In my lengthy study of local history and genealogy it is my observation that in the 19th century, physicians did not enjoy excessive domestic tranquility. I attribute this to the long hours they spent traveling to and from visiting patients in those days before hospitals and central offices; the irregular payment of bills (one could use only so many dressed chickens and loads of firewood); and the frustration those physicians must have felt when they were unable to help a sick or injured person in those days before antibiotics and other treatment procedures that we now take for granted.
A good example of this situation was Dr. Bramin S. Smith of Monroeville, who died there on Jan. 7, 1878, under these circumstances: He had been living in his offices, and that morning a passerby saw him lying (apparently deceased) on a lounge in the front room of his office. The door was locked, so help was found to force the window and enter. It was easily discerned that the doctor had succumbed to "consumption, that fell destroyer,' which we know as tuberculosis of the lungs.