellow Fever?  Was this trinophilia that I often talk about a part of the social reasoning behind Arkalus’s success, or was this due just to his religious philosophy and some of the locals who believed in him?  

There are two parts Arkalus’s advertisement that are obvious indicators of trinity.  The first is the three town tour Arkalus’s claimed he took between Sharon, Amenia, and Northeast (purple pins on map below), the second is the purpose he himself served as he offered his skills in the tristate border of New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts (yellow pin).  But as also stated before, this method of writing and phrasing may in may be a by-product of culturally defined writing practices–Shaksperian writings often made use of trines in their work; this may just be the result of some childhood classroom training one underwent in prose and verse, rather than a deliberate attempt being made to be overly symbolic in your gestures and statements.  But still, it is also true that Arkalus mentioned that specific trinity year 1812 as the year in which he made these travels.  Although, he cured 19, not the trinity number 18 as a result of his travels, this number may have meant full closure had yet to happen, in the form of performing 20 or 21 cures (thinking the way these self-absorbed trinitarians do that is).

Arkalus’s healing circuit or triangle of 1812, relative to Poughkeepsie and the three-states border (a rough estimate of the northern Dutchess county border is in blue)

As a physician, Arkalus preached that one had to respect God, be faithful to their religion, and when they were in need of the help of a doctor, turn to healers like him whom God has forwarded the gift of healing to.   Upon visiting him for the first time, Arkalus had for you his soul, mind and body forms of medicine, but most importantly, his work also included some very specific forms of medicines for you to buy and to take home with you for when he is gone. 

So what can we deduce from the kinds of medicines he offered?  They included some of the staples of traditional medicine, ingredients locally grown and harvested or made, and perhaps a few from products that had to be imported.  If we assume for the moment the possibility that the “Garden of Eden” had to be the source for your medicines in some religious ideologies,  we could argue that many if not all of Arkalus’s medicines were produced locally, from a local farm setting, domestic garden and even Eden-like wilderness.  


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Cotton Mather and John Calvin

Helping Arkalus along in this discovery of the local medicines was his religious leader Cotton Mather.  Cotton Mather made at least one of the local herbals medicines famous–Culver’s Root–and possibly a number of others.  Mather’s philosophy may have encouraged people to confide in God’s remedies growing wild in the local setting, such as wintergreen, pyrola, mayapple, partridge berry, the local version of solomon’s seal.   This may have also led physicians most faithful to “God’s Gifts” and the “Garden of Eden” philosophy to claim that the local Rhamnus was more tradition and more meant to be used than the imported Russian Rhamnus species (cascara-Rhamnus cathartica, a strong laxative).  The Cassia Senna of the Bible, growing native in the Middle East, could easily be replaced by a local closely related shrub bearing a similar pod with equally strong purgative effects (perhaps Kentucky coffee bean tree if it was up this far north).  The locally harvested and perfected crops of tobacco, the locally important corn and all of its related by-products, the  locally naturally bred versions of ipecac (wild ipecac-Gillenia trifoliata), momordica (any wild cucumber vine), cinnamon (spicebush-Lindera benzoin), ginger (wild ginger-asarum canadense), and the three-leaved sassafras (S. albidum), would all have had meaning to these natural theology trained minds of the religious doctors. 

When it came to personal health, even a Calvinist or Episcopalian couldn’t turn down whatever it was that a Puritan had to say when it came to staying healthy and unaffected if not cured of your lifelong illnesses.   But a regular doctor could contest these religious statements, and usually did.  In the case of  the mentally ill, for example, the regular doctors and the governing leaders would just as easily put these people in cages like they did the criminals, as they did.   With the local history of gaoling these social discontents, such “practices” would ultimately become one of the greatest forms of mistreatment a regular doctor could offer some of his patients in a lifetime.  Locally, the Quakers were very much against this practice for treating the mentally ill or victims of “mania.”   But it would also take the French and Puritans like Arkalus to continue their statements about the mistreatment of the mentally ill in the Hudson Valley to reduced this form of legal and medical malpractice.  During Arkalus’s lifetime, it was people like himself and like Shadrach Ricketson that would ultimately change the hearts and minds of the valley’s leaders when it came to gaoling and such.  Historians also like to tell us that it was the French, in particular famous French Physicians like Phillipe Pinel who were ultimately responsible for these changes.  In part this is true, but Pinel didn’t live in the Hudson Valley.  French aristocrats did, who were probably familiar with Pinel’s teachings, some Jewish Italian pre-Tiffany lampsmiths, and numerous alternative vital force thinkers left over from the region’s Dutch and Huguenot heritage were the ultimate causes for this multifaceted approach to stopping the mistreatment of prisoners. 

These differences the regular physicians had with physicians like Arkalus were enough to keep him away from Poughkeepsie, so he claimed, as noted at the end of his advertisement.  The differences they had with the viewpoints of the general public were not so preventive of change as they had hoped.  It was the people and the overall cultural surroundings of Poughkeepsie which brought unique medical thinkers like Arkalus to Poughkeepsie, not the regular physicians of medicine.


Most importantly, Arkalus’s family had an exceptional history and heritage to retain a personal attachment to.  Arkalus was a descendent of the Puritan family of Hoopers that made their way across to the New World during the 17th century.  Whether or not he himself adhered to the religious traditions of these people didn’t matter.  What mattered is that somehow his presence, and its Divine nature, had to present itself in just the right way to the people who are most interested in whatever skills he had to offer.  In the least, Arkalus had to be a “Gifted man”, one of several who would probably pass through this region during their circuit travels, the goals of whom were to promote their personal belief as well as reach their own personal financial goals. 

Due to its population, Poughkeepsie was positioned well along a major set of travel routes making their way from New England to the Mid-atlantic states.  Arkalus was not so much a travelling minister/physician as he was a passer-by making his stay for a year or two.  Perhaps this temporary stay is due to the short period of time it took for people to get used to everything he had to preach and promote, but might also be due to the increases in discontent that the local doctors verbalized about his practice and medical claims.  This means that Arkalus may not be a completely apprenticed physician, but instead possibly a family-trained or self-trained, highly experienced physician learned in the local medical botany.  This type of preachings and practice would be counter to the ongoing changes in regular medicine for the time, which involved the conversion of the pharmacy of this field into a sciences focused more upon minerals and chemicals.

Chances are, if there ever was one of these traditional followers of God’s teachings in Dutchess County, Arkalus was the most unusual.

According to various documents and papers bearing Arkalus’s name (see appendix), he was a wanderer who made his way from Massachusetts to Connecticut, to New York, and finally to Pennsylvania.   Each time he moved, he would take up residence for a short while in a particular place, pass on his wisdom about God, salvation and health, and then make his way to another community also lacking any knowledge of the words that he taught.  Was Arkalus some kind of boisterous, outspoken preacher?  Not really.  He performed his medical actions on stage in the local hotels rather than preaching what he thought on the town square.

Unfortunately we don’t have any information on his materia medica, but based upon what his advertisement reveals we can still develop a picture of who he was as a healer.


Arkalus in Dutchess County

In the 1816 advertisement, Hooper had “more than 25 years experience.”  This means he would have been practicing at least as far back as 1791.  Four years earlier, in 1812, he toured the upper eastern section of Dutchess County and Columbia County, NY, and Pittsfield, Connecticut.   Prior to his years in Pittsfield, he spent some time as a child in Norwich, New London, Connecticut. 

Since 1806 the book on health by local Quaker Shadrach Ricketson would have been heavily promoted, along with some of the weather- and miasma-related philosophies of disease being promoted by Samuel Mitchell down in New York.  Nearby in Connecticut there was Noah Webster, whose own take on disease and health was focused on the combined natural features of the region as the determining factors, with topography, seasonal wind, climate and the ever-changing weather patterns as the cause for disease.  Meanwhile, there were a number of early naturalists in this part of the Hudson Valley trying to make sense of nature and disease.  Strong advocates of Webster’s interpretation of health were the various members of the Livingston Family promoting the complete use of their natural resources to live a better, healthier, and much richer form of life.  In Fishkill, Dr. Bartow White was a trained medical climatologist who had the idea that acclimation, or the ability to adapt to the environmental changes responsible for disease, was the most important aspect of preventing illness–if your body cannot acclimate, then the way to prevent illness is to invest in a good set of clothing made with merino wool (this Merino sheep introduced into the area by the Livingstons).

Between 1805 and 1810 there were numerous doctors preaching numerous philosophies and traditions, but many of them focused on weather, climate and disease, the use of local botanicals, and the introduction of new “poisons” to the materia medica in the form of mineral drugs and several semi-purified plant derivatives.

Notice that the often cited and quoted book by William Buchan is missing from any of the above lists.  One of the most faulty claims made in recent years by historians who are quick to draw their conclusions without search for the supporting evidence like to cite this book as a primary contributor to American medical history.  Due to Patriotism and the anti-loyalist, and by now the anti-whig, pro-Jeffersonian establishment now taking hold throughout American society, we find a British writer like Buchan receiving limited respect by the local community, except for any loyalist descendents still wandering about the upper class communities.  This would contrast with the more culturally-linked settings of Bostonian (due to the Irish) and Philadelphian communities, where publishers like Rittenhouse were more willing to opening promote the sales of imported British writings, in particular those having to do with medicine.   Doctors trained at prestigious schools and settings in London were still more likely to practice their upper class services where they could receive adequate monies tendered, not a few dozen chicken eggs or a month or two supply of milk in exchange for their services.    At the domestic level, Buchan’s writings were capable of serving many households, but at the personal level, he was appreciated very little since we had more brilliant writers than Buchan coming to be popular in the rural settings of New York, local people and writers more in touch with their local community.   In the city setting, especially in and around New York, there were also more reliable physicians like Valentine Seaman who knew about the local diseases and their topographic and climatic habits better than Buchan.  There was also the work of Quaker doctor Shadrach Ricketson, whose interpretations of medicine and theological truth were more befitting of Hudson Valley traditions and culture.  All in all, only the few remaining loyalists and descendents of loyalist families might make any use of these British writings, and as the 1800s continued, Buchan’s work became non-existent in the new American setting.  

