The Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop was built in the eighteenth century. It has been restored to be the Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, which is a museum about medicine, pharmacy, and military affairs. Dr. Mercer helped the people of Fredericksburg with different medicines and treatments that were used at that time because he was a doctor. One example of medicine he could give someone was leeches or snakeroot or crab claws.
Dr. Mercer practiced medicine for fifteen years in Fredericksburg. His patients included Mary Washington. Dr. Mercer left his practice to join the Revolutionary army and died as a Brigader General at the Battle of Princeton. Costumed interpreters give tours of the first floor of the museum, where guests can visit more floors by themselves or with someone else if they want to look for things that are on those floors too. Guests can also go outside to enjoy the gardens whenever they would like during their tour, but some people might not want to go outside more than once during their tour, so visitors should make sure they are ready before going outside by themselves or with someone else if they want to look for things that are on those floors too
There are a few books available for purchase at the Apothecary. The Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop is one of Washington’s Heritage Museums and is within short walking distance of its other sites: The Mary Washington House, Rising Sun Tavern, and St. James’ House.
Hugh Mercer was a Scot. He was a warrior and friend of George Washington. He became an apothecary with the advice of George Washington.
A Scottish war doctor who escaped from his homeland, Mercer came to America in 1747. He was running away from people who were hunting down survivors of a battle. In America, he met George Washington at a Masonic lodge and they became friends.
Mercer opened his practice in Virginia. Washington’s mother was one of his patients. Mercer fought in the Revolutionary War, but he died before it ended. His friends made many things for him after he died. The county, museum and old shop are all things that his friends made to honor him because they loved him so much when he was alive
The apothecary building has been well maintained and historically preserved. The staff are in period costumes and will gladly talk about the medicine and ingredients used in Colonial medicine.
The guides are very knowledgeable and will tell you about 18th-century cures, like bloodletting (leeches can be seen), dentistry in the time period, and how the surgery was done during the Revolutionary War. There is also a garden in the back that still grows many of the same herbs that were used inside to make things for people then.
Mercer’s surviving apothecary shop is in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It is close to the Kenmore House, which was owned by George Washington’s mother Mary. There are also antique shops and hipster hangouts near the store. The mix of places makes this an interesting place to visit with a piece of American history that you can see too.
To get to Hugh Mercer’s Apothecary Shop, from I-95 North in VA, take Exit 133 A for Falmouth. Keep straight on US 17 for half a mile, turn right onto Cambridge Street, drive 1.6 miles, turn left onto Princess Anne Street and go .4 miles. Then pass the Sunoco station and stay straight on Princess Anne Street for .7 miles. Turn left at the Caroline Street intersection and drive 333 feet down Caroline. Then you will reach Amelia Street intersection if you have gone past the shop. There is free parking available on street or a paid four-story garage about 4 blocks down from Amelia street intersection to fully occupy your time when looking for a parking spot.
If you’d like to learn more about Fredericksburg, click here to read about The Historic Kenmore Plantation & Gardens.