2017 marked the 175th anniversary of Dr. Crawford W. Long‘s first use of ether as a surgical anesthetic in Jefferson (30 March 1842). Long first apprenticed under Dr. Grant in Jefferson in the mid-1830s before moving to Philadelphia and New York to complete his medical training. In 1841, Dr. Long was an astute observer of one of the social trends of the day, known as “ether frolics”, in which the participants enjoyed recreational use of the substance. Noting that they felt no pain, he theorized ether could be used as a surgical anesthetic and made his first test case removing a cyst from the neck of James Venable. Three witnesses confirmed the success of the operation and the absence of pain in Venable.
The circa 1858 Pendergrass Store building was transformed into an 1840s doctor’s office and apothecary to better interpret Long’s discovery, which paved the way for modern medicine. It serves as the Crawford W. Long Museum. After making my way from the courthouse to the museum to pick up a historic walking tour brochure, I had a nice visit. And better, I purchased a “got ether?” t-shirt, one of the coolest of its kind to be found in Georgia.
Jefferson Historic District, National Register of Historic Places