As a result of this anti-British attitude underscoring much of what took place in lower New York just north of the City, Hooper had a greater likelihood of finding listeners and followers in this part of the country.  He had migrated away from the great city of Boston as he began to preach his practice, making no moves to try to penetrate the minds and practices of people culturally bound to thoughts and beliefs well-distanced from true American culture and tradition.  In Connecticut, he lived alongside other non-traditional religious families like other Mayflower descendents (the Soules for example who signed a land deed associated with him), and the Quakers residing up and down the Oblong Patent that bordered all of the Dutchess County wherever it made contact with Connecticut.

Some of the most common philosophies about disease promoted by professionally trained physicians in this region, aside from the teachings of traditional regular doctors, was the theory or medical electricity.  Medical electricity was a product of the Quakerian association of God with energy and light, a belief that Cotton Mather took one quite aggressively.  Partially detached from medicine, being a church and religious leader, Mather’s attachment to medical electricity was a natural by-product of the differences his tradition had with the more traditional Christian concepts of God.   A strongly devoted Lutheran or Episcopalian wouldn’t dare say God was in lightning, or the energy in the earth’s poles that made the compass work, or even the substance that made up the vital force of all living beings.  A traditional Christian would say that perhaps these can heal, but that healing is mostly God’s doing as a watcher, not as the main component of that healing process. 

Arkalus the Puritan certainly had a uniquely different take on all of these minute differences between the natural philosophy healing sects for the time.  Could prayer have been his way to engage the spirit world in his process when trying to heal someone both a physician and metaphysician?  The answer to this questions depends upon how Arkalus classified his diseases.   Did he separate soul from spirit, and spirit from body?


The Nosology for the Time

Nosology is the way physicians classify disease.  From “nosos” (L.) for disease and “ology” for ‘study or knowing of’, it is a description of how we get to learn and understand disease based on how we break them down into groups all the while maintaining some sort of relationship between these different groups to each other.  When Arkalus first learned medicine, he was taught about diseases based on the ways in which they were classified for the time.  Since he was in the work place for “more than 25 years” by the time this advertisement was place, it is safe to assume that he was practicing medicine as early as 1791, if not a year or two earlier, and therefore trained in whatever nosology existed for diseases some time between 1785 and 1790. 

From 1785 and onward for a few years, the period when Arkalus was learning medicine, William Cullen’s nosology of 1785 ruled the profession.  William Cullen’s nosology was a favorite amongst American doctors at the beginning of the Revolution war, but due to knowledge and training in the military setting shared between some of the most expertly trained doctors and surgeons in their fields, many practitioners would change their philosophy as to the causes for disease during the war period became better understood.  This ultimately led to several different ways in which diseases came to be analyzed, interpreted and regrouped in specific classes.  By the end of the century, Cullen’s nosology would have become extinct, were it not for a few traditionalists still out there teaching medicine in New York.  Cullen’s philosophy for disease was based on a materialist view of the body, and has been referred to by historians as a solidist theory due to Cullen’s focus on the physical substances of the body.  This is opposition with the Brunonian theory popular in the year after the War which stated that materials had some inert ability to vibrate and move, due to some sort of energy contained within (this later became the brownian theory for molecular activity of chemistry).  Two other broad classes of theories for diseases out and a new philosophy about health and disease spread about diseases for this time focused on the kinds of things we related to natural medicine today, such as exercise, food, diet, etc., and the vitalist theories which assigned more value to the brunonian concept of energy playing an important role in health.  This energy was used to explain natural events such as lightning and static electricity, and was the heart of much the medicine taught and practiced in the Hudson Valley between 1750 and 1850, whenever the philosophy being taught wasn’t simply physical and materialistic in its descriptions. 

 The following is Cullen’s complete nosology for 1785 (this version appears in David Hosack’s A System of Practical Nosology . . . 1825, for link see appendix.)

With Pyrexiae and its sub-component Phlegmasiae, it was the heat and water of the body dominated the health of the physical parts of an individual.  The Neuroses of influences of the mind and nervous system regulators of the body determined the Neuroses Group of disease; this implied that diabetes was just as much a disease of the nervous system as it was of the body, and that this relationship of the nervous system to the body was somehow also responsible for faint, spasm and emotional distresses like melancholy.  The Cachexies were diseases brought on by more severe dysfunctional states of the body, producing problems that were harder to treat.  The Locals had very specific causes that made just a part of the body ill, not the entire corpus.  With the Pyrexiae and Phlegmasiae, we had diseases influenced by the same to elements seen in nature–temperature and water.  With the Neuroses and Cachexies, we had diseases that went from simple to complex, not so bad to worse, in terms of body-mind balance, events due to constitution or temperament as much as behavior, environment and acts of fate or even God.  For the Locals, we have a somewhat more controllable and localizable problem to contend with, which may be environmental or may be self-induced such as by injury.  These conditions in general lacks a strong metaphysical or theoretical component, such as energy or vital force, although inner strengths still came into play sometimes, such as with the develop of weak muscles resulting in hernia, prolapses and the like. 

How were these philosophies incorporated by Arkalus into his medical practice?

In the beginning, Arkalus would have been taught the two most popular philosophies at the time for disease–the climate and weather related model of disease development and personal tendencies to become ill due to inheritance along with the topography-natural history version of disease development.   As for disease types, he would have related these scientific aspects of disease to Cullen’s method for breaking diseases down into the different cause-effect groups. Most important to note is that during this time, the grandfather of Charles Darwin (1809-1882), Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), had published his books on the relationships organisms had with each other and to their local surroundings (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erasmus_Darwin; http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/d#a3099).  [This work preceded the more famous works by Charles Darwin on evolution first published in 1856; Charles’ father was Robert Waring Darwin, 1776-1848; for more, see wikipedia for each.]  

The Erasmus Darwinian pre-Evolutionary (as opposed to true Darwinism) and Lamarckian theory for disease was the most common belief for disease at the time, and this belief spanned several of the philosophies and sciences that were very popular then.  The Lamarckian theory stated that organisms have the ability to adapt to a given environmental setting, resulting in offspring that become more likely to survive in this new environmental setting.  Applying this to the acculturation process for migrating Europeans first setting foot in the New World, this meant that the new settlers were capable of generating children that could better resist the local environmental conditions felt to be responsible for many of the very local diseases.  This meant that if people could acclimate to their new surroundings in a generation or two, with each generation this would make the children less likely to catch new diseases in a new region than their parents.  This meant that a family needed only to make it possible for the newest generation of settlers to survive their expected life expectancy, for due to adaptation, their offspring in turn would finally be perfect for the new settlements.  A whole field of medicine evolved with this assumption, with its heart in the Hudson Valley.  This meant that physicians felt that one of their roles was to make it possible for the required materials needed to survive be available–thus we see the woolen garments protecting people from the local weather become an important commodity with very important local roots, changes and adaptation to meeting the local needs.  The Merino sheep being used to generate the much-needed wool for the Hudson Valley during this time was itself even slightly modified to meet the local needs.  No stone was left unturned when it came to producing the best products in the valley, for Valley residents, during the earliest years of the 19th century.

So with the rapid immigration of people throughout the 1790s and 1800s came a major increase in the philosophy that freshly arrived foreigners to the New World needed a specific form of disease prevention.  Unlike Arkalus Hooper, whose family was already acculturated to the new world setting due to their long period of local residence as Mayflower descendants, many of the newer settlers of the region would not have been so lucky.  This meant that there was another reason to keep in mind when a person residing somewhere becomes susceptible to getting ill–it could be the result of the family’s traits and tendencies to become ill, from which a particular temperament develops in someone making him/her more susceptible to some diseases and less susceptible to others, and there is the choice made by God himself about whether or not your fate it to live or to die.  This fatalistic interpretation in turn had its two forms as well.  There were the most traditional classical fatalist types who believed in predetermination.  Then there were the others who said you had the likelihood of dying if you weren’t careful enough, but still capable of redefining your body’s data and long-term well-being.  

Arkalus’s Philosophy and Practice

As Arkalus grew up and became a more experienced physician, he would begin to evolve his own version of this paradigm of thinking about disease related cause-and-effect relationships.  There were several philosophies for disease nosology that became popular as Arkalus got older.  The questions are ‘was he familiar with these new nosologies, did he use them and did he change his own over time in order to develop it into what it was when he came to Poughkeepsie?  Hooper was probably pre-Darwinian and partly Lamarckian when he first learned about God, disease and nature, but my retaining some of the Puritan philosophy and God and Nature by themselves, he was able to avoid delving too much into the Lamarckian ways of focusing on the interactions between climate, weather and topography and the human body when it came to developing diseases, in exchange for focusing more upon the relationships between body, mind and soul that helped regulate health and control the genesis of disease within any of these three components of person.

So what were the most important diseases for the time?  Arkalus lists these in his advertisement:

  • Consumption in the first stage (early stages, cough and difficulty breathing, without the coughing up of black colored infected lung materials)
  • Salt Rheum (eczema and dry other skin conditions)
  • Fevers
  • Fever Sores (Cold Sores)
  • King’s Evil (reddening of the skin, followed by hypersensitivity;  usually the result of infection, a bacterial skin rash due to streptococcus but sometimes scrophula.   Rarely the other disease with the same symptoms and name-ergotism-brought on by contaminated grains; it is important to note however that note grains were frequently effected by mold and rot, and in recent years for Hooper’s time, newspapers were finding and reporting on cases of ergotism or the infestation of wheat with a black powdering rot.  Each of these could have been considered Kings Evil.)
  • Wens (sebaceous cyst, often of the scalp area)
  • the Dropsy (fluids built up due to specific infections, or heart disease, but see also Darwin’s classification system at the end)
  • Rheumatism (probably included age-related osteoarthritis as well)
  • Gravel
  • Pains in the Breast (pleurisy, pericarditis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, sense of tightness of the chest, difficulty breathing, heart or chest pains, angina)
  • Catarrhs in the head (colds, flus, allergies, sinusitis, rhinitis)
  • Running of the brains (anxiety and other forms of emotional hyperactivity)
  • Bleeding of the stomach (frequently ulcers; very infrequently stomach cancer, results in the vomiting of blood; in the early to mid-stages, this may also possibly be a misdiagnosis of new diphtheria cases, in which the throat gets coated with a fake sheath that resembles flesh, which is hacked up.)
  • Venereal Complaints
  • Maufues in the skin (first choice malis or maules, second choice-measles; malis is the manifestation of the skin by “animalcules”–as noted in Hosack’s nosology, according to Good, malis could be Lousiness, flea-bite, chiggers, or guinea worm (p. 167); maules is Rubeola, see Dunglison’s Dictionary of Medicine, def: exanthema or rash occuring as spots or points of infection, associated with certain illnesses like measles (Hooper possibly considered both to be the same).  Another possibility is roseola, which occurs in patches (ibid).  This is unlikely the milder animal form infectious disease called manges, but may have been associated with manges symptomatically by Hooper.)
  • Cancers (most likely conditions that resembled cancer, characterized by growth and discharge of “tissue” or pus, such as cankers, sores that don’t go away, abscesses, “tumors”, cysts, plantar’s wart).


