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A Midwife's Tale





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A Midwife's Tale Timeline

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Martha Ballard icon

Martha Ballard

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Science and Health

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U.S. History


1607 - 1753 | 1754 - 1794 | 1795 - 1997

1607

English colonists first attempt (unsuccessfully) to settle Maine, at Fort George on the Kennebec River. Other English colonists found Jamestown, Virginia.

1614

%Capt. John Smith explores and maps the northern New England coast. Smith will publish his Description of New England two years later and become an enthusiastic promoter of settlement.

1616

Plymouth Colony is founded by the Massachusetts Bay Company.

1628

A fur-trading post is established at Cushnoc (now Augusta). Maine's first settlers, fur traders, act as go-betweens with the American Indians. In New France, to the north, traders and missionaries are the first to settle.

1632

 

William Learned, Martha Ballard's ancestor, becomes a freeman in Charleston, Massachusetts.

1633

%April 12: Galileo Galilei stands trial for heresy after claiming that the earth revolves around the sun. Galileo recants his heretical theory.

1634

 

William Ballard, Ephraim Ballard's ancestor, crosses the Atlantic on the ship Mary & John. Part of the Puritan Great Migration, William will settle in Lynn.

%John Winthrop writes that smallpox has killed off the local native American population and made the way clear for European settlement.

1636

Harvard College, the first in British North America, is founded. Martha Moore Ballard's brother will later attend the theological university.

1645

 

Jacob Moore (Martha's ancestor) is born in Sudbury, Massachusetts.

1646

Fourteen women are hanged in Massachusetts and Connecticut after accusations of witchcraft.

1651

William Harvey publishes De Generatione Animalium, identifying the female egg's role in conception.

1652

Nicholas Culpeper publishes The English Physitian, or an Astro-Physical Discourse of the Vulgar Herbs of This Nation.

1660

Thomas Syndenham names his tincture of opium and alcohol "laudanum," from the Latin for praise.

1661

June 1: Mary Dyer, an English Quaker, is hanged on the Boston Common for her religious heterodoxy.

1663

Louis XIV of France chooses a male physician -- not a midwife -- to attend the delivery of his mistress's child.

1665

The Great Plague decimates London.

1668

Massachusetts Bay Colony declares its authority and protection over Maine. Maine will remain a territory of Massachusetts throughout Martha Ballard's lifetime. Ephraim Ballard will live to see Maine separate from Massachusetts and become a state.

1671

Jane Sharp publishes the first English treatise on midwifery, in which she attacks man-midwives.

1672

 

Mary Collins (Martha's paternal grandmother) is born in Middletown, Connecticut.

King Philip's War erupts in New England as Chief Metacum leads the Narragansett Indians in a rebellion against an annual tribute demanded by the colonial government.

1675

British soldiers massacre the Narragansett at their winter home in Rhode Island.

1676

August: King Philip's War ends when Colonial militiamen kill Chief Metacum in battle and take his head to Plymouth, where it will be displayed for the next 20 years.

1687

%Sir Isaac Newton publishes his Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.

1690

John Locke publishes Two Treatises of Government. Maine squatters will use Locke's arguments to challenge the Plymouth proprietors for whom Ephraim Ballard worked.

Dutchman Zacharias Janssen invents the microscope.

1692

Witch trials claim twenty lives in Salem, Massachusetts.

1697

 

Hannah Kidder (Ephraim's mother) is born in Medford, Massachusetts.

1698

Slave trading is legalized by the British Parliament, beginning the "triangle of trade" from New England to Africa to the Caribbean Islands and back to New England.

1702

Queen Anne's War (called the War of Spanish Succession in Europe) begins.

1702

 

Elijah Moore (Martha's father) is born in Sudbury, Massachusetts.

1704

Sarah Campbell Knight travels from Boston to New York, becoming the first white woman known to have made the journey alone.

1713

The Treaty of Utrecht ends Queens Anne's War.

1715

 

Dorothy Learned (Martha's mother) is born in Sudbury, Massachusetts.

1716

New York City requires midwives to be licensed.

1718

England's Lady Mary Montagu introduces English physicians to smallpox inoculation, which she observed being performed by old women in Constantinople.

1722

 

Jonathan Ballard and Hannah Kidder (Ephraim's parents) marry in Billerica, Massachusetts. Richard Moore and Ebenezer Learned (Martha's grandfathers) are Oxford selectmen.

1724

John Maubray publishes The Female Physician, in which he notes a trend toward physician-assisted childbirth, and away from midwifery. The English physician criticizes his colleagues for relying too heavily on instruments.

1725

 

May 17: Ephraim Ballard is born in Billerica, Massachusetts.

ca. 1726

 

Jonathan and Hannah Ballard move their family to Oxford, Massachusetts.

1731

Benjamin Franklin begins publication of Poor Richard's Almanack. Almanacs are common reading material in the colonies and early republic. The form of Martha Ballard's diary suggests that she may have used the dated page layout of an almanac at first.

1733

The Chamberlen forceps' design is published, although it probably was sold secretly by the Chamberlens before that.

1735

%A scarlet fever epidemic sweeps across New England.

1735

 

Feb. 20: Martha Moore is born in Oxford, Massachusetts.

1739

The Cato Conspiracy -- the British Colonies' first slave revolt -- takes the lives of 44 blacks and 30 whites in South Carolina.

1742

Fielding Ould, an Irish physician, publishes the first description of an episiotomy.

1744

King George's War -- an offshoot of the War of Austrian Succession -- breaks out between France and Britain in the Caribbean and in North America.

1749

William Hunter, a Scottish physician, is appointed surgeon-midwife to the British Lying-in Hospital. Hunter will consult in the delivery of Queen Charlotte, although a midwife will perform the actual delivery.

1752

William Smellie publishes his Treatise on Midwifery in London. Most births in Europe and British America are still in the hands of female midwives.

1753

James Lind, an Englishman, publishes his findings that lemons and oranges cure scurvy, an idea that was known previously but not believed totally.



1607 - 1753 | 1754 - 1794 | 1795 - 1997



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