THE Cortland County Medical Society was organized in 1808 in accordance with a law, enacted by the Legislature in 1806, incorporating the New York State Medical Society, and which law also required medical societies to be formed in every county of the State. This enactment was approved by Gov. Morgan Lewis, April 4th, 1806.
Cortland county was organized in the spring of 1808, having until that time constituted a part of Onondaga. As soon after the organization of the county as practicable, namely, on the 10th day of August, 1808, the following gentlemen, legally qualified to practice medicine and surgery, convened at the house of Captain Enos Stimson (now "The Windsor") in Homer village: Drs. Lewis S. Owen, Luther Rice, John Miller, Elijah G. Wheeler, Robert D. Taggart, Ezra Pannel, Allen Barney and Jesse Searl.
These pioneers in the medical profession of the county then and there formed a medical association under the name of the "Cortland County Medical Society," which has continued in active operation since that date to the present time.
The organization was effected by the election of the following members as officers of the society: Dr. Lewis S. Owen, president; Dr. John Miller, vice-president; Dr. Jesse Searl, secretary; Dr. Robert D. Taggart, treasurer.
Drs. Miller, Barney and Taggart were appointed a committee to draft a code of by-laws for the government and regulation of the society.
At the time of the semi-centennial anniversary of the society, August 10th, 1858, the honored and venerable Dr. John Miller, of Truxton---then our president---was the only one of the founders of the society still living in the county.
So far as the records show, the society was not represented in the State Medical Society until 1814, when Dr. John Miller was sent as delegate.
The opportunities for a thorough medical education at the time of the formation of this society were limited, and only those of wealth or who resided in convenient proximity to the few medical colleges then existing in the country could have the advantage of systematic instruction. Not one of the founders of the society had graduated in medicine. Dr. Miller, while a private pupil of Dr. Rush, in Philadelphia, had attended the lectures of Rush and Shippen, two of the founders of the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania, but did not complete his university course. But those men had been sufficiently instructed to know the value of education, and most of them sought to supplement it by the diligent study of such works as were then to be had. As early as 1814 or 1815 measures were taken to found a library for the use of the society, and Drs. Owen and Miller were appointed a committee to select such books as they had the means of purchasing. From time to time most of the surplus funds in the treasury were expended in the purchase of books, until a chose library of standard books and periodicals accumulated to the amount of about 200 volumes. After 1845 this co-operative plan of keeping up a central library, by additions to it, was discontinued, and each member urged and encouraged to supply himself with and study the latest and best works and periodicals, and thus to keep abreast of the advances in medical knowledge.
From the early records of the Onondaga County Medical Society we learn that the first meeting of that society was held July 1st, 1806, three months after the passage of the act establishing the State Society. At that meeting Dr. Jesse Searl, of Homer, became a member of the society. At the next meeting of the society, held October 7th, 1806, among the persons proposed for membership were Dr. Robert D. Taggart, of Preble, and Dr. John Miller, of Truxton. These three gentlemen were among the organic members of the Cortland County Society, and afterwards so prominent in its history, and were the only Cortland county physicians, so far as the records show, who were also members of the original Onondaga Society.
The following gentlemen were the organic members of the Onondaga County Medical Society: Drs. William Adams, Deodatus Clark, John W. Frisbie, Gordon Needham, Smith Weed, Jesse Searl, James Jackson, Daniel Tibbals, Isaac Benedict, Salmon Thayer and Walter Colton. At the next meeting of the Society in October, 1806, the following were proposed for membership, viz.: Drs. Jesse Munger, Robert D. Taggart, John C. Merwin, Silas Park, David Holbrook, John Miller, Calvin Wright, George Eagur, Joseph Ely, Samuel Porter, Bildad Beach and Samuel Furniss.
At the organization of the Onondaga Society, Dr. Frisbie was elected president, Dr. Needham vice-president, Dr. Tibbals treasurer and Dr. Walter Colton secretary.
We shall give brief sketches of the pioneers of this society, as well as of some of its more active members during the first half century of its existence.
Dr. Lewis S. Owen, the first president of the society, was born in the town of New Lebanon, Columbia county, N. Y., in 1772. His early education was obtained in the common schools of his native town. For a short time he attended the academic department of Williams College, preparatory to commencing the study of medicine, which was in 1795 or '96, with Dr. Stringer, of Albany, then a very prominent practitioner of that city. He concluded his medical pupilage with Dr. McClellan, also of Albany, and was licensed by the courts of Albany county in 1798, and came to the town of Homer in 1799, in which town he continued to live till his death in 1849, lacking but one month of fifty years' residence there. It is believed that Dr. Owen was the first physician who permanently located in what is now the county of Cortland. The country was new, the roads were bad, and often mere cattle paths through the woods. This state of affairs rendered his labors severe and fatiguing, but he pursued the practice of his profession steadily for nearly twenty-five years. He was said to have been a man of discriminating judgment and was reputed a sound and successful practitioner.
Dr. Owen was one of the original founders of the society in 1808, was elected its first president and held that office by annual election till 1820.
Dr. Owen was one of the founders of Cortland Academy, in 1818, and one of its trustees during the remainder of his life, and was for several years president of the board of trustees. The last twenty or more years of his life were mainly devoted to agricultural pursuits.