DROPSY – Was Digitalis used by Dr. Hooper?

Many of the above medical conditions or diseases bear some sort of Biblical meaning and intention.  A number of these can be associated with the plagues that struck Egypt during the Mosaic period in history, such as the fevers, fevers sores, maufues in the skin, cancer, and running of the brain, all signs of punishment for your sins in a traditional sense.  To many like Arkalus, the incidence of these may have appeared to be growing, thus suggesting the possibility that even greater forms of punishment were about to take place.   To a commoner during this time, the witnessing of several deaths in a row, in the same household next door, perhaps due to maufues (measles or small pox), wens or kings evil, might have suggested that ‘the end is near’.  The develop of cancer on the skin of so many people might have indicated that punishment was now being administered.  The causes for increased insanity in the form of prolonged third stage venereal diseases like syphilis or the onset of running of the brain might have suggested that the End of Time was due. 

These thoughts are not unusual for this time in any culture’s history.  Depending upon how the culture keeps track of time in years, the end of a millenium or century in Western dating traditions (1699-1700, 1799-1800, 1899-1900) is a common period when this kind of social craze erupts.  For example, this would have in part been what led the religious leaders of those cities stricken by yellow fever in the 1790s to consider this a return of one of God’s famous plagues written about in the Old Testament.  There were also specific years when reawakenings happened.  For this Dutch’s portion of New York, this took place around 1766 or 1760.  In 1780 there was also mention of an awakening of the “trinity” of Episcopalians, Reformed Protestants and Jewish people published by a leader recollecting on his past experiences. (reference?). 

A less fatalistic Christian, one who was into a self-absorbed philosophy blaming the individual for his/her disease, might ask ‘Are these diseases the results of behaviors not appreciated by God?’,  ‘Were you not, as a victim of these disorders, treating your body and health properly? or with adequate religiously minded intent?’,  ‘Was the lack of faith making you ill?’,  ‘Was your illness symbolic of your most basic sin, and your more routine sins of life such as poor diet, inadequate engagement in prayer, drinking too much port ales, or the like?’.  The most basic symptoms of such poor behaviors were quite evident to anyone suffering such an outcome for sins–changes in appearance (skin), fever, pains from within, all signs of sickness, all signs of sin, all signs of one’s ultimate fate. 

Arkalus tells us still more about himself on how his advertisement addresses these medicines he has to offer.

‘But don’t worry’ Arkalus is telling the readers of his advertisement.  In the midst of all these health related dilemmas, he has arrived, a Puritan, chosen and made into a healer by God for you to take advantage of.  Not only do you cleanse your soul by meeting with him during his stay at the Hotel, you will also get the best treatment for your physical sores and blemishes, and by the way, Arkalus has many of these products available for you to take home with you for the next time you have sinned, or your body has once again become a visible symbol of God’s wrath to the people.  Arkalus’s list of types of medicines are as follows:

  • minerals
  • syrups
  • rheumatic ointment (for joint pain and swelling)
  • cancer salve (for abscesses and other skin swellings)
  • eye salve (for stys)
  • eye water (for irritation, smoke irritation, and sometimes infection due to poor sanitation)
  • salve for fever sores (cold sores)
  • salve for wens (cysts and swellings, usually on the head and neck, around the ear and within the hair follicles)
  • bilious pills (possibly the local podophyllum, with this use known by now)
  • jaundice bitters

He may have announced himself as a botanist, but notice how Arkalus did make use of the minerals when need be.  The bulk of Arkalus’s remedies are in bottles, tins and little wooden boxes.  Some would have been pocket-sized, others large enough to fill a deep jacket pocket or need to be placed in a burlap bag because they bore enough tonic to last several weeks or a month or two, if you made use of these each Saturday night during Sabbath.  The salves would have probably been made from hog’s fat and cow lard, the ointments based in water, oil, or perhaps semi-purified alcohol.  The eye water had to be water-based.  The bilious pills, very small hand-rolled pieces of root powder made into a paste, shaped and then set aside to dry before being packed in little wooden boxes.  But most of all, the largest of these products was the Jaundice Bitters bottles, with handmade labels probably printed by somebody over in Connecticut, stuck to the bottle with a paste made from horses’ hooves.   There were also sugar-thickened syrups contained all sort of formulas for treating coughs, sore throats, and other common oral symptoms.  For the housewife experiencing too much stress in life, in need of something to calm your passions or to tame her mind frame with her husband, he had a syrup just for these kinds of conditions–probably without opium, using one or more local herbs as a substitute for this important nerve tonifying ingredient.

By the time Arkalus developed his proprietary formulas and had them bottled, a number of recipes were becoming fairly standard in their content.  Enough was known about European herbs to have standardized a lot of American remedies using imported plants as well as locally grown European domestic plants, like hyssop, clovers, and the mints.  Likewise the imported cloves may have been used, or the French manufactured essential oils of various mints.  Cotton Mather is directly associated with several herbs, including the Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) (Crellin et al., 1989. p. 298).  But there were also locally native plants that Arkalus could have developed his own uses for by now.  Mather noted some uses for the locally grown Tobacco.  The locally wildcrafted wintergreen, the escaped penny royal, and maybe even the local native  mountain mint (Pycnanthemum. sp) would have been excellent ingredients for his salve used to treat fever sores.

Atwood’s Jaundice Bitters, the most popular 19th C Jaundice Bitters product

If we take a look at the local newspaper for the time, the Poughkeepsie Journal, we find that the most popular patent medicines for 1815 were coming from Boston and sold at Potter’s bookstore.  Potter had for sale Dr. Rolfe’s Asthmatic Pills, Botanical Drops and Aromatic Female Pills, Dumfrie’s Ointment for the Itch, Albion Corn Plaster, Cambrian Toothache Pills, Dr. Hunter’s Celebrated Pills, and Dr. Jebb’s Celebrated Liniment.   His chief competitor, Elias Trivett, had a fairly young store opened as well, which in a decade or two later would become one of the most successful distributors of patent medicines for the region.   A third medical supplies store, Barnes and Willoughby’s, offered for sale numerous regular medical apparati, including amputation and trepanning (skull boring) instruments, lancets and turnkeys for blood-letting, catheters for surgical use in treating ascites and for insertion into body openings, and trusses for treating hernias.  A few doors down from the Baptist Church on Mill Street, Poughkeepsie was “Mrs. Smith”, a healer of sorts who begins her advertisement with the statements “Enjoyment of Health.  Heaven’s Greatest Blessing.”  Mrs. Smith described herself as someone who “has full faith in her ability to cure persons afflicted”, especially women.  A brief list of these disorders then follows. 

There is even the now very popular Hooper’s Pills remedy, a produce not at all directly associated with Arkalus Hooper himself, but a product of the London elite that might in fact have been played to his marketing advantage at times. 

French 19th trephination process [Ref.  http://www.websters-online-dictionary.org]

Arkalus, Healer of the Mind

But wait a minute.  What was that advertisement about trepanning instruments referring to? 

It ends up that the possible uses for trepanning, although primarily meant to serve as a tool that made it very easy to bore into a sick man’s skull, were equally distributed between the need for care of head trauma and the possible development of a hematoma, and the potential use of this device for preventing the mind from going crazy, in theory due to the same kind of pressure-related to the workings of the brain.   Could it be true that the minds of the insane could benefit from this tool, rather than simply locking them away in cages? 

There are three conditions or diseases noted by Arkalus that pertain to the mind and disease:

  • Running of the brains (anxiety and other forms of emotional hyperactivity)
  • Kings Evil (ergot and non-ergot related)
  • Venereal Diseases (esp. Syphilis Stage 3)

Some of the conditions colonists learned about pertaining to the mentally ill were, even unknowingly, of physical cause.  The insanity of small communities brought on by ergotism–the fungal contamination of a grain crop by an organism that can result in hallucinations if ingested–is one of the better known forms of insanity an entire population can develop.  Spiritual awakenings and revivals when expressed at some family to community level have been noted at times to be very much like these mental disease epidemics.  But for the most part, psychological diseases are found scattered about the different disease nosologies during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  The mad hatter poisoned by mercury, the mad governor or political leader changed by the syphilis he obtained due to promiscuity, the insane hyperreligious child with a disease apparently invented just for him or her by God himself, manifested in the form of a Tourette’s syndrome like malady verbalized as Divine Prayer, all of these culturally defined and culturally-specific maladies would have been some of the first psychological maladies the state of New York and people of Hudson Valley would witness within the first decades of nationalism and international recognition.  Each culture had its own specific forms of diseases that could be developed during these years.  The Hudson Valley was no different.


For example, bringing all of this back to Dr. Hooper’s listing, a good example of a physical disease turned spiritual malady was syphilis.  At times a local person sould come down with this disease of the privates,  and later in life become insane due to its long-term degenerative effects upon the brain.  The possibility that certain chemicals like mercury could turn you into a madman, was something lust discovered and published by the Boston medical journal for the time–the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal.   “Running of the brains” however, is a very unique medical condition with a very unique medical history which as of yet, untold as a part of early Hudson Valley medical history.  In the following section of Arkalus’s advertisement, we note his sensitivity to this particular part of his medical philosophy.

“Deranged people have been restored to their senses through his means, that have been confined to cages for years.”

