Cincinnatus Taft (1822 – 1884)


Born in Dedham, Massachusetts in 1822, Dr. Cincinnatus A. Taft was a graduate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York in 1846. He settled in Hartford that same year as a homeopathic doctor of which he was the third to locate to Hartford and the seventh in the state. He became one of the leading physicians of Connecticut and served as the Clemens’ family physician until his death in 1884. It should be noted that Dr. Taft predeceased Susy Clemens and, thus, did not tend to Samuel Clemens’ daughter when she developed, and eventually died of, meningitis.

As an extremely thinly young man, Dr. Taft was told by two doctors that his health problems were due to the fact that one of his lungs was not in working order, which they explained had been exhausted in his early life by a pulmonary issue. Neither physician expected him to live more than six months. Determined to live as long as possible, Dr. Taft began “self-medicating” with a bottle of brandy at his plate every dinner and living primarily on rare beefsteak to make blood and tissue. Dr. Taft died on June 26, 1884 at the age of 62. Many were certain that the loss of his lung had finally killed the respected doctor.

During his autopsy, it was discovered that both of Dr. Taft’s lungs were in perfectly healthy condition, but rather his stomach did not produce gastric juices allowing the body to break down food in order for the nutrients to be absorbed by the body. He literally died of starvation. It was determined that his diet to aid in the supposed problem related to his lack of a lung actually created gastric problems resulting in his death.

Sue Young Homeopathy. The Taft Family and Homeopathy. Accessed at on August 27, 2010.
King, William Harvey, M.D. Home of Homeopathy and its Institutions in America. Chapter XII: Homeopathy in Connecticut.  Accessed at on August 27, 2010.

Photo Credit: Homeopathy, Photo by Wikidudeman, Public Domain