Dr. Jackson's Office
Originally built in 1820 in Westford, New York, this tiny Greek Revival style building had just one room that served as the office for the community’s doctor. A series of doctors continued to use the building for almost the next one hundred years.
During the 1840’s, doctors usually practiced outside their offices by traveling to visit patients at their homes. Therefore, doctors could use small offices without much storage as most of their equipment was portable. Rural doctors performed a variety of tasks including surgeries, tooth extractions, epidemic tracking, and baby deliveries in addition to more general medical care for ill patients.
Nineteenth Century Medical School
During the nineteenth century, doctors followed a variety of health care philosophies. After three years of training to be a pharmacist, they could become a doctor through an additional two years of apprenticeship or formal training at a medical college. Doctors primarily used medical publications to continue their education.
Doctors in Rural Communities
In addition to their medical responsibilities, many doctors also worked in other professions and played key roles in their communities. Dr. John Jackson, for example, also farmed, raised livestock, and served in a variety of public service roles. Elhanan Jackson also farmed as well as serving as the Commissioner of Common Schools and Overseer of the Poor. Young doctors looking to establish themselves in a rural community had to prove themselves and build public confidence. Doctors who integrated themselves into their communities were more successful in their practices.