In a recent review of famous people with possible psychiatric conditions, the famous author Jane Austen was speculated as to having what is today called Addison’s disease, a disease in which her “two-year deterioration into bed-ridden exhaustion, her unusual colouring, bilious attacks, rheumatic pains and the absence of more specific indicators of disease” could be explained  (see http://austenprose.com/2009/12/01/new-theory-on-jane-austen%E2%80%99s-fatal-illness/) .  Psychiatric or mental disease was one of the most theory-derived forms of illness in the medical world up until the mid 1800s, and was one of the most controversial for medical writers to speculate about.  What we do know for the late 1700s and early 1800s is that the public attitude and professional treatment of these people was primarily and culturally-defined phenomenon.  Doctors were at the risk of suffering due to the own self-directed misguidance physicians placed upon themselves and the government dealing with the problems these people were to society.  Patients were at risk because there were doctors and no philosophy in place to define accurately their experiences and the way to deal with their problems.   The church leaders were much more successful in treating these patients, and therefore popular than the doctors.  These church healers treated these people as human beings, not as people lacking human character due to the uncontrolled animal spirit residing within.  They were in need of humane treatment, not the treatments offered by regular doctors, such as being caged like uncontrolled wild animals or gaoled like uncontrollable criminals.  They were people who the regular doctors wanted to treat as beings with lost souls. 

In spite of this Puritan and Quaker way of interpreting the mentally ill, there were still certain religions one had to stay away from if he/she had some sort of thought and behavior related problem.  The “four corners church” took the extreme traditionalist point of view that you are a victim of God’s Choice and/or of Sin and that is why you are the way you are mentally.  Your mania or lunacy was fate, if not the result of your parents predispositions for the same.  The Baptists stated the same, although with a slightly different set of logic.  Even earlier in American history, Puritanism itself was guilty as well of misjudging some episodes as evil, for example the mistreatment of witches.  But fortunately for Arkalus’s patients to be in Poughkeepsie, this was no longer the case for how “deranged people” would be handled by the more contemporary Puritans.  Cotton Mather put a stop to all of that religious malpractice.

In the case of the Puritans, their worst office when it came to mistreating the ill woman took place during the late 17th century, when the Salem Witchcraft trials prevailed.   The way in which Cotton Mather reduced much of this stereotyping this important part of local history is interesting.  Mather wrote some lines speculating that these events that women engaged in were in fact due to poisoning by Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium), a local plant with important medical uses but when used too freely is capable of turning people into somnambulants (sleep walkers).   This misuse of this plant had a prior colonial history as well, being the cause for lunacy in Virginia during the late 16th century after Sir Walter Raleigh’s people settled in Jamestown (Jimson is from a misconstrued writing of the original name Jamestown).  And in the local newspapers, the local people fascination with somnambulism resulted in frequent accounts of these unique human behavior published in the local newspapers.  The view at the time for somnambulism was that it was due to the body behaving and acting without much guidance from the spirit and soul.  A somnambulant could be engaged in certain activities as a being, but not as his or her own unique person, with forethought and reasoning to back up whatever decisions were made to engage in somnambulism.  People had fortunately matured somewhat in their thinking about the sleep walker.  Mather applied this same ideology to the famous somniferant plant Datura[This same parallel was much later drawn between zombies and Datura, but more a 1980s or 1990s theory posed in the medical literature.]

There is another event taking place in medicine that had alerted everyone to people’s abilities to be insane, or appear as though they have the mania, with need for special care.  The stories of events involving somnambulants were common to the newspapers for the time. The public was fascinated by the nature of these events, the ability of the body to stay engaged and make the body move while the state of mind and its consciousness was in part no longer there.   Around the time of Arkalus’s practice, the most important local event of this kind was the story about a young girl who prayed in her sleep.  She had an agent who toured the region with her, and when he reached the next town offered the public an opportunity to see her unusual sleep behaviors in action.   An advertisement on this appeared in the Poughkeepsie Journal.


The special roles that the mind played on human behaviors and health was slowly becoming better understood.  The most success in better defining the person as a body and persona came from several different professional and philosophical avenues.   The beliefs regarding the physical effects of the mind and the body and vice versa are often linked to Philadelphia physician Benjamin Rush.  The most popular theories at the time like to link belief to the patient’s state.  Rush did this when watched the use of metalic tractors be used to treat a religious leader he thought very highly about–Rev. Elhanan Winchester (see Metalic Points essay).  Rush himself did not belief for a second in the metaphysical theory underlying the use of this device, but as he watched his icon of natural theology slowly begin to deteriorate, witnessing the recovery of this Unitarian friend of his is possibly even what led Rush to realize that not only could physical medicine and treatments play an important role in the healing process–the mind and emotions were important contributors to the healing process as well.

Other philosophies out there about the mind-body relation ship and disease were developed due to the influence of French philosophers and physicians forced to retreat France due to the French Revolution.  Their settlement in New York, followed by their retreat up the valley due to yellow fever, led them to expose Dutchess County and other Hudson Valley residents to their new version of this philosophy about the transcendentally superstitious versus the insane and mentally ill.   Adding to this French cultural influence on the local social psychology were the impacts the Quakers, who were into the fair and healthy treatment of prisoners and the fair and healthy treatment of the “insane” being jailed (one popular use of the criminal who underwent capital punishment was the use of electroshock on their body to demonstrate its effects.)      [ibid, see Poughkeepsie Journal March 1803 clipping]

Cotton Mather had so successfully changed the mindset of many of his listeners that Puritan influences by the 1800s had taken just the traditional religious philosophy of psychological disease during the 1800s, with a little bit of respect provided as well to the Quaker attitudes being promoted.  Dr. Hooper considered problems like this to be due to “Running of the Brains.”  As noted earlier, one of the local stores provided for sale medical apparati for trepanning.  Trepanning is the drilling of a hole in the skull, which today is normally done in order to release the pressure that is built up in the brain due to the accumulation of blood underneath following an injury that causes a blood vessel to erupt and bleed through internally.  If left unchecked, this blood can accumulate and literally compress the brain down in size or volume, and displace it to the other side of the skull.  Ultimately, the section under pressure ceases working and the patient becomes numbers and then paralyzed and then later dies if this is left unchecked.  The art of trepanning is an ancient tradition discovered by explorers and invented by Peruvians as far back as the Mayan-Aztec period in American history.

The common term in the 1700s was the use of trepanning tools to reduced the “running of blood” beneath the skull.  The purpose of the opening that is produced is the let it gush out.  In opposition of the “running of blood” is the running of something else beneath the skull, namely the mind and if you believe in energy, the vital force associated with the mind.  In religion, and in some parts of the early trainings in human psychology as a science, it was speculated that thoughts running through the brain were the cause of many non-physical maladies.  This same philosophy was used to explain feminine hysterics during the 16th through 18th centuries in American-European medicine, when it was felt that the energy in the uterus or womb was capable of travelling about the body, in some misguided, misdirected fashion (the “wandering uterus” theory).    The philosophical statements of the popular Dutch philosopher-physician Theophilus Borden of around 1740-1760 (see the Fishkill Metalic Tractors story and Dr. Cornelius Osborn’s biographical pages and sub-pages for more), would have furthered the notion that trepanning the skull in cases of wandering, misguided thoughts could be the way to stop people from misbehaving and becoming insane or otherwise out of control. 

Of course, no one in their right mindset is going to believe that by allowing a surgeon to trephine their skull that they are going to get better, unless they (or others) know they are going to die due to the recent head blow they received at work or whilst sailing (such as Madame Brett’s husband, late 1600s).  But there were other ways to control this erratic flux of thoughts and energies in the brain.  One could go to the store and buy Hooper’s Pills for this type of condition common to women.  One could go to a Quaker perhaps and undergo electric cure.  One could go to an herbalist and get some fairly unusual herbal medicine.  One could go to the regular doctor and get some opium and undergo the lancet.  One could go to Mrs. Smith’s home and probably receive some counseling and a laying on of hands with prayer.  Or, one could go to Dr. Hooper, take some of Arkalus Hooper’s liniments or salves, and head back home hoping these will make you better. 

But Arkalus Hooper had one more thing he could do for you to rid you of your “running thoughts and uncontrolled behaviors.”  You could cleanse your head of the catarrh using one of his pills, free your chest of its tightness and pain using his rubs and tonics, and rest your running beliefs by living a life in Puritan fashion, attending church and accepting your place on this earth.  It was your mind that was playing games with you, not the universal energies defined by Franz Anton Mesmer, the position of the stars, the “magick” of the Qabala, the claims of Turkish “Fakirs”, the three forms of energy proposed by Borden, or the state of emotional rest produced by a good supply of opium.

The Hudson Valley is the heart of multiculturalism and the polymodal lifestyle.  This is not proven more than by the relationship between what we today refer to as psychological and psychiatric states.  Arkalus Hooper is perhaps one of the earliest and best examples of this unique sociological trait born only by the Hudson Valley.

Arkalus, Healer of the Body

The major ailments inferred by Arkalus’s remedies and listing of diseases include

  • Jaundice
  • Yellow Fever
  • Roseola and Measles
  • Other Fevers
  • Rheumatism
  • Eye inflammation including stys
  • Skin inflammations of various sorts, ranging from cold sores, rashes and infected wounds, to abscesses and ulcers.
  • Eczema and psoriasis
  • Cold Sores (perhaps also Herpetic lesions)

The physical exam of a patient performed by Dr. Hooper would have been basic and simple, focusing upon the appearance of the patient based upon skin and body parts, and overall physical features related to weight and evidence for edema.  There is this generalized statement that came out a century before, around 1720 by Daniel Turner, that referred to physicians as internal and external doctors.  The internal doctors looked at your body but were more in tune with your anatomy and the inner workings of organs like the lungs, heart, intestines, muscles, blood flow and brain.  The outer doctors focused on the visible signs of illness, mostly perceived from the skin out, but on occasion presenting in an inward-out fashion like the consumption (tuberculosis), asthma or bronchitis, and the rheumatism with its swollen knees and deformed fingers.  This primary distinction between colonial physicians also held true for the early 19th century in local history.  There were just a few schools in medicine where doctors could be trained to know  about human anatomy by way of a surgeon’s theatre; these schools were New York and Philadelphia.  On occasion, people body’s were displayed as lessons and curiosities rolled together into one demonstration.  Earlier in Dutchess County history this took place when fellow Quaker Shadrach Ricketson dissected apart the body of a Quaker Elder he knew, using this opportunity to teach the people about their own physical state.  In Fishkill, Dr. Bartow White, a military surgeon at times as well as a typical country doctor, was trained in medicine under Valentine Seaman and attended the lectures down in New York and New Jersey (pre-Rutgers); he would later teach his Fishkill students medicine and surgery through experience and watchfulness as well (“Fishkill” was actually everything south of Poughkeepsie’s south end, west of the town of Clinton then),  the surgeons-in-training requiring a review of anatomy as one learned to use the scalpel during an apprenticeship under him. 