Dr. Jesse Searl, one of the best known and most influential for good in every word and work, was a native of Southampton, Mass. He was born in 1767, educated in the common schools of his native town, and pursued his medical studies with Dr. Woodbridge, of Southampton. He commenced practice in the vicinity of his native town, but came to this State not far from 1800, fixing his first residence in Fabius, Onondaga county. He came to Homer in 1803 or '04 and diligently pursued the practice of his profession until the year 1812, when he purchased and assumed the editorship of the Cortland Repository, at that time the only newspaper published in the county. From that time he attended but little to professional calls---at least, devoted himself mainly to editorial work, printing and publishing. Being a frail man physically, he could not endure the hardships incident to a physician's life in a new country, and hence his motive for renouncing medical practice for a less laborious occupation. It is related that while he devoted himself to medical service he was faithful to the trusts imposed upon him, and by his sympathy with the sick and kindness of heart won the confidence and esteem of his employers. Dr. Searl's education, general and professional, was somewhat in advance of most of his contemporaries, and he continued to improve it by diligent study and observation. He had the best private medical library in the county. He was a subscriber and reader of the only medical periodical then published in this country---the Medical Repository, published in New York. He was a regular attendant upon all the meetings of the County Society---was its first secretary, and held that position by annual election until the year 1820.
He was eminently a religious man and a worthy member of the Congregational Church from 1806 to the time of his death in 1834, at the age of sixty-eight years. "In all of the affairs of life, as a man, a Christian, a conductor of a public newspaper, and as a physician, Dr. Searl was consistent and faithful in their varied duties, and the poor always found in him a friend in time of need."
Dr. Robert D. Taggart was the son of the Rev. Samuel Taggart, of Colerain, Mass., and a twin brother of Dr. Samuel Taggart, jr., formerly of Byron, Genesee county, N. Y., and also a brother of the Hon. Moses Taggart, formerly one of the judges in the Supreme Court of this State. Dr. Taggart was born, reared and obtained his general and medical education in Colerain. He came to this State in 1804. He first resided for a short time in Pompey, Onondaga county. He came to Preble in 1805 and for a few months was a teacher of common schools, but was solicited by some of the people to establish himself as a physician, which he soon did. He was the first physician who settled in that town, if we except Doctor, afterwards Judge, Jabez B. Phelps, who, on account of some physical disability, never entered into general practice. His medical education was rather imperfect, even for that day, but he was a man of good sense, not rash, and acquired the confidence of the people and was popular as an accoucheur. He was a man of "good humor," having a good fund of anecdote and quick at repartee. In 1831 he removed to Byron, Genesee county, and entered into partnership with his brother. He died in 1843.
Dr. Ezra Pannel was also a native of Colerain, Mass., and was a part of the time of his pupilage a fellow-student with Dr. Taggart in the office of Dr. Ross of his native town. Little is known of his early history. He came into this county and settled in the town of Truxton in 1807, where he combined farming with the practice of his profession until about 1822, when he removed to Monroe county.
Dr. Elijah G. Wheeler came into this county from New Jersey in 1804 or '05 and settled in the town of Solon. He was well educated, a man of good abilities, and had the reputation of being a good practitioner of medicine, "but unfortunately was addicted to habits of intemperance, which rendered him an unsafe person to take charge of the sick. That very much injured his business and usefulness." He died about 1825.
Dr. Luther Rice was a son of Deacon Rice, one of the pioneers in the settlement of this county, who came into Homer---now Cortlandville---in 1796. It is not known where this son was educated but he established himself in practice in Homer about the year 1800. He was one of the original members of the County Society. He removed to Alleghany county, but the date is not known.
Dr. Allen Barney settled in the town of Homer in 1807. After a few years he removed to Cortland. He was a man of peculiar characteristics, obstinate in opinion, impatient of contradiction, receiving much credit for sense and ability by his roughness and crispness of speech. He removed to the State of Ohio in 1812, and died there soon afterwards.
The last, but by no means the least, of the original founders of the Cortland County Medical Society to be noticed is Dr. John Miller. We avail ourselves of the highly interesting memorial sketch given of him by the late Dr. George W. Bradford, in the Transactions of the New York State Medical Society for 1862.
Dr. Miller was born in the town of Amenia, Duchess county, N. Y., on the 10th of November, 1774. His early opportunities for education were very limited, he having attended a common school but one year and a classical school in Connecticut for about the same length of time. With these meager advantages he commenced the study of medicine in 1793 with Dr. Miller, an uncle of his, in his native county. After little more than a year he went to Easton, Washington county, and entered the office of Dr. Moshier. While pursuing his studies with Dr. Moshier he received a severe injury by being thrown from a horse. Owing to the severity of this injury he was obliged to suspend his studies for more than two years, during which time he was at his home in Duchess county. After several months of this enforced idleness he was advised by Dr. Baird, of New York, to seek a position in the then small navy of the United States. With this purpose in view, but much against the wishes of his family, he went to New York, where he was presented, by Dr. Baird and others, with letters of recommendation to Dr. Benjamin Rush, of Philadelphia, whither he repaired and presented his credentials. At that time young Miller was in bad health, very thin in body, and more than six feet in height. The venerable signer of the Declaration, not a little amused that so ghostly looking a young man should think of entering the navy, said to him: "Young man, you look much better fitted for a skeleton in my office than for a post in the navy." But as he had somewhat recovered from the fatigue of his journey, Dr. Rush went with him to visit the president of the United States, the venerable John Adams, residing in Philadelphia, then the seat of the general government, and through the influence of Dr. Rush obtained the place he sought. He was directed to report himself to the surgeon of the United States brig New York, then soon to sail for Tripoli. At this interview with President Adams, Dr. Rush and young Miller were invited to dine with the president the next day. The invitation was accepted, and at the president's table they met General Washington, Fisher Ames, and several other distinguished characters of that day.
