The text is from Southern Literary Messenger,Volume 1, Issue 9, page 519, published in 1835, by T. W. White [etc.], Richmond, Va.
THE RED SULPHUR SPRINGS.
We have received,and shall insert in the next No. of the Messenger, a continuation of the
"Visit to the Virginia Springs," the first portion of which will be found in the preceding pages. The second part contains much valuable information, relating paticularly to the Red Sulphur, which has recently risen into importance under the management of Mr. Burke, whose amiable and intelligent character is well known to the citizens of Richmond. As we consider it important, that the qualities of the healing waters which abound in this state, should be made known as extensively as possible, we anticipate the more ample information of our correspondent, by making the following extract from a circular just issued by the proprietor of the Red Sulphur Springs, (Mr. Burke):
"In that species of pulmonary disease attended by hemorrhages, unless the energies of life are completely exhausted, it never fails to afford relief. Sometimes, when the pulse beats 110 to 115, and the emaciated figure of the patient too plainly indicates the ravages made by repeated hemorrhages, and the unavailing efforts of physicians to arrest them, he comes to the Red Sulphur, drinks about four quarts of the water in twenty-four hours, lives upon plain farinaceous articles of diet, takes all the exercise his case will admit, and at the end of that brief period, his pulse falls to 80 or 85; his spirits revive, he continues daily to improve, and almost invariably, to gain a pound in weight every day. At the expiration of fifteen days, he becomes renovated, and pours forth his gratitude, by extolling the virtues of the waters on every occasion. This is the usual action of the waters, but there are cases in which their advantages are not perceived for two or three weeks. Such is the exhilarating effect of confidence and hope, that he soon forgets his late deplorable condition, and becomes guilty of some unhappy imprudence that endangers his propects.
"The luxuries of the table, or violent exercise, if indulged in, at this crisis, will cause incalculable mischief. In affections of the bronchia, this water, visited early, affords certain relief in asthma, it is highly valuable. In the early stage of genuine phthsical consumption, it will arrest its progress; and, by repeating the visit annually, and using the utmost self-denial, life may be protracted for many years, and rendered comparatively comfortable; but in the later stages, it is vain to hope for relief from any earthly remedy; and it is therefore unwise to remove from the consolations and comforts of home, the unfortunate patient, whose approaching dissolution is apparent to all except himself and his nearest relatives.
"When the patient has alternate chills and fevers, copious night sweats, and a pulse at l20 or 130; more-over, when it becomes necessary to check diarrhaa by opiates, and to sustain his sinking strength by juleps, what rational hope can be afforded by any remedy whatever?
"In diseases of the liver, this water is highly efficacious. In dropsy, rheumatism, gravel, gout, dyspepsia, tic doloreux, and epilepsy, it has been used with advantage. In cutaneous diseases, it seldom fails to effect a cure."
From the same circular we learn, that the accommodations at the Red Sulphur have been much enlarged since the last season, and that provision has been made for the reception of two hundred end twenty visiters, with their servants and horses. The efficacy of the waters in cases of incipient consumption, renders this an important place of resort for a large class of invalids, who may be assured of finding in Mr. Burke, a humane and considerate entertainer.
The text is from Appleton's Handbook of American Travel, The Southern Tour, published in 1866, by D. Appleton & Co., New York.
The Red Springs, in the southern portion of Monroe County, are 42 miles below the White Sulphur, 17 from the Salt, 32 from the Blue, and 39 from Sweet. The approach to these Springs is beautifully romantic and picturesque. Wending his way around a high mountain, the weary traveller is for a moment charmed out of his fatigue by the sudden view of his resting-place, some hundreds of feet immediately beneath him. Continuing the circuitous descent, he at length reaches a ravine, which conducts him, after a few rugged steps, to the entrance of a verdant glen, surrounded on all sides by lofty mountains. The south end of this enchanting vale, which is the widest portion of it, is about two hundred feet in width. Its course is nearly north for about one hundred and fifty yards, when it begins gradually to contract, and changes its direction to the northwest and west until it terminates in a narrow point. This beautifully secluded Tempe is the chosen site of the village. The northwest portion is occupied by stables, carriage-houses, and shops of various sorts; the southern portion, just at the base of the east and west mountains, is that upon which stand the various edifices for the accommodation of visitors. These buildings are spacious and conveniently arranged, while the promenades, which are neatly enclosed by a white railing, are beautifully embellished, and shaded from the midday sun by large, umbrageous sugar-maples. The Spring is situated at the southwest point of the valley, and the water is collected into two white marble fountains, over which is thrown a substantial cover. These Springs have been known and distinguished as a watering-place for nearly sixty pears The improvements at the place are extensive and well-designed, combining elegance with comfort, and are sufficient for the accommodation of 550 persons. The water of the spring is clear and cool, its temperature being 54 [degrees] Fahrenheit.