In contrast with these internal doctors was Arkalus, a religious trained doctor who respected the body as a symbol of God’s being.  He sold remedies for the corpse, but made no use of lancets or scalpels because this would destroy the Creator’s masterpiece.  This interpretation of the body as a receptacle is traditional to the more devout Christian groups.  For this reason we find joint deformations associated with rheumatism, and eye inflammations treated like skin problems, but with a more specialized remedy.  Fever would have been the major symptom Hooper had to pay attention to, along with Jaundice and other forms of discoloration of the skin.  Hooper was very unlikely to have recommended the use of Opium, or even try to access it for use, except for one serious common malady perhaps–dysentery and cholera in which ongoing diarrhea can result in death due to dehydration.

Comparing this with earlier teachings of the area, Borden’s philosophy of the three energies in the body is by now long gone, having been replaced by a philosophy that can be reconstructed in two ways.  First there were those physicians who believed in the metaphysical nature of life, like Hooper.  Second, there were those who tried to interpret or make an intelligent guess regarding these cause for diseases based on the physical presentation.  Hooper is descended from a highly spiritual group socially, the Puritans.  The Hoopers have a direct association with the equally metaphysical Huguenot families in the region, evidenced by his family’s past and future histories with at least one Yale-trained Huguenot physician residing in the immediate vicinity.   Hooper’s remedies served to heal the outer part of the body, upon which signs of God’s interventions into their lives were being expressed.

Hooper is a good example of how we can come to a better understanding of someone’s personal healing faith for the time, based on location and spiritual upbringing and family heritage.

Questions that could be thought about are did Hooper have any familiarity with local Native practices? local indigenous or native herbs?  It is possible that Hooper would have employed local herbs, basing their uses on his own traditional philosophy arising from his upbringing.  If Hooper were an example of a someone residing in the wilderness setting, taking on some of the native American traditions, we would not expect so much adherence to the Christian God.  This means he is unlike a former Huguenot doctor noted for a period a little earlier, based in a similar part of New England, noted by the Aesculapius Comes to the Colonies author. 

Arkalus was possibly familiar with the newest fever cure in the region–boneset or Eupatorium perforatum.  This was quite an abundant plant for the region, along with joe-pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum and others), a herb with Indian medicine uses linked to treating the spotted and yellow fevers common to the region.  Other plants in the vicinity of importance to Hudson Valley medicine include the following.  Just how many of these Arkalus made use of is uncertain.


The most important plants in Arkalus Hooper’s materia medica are American Mandrake or Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) and Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum).  There is indirect evidence suggesting Hooper made use of the mayapple in a traditional fashion.  There is irrefutable direct evidence that he made use of Culver’s Root, in a way that was by then considered to be a traditional part of the Puritan philosophy as promoted by Cotton Mather.

The first plant if interest is the local mountain-field plant mayapple or Podophyllum peltatum.  Uses for this plant became popular in the very early 1800s and by 1815, this plant may have become a popular standard for some medical traditions like Indian Doctoring and local herbalism, but little known by the popular culture traditions of Thomsonianism.   The fruit of this plant was used to make pies and such, and was referred to as citron.  The root of podophyllum was employed as a medicine, serving as a strong laxative.   Since the laxative effects of podophyllum were quite well-defined–the production of very yellow stools due to the release of bile from the gall bladder induced by this plant–it was considered a balancer of effects related to excess yellow bile.      The yellow fever had an association with bile-related diseases, and so might have been treated and prevented by the regular use of this plant.  Likewise for the jaundice bitters.

In the above recipe for a Jaundice bitters published in 1888 by B. Fenner, the primary ingredients are Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum) and Aloe (any of several Aloa spp.).   The remaining ingredients are added as flavorants, although medical values are often attributed to these plants as well, in particular as “aromatics” and “carminatives”.  Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is typically added as a sweetener due to its glycyrrhizinate.  Later in the 19th century, Podophyllum peltatum (referred to as Mandrake root by Fenner), was added to any basic “Poor Man’s Bitters” and termed “Mandrake Bitters.”  [American Mandrake, Podophyllum peltatum (Fam: Berberidaceae-Podophylloideae, Barberry Family, Mayapple Subfamily), should not to be confused with European Mandrake, Mandragora officinalis, (Fam: Solanaceae-Nightshade Family) a very different plant with quite different toxicity.]

Even more amazing about Arkalus recipes is his inclusion of jaundice bitters.  This is a product of one of the most influential Puritans in American Colonial history–Cotton Mather.   Mather was the first to document the possible use of the Culver’s Root as a medicine, after using it in 1716 to treat a case of “consumption” which his daughter was experiencing.  It is unlikely his daughter was experiencing “consumption” as we now know it–tuberculosis, a chronic and slowly debilitating, but ultimately deadly disease.  Had his daughter caught consumption, this meant that she had a few decades left to live.  During this time the consumption would have its first attack, then subside in symptoms and effects for a few years, only to return in its fullest form, causing the individual to cough up darkened sputum, speckled with the blackened flesh of decaying lungs and the fungus residing all over its inner surfaces.  In due time a cave would form in the chest cavity, and the overall health, and chest cavity of the patient slowly deteriorate until each are no longer capable of maintaining life in the physical world, as people like Mather knew life to be.  But for Mather and his daughter fortunately, her life never decayed away like it would with the true consumption.  But no matter, for Mather, his method for using the herb Culver’s Root effectively cured her or her curse in life.  Even if this was due simply to the fact that she had only experienced a severe case of the cold, flu or whooping cough.  No matter for Mather.    He was not trained in medicine nor learned enough to know the minute differences in these various disorders of the physical body.

This effectiveness of Culver’s Root in treating her “consumption” by disease led Mather to use it again later for treating others.  This ultimately led to his developing its use further as some sort of laxative and emetic to induce the vomit, both to cleanse the innards.    Mather’s philosophy at play here was sanative.  He relied only upon natural healing courses like sweating, puking and purging to cure a person of their diseases.  If anything about the humoral tradition was to intervene in this philosophy as well, Mather would have recommended this treatment method in order to help balance the humours of the body, especially pertaining to water and bile.   This plant medicine was later considered to be a tonic to the liver, increasing the amount of bile ejected from the body in cases where too much bile was considered to be the cause for disease (producing yellow stools).  Once again, we see the possible interplay of yellow fever in recent local history with the possible inclusion of this herb in local herbal medicine practices.  Arkalus was rightfully promoting the most important teachings of his religious faith, those of Cotton Mather, and so from this we can state with certainty that he was still a loyal Puritan, even though we see no direct mention as to his loyalty in his advertisement. 

Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum)  [From http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/regions/eastern/GrasshopperHollow/index.shtml]

Hooper is a traditional Christian based on the wording of his advertisement–he is a Doctor sent to heal people by God.  So even if Hooper is no longer actively practicing as a Puritan, he is a Christian, and more a natural theologian focused on the role of man in the pastoral setting, than a natural philosopher focused on energy-based concepts, interacting with the energy of God and the Universe correctly, beliefs promoted by the Quakers living nearby during Arkalus’s time, involved with the uses of medical electricity and galvanism.  Interestingly, if the neighbor of Arkalus around 1808 in Columbia County, NY is Dr. Caleb Childs or a relative of Childs, then he might have been exposed to the philosophy of spirituality in relation to medical electricity.  He might have even been familiar with, but been condescending to the philosophy of medical electricity and galvanism, supporting God instead as this source for healing.  He would have thus been very familiar with the local Quaker’s fascination with medical electricity, having resided so close to the Oblong Patent.  This therefore represents a rather amazing time philosophically in local history.   In a religious sense these social events could have become something very much like “the Clash of the Titans” philosophically and religiously.

Hooper is a traditional Christian healer, practicing physician medicine primarily, but adhering to the spirituality of Christian faith as much as possible when treating his patients.  He would have been of a sanative nature, meaning he would be trying to cause conditions to be naturally eliminated from or expelled by the body.  His various external applications for the body serve this purpose.  He would have also trying to strengthen and tonify the ailing parts of the body, thus to production of a Jaundice bitters.  For treating the fever, he would have engaged in many of the same traditions as Samuel Thomson, and probably would have been familiar with the writings of Joseph Townsend for the time.  He would have also read William Buchan’s book, which had strong religious concepts being voiced.


Background Information – Plantae Medica


The following are possible plants that grow locally which Arkalus might have learned about by 1815/1816.

  • Boneset (Eupatorium perforatum)
  • Jopi (“Joe Pye”) Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)
  • Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)
  • Partridge Berry (Mitchella repens)
  • Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
  • Lobelia (Lobelia spp.)
  • Black Cohosh or Black Snakeroot (Caulophyllum thalictroides and other spp.)


Background Information – Maps




File:Tribal Territories Southern New England.png





The Contemporary View of Quackery

In some ways Hooper appears as though he is a patent medicine promoter passing through the region.  This setting is very much similar to the stereotypic profiles historians have produced over the years, without that much understanding of the philosophy behind the marketing and the needs of the population Hooper is marketing to.


Notes on Arkalus Hooper of Poughkeepsie, Possible Mayflower Descendant

For more on History, begin with

Genealogy Notes, from

Links are also found on http://www.123people.ca/s/seth+hooper [Accessed on 5-3-2011]

See also The Mayflower descendant, 1620-1920: a quarterly magazine …, Volumes 14-15.  October 1913.  vol. 15, no 4.   By Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, See p. 196, “Bridgewater, Mass., Vital Records” for possible family roots information. [Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?id=scIUAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA1-PA196&lpg=RA1-PA196&dq=Hooper+Mayflower&source=bl&ots=2GHHWX4vTp&sig=W1UAzqGoCju3L54wRErdhcS9ZwA&hl=en&ei=JTnBTbikIYajtgeYqaWsBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&sqi=2&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false]


NAME: Arkalus or Archalus.

