Old-fashioned dentistry

I was going through some of the papers in my genealogy files yesterday and ran across this little gem describing how my great-grandfather practiced “dentistry” long ago on the mountain near Beersheba Springs, Tennessee.

This was written by Norma Tate Robertson 4328 for the descendants of Victor Lafayette Tate at their annual family reunion near the Stone Door on August 18, 1985.

On March 19, 1982, David Eugene 727 and Hubert Carl Tate 724 talked about Pappy Tate 713 (Victor Lafayette) pulling teeth. Pappy Kissling (Arnold) used to bring a pint of moonshine to Pappy Tate and woud sit on the porch and drink all of it. Then he would say “O.K. Wic, I guess I’m ready”. Then Vic would take an old pair of nickle coated, rusted and peeled forceps out of a drawer (from Thomas – an old chest of drawers made by Thomas King which had three large drawers on the bottom and two small drawers on top that sat back – forceps were kept in one of the small drawers). Vic would put one hand on Pappy Kissling’s forehead and take the bad tooth in the forceps and twist it back and forth and you could hear the tooth break loose and then he would pull it out. Pappy Kissling would take a hand full of salt and put it into the hole where the tooth was, to keep it from bleeding.

Pappy Tate puled teeth anytime anyone wanted one pulled – even pulled horses teeth with the same forceps.

The forceps had a hole for the thumb and the other side was curved so it would fit around a hand and would not slip when pulling.

Pappy Kissling’s wife didn’t like for him to drink but he did every so often anyway. Having a tooth pulled was a good excuse.

And I thought going to the dentist was no fun now!