On farther acquaintance Dr. Rush advised Miller to resign his post in the navy, and at the same time offered him a place in his family and a position in his office as a private pupil. This most advantageous offer he gladly embraced, and remained with him nearly two years, accompanying the doctor in his rides into the country and attending his lectures in the University of Pennsylvania, and those of Dr. Shippen. From Philadelphia he returned to Washington county in 1798, and entered into a partnership with his former instructor, Dr. Moshier, where he remained until 1801. He was licensed to practice medicine and surgery by the Vermont Medical Society in 1800. From Washington county he removed, in 1801, to what is now Truxton, Cortland county, and established himself in the practice of his profession, which he pursued unremittingly for more than twenty-five years, and occasionally for some years longer.
Few men had the capacity for physical endurance and unwearied perseverance like him. The country being new, the roads were always bad, and sometimes almost impassable, yet he performed an amount of labor almost incredible, frequently riding thirty, forty, and even more than fifty miles a day---at all times, by night as well as day, in storm as well as sunshine, with an energy that no obstacle could resist. Many are the anecdotes related of his adventures in the forests and by-paths of Truxton, often by torch-light, to attend on some family perchance too poor to pay the doctor for his services.
As a practitioner Dr. Miller possessed in an eminent degree the confidence of his employers. His strong mind and retentive memory enabled him readily to seize on the phases of disease and to recall the measures of treatment indicated, and his promptitude and readiness in the administration of relief to the sufferer at once secured the confidence of the sick. His strict attendance to those entrusted to his care, as well as his kindness of heart, which led him to sympathize deeply in all their sufferings, all convinced those who employed him that his whole energies were enlisted in their welfare. Amidst all his incessant labors he found time to cultivate his mind by reading much of the current medical literature, and his well balanced mind and retentive memory enabled him to make the best use of what he read.
He was elected an honorary member of the New York State Medical Society in 1808, and at the time of his death was the oldest member of the society by nine years. At the semi-centennial anniversary of the society in February, 1857, Dr. Miller was present by special invitation. He entered into the spirit of the meeting with all the ardor of his nature, and many of the members present, who, for the first time, there saw him will long remember "the old man eloquent" and their pleasant and profitable acquaintance with their venerable fellow-member. Such was his character and standing in his profession, and his gentlemanly intercourse with each member of the society, that all loved to meet him and to confer honor and their kindest favors upon one so much esteemed and highly venerated.
Dr. Miller, while yet in the vigor of his days, left the practice of his profession and turned his attention to agriculture. Notwithstanding this, he still manifested an interest in his profession, always greeting its members with warm cordiality. He pursued agriculture with the same characteristic earnestness, both on the farm and in the agricultural society, that he had always shown in the practice of medicine.
The intelligence and energy with which he entered into all the affairs of state was such that he early became prominent in public life. His first public office was that of coroner, to which he was appointed by Gov. George Clinton in 1802. He was appointed postmaster in 1805, and retained that office for twenty years. He received the appointment of justice of the peace in 1812 and discharged its duties until 1821. He was one of the judges of the county courts from 1817 to 1820. He was elected as a Member of the Assembly from this county in 1816, and re-elected in 1820 and again in 1846. This same year he represented his county in the convention for revising the constitution of the State. In 1826 and 1827 he represented the Twenty-second Congressional District in the Congress of the United States. In all these positions of public trust he evinced the same energy and determined will and prompt action that he had shown in his professional career. His readiness to sacrifice personal interest and ease to the public good, and his experience in public life with the honesty of purpose manifested in his intercourse with his associates enabled him to exert a commanding influence over any deliberative body. These, with his usual energy, his eminent personal vivacity, rendered him a welcome guest in all social gatherings.
In person Dr. Miller was tall in stature, and even in his last years still retained his firm step and erect position and never exhibited the decrepit old man in appearance or in loss of intellect, but entered into conversation with all the energy and fire of his youthful days.
During the epidemic pneumonia which prevailed in 1812-13 his labors were Herculean and very successful.
In the temperance cause he spent much time and large sums of money in the diffusion of temperance publications among the inhabitants of his town, holding meetings in the several school-houses, and urging with earnest eloquence the adoption of the practice of total abstinence. He was firm in the belief of the beneficial effect of a wise prohibitory law to prevent the traffic in intoxicating liquors. In this cause Dr. Miller took an early and active part. During his pupilage he once saw a beautiful child sacrificed in consequence of the intoxication of the physician when called to its relief in an hour of suffering. This made a deep and lasting impression on his mind and led him at the very beginning of his professional career to firmly resolve to abstain from all intoxicating drinks. In this determination he persevered to the end of his life. He was long an officer in the New York State Temperance Society and often attended its meetings at Albany.
