Library of The Chathams

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Chatham, NJ 07928

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From John Cunningham’s Chatham: at the Crossing of the Fishawack (Chatham, NJ : Chatham Historical Society, 1967) p. 52One of Chatham’s leading physicians at the end of the 18th century was John C. Budd (1762-1845). ” ‘Old Dr. Budd,’ as he was called in his later years, was something of a practical joker, and he enjoyed his reputation of having secret and awesome powers over the spirits of evil and darkness. According to one tale, the physician was returning late one Saturday evening from a professional call in Short Hills when he noticed a light in the window of Day’s Tavern. He stopped, thinking that perhaps someone was ill, but found instead several guests playing cards despite Mrs. Day’s protests that she wanted to close for the night. Mrs. Day begged Dr. Budd to deal with the men. He ordered them to stop, pointing out that it was after midnight and they were desecrating the Sabbath. When they ignored him, he hinted that an evil spirit might be brought to bear upon them. The men laughed.Asleep nearby on the barroom floor were several young chimney sweeps. Dr. Budd quietly shook one boy awake and persuaded him, with a small cash payment, to portray the devil descending the chimney into the parlor. The chimney served both barroom and parlor. To lend realism, the doctor gave the boy a pair of chains and a fresh cowhide with horns and hoofs attached that he had found behind the tavern.

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