Main Menu | NJ Bicycle Routes | Great Jersey City Stories | New Jersey History | Hudson County Politics | Hudson County Facts | New Jersey Mafia | Hal Turner, FBI Informant | Email this Page
Removing Viruses and Spyware | Reinstalling Windows XP | Reset Windows XP or Vista Passwords | Windows Blue Screen of Death | Computer Noise | Don't Trust External Hard Drives! | Jersey City Computer Repair
Advertise Online SEO - Search Engine Optimization - Search Engine Marketing - SEM Domains For Sale George Washington Bridge Bike Path and Pedestrian Walkway Corona Extra Beer Subliminal Advertising Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs Pet Care The Tunnel Bar La Cosa Nostra Jersey City Free Books

Stories of New Jersey
The Schoolmaster And The Doctor
(Period, from 1693.)

By Frank R. Stockton

Originally published in 1896
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

There is a rather peculiar story told of this school in its early days. It had been established about two months, when the schoolmaster happened to be walking in the direction of the school quite late in the evening, and to his amazement he saw that the little room was brilliantly lighted. Now, as he and his scholar had left it in the afternoon, and he had locked the door, he could not understand the state of affairs. Hurrying to the house, he looked in at the window, and saw that the room was nearly filled with well-dressed men, who were standing and sitting around a table on which were spread cards and money. He saw that they were a company of gamblers; but how they came there, and why they came, he could not imagine. Of course, he could not drive hem out; but, after watching them for a little while, he boldly opened the door and went in among them,

They were so occupied with their game, however, that they paid little attention to him; and, after standing with them for a time, he remarked to one of them that he hoped that when they had finished their game, and were ready to go away, they would leave everything behind them in as good order as they had found it, and then he himself departed and went home. But the next morning, when he and his scholar came to the schoolhouse, he found everything as they had left it on the afternoon before; and this schoolmaster might have been excused if he had imagined that he had dreamed that he saw the curious sight of a company of gamblers in his schoolhouse.

But he found out afterwards that it was no dream. There was a set of men gathered together from the neighboring country, who regularly spent certain evenings in gambling for high stakes. They had discovered that there was no better place for their meetings than the little schoolhouse, which was tenanted by two persons in the daytime and by nobody at night; and, as it was so far away from the other houses, it was a very convenient place for their secret meetings, and they had been in the habit of assembling there almost from the very time that it was cleaned out and arranged for a schoolhouse.

When the schoolmaster found that he had devoted his energies to the establishment of a very flourishing gambling saloon, when he supposed that he had founded nothing but a weak little school, he took measures to prevent any further visits from the gentlemen with the cards and the money. After that, the exercises in addition, subtraction, and multiplication, were figured out with a pencil or chalk instead of being done by means of spades or diamonds.

In those early days the doctor was almost as slow in coming to the front as was the schoolmaster.

In fact, it is said that the first doctors in New Jersey were women, and that the people placed such faith in their abilities, that unless a case were very serious indeed, so that a physician had to be sent for from the city, they were perfectly satisfied with the services of the women doctors. It is also stated, that in those days the people of New Jersey were very healthy. These two statements can be put together in different ways: some may say, that, where people were so seldom sick, doctors of great ability were not needed; while, on the other hand, those who have a higher opinion of womankind might well believe, that, because women made such good doctors, the people were seldom sick.

It must be remembered, however, that the mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters of the people of this State, were formerly looked upon as of more impor- tance than they are now; and among the rights which they possessed in those early days, but of which they have since been deprived, was the right of voting. An early writer, speaking of this privilege, says, "The New Jersey women, however, showed themselves worthy of the respect of their countrymen by generally declining to avail themselves of this preposterous proof of it." It is very pleasant for us to remember that New Jersey was among the first of our States in which free and equal rights were given to all citizens, male or female, if they chose to avail themselves of them.

But when the population of New Jersey so increased that it became plain that the women could not be physicians, and attend at the same time to their domestic duties, the care of their children, and the demands of society, the citizens of New Jersey gave as earnest and thorough attention to their needs in the way of medicine and surgery as they had given to their needs in the way of college education; and the first State Medical Society in this country was founded in New Jersey in the year 1766.

It is said that some of the early doctors of New Jersey possessed great ability, and, although there could not have been many of them at first, they arranged for a suitable increase in their society, and nearly every one of them had one or more students.

A medical student in those days did not occupy the same position that he holds now. In fact, he was nothing more nor less than an apprentice to his master. He was bound to the doctor by a regular indenture. He lived in his family, and, when he was not engaged in his studies, he was expected to make himself useful in various domestic ways, often learning the use of the saw in the wood yard.

A very natural consequence of this domestic fashion of pursuing their studies was, that, when the young doctor started out to establish a practice for himself, he not only had a certificate or diploma from his master. but was also provided with a wife, for marriages of medical students with the daughters of their preceptors were very common.


Main Menu

Hudson County Facts  by Anthony Olszewski - Hudson County History
Print Edition Now on Sale at Amazon

Read Online at
Google Book Search

The Hudson River Is Jersey City's Arena For Water Sports!

Questions? Need more information about this Web Site? Contact us at:
297 Griffith St.
Jersey City, NJ 07307