At an early day the doctor gave to the Presbyterian Church and society two valuable lots of land in the center of the village for a church and parsonage, and also one other lot as a site for a public school-house, besides contributing liberally to the expense of erecting and furnishing these public buildings. His seat in church was always occupied by himself or family.
In the support of the varied objects of benevolence of the age and of the institutions of the Gospel in his own vicinity Dr. Miller was a firm friend and a contributor.
The legend of his romantic courtship and marriage would occupy more space than we have to give to it. Suffice it to say that, before coming to this county in 1801, he had formed an attachment to and an engagement with a young lady living in Troy, N. Y., whom he expected to become his partner and help-meet through the journey of life. After his settlement in Truxton the correspondence was for some months kept up constantly and matters went on smoothly. After some time letters were not received by either party as formerly and at last ceased altogether. They each came to the conclusion reluctantly, and in bewilderment, that the other had become false to the engagement promise. At last the doctor received a letter from a friend in Troy, saying that the young lady was to be married to a person there in a few days from the date of his letter, and, knowing that John Miller could never do a dishonorable thing, suspected something wrong. There were no telegraphs or swift mail trains in those days. The letter of his friend was received only twenty-four hours before the expected wedding. This was late in March when the winter roads were breaking up and were consequently at their worst. What should be done? With a promptness inspired by desperation he instantly resolved to retrieve what he supposed had been lost. He mounted his faithful horse Gershom, who possessed a physical endurance and determined energy equal to that of his master and, turning his head toward Troy, one hundred and thirty miles distant, started. In less than twenty-four hours the journey must be accomplished and with Gershom alone. And splendidly did the noble animal accomplish his task, reaching the west bank of the Hudson just in time to plunge aboard the last boat that was to cross that night, and was in a few minutes standing, with foaming flanks and distended nostrils, before the door of his future mistress. The wedding guests were assembling. No time was to be lost. He knocked at the door. The father of the girl opened it. There stood the young doctor bespattered with mud and riding-stick in hand. No time for apologies. "Is Phebe at home?" "Yes." "Can I see her?" "Walk in; I will inform her that you are here." In a few minutes Phebe made her appearance, explanations followed and a speedy reconciliation was the result. Their letters had been intercepted by the rascally fellow who went home that night wifeless.
They were married in 1805 and a happy union it proved to be. Mrs. Miller was a lady of rare accomplishments, of ardent piety and in all respects a fit companion for her worthy husband. They had eight children---five sons and three daughters. Mrs. Miller died in 1834, much lamented, aged 59 years.
Dr. Miller retained his wonted faculties almost to the last hour of his long life; was perfectly sensible of the steady and sure approach of death, yet with calmness and systematic carefulness made every preparation for the end.
Thus he actively and usefully lived, thus he quietly and calmly died on the 30th day of March, 1862, leaving abundant evidence of his preparation for an entrance, through the grace of our Lord and Savior, into the rest prepared for the just.
A large concourse of his friends and fellow-citizens attended his funeral and among them a large number of the members of the County Medical Society. An impressive sermon was delivered by the Rev. Caleb Clark, who for more than forty years had been the confidential friend and the spiritual adviser of himself and family. The Medical Society, through their committee consisting of Drs. F. Hyde, G. W. Bradford and C. Green, presented memorial resolutions expressive of love, veneration and esteem for their deceased brother and sympathy for his family and friend.
We have devoted perhaps too much of our limited space to the biographical sketches of the pioneers---the founders of the society---but the extended notice of Dr. Miller seemed to be demanded by his place in the history of the society and that of the county and State. The history of the county required more than a passing notice of his worth and deeds.
But there have been other worthies in the first half century of the society's history who were so much identified with its interest and progress, as well as that of the county and State that, at least, a brief notice of them should be recorded.
Dr. Levi Boies, of Cortland village, was the first licentiate of the society, becoming a member in 1812, and was long a respectable practitioner and valuable citizen.
Dr. John Lynde was the first member of the society who ever attended a full course of lectures in a chartered medical college, he having attended the course in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, in 1812. He was a prominent practitioner in Homer for many years, when he removed to Ogden, Monroe county, where he died some years ago.
Dr. Miles Goodyear, of Cortland, was the first member of the society who ever received the degree of Doctor of Medicine, and which was conferred on him by Yale College in 1816.