(-1800-1810 -) Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., MA.
( -1820- ) Poughkeepsie, Dutchess Co., NY.
( -1830- ) Conneaut Twp., Crawford Co., PA.

CENSUS: 1800 US Census, Berkshire Co., MA; 1800; ; p. 197; (Rick Crume’s file #H 572); NOTE: Arkelous Hooper, Males: (1) under 10; (1) 26-44; Females: (3) under 10; (1) 26-44. On same page as Zalmanna Hooper.

LAND: Deed of sale, Arkalus Hooper of Pittsfield to Calvin Sears of Pittsfield, dtd 7 Dec. 1808; 1808; Berkshire Co MA Deeds vol 47; pp 435-436; FHL film 872,100 (Rick Crume’s file #H 545); NOTE: 3/4 acre of land in Pittsfield adjacent to lands of Robert Green and to land which Calvin Sears conveys today to Aaron Newell. Signed in the presence of Samuel Johnson & Thomas A. Gold.

LAND: Deed of sale, Calvin Sears of Pittsfield to Arkalus Hooper of Pittsfield, dtd 7 Dec. 1808; 1808; Berkshire Co MA Deeds vol 47; p 453; FHL film 872,100 (Rick Crume’s file #H 545); NOTE: 3/4 acre of land in Pittsfield adjacent to lands of Robert Green and to land which Calvin Sears conveys today to Aaron Newell. Signed in the presence of Samuel Johnson & Thomas A. Gold.

LAND: Deed of sale, Arkalus Hooper of Pittsfield to Joseph Shearers of Pittsfield, dtd 19 Sept. 1809; 1809; Berkshire Co MA Deeds vol 47; pp 433-434; FHL film 872,100 (Rick Crume’s file #H 545); NOTE: 3/4 acre of land in Pittsfield, with buildings, adjacent to lands of Robert Green and Aaron Newell. The same land which Calvin Sears conveyed to Arkalus Hooper by deed dated 7 Dec. 1808. Signed in the presence of Thomas A. Gold & Samuel Johnson.

LAND: Deed of sale, Arkalus Hooper, yeoman of Pittsfield, to Joseph Hooper, yeoman of Pittsfield, dtd 18 Dec. 1809; 1809; Berkshire Co MA Deeds vol 47; pp 571-572; FHL film 872,100 (Rick Crume’s file #H 545); NOTE: 3/4 acre of land in Pittsfield adjacent to lands of Robert Green and Aaron Newell. Deed signed in presence of David Perry & Seth Hooper.

CENSUS: 1810 US Census, Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., MA; 1810; ; p. 124; (Rick Crume’s file #H 572, H 757); NOTE: Arkalous Hooper: Males – 3 (under 10), 1 (26-44). Females – 2 (under 10), 1 (10-15), 2 (16-25), 1 (45 and over). Joseph and Seth Hooper are on the next page.

CENSUS: AIS census indexes; 1820; microfiche ed.; ; LDS FHC, Fargo, ND (Rick Crume’s file #H 751); NOTE: Askelaus Hooper, 1820 census, Poughkeepsie, Dutchess Co., NY, p. 100.

CENSUS: AIS census indexes; 1830; microfiche ed.; ; LDS FHC, Fargo, ND (Rick Crume’s file #H 751); NOTE: Arklus Hooper, 1830 census, Conneault Twp., Crawford Co., PA.


Genealogy, Descendent of


1. Nathaniel Hooper was born on 9 Feb 1734 in Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts. Nathaniel resided 1 on 31 Mar 1763 in Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts. He was counted in a census 2 in 1790 in Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts.

1Vital Records of the Town of Middleborough, page 105, Ancestry.com.
“Plimouth Ss: March 31st 1763 this Certifies that Nathaniel Hooper Jr of Bridgewater and Elisabeth Bryant of middleborough were this Day joynd in marriage by me Joseph Tinkham Justice peace.”

21790 U.S. Census, Bridgewater, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts, page 72, Ancestry.com.
“Nathl Hooper. 1 white male 16 and over. 4 white females.”
Is this Nathaniel Hooper, born in 1734?.

[Notes]= BIRTH-MARRIAGE-LAND-RESIDENCES: Charles H Pope & Thomas Hooper, HOOPER GENEALOGY; 1635-1908; Boston, Charles H Pope, 1908; p 29; FHL film 928,101 item 8 (Rick Crume’s file #H 497, H 584); NOTE: “Nathaniel Hooper, born at Bridgewater, Feb 9, 1735, married March 31, 1763, Elizabeth Bryant, of Middleborough. In 1765 he sold land to his father and others and he is believed to have removed from Bridgewater; but thus far no trace of the place of his after residence has been found by the compiler. The particulars respecting his family are not entirely clear.”

Nathaniel married Elizabeth Bryant on 20 Nov 1762 in Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts. They were married 1 on 31 Mar 1763 in Middleborough, Plymouth, Massachusetts. Elizabeth resided 2 on 31 Mar 1763 in Middleborough, Plymouth, Massachusetts.

[Notes] = MARRIAGE-RESIDENCES: Charles H Pope & Thomas Hooper, HOOPER GENEALOGY; 1635-1908; Boston, Charles H Pope, 1908; p 42; FHL film 928,101 item 8 (Rick Crume’s file #H 497,

They had the following children:

  2 F


Betsey Hooper.[Notes] = MARRIAGE: Charles H Pope & Thomas Hooper, HOOPER GENEALOGY; 1635-1908; Boston, Charles H Pope, 1908; p 29; FHL film 928,101 item 8 (Rick Crume’s file #H 497, H 584).
        Betsey married Benjamin Fry on 14 Sep 1790. [Notes] =MARRIAGE: Charles H Pope & Thomas Hooper, HOOPER GENEALOGY; 1635-1908; Boston, Charles H Pope, 1908; p 29; FHL film 928,101 item 8 (Rick Crume’s file #H 497, H 584).
  3 F


Roxanna Hooper.[Notes] =MARRIAGE: Charles H Pope & Thomas Hooper, HOOPER GENEALOGY; 1635-1908; Boston, Charles H Pope, 1908; p 29; FHL film 928,101 item 8 (Rick Crume’s file #H 497, H 584).
        Roxanna married Bernice Leach son of Living and Living on 25 Dec 1797 in Middleborough, Plymouth, Massachusetts. [Notes] =MARRIAGE: Charles H Pope & Thomas Hooper, HOOPER GENEALOGY; 1635-1908; Boston, Charles H Pope, 1908; p 29; FHL film 928,101 item 8 (Rick Crume’s file #H 497, H 584).
  4 F


Sarah Hooper.[Notes] =MARRIAGE: Charles H Pope & Thomas Hooper, HOOPER GENEALOGY; 1635-1908; Boston, Charles H Pope, 1908; p 29; FHL film 928,101 item 8 (Rick Crume’s file #H 497, H 584).
        Sarah married Lemuel Macomber on 28 Feb 1782 in Middleborough, Plymouth, Massachusetts. [Notes] =MARRIAGE: Charles H Pope & Thomas Hooper, HOOPER GENEALOGY; 1635-1908; Boston, Charles H Pope, 1908; p 29; FHL film 928,101 item 8 (Rick Crume’s file #H 497, H 584).
  5 F


Olive Hooper.[Notes] =MARRIAGE: Charles H Pope & Thomas Hooper, HOOPER GENEALOGY; 1635-1908; Boston, Charles H Pope, 1908; p 29; FHL film 928,101 item 8 (Rick Crume’s file #H 497, H 584)
        Olive married Gideon Andrews on 29 Aug 1794 in Middleborough, Plymouth, Massachusetts. [Notes] =MARRIAGE: Charles H Pope & Thomas Hooper, HOOPER GENEALOGY; 1635-1908; Boston, Charles H Pope, 1908; p 29; FHL film 928,101 item 8 (Rick Crume’s file #H 497, H 584).
+ 6 M


Zalmuna Hooper [Not reviewed]
+ 7 M


Arkalus Hooper [See SECOND GENERATION notes at end]
+ 8 M


Seth Hooper [Not reviewed]
  9 M


Perez Hooper was born about 1772 in Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts. He died on 4 Nov 1842. [Notes] =BIRTH-MARRIAGE-DEATH: Charles H Pope & Thomas Hooper, HOOPER GENEALOGY; 1635-1908; Boston, Charles H Pope, 1908; p 42; FHL film 928,101 item 8 (Rick Crume’s file #H 497, H 584).
        Perez married Parna Leach after 19 Jul 1788. Parna died on 3 Sep 1853. [Notes] =MARRIAGE-DEATH: Charles H Pope & Thomas Hooper, HOOPER GENEALOGY; 1635-1908; Boston, Charles H Pope, 1908; p 42; FHL film 928,101 item 8 (Rick Crume’s file #H 497, H 584).
  10 M


Joseph Hooper was born about 1777. He died on 14 May 1834. He was buried in New Berlin, Chenango, New York. Joseph was employed 1 as Chair maker and house painter in New Berlin, Chenango, New York. [See Joseph Hooper below]


1. Nathaniel Hooper

BIRTH-MARRIAGE-LAND-RESIDENCES: Charles H Pope & Thomas Hooper, HOOPER GENEALOGY; 1635-1908; Boston, Charles H Pope, 1908; p 29; FHL film 928,101 item 8 (Rick Crume’s file #H 497, H 584); NOTE: “Nathaniel Hooper, born at Bridgewater, Feb 9, 1735, married March 31, 1763, Elizabeth Bryant, of Middleborough. In 1765 he sold land to his father and others and he is believed to have removed from Bridgewater; but thus far no trace of the place of his after residence has been found by the compiler. The particulars respecting his family are not entirely clear.” 

Arkalus Hooper (Nathaniel ) was born in 1766/1774. Arkalus resided 1 on 8 Jan 1793 in Norwich, New London, Connecticut. He resided 2 on 13 May 1795 in Norwich, New London, Connecticut. He resided 3 on 1 Jul 1802 in Pittsfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts. He resided 4 on 1 Apr 1805 in Pittsfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts. He resided 5 on 30 Mar 1811 in Pittsfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts.

