Dr. Meeks Cabin and Pioneer Farmstead
Dr. Priddy Meeks was the first doctor of Southern Utah. His medical practices were Thomsonian Medicine (an herbal medicine practice). He lived in Parowan, UT with his family for 10 years (1851-1861) where his cabin was his office and still exists today. In 1988, the landmark was made and named after him. The Parowan Library holds his diary and other information today of his life and Herbal Medicine practices in Southern Utah. Visitors to the Priddy Meeks Cabin and Pioneer Farmstead can tour the original cabin with historic furniture, as well as some of the original household items and photographs. The wood was molded together instead of nailed, using a technique that created a surface the feels as solid as brick. The Pioneer farmstead also includes some of the original farm buildings with antique garden tools, as well as a garden that has been maintained to match the appearance of the garden from that time period, complete with some of the herbs and roots Dr Meeks would have used.
Backstory and Context
Priddy Meeks married Polly Bartlet at the age of twenty. Together they had four children. After Polly Meeks passed away. Priddy Meeks remarried twice. First to the widowed mother of one child, becoming the step-father, and then later married that daughter with the consent of her birth father. Priddy Meeks became interested in the study of medicine when his daughter Huldah died from Whooping Cough. "I am convinced it was his medicine that killed her, Meeks reportedly declared.
Meeks found that herbs and roots were used by some doctors such as his brother-in-law, Priddy Mahurin. Priddy Meeks was still living in Illinois at the time with his two wives, and they joined the LDS church in 1840. After a few years in Nauvoo, Illinois, Priddy Meeks developed a reputation as a healer. He tended to many patients in Illinois until in 1845 when Joseph and Hyrum Smith of the LDS church were murdered while in prison. Meeks and his family soon joined other LDS church members as they fled to Utah Territory in 1847. It was not until the year of 1856 Dr. Priddy Meeks had gotten married to his third wife Mary Jane, who was only 17 years of age while he was in his early 60’s.
When in the Utah Territory, Dr. Meeks moved to Parowan where he grew many herbs and roots that were needed to practice Thomsonian Herbal Medicine. In Parowan, Meeks became well known as the best (and only) doctor in Southern Utah.
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