Dr. Goodyear was born at Hamden, New Haven county, Conn., November 14th, 1793---Thanksgiving Day. His father died when he was four years of age. His mother lived to the ripe age of eighty-six years. At about the age of fifteen he entered a mercantile establishment, thinking that trade might be his vocation, but soon perceived that "it would not do, as he was likely to give away all the goods and so concluded to get a profession." As preparatory to professional study he took lessons in Latin and chemistry under the tutelage of the Rev. Eliphalet Coleman. As his guardian refused to furnish him the means of education, he had to borrow money in order to complete his studies. It was early in the war of 1812-14 that he matriculated in the medical department of Yale College. A brother who had a family was drafted to serve in the war, but Miles took his place, serving at New London a few weeks until the college term opened, when he was released, as students were exempt by law. He was a member of the first class that graduated in the medical department of the college. After his graduation he made a journey to Niagara Falls on horseback, accompanied by his friend and class-mate, Dr. Smith. Rochester at that time had but few houses and Buffalo was a mass of blackened ruins, having been burned by the British during the then recent war. This journey was full of interest to the ardent young botanists soon to enter on medical practice. He practiced a few months in Genoa, N. Y., and then came to Cortland, but finding the field, as he thought, fully occupied, removed to Danby, Tompkins county, where he remained a year, and was then induced to return to Cortland, which ever afterwards was his permanent residence. In 1818 he joined the County Medical Society, and soon became one of its most active and reliable members---always attending its stated meetings when not absent from town or otherwise inevitably detained. "He loved his profession and pursued it as such and not as a trade. He respected the claims of his calling and was keenly sensitive to its honor, and observed its ethical usages in letter and spirit. He sought in his professional intercourse first to confer the greatest good on the patient; next, to observe the kindliest and most sacred regard for the good name of the attending physician." He was eminently the friend of young medical men and always ready to give them encouraging words and to overlook their mistakes and deficiencies.
He was president of the society in 1824 and 1831, and from 1834 to 1840 inclusive, and again in 1847. The society commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of his membership by reading a poem written by Miss E. Hathaway and dedicated to him, entitled the "Good Physician."
Such was the pre-eminent confidence of his fellow-citizens in his courage, skill and judgment that, on the outbreak of the first epidemic of Asiatic cholera in 1832, they sent him to Albany and New York to investigate the nature, prophylaxis and treatment of the dread disease. Many years afterward, being in New Haven during the very fatal epidemic of yellow fever in Norfolk, Va., he offered himself to the common council to be sent professionally to the help of the stricken city, "but word being received of the abatement of the pestilence, he was allowed to come home to other self-denials." In 1851 he represented the Medical Association of Southern Central New York in the American Medical Association at Charleston, S. C. In his various journeyings during his professional vacations, which he took for the benefit of invalid members of his family, he visited Chicago, St. Louis, Louisville and New Orleans, always making pleasant and profitable acquaintances among the distinguished members of the profession in those places.
During the war of the rebellion he visited the hospitals of Washington, intending to stay as long as his funds should hold out. Here his cheerful service among "our boys" proved a great blessing, and when his purse became exhausted, instead of coming home, he enlisted as an assistant surgeon in a regiment, and was sent to the front at Fredericksburg, where for some time he did the duties of regimental surgeon. But the fatigue and wearing nature of his labors were too much for a system already beginning to feel the infirmities of age, and he was allowed to return, but on the way encountered perils nearly as great as those in active service in the enemy's front, having been left at a poor Virginia cabin, sick with fever, and with a family so poor that the cow and pig shared the hut with the bipeds of the place, and the dietary consisting of corn meal alone. But he survived these perils, and, after resting awhile, returned to his home quite fresh and well.
He occasionally visited New Haven, Conn., and the scenes of his childhood and youth, in his native town and county, nearly always taking some member of his family with him. During one of these sojourns at this place occurred the opening of the new Medical College. On this occasion he met on the platform three of the professors to whose lectures he listened about forty years before, and he was the only matriculant of the first class present.
Like many other medical men of his early day, the principal branch of natural history specially cultivated by him was botany. In this Dr. Goodyear was an expert. He taught it to his children and his students, who, under the inspiration imparted to them by their teacher, became enthusiastic in its pursuit. And this enthusiasm was not limited to his home and office, for many a one, in his extensive intercourse with the people, was influenced by it to pursue this fascinating department of inquiry. Much of the tediousness and even fatigue of his long rides over the hills, through the forest, by the swamps and river borders was relieved by the delight yielded on every hand by the sight of some new or rare, or even familiar flower or plant, and those at home were rarely disappointed, on his return, in the receipt of a rich botanical contribution. His neighbors were often surprised in looking over his flower borders to find some new beauties that their untrained eyes had never seen before, and could have been easily persuaded that they were rare and expensive exotics. But when told that they grew in abundance in the neighboring woods, or yonder swamp, or by Otter creek, or on the banks of the Tioughnioga, their surprise was not diminished.
His botanical studies kept him ever young, as an intelligent pursuit of any branch of natural history will do to its ardent votary. It is rest and vacation to the weary doctor, and manyfold enhances the pleasure of his periods of vacation travel when they are taken. Every where, in every plant, shrub or tree, under every stone or old log, in the very ooze or mud beds of pond or river nature reveals herself in an endless series of pleasure-giving surprises, and when the microscope is added to the means of observation and study, the pleasure of the student is almost unlimited. Dr. Goodyear was by no means indifferent to other departments of natural science than botany, but regarded every revelation of it as but a thought of the Creator, and as such, worthy of interested attention. It is said that he was much interested as well as proficient in chemistry and physics.