1“List of Letters Remaining in the Post-Office NORWICH, Jan. 8, 1793”, The Norwich Packet, vol. XX, issue 982, 17 Jan. 1793, page 4.
America’s Historical Newspapers including Early American Newspapers Series 1, 1690-1876. Accessed through NewEnglandAncestors.org, 22 Mar. 2008.
“Archelus Hooper. Those where no town is annexed are for Norwich.”

2“FOR SALE”, Weekly Register, Norwich, Conn., vol. IV, issue 25, May 13, 1795, page 3.
Early American Newspapers, Series 1: 1690-1876. Accessed through NewEnglandAncestors.org. Copyrighted by NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004.
“At the goal in Norwich, CUT NAILS of all kinds, of the best quality, for cash or produce, on as reasonable terms as can be sold; whoever will apply, will find their advantage in it, and much oblige yours,
May 13 1795.”

3“List of Letters remaining in the Post-Office at Pittsfield, July 1, 1802”, The Sun, Pittsfield, Mass., vol. 2, issue 98, 26 July 1802, page 4.
Copyrighted by NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society, 2004. Accessed through NewEnglandAncestors.org, Apr. 6, 2008.
“… Archibald Hooper… of PITTSFIELD…
Joshua Danforth, P. M.”

4“List of Letters remaining in the Post-Office at Pittsfield, April 1, 1805”, The Sun, Pittsfield, Mass., vol. V, issue 239, 15 Apr. 1805, page 4.
Copyrighted by NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004. Accessed through Newenglandancestors.org, Apr. 6, 2008.
“… Archelaus Hooper…Joshua Danforth, P. M.”

5“List of Letters Remaining in the Post-Office at Pittsfield, (Ms.) March 30, 1811”, The Pittsfield Sun, Pittsfield, Mass., vol. XI, issue 549, 30 Mar. 1811, page 3.
America’s Historical Newspapers including Early American Newspapers Series 1, 1690-1876. Accessed through NewEnglandAncestors.org, 22 Mar. 2008.  “… Arkelus Hooper, Seth Hooper, …J. Danforth, P. M.”

The Descendants of Nathaniel Hooper

Second Generation

7. Arkalus Hooper (Nathaniel ) was born in 1766/1774. Arkalus resided 1 on 8 Jan 1793 in Norwich, New London, Connecticut. He resided 2 on 13 May 1795 in Norwich, New London, Connecticut. He resided 3 on 1 Jul 1802 in Pittsfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts. He resided 4 on 1 Apr 1805 in Pittsfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts. He resided 5 on 30 Mar 1811 in Pittsfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts.


He had the following children:



Hooper died on 8 Nov 1810 in Pittsfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts. [Notes]


Second Generation

Joseph Hooper

(-1808-1811-) Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., MA.
(-1820-1834) New Berlin, Chenango Co., NY.

LAND: Deed of sale, David Pierson, gentleman of Hillsdale, Columbia Co., NY, to Joseph Hooper yeoman of Pittsfield, dtd 8 Jan. 1808; 1808; Berkshire Co MA Deeds vol 48; p 275; FHL film 872,101 (Rick Crume’s file #H 545); NOTE: 4 3/4 acre of land and 24 rods in Pittsfield adjacent to lands of Dr. Childs. Signed in the presence of Roswell Taggart & Joshua Danforth.

LAND: Deed of sale, Joseph Hooper yeoman of Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., MA, to Matthias R. Lanc[k]ton goldsmith of Pittsfield, dtd 24 Aug. 1809; 1809; Berkshire Co MA Deeds vol 48; p 393; FHL film 872,101 (Rick Crume’s file #H 545); NOTE: 1/4 part of a tract of land in Pittsfield adjacent to land lately owned by Dr. Childs, but now owned by Joseph Hooper. Signed in the presence of Joshua Danforth & John Churchill 2nd.

LAND: Deed of sale, Arkalus Hooper, yeoman of Pittsfield, to Joseph Hooper, yeoman of Pittsfield, dtd 18 Dec. 1809; 1809; Berkshire Co MA Deeds vol 47; pp 571-572; FHL film 872,100 (Rick Crume’s file #H 545); NOTE: 3/4 acre of land in Pittsfield adjacent to lands of Robert Green and Aaron Newell. Deed signed in presence of David Perry & Seth Hooper.

LAND: Deed of sale, Joseph Hooper yeoman of Pittsfield, to Daniel Baxter blacksmith of Lanesborough, Berkshire Co., MA, dtd 4 Sept. 1810; 1810; Berkshire Co MA Deeds vol 48; p 415; FHL film 872,101 (Rick Crume’s file #H 545); NOTE: 3/4 acre of land in Pittsfield, including a house, adjacent to lands of Robert Green and to lands formerly conveyed to Aaron Newell. Daniel Baxter is to cancel a mortgage deed dated 20 Dec. 1808 for $400 given to Calvin Sears by paying that amount to Mr. Sears. Signed in the presence of David Perry and Seth Hooper.

CENSUS: 1810 U.S. Census, Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., MA; 1810; ; p. 125; AGLL, M252, roll 17 (Rick Crume’s file #H 572, H 757); NOTE: Joseph Hooper. Males – 1 (under 10), 1 (26-44). Females – 1 (16-25), 1 (45 and over). Seth Hooper is on the same page and Arkalous Hooper is on the previous page.

LAND: Deed of sale, Oren Goodrich yeoman of Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., MA, to Joseph Hooper chair maker of Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., MA, dtd 30 Mar. 1811; 1811; Berkshire Co MA Deeds vol 49; p 377; FHL film 872,102 (Rick Crume’s file #H 545); NOTE: 18 acres of land in Pittsfield adjacent to land of Edward Ells and Eliphalet Case. Signed in the presence of Jas. McKnight Jr. & Joshua Danforth.

LAND: Deed of sale, Joseph Hooper yeoman of Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., MA, to Robert Miriam of Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., MA, dtd 8 Apr. 1811; 1811; Berkshire Co MA Deeds vol 49; pp. 379-380; FHL film 872,102 (Rick Crume’s file #H 545); NOTE: 17 acres & 129 rods of land in Pittsfield adjacent to land of Oren Goodrich. Also, another tract containing 3/4 acre & 24 rods. Signed in the presence of Joseph Chamberling, Joshua Danforth & Seth Hooper.

RESIDENCES: Index, 1820 US Census; 1820; Salt Lake City, Accelerated Indexing Systems; ; FHC, Fargo, ND; NOTE: Seth and Joseph Hooper, New Berlin, Chenango Co, NY, p 361; Rick Crume’s file #H 500.

RESIDENCES: Index, 1830 US Census; 1830; Salt Lake City, Accelerated Indexing Systems; ; FHC, Fargo, ND; NOTE: Seth & Joseph Hooper, New Berlin, Chenango Co, NY, p 241; Rick Crume’s file #H 500.

OCCUPATION: EARLY GLIMPSES OF NEW BERLIN AND RELATED AREAS NEARBY; 1785-1950; Vol 2; p 102; FHL film 825,747; NOTE: “Hooper, Seth and Joseph: Chair makers, location: adjoining old Edwin O. Green Creek and mill (1840- ).”; Rick Crume’s file #H 504.

CEMETERY-BIRTH-DEATH: Gertrude Howard Smith, CEMETERY RECORDS – NEW BERLIN, NEW YORK AND VICINITY; 1772-1905; Typed manuscript; p 29; FHL film 1,435,238, Item 11; NOTE: Scribner Cemetery; Rick Crume’s file #H 498.


Association with Huguenots

History of Bristol County, Massachusetts: with biographical sketches …, Part 1 edited by Duane Hamilton Hurd, p. 151-2.  (Google Books)

In 1638, the family of Thomas Abbe moved to Enfield, Ct.  They would later become one fo the more important Huguenot families of the western border of Connecticut, from which came a number of physicians.  The locally famous Yale physician Dr. Edward P. Abbe (1765-1847) and Dr. Alanson Abbe (1795-1864) came.  These doctors were closely associated with the Hoopers.  This association links the Hoopers through Nathaniel Hooper’s father Bishop Hooper of England to the other religious leaders for this time in New York-Connecticut history.


More on the Puritans


PICTORIAL FIELD BOOK OF THE REVOLUTION. VOLUME I. BY BENSON J. LOSSING.  1850.  CHAPTER XIX. http://freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wcarr1/Lossing1/Chap19.html



Examples of the Puritan Philosophy of Disease and Medicine


http://www.anglicanbooksrevitalized.us/Peter_Toons_Books_Online/History/puritanscalvinism.htm   [WARNING: proceed at your own risk–hyperreligious and too many pop-ups]


Other Readings 

David Hosack A System of Practical Nosology . . . 1825.  New York.  At http://books.google.com/books?id=ZP4qAAAAYAAJ&dq=Thacher%20%22disease%22&pg=PA341#v=onepage&q=Thacher%20%22disease%22&f=false.  Source for William Cullen’s and Erasmus Darwin’s nosologies.

Cotton Mather.  The Angle of Bethesda.

Robinson, Martha K.  New Worlds, New Medicines: Indian Remedies and English Medicine in Early America.  Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal – Volume 3, Number 1, Spring 2005, pp. 94-110.

Mitchell Robert Breitweiser. Cotton Mather’s Pharmacy.  Early American Literature. Vol. 16, no. 1. (Spring 1981), pp. 42-49.

 J. K. Crellin, Jane Philpott, A. L. Tommie Bass.  Herbal Medicine Past and Present: A reference guide to medicinal plants.  (Duke University Press, 1989, 1997)

Patent Medicines. [Hooper’s Pills; not Arkalus Hooper, John Hooper.]  http://www.gutenberg.org/files/30162/30162-h/30162-h.htm

James Harvey Young, PhD.  The Toadstool Millionaires: A Social History of Patent Medicines  in America before Federal Regulation.  Chapter 1: “At the Sign of Galen’s Head“.  http://www.quackwatch.com/13Hx/TM/01.htmlNote:  Apothecarians John Hooper was from Reading, England.  He patented  his ‘Female Pills’ in 1743, which were marketed as a remedy for hysteria, but were also used for stomach and menstrual-related problems.

