A few months back, on my other blog - Notre Dame and the Civil War - I wrote a post (here) explaining a few of the reasons why I enjoy writing articles, books, and this blog so much:
Two of my favorites are: 1) what you might call "cross-pollination": learning and sharing information with others interested in the same subject, often in ways you'd never thought of; and 2) my favorite favorite: interactions with readers.
I wrote the post soon after I was contacted by members of the family of the school's famous Civil War chaplain, Fr. William Corby, who kindly shared some period letters with me as well as other family stories.
It has happened again, this time in the context of my posts about patent medicines. With the permission of the writer:
I recently was searching online for Converse Treatment Co. bottles and came across your blogs from September, on the company. I am the great, great, great granddaughter of Herbert Sanderson and Carrie Converse Sanderson. My mother and I have always been very curious about the family and all of their business ventures but have found limited information. After reading your blog we have started to believe, while in the end it may have been a scam, the beginning of the treatment may have come from Martha E. Green Converse as a home remedy. While some family trees show that Martha and Ammon Converse only had one child, Carrie, others others show that there was a child with medical complications and passed away as a young boy. I was wondering if you could send me a file copy of your blogs about the company as well as copies of the letters you mentioned and any other information, for our family records. We have original letter head and a few bottles and have had fun hunting for them, some found in the most random of places. Thanks so much for you time! And if you have any questions as well, we'd be happy to try and answer.
Of course, I replied that I would happily share any information that I have! They replied with another gracious message:
I can't tell you how thrilled I am to hear back from you! Family History has always been so interesting and important to me, especially that part of my family. Most of what I have been able to learn of Carrie comes from news paper clippings about her later in life, living in Orlando. My parents, siblings and I moved to Ohio about 14 years ago, knowing my grandmother had been born here but her mother died in child birth and Herbert and Carrie(her grandparents) adopted her and moved her to FL. What we did not know and didnt learn until my grandmother passed away about 5 years ago, was that my siblings and I are the 7th non consecutive (my mother and uncle were born out of OH) generation to live not only in Ohio and in addition, the county we live in, was founded by Carries family. Pretty incredible to one day learn that the tiny town you have grown up in is where your entire family originated from. I'm so excited to be able learn more! So so happy I ran across your blog!
So there you go folks...there's no money or fame in this but a very satisfying feeling that I have helped someone learn more about their family...and that's plenty good enough for me!
The posts that she was referring to are a three-part series I did on the Converse Treatment Company's epilepsy "cure"...here, here, and here, including some company correspondence and a bottle from my collection.