Markham Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)


Health Care in Mount Joy

Health Care in Mount Joy

Byer Cancer Hospital

Christiana Byer used her father’s “old Mennonite remedy” to “cure” skin cancer. The “remedy” was placed on the tumour or growth to “draw the cancer out of the skin.” After the cream was removed, a healing ointment was applied. The process was described as painful and often left the patient disfigured. To exhibit the effectiveness of the remedy, the growths were often preserved in jars.

Since the hospital was not operated by a physician, there was no fee for the treatment. Revenue was generated by charging patients room and board. When Christiana’s son Peter graduated from medical school, he expected to run the hospital. However, he was denied a medical licence when he refused to divulge the details of Byer Hospital’s cancer remedy. The hospital was closed and Peter moved to Michigan to work in the Chrysler Automobile Corporation laboratory. The property was sold in 1922.

Byer Cancer HospitalSpringdale Mineral Springs or Baths

A brochure from 1886 and 1887 explains:

The advantages derived by the afflicted in the treatment of chronic and lingering diseases by the free use of Mineral Waters and bathing, combined with plain country diet and entire freedom from the cares and anxieties of everyday life ... has now come to be an acknowledged fact. By their internal use the stomach is washed out, the secretion of bile, saliva, pancreatic juice, perspiration and urine is increased, thereby promoting the elimination of [waste] matters from the blood and tissues, thus facilitating the building up of the various tissues of the body by the more ready {digestion] of foods. By their external use, in the shape of bathing, they prepare the skin for perspiration by softening and purifying it and increasing its circulation, stimulate the organic functions, promote absorption, and calm nervous and muscular irritability. The internal and external use of Springdale water has been pre-eminently serviceable in the treatment of dyspeptic troubles, particularly those arising from a sluggish circulation of the liver, in rheumatic gout, chronic rheumatism, and in convalescence from rheumatic fever, in chronic skin disease, the various forms of buric acid, gravel, and chronic affections of respiratory, digestive and genitor-urinary system. . . .Good enjoyable country board and lodging can be obtained on the premises.


Present day view of the Byer Cancer Hospital  Springdale Mineral Springs House