According to a Harvard writer,

Dr. John Hooper’s Female Pills

“for young women, when afflicted with what is commonly called the irregularities”
In 1743, King George II granted the original patent for these pills to Dr. John Hooper of Reading, England. Hooper shrewdly revealed little of his formula to the public. He stated only that the pills were composed of “the best purging stomatick and anti-hysterick ingredients.” By the 1750s, Hooper’s Female Pills appeared frequently in the advertisements of colonial apothecaries. “They are the best medicine ever discovered for young women, when afflicted with what is commonly called the irregularities,” Hooper claimed, “and are also excellent for the palpitations of the heart, giddiness, loathing of food…a dejected countenance, a dislike to exercise and conversation, and likewise for the scurvy.” Hooper promised more. His pills could be taken by women after childbirth to “purge off those gross humours which when retained generate numerous diseases, and render women unhappy all their lives” and during menopause “to prevent those disorders that usually attend them at this time.”  See http://historywired.si.edu/object.cfm?ID=39

Box for Dr John Hooper's Female Pills, United Kingdom, 1900-1950

Source: Science Museum, London.  At http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/objects/display.aspx?id=6883

More on the Above Criticism of Biased History and Historians

Fielding Garrison was culturally biased in his writings about medical history.   Garrison failed to do much to learn about the alternative way of life or religiously based way of trying assist people, and so did not fully understand what it was that he was trying to avoid writing about.  Famous historians like Garrison and all of his successors in past, recent, and modern medical history are pretty much guilty of this same methodology error as researchers–they were culturally biased researchers of a field in which doctors could have been considered practitioners of injustices many a time, stubborn competitors unable to allow for valuable changes such as the elimination of bleeding (one physician in Poughkeepsie tried to pass such a law for the state and failed).  Regular medicine and its doctors were not completely bad, but bad enough to just be one small notch above those being labelled quacks.  In Poughkeepsie, NY in 1816, Arkalus Hooper preached and passed on culturally significant knowledge his patent medicines.  To the local native doctors he was a quack.  Meanwhile, the primary leading physician for the time in Poughkeepsie, Dr. Van Kleeck, could do the same out of his drug store.  Dr. Van Kleeck initiated the local medical society, and until this time did not have to refer to himself with the title “Dr.”  Arkalus Hooper changed all of this.  The town of Poughkeepsie was becoming more like a true city.

None of the writers before me have tried to draw these types of parallels and make these comparisons with the medical professionals to learn what was really going on at that time.  The prejudice that lie out there about “quacks” was equivalent to the labeling of a dark skinned healer a “hoodooist n-g-r!” (not that anybody in Poughkeepsie that I know of actually did this).  It was a personally defined sociocultural prejudice being expressed, not the results of any non-political fact-based study of the doctor’s claims being made on main street at the grand hotel.  Likewise, it takes too much effort for someone who is a writer in situ to try to understand someone like Arkalus and then write down what you see, much less a writer trying to recapture the past in your recollections of these times in medicine.  No medical history writers on Hudson Valley medical history have ever given a full story of the field and the way it was practiced during colonial and post-colonial years.  Yet the members of this profession today continue to behave s though they have told us all the truths that were there to be told about medicine, which is to say that in actuality they told us all of the truths in medicine that were “meant to be told” based on their culturally biased interpretation of the past.  These historians failed in providing for us an accurate history, but succeeded in meeting their needs and ulterior motives.

What most medical professionals want you to see and say, is that they did the best things possible for the time, even though some of these activities were disgustingly wrong, performed by someone who lacked much common sense, or at least failed to see why even prayer performed by non-religiously devoted patients would have had a better outcome than the end results of their use of the surgical set.  These are the physicians who wanted to “trephine” you until you began to perceive things the way they want you to see and pen them.  As a patient, this hole-boring process through the skull was performed to “make a point”.  As a writer, this figurative act of medicine was done to make sure you are on their side as a status quo writer.


It is due to this cultural bias the bulk or main leaders of the medical profession has towards their counterparts that results in this kind of social behavior. For regular doctors it is much easier to simply make the public follow your beliefs and intentions, even though they include philosophies as deadly as true sin itself, like the need to lock away the insane, cut off an infected leg because you don’t know what else to do, or perform electroshock therapy because you just discovered how to and don’t know what else to do with this new skill.   If you are a writer, writing about “Quackery” instead of the more humane ways to treat your ailing neighbor, then you don’t really have to deal too much with the negative traits of a regular physician’s medical knowledge and philosophy.  This philosophy and the doctors support it enable you, as one of the numerous medical writers out there not accomplishing that much outside the norms,  to direct your attention back to that cultural bias you grew up with, and were trained in, with regards to medical writings,  You. like them are readers of and slaves to the Lancet (pun intended)

This is why we have never heard about who and what Dr. Arkalus Hooper was in local Hudson Valley history.  In spite of the numerous historians who before me have tried to learn about the local history of medicine, unlike myself these researchers have initiated their work with a prejudiced way of interpreting the past.  Unfortunately history of medicine writers are often not in touch that much with the the philosophy of things, such as a personal’s human features, his or her belief in a tradition.  To fully understand the other physician’s personally philosophy and psychology, you must come to an understanding of and then drop your own personal prejudices drummed into your mind by the allopathic principles of most medical history.  Principle number one–the lancet is okay, but lets forget that for the moment because what the other profession is doing is not like our own, it is therefore much worse.   Medical historians considered “safe” to read by allopaths are those who don’t bring up the embarassing history regular medicine is riddled with.   The regular doctors after all did do somethings that were very right, they managed to make some discoveries that helped the medical field advance as much as it did back then, in spite of the numbers of patients being bled to death.     

A good medical historian and writer had to transcend their own prejudices they are taught by most regular medical profession associated historical experts.  It is for this reason that some of the most important sociocultural examples of old medical history are never studied and written about by the medical historians of the past two centuries.  This is why Dr. Arkalus Hooper was never looked into that much by past historians (as well as Fishkill’s Metalic Points doctor Robert Todd, covered on another page).    Such writers who are not at all learned in another man’s traditions are not only mislabelling these practitioners, imposing their own culturally-defined prejudices upon another in their trade, they are doing the profession of history no good, by recounting a history, or redefining using their own culturally-biased twist to the study, rather than discovering a new one.  

Arkalus was a preacher of his family’s traditions, not a “quack” like most medical writers like to label this type of healer.  It is lack of knowledge and lack of desire to understand other traditions that make these writers so ethnocentric in their ways.  If a medical history is too lazy to learn another philosophy, he/she uses the easy way out of engaging in such work–the personal and very subjective definition of “quack” is applied.  Such is not the results of work of a true scholar, just a lazy researcher with predefined prejudices when such work was initiated.  Arkalus’s practice is important to understanding Hudson Valley traditions because it provides very important insights into people, not the absence of local medical laws.  Arkalus’s teachings, preachings and practices were the result of beliefs that locals in the Hudson Valley had yet to learn, but in 1816 were about to hear plenty about. 

Hooper’s personal philosophy was quite distinct from much of the philosophy and religious practices promoted in Dutchess County.  Whereas the Dutch tradition of the valley had already given the region much of the appreciation people felt for God and nature as part of the Reformed Protestant faith, and the Episcopalians the teachings of herbal medicine, it was up to Hooper to bring these people back to their roles as shepherds of the world and to make sure they clearly understood the value of God’s gifts to mankind through nature.   According to Arkalus’s philosophy, God had a reason for making events to happen, including disease and death.  The fact that Hooper’s travels to Dutchess County and ultimately to Poughkeepsie occurred in 1815 was probably not a coincidence.  The Valley had just experienced the ravages of Yellow Fever several times over the past two decades.  These were events that God forced upon people who were no longer faithful.  In many of the most devoted local religious followings, there is the fear that God punishes people for a reason.  For residents of the great cities of Philadelphia and New York, this punishment was considered due to their infidelity and lack of concern for the poor.  For this same reason, God did not send the yellow fever to the Hudson Valley.   But now that the local population was beginning to grow, and more people becoming poor, malnourished and sick, God’s judgements of this region could begin to change.  The numerous Almshouses established within the big cities in order to deal with the poor and sick might soon be required in Poughkeepsie if the local people weren’t careful.

What sort of evidence was out there pointing to specific places as possible plague-ridden areas?  Trinity.  To the religious leaders of Philadelphia, the best evidence that God sent the yellow fever to Philadelphia and then New York  was its recurrence in 3 year cycles.  This symbolized the body, mind and soul, as well as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.   In Philadelphia in 1797, it was this religious evidence that made some of the leaders of Philadelphia so worried about these epidemics, leading them to voice their concerns about this symbolism.  It was these fears that eventually led more than 40,000 residents to flee the city of Philadelphia in the Fall of 1797, as well as hundreds if not thousands from the City of New York as well.

Between 1797 and 1810, this new version of the famous “plague” led to the occupation and re-occupation of Poughkeepsie by numerous craftsmen, artisans, scholars and scientists who normally resided in New York City.  This is what brought to Poughkeepsie for the first time many of its new philosophies that couldn’t make it in New York city, philosophies that locals were very curious about and in short time willing to adopt as their own. In the past, one historian, Helen Wilkinson Reynolds, took note of this cycling of in-migrations and out-migrations for the Poughkeepsie setting, but was never able to document the exact reasons for these fluctuations in new people and businesses coming to Poughkeepsie.  But she was pretty close to uncovering the exact reason.

The public reaction to Yellow Fever is possibly why Hooper came to the Hudson Valley and ultimately the city of Poughkeepsie in 1816.  Arkalus was fortunate enough to have avoided much chance of contacting the yellow fever himself for most of his years of residency as a physician practicing in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  But this time, times had changed.  Arkalus felt he had something special to teach the local residents in the valley about religion, a  philosophy that he and his ancestors had known for quite some time.  These philosophies would be counter to, or further supporting of the traditions being promoted and practiced in Poughkeepsie throughout this trinity period of time (by then 15 or 21 years, depending upon when you start).  But before coming to Poughkeepsie, Arkalus tested and successfully promoted these beliefs up near the New York-Connecticut-Massachusetts border (the 3 states).  Now it was time for Arkalus to move into the heart of a region that was becoming more and more infected by sin, just like the two cities to the south of it.