Medicine in a log cabin

Last week I was out-and-about again at Mill Creek Park for a presentation about medical history for a group of summer campers. What made this presentation so exciting was that it took place INSIDE the AUTHENTIC log cabin of the first Youngstown-born physician. Talk about setting the context!

The Log Cabin built c1814
The Log Cabin built c1817

I had read about the log cabin and Dr. Timothy Woodbridge (1810-1893) in Dr. Melnick’s book “A History of Medicine in Youngstown and Mahoning Valley, OH” but this was my first time inside the preserved log cabin. There were four owners of the cabin between 1817 and the 1840s. Dr. Woodbridge purchased the cabin in 1863 and had it moved about 2 miles to its current location on Price Road near Lake Glacier. (He also owned a parcel of land in town.) The cabin is situated near the road, which would have been important for all the traveling done by doctors at that time. Dr. Woodbridge may have cared for patients inside his own home, but more often he would have traveled to their homes or the location of an emergency.

set up for the medical history presentation
set up for the medical history presentation


Timothy Woodbridge was the son of John E. Woodbridge, who immigrated to Youngstown from Stockbridge, Massachusetts in 1807. John was a tanner and established a shop on the west end of town. Timothy attended Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and gradated in 1833. From 1847 to 1848 he worked in Brazil as the family physician of David Tod, who was serving as the United States Minister there. He resumed his practice in Youngstown until he was appointed a Surgeon in the U.S. Army in 1861. He served at the Johnson’s Island prisoner camp on Lake Erie for the duration of the Civil War. He continued his practice in Youngstown and in 1871 his nephew Dr. John Eliot Woodbridge joined him. In 1872 he was part of the group of physicians that started the Mahoning County Medical Society and served as its first president for seven years. In 1879, Timothy was appointed by President Hayes to be a Surgeon in the U.S. Army again. This time he was stationed at Fort Peck, Montana, where he was the medical officer for troops and Indians for about three years. He returned to Youngstown and continued to practice medicine until he suffered a stroke in 1892 which left him partially paralyzed and clouded his mind at times. He died in the City Hospital in 1893 and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.

To learn more about medical history of the Mahoning Valley, see the YouTube video here.

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