Life of John Harper

Life of John Harper

Birth of John Harper

November 22, 1826

Death of Gerard Harper

September 9, 1843

John Harper's Grandfather Gerard Harper passes away from typhus.

Harper Family Evicted

November 17, 1848

Unable to pay their rent due to the potato famine, the Harper family is evicted. Shunned by their neighbors, Mary Harper's generosity was forgotten by the very people she helped when they were needy.

Death of Ruth Harper

December 6, 1848

John's young sister Ruth dies. John's mother Mary never recovers from the loss.

Death of Mary Harper

December 17, 1848

Mary Harper wastes away from grief.

Death of Finn Harper

January 3, 1849

Unable to feed his family, yet trying to his last breath, John's father Finn passes away, leaving John to fend for himself and his sister Aine.

John and Aine get jobs at the soup kitchen

January 16, 1849

After converting to Protestantism for a few mouthfuls of soup, John notices the chef has a few broken fingers. He sets and casts them, and in gratitude the man gives John and Aine jobs carrying and stirring soup.

John Harper discovers the antiseptic properties of heat.

January 23, 1849

John spills boiling soup on a hand cut from the edge of a cauldron, and notices it heals faster than an identical cut on the other hand.

John Harper attends Queen's College

February 7 1849 - May 25 1855

John attends Queen's college after the Chancellor remembers that Gerard Harper once saved his daughter from a gangrenous wound. John studies medicine and surgery and graduates cum laude in his class.

John Harper sails to America

June 1, 1855 - July 8, 1855

Unable to find a job and promised a free trip from the chancellor, John sails to America. On the voyage, he meets his future wife Amelia, and when the last bit of water begins to spoil, he saves the crew by straining and boiling the spoiled water after remembering what the boiling soup did to his hand, rendering it drinkable.

John discovers the antiseptic properties of heat

July 5 1855

John confirms his thoughts that somehow, heated water (or vinegar, as the captain suggests) treats wounds and renders spoiled water drinkable.

John Harper arrives in America

July 8 1855

John arrives in America.

John works with a cobbler

August 17 1855 - Nov 13 1855

A passing cobbler hears John remark about his father's work, and offers him an unpaid job with room and board. John accepts.

John works in a pub

November 13 1855 - June 22 1862

John saves the life of a pub owner set upon by a bunch of Irish-Hating thugs. John is employed as a waiter, while on the side treating men who have been in bar fights or have been mugged on the streets.

John takes ownership of the pub

June 23 1862

After the pub owner dies, he leaves the pub to John.

John gets drafted into the Union army

August 1 1863

After an officer sees what John has done with his patients, he drafts him on the spot, John's worst fear.

John serves in the Union Army

August 2 1863 - april 5 1865

John serves as a medic in the Union army, refusing to fire a gun. While on the field he keeps his supplies as well as a means to boil water, and a container of wood ash, a traditional remedy his grandfather used. He notices that (the creosote) wood ash helps with healing as well as boiling water.

John rescues Drew Mackenzie and Matthew Carson

October 19, 1863

John serves as a professor in the New York Medical College

1866 - 1897

John is employed as a professor at the New York Medical College. There, he continues his studies of antiseptic surgery, earning himself a name.

John Marries Amelia

March 19 1868

After a long correspondence, John marries Amelia.

Interview with the Medical and Surgical Reporter

April 13 1872

John is interviewed by the Medical and Surgical Reporter. John learned a few days earlier from Lister's research that his hypotheses had been correct, and his grandfather's use of wood ash had sterilized the wounds of his patients.

Ameila Dies

March 17 1895

John's love and wife dies of old age.

Death of John Harper

October 11, 1899

John Harper dies.

Real Events

Year Without a Summer

1815 - 1816

The Year Without Summer allows Finn Harper to get a job as a cobbler and farmer; the landlord who rents his house hires him as another source of food.

Potato Famine

1845 - 1852

The Potato Famine kills almost all of the Harper family, and starts John on his road to the Queen's College and his journey to America. It imparts a lasting fear of being hungry on John.

Queen's College, Cork opens its doors

February 5 1849

Queen's College, the source of John's education opens.

Queen Victoria visits Ireland

August 2 1849

Queen Victoria visits Ireland. John is part of the crowd who greets her, and he is crushed by what she does: nothing. He develops a resentment of the aristocracy.

Gang war between the Bowery Boys and the Dead Rabbits

July 4 1857

Civil War

1861 - 1865

The Civil war, the source of John's field experience. John improves his knowledge of sterile surgery through experience and trial and error.

Pasteur's first experiment

August 20 1862

Pasteur's experiments show that John was correct about boiling water, and it the small organisms that it kills that causes it to be effective in sterilization.

New York Draft Riots

July 13 1863 - July 16 1863

Here John rethinks his opinion of his fellow Irishmen, and continues to help wherever he can. He is seen helping black people, and his pub is looted and burned by the mob of angry people.

Lister publishes paper on sterilization

August 9 1867

John's hypotheses on sterilization are proven.

John Harper's Lifespan

John Harper's Lifespan

November 22, 1826 - october 11 1899