Summon the Doctor! The Practice of Medicine in Colonial North Carolina

April 15, 2023, Cullman Performance Hall & Gateway Gallery, NC History Center

Learn about the various professional trades of 18th century medicine, to include Apothecary, Surgery, Military Medicine, domestic medicine, Midwifery and Dentistry.

This program will discuss the many aspects of 18th medicine from some of North Carolina’s most talented and enthusiastic interpreters and historians. This program will consist of two simultaneous parts and would be presented by speakers/interpreters in both Mattocks Hall and Cullman Performance Hall of the North Carolina History Center.

Part I: Six speaker presentations in Cullman Performance Hall, rotating every 15 minutes, in which each speaker will discuss their topic on 18th century medicine. Following each speaker’s presentation they will provide a short Q&A.

Part II: An interactive display in Mattocks Hall of 18th century medical instruments, medicinal remedies and other curiosities that will be staffed by five speakers, in costume, while presentations are being held in the Cullman Performance Hall.


Charles Brett. Charles is a Tryon Palace Volunteer and was previously a volunteer and Apprentice at the Pasteur and Galt Apothecary Shop in Williamsburg, VA. Charles will discuss the origins, education, and trade skills of being an Apothecary in the 18th century, both in England and British North America.

Chris Grimes. Chris is a volunteer and medical historian with Alamance Battlefield Historic Site, Guilford Courthouse Battlefield, Historic Halifax, House in the Horseshoe Historic Site and is a member of His Majesty’s Detached Hospital in North America. Chris will be discussing Dr. Alexander Gaston and the medicines he provided and sold in New Bern.

Mike Williams. Mike is a medical historian and is the Commanding Officer and Senior Surgeon of His Majesty’s Detached Hospital in North America, a non-profit organization that has presented numerous 18th century medicine programs and attended multiple historic events throughout the state and is widely consulted at other state historic sites on 18th century medicine such as Alamance Battlefield, Guilford Courthouse, Moore’s Creek Battlefield, House in the Horseshoe Historic Site and Historic Halifax.  Mike will be presenting his topic on 18th century military medicine and surgery, illness and injury in colonial military camps and various treatments available to medical professionals.

Shannon Walker. Shannon served as the Assistant Site Manager/Programs Coordinator for Brunswick Town/ Fort Anderson Historic Site in Winnabow, North Carolina.  Her current position is Curator of Education at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Southport, NC. Shannon is a medical historian/interpreter for the art of Midwifery and the practice of domestic medicine by women in the 18th century. Shannon will be presenting her topic on childbirth in the 18th century and the role women played in the practice of domestic medicine in British North America. (This would be particularly interesting for our Outlander fans)

Meghan DeLapp. Meghan is currently a tour guide and Medical Program Coordinator with Historic Bethabara Park in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Previously, she served as an intern while completing her undergraduate studies at Salem College. Meghan’s presentation will focus on 18th century medical practices amongst the Moravians, more specifically on Dr. Kalberlahn and the diary entries Historic Bethabara Park has on hand from the early years of the settlement.

Matthew McCarthy. Matthew has been a tour guide with Historic Bethabara Park in Winston Salem, North Carolina for the past three years and serves as a program developer and advisor for the Medicinal Garden at Bethabara.  Additionally, he has created several virtual field trips on Count Zinzendorf and his wife, Erdmuth, who were important figures in the Moravian religion in the 18th century. Matthew will be discussing a variety of herbs and plants found in the Medicinal Garden at Bethabara Park that were used to treat stomach aches, headaches, and, most commonly, intestinal worms, which were significant ailments to both people and livestock in the 18th century.