Like too many physicians, especially of his time, he was careless in the collection of his dues---even in charging for his services. Very often his charges were wholly inadequate, and in the matter of collection, he allowed his patient to fix the amount he would pay, and thus between charging and collection his income was small. Besides this, there was a large list of those who never paid any thing, but freely and unhesitatingly called on him for service and sacrifice. "Keenly sensitive to a kindness, he endeavored to repay the same; as sensitive to neglect, he still continued to feel kindly toward all. Ever unwilling to owe any man anything, and often doing without comforts until he had the money in hand to pay for them, it was strange to him that people could ask for his services for a generation without seeking to recompense him for the same. Yet when real inability existed he considered it a privilege to minister, and that not grudgingly." He once told the writer that one of the greatest sins for which he had to repent was not that he had given the poor so little, but the rich so much,---alluding to the easy manner in which he had often allowed a long account, severely earned, to be balanced by those able to pay in full the customary and legitimate fees.
Dr. Goodyear's interest in his old classmates was manifested by his correspondence---his and their letters passing from one to another in the manner of circulars. One of his classmates was Professor Jared Kirtland, of Cleveland, the distinguished naturalist of Ohio, with whom he kept up a very pleasant correspondence.
Three years before his death a daughter died at Portage, Wis. She was the fourth child whom he had buried---the last but one. An invalid most of her life, he had undertaken the journey, extending to the Falls of St. Anthony, for the benefit of her health. After marked improvement, she suddenly declined in health, and died away from home. This was a great source of depression to him at the time.
On the 29th of January, 1817, he was married to Miss Polly Goodyear, a distant relative of his, and living in his native town. Much as we desire time and space for recounting the many virtues of this most excellent woman and most worthy helpmeet of such a man, we are obliged barely to refer to her long and happy association as the wife of the "Good Physician," and as an affectionate mother, devoted friend and neighbor. She survived her husband more than six years---kept fresh and fragrant his memory in the annual meetings of the County Society by the decoration of its tables with the choicest flowers of "the month of rose," which the good doctor always loved so well---a custom which has been in a good measure perpetuated by his only surviving child.
Their Golden Wedding was duly celebrated on the 29th of January, 1867---the doctor entering into its festivities with his usual zest. He was gratified beyond measure by the great pains his friends had taken to make it an occasion of joy, and appeared to good advantage in his invariable dress coat and ruffles. He spent the following summer with his family in New Haven, revisiting every spot dear to his childhood. In February, 1869, he visited Philadelphia, remained some time, and returned home greatly invigorated. More cheerful than usual during the next summer and the following winter months, his steps grew slower. But he abated not a whit his interest in every thing, he buffeted any storm, answered any call, and every day but his last was dressed with the usual neatness and care, which those who knew him will remember so well. He died on the morning of March 1st, 1870, aged seventy-six years.
Dr. Lewis Riggs was born in Norfolk, Conn., on the 16th of January, 1789. His father was of English, his mother of Scotch descent. They were good examples of the early inhabitants of New England, and both are said to have been persons of remarkable force and energy of character. Their family consisted of seven sons and two daughters, and were trained to habits of industry and frugality. Lewis was the youngest son, and although brought up to the labor of the farm, displayed much mechanical talent as well as aptness for the acquirement of a knowledge of books. While at home he had the advantages of a common school education, and also of several terms at an academy in his native town, thus acquiring what was considered a good English education. But the lack of means prevented his pursuit of a college course, to which he aspired. His taste and talent for mechanical employment led to his apprenticeship to the carpenter's trade to Mr. Samuel N. Gaylord, with whom he came to Cortland in the spring of 1805. In after years, when riding over the country as a practitioner of medicine, he was able to point to not a few houses and barns which he helped to build. After working at his trade for about two years he returned to Connecticut, where a part of the time he plied his trade, and a portion of the time attended school. In the spring of 1809 he decided on the profession of medicine, and commenced his student life in the office of Dr. Samuel Woodward, of Torringford, Conn., a practitioner of high repute, and the father of the afterwards distinguished alienist of the Worcester Asylum, and who was his fellow student. In the office of Dr. Woodward his opportunities for medical observation were superior for the times. In May, 1812, he received a county license to practice, but continued in the office of his preceptor during the summer, but in October of that year he went to Philadelphia to attend a course of medical lectures in the University of Pennsylvania. Here he sat under the instruction of Drs. Rush, Philip Syng Physic, Dorsey and Wistar---the leaders in medical thought at that period. This was the last course of lectures delivered by the venerable Rush at the close of a long and active life as civilian, medical practitioner, author and medical professor. He died April 19th, 1813. Dr. Physic has been called the father of American surgery, as Dr. Rush was confessedly the father of American medicine. To listen to the instruction of these men was a rare opportunity for young Riggs, and was not allowed to pass without being improved, and the lessons made impressions which lasted for a life time. From conversations which the writer had with Dr. Riggs in the latter years of his life, it is certain that Dr. Physic, equally with Dr. Rush, was impressed by the diligence and acuteness of perception of the young student from Connecticut, and as the testimonials which he bore away from these men, and now in the hands of Dr. H. O. Jewett, of Cortland---having the "sign manual" of one of the signers of the Declaration, and of the father of American surgery---abundantly show.
