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Brooklyn Daily Eagle
New York, USA
10 May 1865

The Indian Herb Doctor.




Full Particulars of his Arrest at St Louis.


The arrest of Dr. Tumblety, whose intimate and confidential relations with Harold, the conspirator, were first published in the EAGLE, is thus fully set forth by a St. Louis paper:

The following paragraph from a telegraphic dispatch, was published in all the papers yesterday morning:

It appears Harold turns out to have been the agent and confident of the notorious Dr. Tumblety, who lately suddenly disappeared from Brooklyn.

The "notorious Dr. Tumblety" spoken of, who has for some time past been massing a fortune in this city, under the nome de plume of the Indian Herb Doctor, and who had previously assumed the name of Dr. J. H. Blackburn, was yesterday arrested by a United States detective, on a charge of complicity with the assassination of President Lincoln. Dr. Tumblety will be summoned to Washington to undergo examination. Harold and the Herb Doctor are said to have been partners in Brooklyn, and this bare fact may have given rise to the report which is now circulated through the telegraph. The Doctor maintains that the charge is utterly without foundation, and it is rumored that he will demand of the Provost Marshal full restitution or exoneration.

Tumblety is a character of national or international reputation. His eccentricities and oddities are the subject of general comment here, and have awakened curiosity in all the principal cities of the country. He originally started in his career, we believe, in Rochester, N.Y., where, when quite a boy, he was employed at first as servant or errand boy in the office of Dr. Lispenard, on Exchange place, a celebrated special practioner. He afterwards studied medicine with Lispenard, and graduated in a short time, and it is stated left Rochester unceremoniously. In 1857 he appeared in Toronto, Canada, and opened an office on King street, where crowds of people daily flocked to his rooms to test his wonderful vegetable cures.

In front of his office was displayed as a sign, a large pair of buck horns, which he claimed were presented to him by an Indian chief named "Sundown," a savage of the plains, with whom he was intimately acquainted. In Toronto he was periodically assailed and denounced by the resident physicians for practicing without license and invading upon their rights. Be that the case or not, he certainly reaped large grains from his eccentric pretensions, and produced numerous witnesses to attest the skill with which he cured human ailments. He next visited Montreal, Canada East, and went through the same programme, being assailed by the regular profession. The public prints at the time in that city berated the Doctor extensively, and it is stated that he was compelled to leave the city on account of cases instituted against him in the courts. Whether such prosecutions were but part of the persecution he was subjected to or not, we leave the public to judge.

In '62 the Doctor turned up in Washington City and located his office on Pennsylvania avenue. He was the general feature of curiosity in the city, drawing attent[i]on from the distinguished men of the nation and exciting general remark on account of his peculiarities of dress. It is said that he would appear in two or three different outfits upon the street in as many hours, being always known by his tall form and dignified step, his curly hair and mammoth moustache.

Often would he be seen down the prominent thoroughfare, mounted upon a spotted circus horse, richly accoutred, and displaying fine horsemanship, or at other times would appear upon the promenade followed by a fine looking mulatto and a mouse-colored hound, which he still retain[s]. Since that time he has visited New Orleans and nearly all the principal cities of the United States, meeting everywhere with ast[o]unding success--the lion among the bloods, and the gayest of the gay. It is said that he never returns to a place after once leaving it, but bears with him always, great pecuniary consolation.

It is stated that several years ago, the Doctor visited Buffalo, N .Y., and announced to the public, through the columns of the press, that he would, the day following, meet any merchant of that city on the steps of the Merchants' Exchange, and there distribute fifty sacks of flour to the poor. The proprietors of one of the papers, desiring to know more about the Doctor, telegraphed to Toronto, inquiring who he was, when the answer came back from the Bank of Toronto, "His check ir good for $60,000 in this bank." At the appointed time the Doctor distributed to the poor his fifty bags of flour, and the next day published advertisements and issued hand bills, announcing to the too credulous public that he was cure "all the ills that flesh is heir to." Of course, his charity was more than repaid.

In this city his history is one of unprecedented success and great notoriety. His eccentricities of dress and business ingenuity have been subjects of comment for some time. His offices have been crowded with applicants for medical relief, and the daily papers have been filled with notices of his "wonderful cures." It is said that when he first opened his office on Olive street, he hired a newsboy to perambulate the streets, with his face painted red like an Indian boy, and his head adorned with long feathers. This boy would stand at the foot of the stairs, and deal out to passers programmes and "dodgers." Most of our readers will doubtless remember the arrest of the doctor some time ago by the Provost Guard for appearing in the street in military clothing.

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       Press Reports: Bucks County Gazette - 13 December 1888 
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       Press Reports: Evening Star - 11 May 1865 
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       Press Reports: Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel - 18 November 1890 
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       Press Reports: Galveston Daily News - 7 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Hamilton Evening Times - 29 May 1865 
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       Ripper Media: A Few Passages in the Life of Dr. Francis Tumblety 
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       Victorian London: Batty Street