There’s still more from Rupert Peyton’s 1952 article from the Sept. 14 issue of The Bossier Banner-Progress about Dr. J. S. Cheshire.
“In 1885 Mrs. Sarah Allen owed $10 and paid her bill partly with beef, a fore quarter, neck and shank bones. One G. B. D. paid his account in corn and mutton sheep in 1885 and got this remark ‘he will not pay me money. No Sir! No.’”
“There was one ‘M. M.., Esquire, hog thief and liar’ who wouldn’t pay up promptly and drew Dr. Cheshire’s wrath. ‘Confound his sort,’ Dr. Cheshire wrote. ‘Denies everything and pays nothing.’”
“But later the good doctor relented and the book records several other visits to M. M. and his family with bill duly paid. The same was true in other instances. He did not refuse a call.”
“Dr. Cheshire really regretted the departure of Sidney R. Bryan ‘an angel of a man.’ The doctor wrote this of Bryan: ‘August 30, 1885. A good customer gone to Texas. Goodbye old friend. I pray God’s blessing to follow him.’”
“There was one A. G. McCann ‘honest and good’ but one J. F. B. was slow about settling a $6 account. ‘He paid the above account in a yearling after five years,’ Dr. Cheshire wrote. ‘He is a skunk and a scamp and I wouldn’t medicate him again to save his life.’”
“But these seem to have been impetuous words written in a moment of strain, for the book records later visits to one J. F. B.”
“There was one Adolphus Kelly, sire of a great clan of north Louisianians, described as ‘pure gold’ who always paid his debts promptly. There was John Holtzclaw who also managed to pay. Edgar Cross was ‘Honest but poor.’” One Y. T. was ‘silver and gold he keeps it.’” But Y. T. paid up. N. R. was a ‘great man to promise but sure to fail’ and one G. B. ‘a liar and I believe a thief.’ There was Prince Blackshire who received this commendation: ‘Prince is a good and just Negro, paid me.’ W. G. was a ‘trifling lazy rascal who says he will pay me by Christmas but I don’t believe it.’ There was James Houston ‘cash man’ who paid on every call; Claiborne Cook who paid ‘bully for him;’ Alexander Hodges, ‘a splendid fellow;’ E. W. Hodges ‘who pays;’ Henry Morton paid his account in sheep, John Logan ‘pays his debts;’ John Holtzclaw settled his bill with a sow and three pigs and did some work on the doctor’s house; Mrs. Molly Stroud’s account of three dollars was marked ‘paid, paid, paid.’”
While Dr. Cheshire’s remarks about his patients continue on in his ledger, “true to the traditions of his profession, Dr. Cheshire followed his duty and not his temporary emotions. Apparently he never refused to medicate those who trifled on their accounts, for later stories revealed that he returned repeatedly to their bedsides and extended credit, too.”
The comments that I have not included in this series of articles are interesting, but next week I will conclude with the touching obituary of Dr. Cheshire’s wife Nancy Jane Sandlin Cheshire. The revelation of her life is a tribute to both her and to Dr. Cheshire.