From Philadelphia he returned to his native State, when, after looking about for a few weeks, concluded to "go west," and so in the spring of 1813 came to the State of New York and located at Vernon, Oneida county. Here he soon acquired a fair amount of business but after a while he became ambitious of the wider field of a more populous town and, in 1818, removed to Homer and opened a drug store, intending to associate trade with practice as less laborious than an entire devotion to general work in the professional field. But he soon found himself engaged in large practice. The same year he became a member of the County Society. For about ten years he continued the practice of his profession in Homer, but in the summer of 1828 sold his property and "practice" to Dr. Metcalf and removed to Trumansburg, engaging as a partner in a dry good store. We have no explanation of this strange movement for a physician well prepared for professional work, but find it pleasant to make a record of the fact he did not long remain in a business which ill-befitted him and with which he naturally became dissatisfied. Dr. Metcalf, for some reason, did not remain in Homer long and Dr. Riggs was persuaded by his former patrons in that town to return to his legitimate calling. There he applied himself with his characteristic energy to professional work and soon became one of the leading practitioners, and for several years performed a large share of the medical and surgical practice of the town.
In 1834 Dr. Riggs formed a copartnership with Dr. Ashbel Patterson, formerly of Danby, Tompkins county, and continued the association for about seven years. After the dissolution of this business relation he was nominated in the fall of 1840 by his political party to represent the district in Congress. He was elected and served his constituents as the representative of the Twenty-second District in the Twenty-seventh Congress, 1841-42. This led to his retirement from practice and to his engagement in other enterprises which would relieve him from the labors of professional work. He purchased the flouring mill south of the village and erected a new stone building on its site, superintending its construction and planning many of the details of its machinery. But this did not distract his attention entirely from his interest in medicine, and he frequently responded to professional calls from his old friends and patrons.
In the spring of 1847 he had an attack of hemiplegia, which confined him to this bed for several weeks and threatened the termination of his life. From this attack he gradually recovered and in a few months was able to resume his accustomed employments. But he never recovered his former strength and activity. Still his memory, except for certain words and names, and his mental faculties generally seemed but slightly, if at all, impaired.
He attended to some calls about the village by those who still insisted on having the opinion and advice of "the old doctor," and also attended at times to consultation visits in the country.
But his infirmities from year to year crept gradually on him, of which he had the clear perception and the good sense to acknowledge. And yet he was able to perform some work and rarely suffered excepting temporarily until the fall of 1869, when he was prostrated by a slow fever which confined him to his room, and much of the time to his bed, during the following winter and spring. At the approach of warm weather he began to rally and was so far improved as to be able to walk about the village, although his steps were slow, necessitated by those heart degenerations peculiar to advance life and which caused paroxysms of difficult respiration. But as the months wore on, at the approach of autumn, it became evident that the end was near. His paroxysms of dyspnťa became more frequent. His last days were those of a very gradual failure, and the last hours were a quiet sinking to rest, apparently conscious to the last. He died about midnight of the 7th of November, 1870, in the eighty-second year of his age.
Dr. Riggs was twice married. First to Miss Fanny Olmstead, a lady of quiet and amiable disposition and purely domestic habits. By her he had five children, four daughters and a son. Mrs. Riggs, after several years of feeble health, died of acute pneumonia, on the 31st of January, 1862. He afterwards married Mrs. Sarah Lilly, with whom he spent the remainder of his days.
Dr. Riggs possessed a good physique with a large amount of vital stamina and great physical and moral courage. His countenance was strongly marked, his eyes were dark, his brow prominent, his mouth firm and compressed, bordering on the severe. His personal appearance conveyed at once the impression of unusual force of character. He possessed a mind naturally vigorous and well poised; was thorough, bold and independent in his thoughts and actions and firm in his convictions.
For these notes of the life of Dr. Riggs we are indebted to the very able and interesting biographical sketch read at the annual meeting of the County Society in December, 1870, by Dr. H. O. Jewett, of Cortland. We regret that we have not room for a more extended notice.
Dr. George W. Bradford was born in the town of Otsego, near Cooperstown, N. Y., May 9th, 1796, and died at Syracuse, October 31st, 1883. He was of the seventh generation in direct descent from the famous William Bradford, the second governor of Plymouth colony. His father, Esek Bradford, a native of Providence, R. I., removed from Woodstock, Conn., about 1793, to that portion of the town of Otsego now called Hartwick. George was the third child and oldest son of a family of ten children.
The opportunities for education at that early day in a new country were extremely limited---the nearest school-house being two miles away and his school term being limited to the few months between late fall and early spring; but this short time was compensated by its most energetic and diligent use. He early acquired a taste for books and became a devoted reader of the best literature accessible. In 1812 and 1813 he was sent to an academy at Woodstock, Conn., where among his school-mates was the afterwards celebrated surgeon and clinical teacher, Dr. George McClellan, the father of Gen. George B. McClellan. In 1814 he was sent to a classical school at Clinton, N. Y. In the fall of 1816 he entered as a student the office of Dr. Thomas Fuller, of Cooperstown, the leading physician of that vicinity. Here he alternated severe study with horse-back rides in company with his preceptor, receiving the double benefit of health and the acquisition of professional knowledge in the form of clinical instruction and observation---an educational advantage not lightly to be estimated. He never had the benefit of systematic lectures in college, a fact which he always lamented. In 1819 he removed to Preble in this county where he duly commenced the practice of Medicine. In February, 1820, he returned to Cooperstown and was licensed to practice medicine by the Otsego County Medical Society. About 1821 or 1822 he removed to Homer, where, for about sixty years, he continued the practice of his profession. In October, 1820, he was elected a member of the Cortland County Medical Society. Six years afterward he was chosen secretary of that society, an office which he held for forty-five years consecutively, when, from increasing disability from deafness, he resigned, but was still continued in the office of treasurer until 1881, when he declined a re-election, having permanently removed to Syracuse. At the time of his resignation as secretary the society passed resolutions expressive of its high estimate of the faithful and intelligent manner in which he had performed the duties of secretary and treasurer and of how much of the prosperity of the society was due to his vigilant administration. In 1841 Dr. Bradford was elected a delegate to the State Medical Society for four years and in 1847 was elected a permanent member of that society, and the same year was elected one of the delegates to the American Medical Association, which then met in Philadelphia and where he became a permanent member of the body at the time of its permanent organization. In 1858 he was elected vice-president of the State Medical Society with his associate, the accomplished Brinsmade, in the president's chair---declining the solicitation of the nominating committee to accept the nomination for the presidency.