The text is from A History of Monroe County, by Oren F. Morten, published in 1816, Saunton, Va., Reprinted: Regional Publishing Company, Baltimore, 1974, 1980, 1988. Pages 201-210.
Red Sulphur Springs lies in a deep hollow, near the mouth of a small tributary of Indian Creek and 12 miles from Lowell, its principal though not its nearest railroad point. The elevation is 1600 feet. The waters, which have a temperature of 54 degrees, derive their name from a peculiar sulphur compound which is held on solution. It is separated in the form of a jelly by atmospheric air and also by acids. Mixed with a small quantity of common water and raised to a temperature of 80 degrees, this compound decomposes and gives off a powerful odor. But the spring water itself is colorless and transparent.
These waters have long been known to have a quieting effect on the circulatory and nervous systems, reducing the pulse and promotinp sleep. In catarrh, diabetes, chronic diarrhea, and other affections of the secretory organs, and in functional derangements of the heart and liver, they have been used with great success. But their greatest repute is in the treatment of pulmonary consumption. The water appears to combat the "great white plague" by building up the system and enabling nature to rid itself of the germ that causes the disease.
As a resort Red Sulphur Springs was opened in 1832 by a Harvey. In the spring of 1837, a company was incorporated, with William Burk as proprietor. Next year the Assembly authorized it to increase its capital stock by $50,000. In 1844 the license paid was $35, showing that the patronage was not so large as at Sweet Springs or Salt Sulphur. During the war the buildings were used as a military hospital. The property was finally purchased by Levi P. Morton, of New York, who is still in possession. Mr. Morton paid $10,000 and spent $40,000 in improvements. His representative at the resort was Dr. G. O. Glavis.
During the administration of Governor Dawson, the legislature of West Virginia appropriated $95,000 for a sanatorium for consumptive patients. Mr. Morton offered as a free gift to the state the mineral spring and ten acres surrounding it. A committee went through the form of inspecting the offer. The members came in bad winter weather, took a casual look at the place, and went back to make an adverse report. It would look as though such a report was predetermined. Mr. Morton was not even thanked for his proposition. A site was chosen at Terra Alta in Mr. Dawson's home county, and this meant a purchase instead of a gift. The unsavory nature of West Virginia politics lends a suspicious air to the performance.
The report of the committee was a mixture of prejudice and misrepresentation Red Sulphur Springs is surrounded by a well peopled farming community, and there is a large extent of bottom land on Indian Creek. As a source of country produce it would be as promising as that around Terra Alta. It is true that the spring is in a deep hollow, but the open plateau above, 400 feet higher in elevation, affords a more suitable site for consumptive patients than exists at the other point. On the whole, Terra Alta possesses no advantage over Red Sulphur, except that it is on a trunkline railroad. As a practical question, Red Sulphur is not too remote, and a small outlay would vastly improve the ease of reaching it. And finally, it possesses that in which Terra Alta is totally deficient; a mineral spring with an indubitable record of its healing power in tuberculosis.
Red Sulphur Springs is practically a closed resort. Since the contagious nature of consumption has become generally understood, the public has grown suspicious of buildings that have had every opportunity of becoming infested with the bacillus that causes the disease. But the water is there, and some way should be found to make this hygienic resource available.
Perhaps it should become the property of the national government, as in the case of the Hot Springs of Arkansas.
Just outside the springs property William Adair conducted a hostelry before the war and it was largely attended. Another of the same period was that of T. S. and Dunlap Campbell.
Not one of the three historic resorts of Monroe lies even close to a railroad. One is no longer open, another is almost in suspended animation, and the third has but a fraction of its old-time patronage.
A few other mineral springs occur in the county. Gray Sulphur, a mile east of Peterstown, has not been open for a long while. About midway between it and Sweet Springs is Crimson Spring, which has never developed into a watering place. On Hans Creek is the Larew spring the sulphur waters of which attract summer guests.
Copyright Valerie F. Crook, 1998, all rights reserved.