Capsule Summary

On May 17, 1817, Samuel Jessup died. That was bad news for his apothecary, who had been suing him over an unpaid bill — over the course of 21 years, Jessup had taken 226,934 pills, an average of 10,806 a year. Between 1812 and 1816 he took 78 pills a day, 51,590 in 1814 alone. With the addition of 40,000 bottles of mixture, juleps, and electuaries, the druggist’s bill filled 55 closely written columns.

Despite all this — or perhaps because of it — Jessup lived to age 65.