Brother Philemon Stewart as Church Family Physician: Re-imagining a Portion of His “toiling, stormy, industrious, valuable life”
Although Brother Philemon Stewart is perhaps best known for his part in the Era of Manifestations, he was also notorious for his opinionated and somewhat obstreperous personality, his volatile career of “promotion and then demotion,”1 his single-minded pursuit of dietary “progressive reform” and his staunch support of nonconventional health regimes such as Grahamism and hydrotherapy (or water cure).
Brother Philemon, however, also had a strong influence on the practice of medicine at New Lebanon: first, in his role as principal male instrument during the Era of Manifestations, and second, through his brief but little-known tenure as a Church Family physician in 1844.
Recent original research has uncovered new details with regards to this Shaker brother that may offer scholars a further understanding of his life and zealous personality. This presentation will focus on Stewart’s attempts to change medical practice at the Church Family Nurse Shop, and, through the use of contextual primary materials, seek to re-imagine a portion of his “toiling, stormy, industrious, valuable life.”
American Communal Societies Quarterly
Available for download on Tuesday, April 01, 2025