Letters to the editor

December 20, 2004

A history of medicines

To the editor:

Your article titled "Fort's cancer institute seeks natural remedies" in The Morning Herald issue of Dec. 6, reminded me of Ole Dr. Peter Fahrney's (1767-1837) theory stated in the "History of the House Fahrney" by The Dr. Peter Fahrney & Sons Co., of Chicago, Ill., dated 1892. A paragraph copied verbatim from the original is as follows:

"To a pious and reverential soul, indeed, nothing could be more reasonable than that Nature should grow remedies for all the ills of flesh. Peter could see instances in which she had done so for the domestic animals, and wherefore not also for the supreme animal called man? If the sickened horse or dog may find along the hedgerows a medicine for its distemper, is it not certain that human beings are similarly provided for? We believe that the Allwise has created nothing that is worthless, nothing without its use, and who may say what virtue dwells in the humblest wild flower, or even in those vegetations that we spurn as "weeds," but which wisdom assures us are but "flowers in the wrong place."


So Dr. Ole Peter Fahrney pursued his search of botanical plants in the Mapleville area. He made contacts with the Indians and studied the potential of plants in his laboratory, the little building alongside the road, Md. 66, at the entrance of the Fahrney Keedy Memorial Home. He used his findings to formulate patented medicines. Dr. Daniel Fahrney, a son, and Dr. Daniel Fahrney Jr., a grandson, both merchandised the medicines in Hagerstown. Dr. P.D. Fahrney merchandised the medicines under the Victor Products name in Frederick. Dr. Jacob Fahrney and grandson John Burkholder merchandised them in Quincy, Pa. Dr. Jacob's son, Dr. Peter Fahrney of Chicago, was the most successful.

He merchandised the medicines nationwide from Chicago under the name "The Peter Fahrney & Sons Company." His sons sold the company to Frederick Purdue in 1966 who sold it in 1977 to an investor in New York. The Fahrney Reunion Association traced the transactions and in 1993 purchased several bottles of Dr. Peter's medicines from the New York company. The medicines were in plastic bottles but carried a copy of the original Dr. Peter Fahrney's name.

Dr. Peter Fahrney of Chicago bought the lands owned by Dr. Daniel Fahrney and Dr. Welty Fahrney in early 1890s. They were improved with the farm buildings, with Ole Dr. Peter Fahrney's office building and laboratory and with the eight-room Sanitarium of Maryland (San Mar) built by Dr. Welty Fahrney and wife.

Dr. Peter of Chicago renovated his grandfather's little office building and lab and incorporated it in Washington County in 1896 as a museum in memory to his grandfather. In 1905, Dr. Peter of Chicago gave the eight-room sanitarium and the museum on three acres of land to the Church of the Brethren for a Fahrney Memorial Home. The Fahrney medicines we purchased in 1993 are currently on display in the 1896 museum on the Fahrney Keedy Memorial grounds.

My grandmother was Laura Fahrney Slifer, a great-grandchild of Ole Dr. Peter Fahrney.

Omer M. Long

Calling vets from the 26th

To the editor:

In the group of draftees from Hagerstown in August 1943, four men eventually ended up in the 2nd battalion of the 101st Infantry Regiment of the 26th (Yankee) Infantry Division. Two of them, Wayne Kiser and Asher Edelman, who were neighbors and friends, were both in Company H as machine gunners, and fought in Europe from September 1944 to the end of the war. Of the other two Hagerstonians, Willis Altenderfer was K.I.A. and Robert Wallace, who died several years ago, became a P.O.W. Kiser and Edelman returned home as T/Sgts.

For the past several years, Kiser has been hosting a Company H reunion at his home near Williamsport, Md. Veterans from as far away as Massachusetts and Louisiana and points in between have attended.

Any 26th Division veteran who would like to attend, contact Kiser or Edelman in Waynesboro, Pa.

Asher Edelman
Waynesboro, Pa.

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