A Journey of a Jerseyman from Haddonfield & the King of Siam

A pioneer in Medical History, NJ Naval Reserve Reformer and from South Jersey!

Meet Charles Shreve Braddock, Jr. He is a name most probably never have heard, but we all need to remember. His father, Charles Braddock, settled in Haddonfield in 1853, establishing the first drug store in town. Believed to be at the current Happy Hippo location on Kings Highway.

As per an article,

“The store is about 20 x 50 feet in dimensions and fitted in the best manner. The laboratory located in the rear. A full line of fresh drugs can always be obtained here, besides a full line of perfumery, sachets, sponges and druggists’ specialities. “

He married Anne (Zane) Collings (who was also from a bloodline of an old south Jersey family) and from there had their son, Charles S. Braddock, Jr.

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Near today’s current 207 Kings Highway. Perhaps, Mr. Braddock played here in his childhood.

He was born in Haddonfield January 27, 1863. He graduated from Jefferson Medical College in 1896. After graduation, became known as Dr. Charles S. Braddock. This south Jerseyan soon set off on an adventurous journey and changed the medical profession and I’ll try to explain the best that Yummy can.

Braddock after graduation served in the NJ National Guard for over 20 years. He served during the Spanish-American war. He was an officer on deck aboard the USS “Resolute” in the Battle of Santiago.

The Resolute was built locally in Chester, Pennsylvania. She was purchased by the US government on April 21, 1898. The Resolute departed New York City a month later and was used as a scout on the southeastern coast of Cuba. On July 3, 1898, the Resolute was present for the Battle of Santiago and went on to serve many more missions for the duration of the war.

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From the personal collection of Charles Braddock. The Battle of Santiago.

In personal letters from the war to his mother in Haddonfield, he describes his dislike for mangoes, but enjoyed bananas, green coconuts and other fruit he had not tasted before.

Something that always haunted Charles was his visits ashore in Cuba. A letter he sent dated 25 September while in Havana he notes,

“Every time I go ashore there I see sights that make me feel sick – mothers holding dead children in their arms, women literally skin and bone starving to death. I am always glad to get back on the ship.”

By 1903, the shock was wearing off, but the images were still in his mind:

“It used to make me heart-sick to see them; women, with little babies in their arms, nothing but skin and bones; literally, living skeletons. ” [Braddock, 1903:]

In 1903, Braddock had the itch to travel and put his doctor skills to use. He went on to Siam (present-day Thailand) to work as an assistant to Dr. H. Adamson (who also became world-renowned as a pioneer in the use of motors cultivating rice as well as in the field of medicine.) Adamson was a medical missionary and chief of the Royal Hospital in Bangkok.

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A young Charles Braddock.

Soon after Dr. Charles Braddock’s arrival, he became the chief health officer of the Siamese government. He was the first man to ever hold such a position. Appointed by the King of Siam. In his time in Siam, Braddock became a very intimate friend of the king. As soon as he was appointed began the battle against smallpox, cholera, plague, malaria and leprosy which were highly prevalent among the locals. He developed health and sanitation codes and also invented a life-saving vaccine against smallpox.

The vaccine of the time was called Tirus. Tirus was ineffective and did not work in the tropics due the extreme heat and humidity of the climate. Braddock went to work in his laboratory until he produced a more effective vaccine… And voilà! He succeeded in developing it!

Braddock also became a pioneer in the treatment of cholera. Cholera was depopulating Siam in the tens of thousands. In his fight against this gruesome intestinal disease, he burned village after village to sanitize conditions and developed the first isolation camps EVER known to exist. For his efforts, Braddock was awarded the Order of the Crown of Siam (Order of the White Elephant). The highest honor of the kingdom of Siam.

In 1910, Dr. Charles Braddock became very ill and suffered from high fevers. He was carried from the interior of Siam by natives and on elephants to a port, and then taken to Hong Kong. The doctor recovered there, and decided to return home. He was stricken with pneumonia on the way, and forced to stay in Italy for several months.

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Along Kings Highway.

After Dr. Braddock returned to the United States and recovered his strength, became medical examiner for the Interborough Rapid Transit Company in New York. He filled that position until he was stricken with paralysis. During his long absences he always maintained his Haddonfield home, a large Colonial house, which was filled with treasures that Braddock collected from all his adventures and stored in a fine collection of curios.

Doctor Charles Braddock, Jr., Died on March 21, 1917. Upon his death, He made headlines all over the world including the New York Times, The New England Journal of Medicine and many prestigious publications.

Upon his death, Dr. Braddock was a member of the Camden County Medical Society, the Medical Society of New Jersey and the American Medical Association.

In my research, I came across an article Braddock had written in a medical journal. I find these excerpts extremely entertaining about his life among the Siam people.

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A scene of Siam in 1890. Perhaps, the good doctor saw places such as this?

“The native Siamese, Malay and Chinese doctors, although they are far away from teaching medicine in a scientific manner, still use many valuable drugs and modes of “treatment”, and there is always something to be learned from them even though it may seem absurd to us at first glance. Thus the Chinese doctors often succeed in treating disease successfully by massage, by acupuncture, cupping and hydro-therapeutics. Their fundamental knowledge, however, is alarmingly small.

To diagnose diabetes, the urine is placed out of doors in a glass, and if the ants come to it it contains sugar. This is a sure and reliable test.

The ordinary people among the Siamese have a great belief in holy
water as blessed by the priests, and in a difficult labor the priest blesses the water, which is thrown on the attap roof and is caught as it runs off and drunk by the woman with the idea that it will make her labor easy.

After the child is born (I speak now of the common people), the woman lies on a plank or low bed, with a charcoal or wood fire burning in a brazier in front of her, and within a foot of her for fourteen days, and this in a tropical climate! Great numbers die from heat stroke, uraemia, etc. This is called lying by the fire. There is no reason for it, and Dr. H. Adamsen has done a great work for humanity by getting the higher classes of the Siamese women to use a hot-water bag instead of a fire.

The Annamite custom, as practiced in Cochin, China, is still more inhuman, as the woman lies over the fire like a fish on a broiler, and the death rate is very great also. I used to tell some of their husbands I would like to roast them awhile, but the trouble lay with the women, who would not change their customs. I remonstrated with them, but they said their mothers and grandmothers had always done this way, and they expected to do the same.”

Dr. Charles Braddock, Jr. of Haddonfield….you are not and will never be forgotten by Yummygal! After all, you are a part of our robust south Jersey history. I have to say, the more information I uncovered about the good doctor, the more intrigued I became. He led an incredible life and died at only 54 years of age.

Until our next adventure, my friends!

-The Yummygal

3 thoughts on “A Journey of a Jerseyman from Haddonfield & the King of Siam

  1. The photo labeled “along King’s Highway” caught my eye: I lived in the narrow house at the end when I was five years old. The house in the foreground with the porch was the home and office of our MD, Dr. Clark. The entire block was used to house troops during the Revolutionary War.

    • CL, plan to do a whole series on Haddonfield. Just you wait! Just have to find the time, but I have all the photos and information. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your memories and history.

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