Besides those that strictly related to his profession, he was the recipient of various honors military, civil and literary. In 1851 he was elected as Member of Assembly of the State Legislature, where he proved himself to be an industrious and capable member of several committees and especially of the one on medical colleges and societies. In November, 1863, he was elected to the State Senate, and in 1855 was re-elected to the same position. An interesting chapter might be written of his perseverance and tact in securing the passage of the bill providing for anatomical matÚriel for medical colleges (his celebrated "Bone Bill") and for the establishment and maintenance of various educational and benevolent institutions. In 1856 he was elected a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in the same year was elected to membership in the Wisconsin Historical Society, to the library of which he in after years contributed several valuable historical works. In 1858 Genesee College conferred on him the honorary degree of Master of Arts. Some of the most important services of his long and busy life were those given to Cortland Academy, at Homer, to the trusteeship of which he was elected in 1832, a position which he held for thirty-eight years. In conjunction with the late Dr. Woolworth, for many years its principal, he rendered most efficient service in the cause of education as well as in every work of benevolent enterprise and Christian endeavor. In 1864 as a member of the electoral college he cast his vote for Abraham Lincoln. Dr. Bradford was often called upon to act as secretary of various societies and kept the records of the County Bible Society for about forty years.
At the request of the Cortland County Medical Society in 1880---it being the sixtieth anniversary of his connection with the society---he gave a summary of the changes which had occurred during that period in the practice of medicine.
From the first years of his professional life Dr. Bradford became a generous patron of medical literature. About 1820 he became the constant reader of The Philadelphia Journal of the Medical & Physical Sciences until the change of its title to that of The American Journal of the Medical Sciences in 1827, which he continued to read, as well as many other journals, up to 1881, the time of his removal from Homer. It is not difficult to perceive that one who thus furnishes his mind with the best thoughts and a record of the most recent discoveries and observations of the leading minds in the profession, must be well grounded in the principles which should guide him. As a writer said of him in a local journal in 1876: "He is not of the 'old school' for his school is like the Lord's mercies, 'new every morning.'" In general literature he was the reader of the best books and journals. In common with many of our profession he was much interested in all departments of natural science, but made a specialty of botany, and many years ago made a report to the Regents of the University on the plants of Cortland county.
It will be seen from Dr. Bradford's habits of reading and study that his library must have grown with his years and as he chose well his collection, must have been not only large but valuable. It was one of the largest medical libraries in Central New York, if, indeed, it did not excel any other. He had a plan, which rapidly growing infirmity allowed him to carry out only in part, viz.: the distribution of his books among his medical friends, knowing full well that, however rare and valuable, when on the auctioneer's counter they would count for little more than the coarsest paper stock.
On the 17th of March, 1818, Dr. Bradford was united in marriage to Miss Mary Ann Walker, of Middlefield, Otsego county, N. Y. They had three children. The eldest, a son who died in infancy at Cooperstown. The next, Emeline M., the accomplished wife of Wm. W. Northrop, esq., of New York city, and Helen Sabina, who died in March, 1841, aged 17 years. On the 17th of March, 1868, Dr. and Mrs. Bradford celebrated their Golden Wedding, "upon which occasion a large number of their neighbors and friends honored themselves and their esteemed hosts by their presence, congratulations and gifts." Mrs. Bradford survived this joyous event but six years. On the 26th of November, 1874, at 7 o'clock in the morning "the golden bowl was broken."
In middle life Dr. Bradford was what is denominated tough, wiry, enduring. In early life he was delicate, but by horse-back riding, most rigid temperance in eating and drinking and great regularity of habits---or habits as regular as a busy medical practitioner could observe in all hours, times and seasons---he acquired great powers of resistance against the adverse influences of exposure and fatigue. But to us he seemed reckless as to personal protection, for not until 1864 would he wear, even in the coldest weather of winter, either overcoat or gloves. In July, 1863, while treating the gangrenous would of a soldier just returned from the field of Gettysburg, he suffered septic poisoning through an abrasion on his right hand, which resulted in long continued and fearful inflammation with thecal abscesses of the palm and fingers, loss of tendons, contractures and ankylosis and the consequently dangerous prostration, rendering the prognosis for a long time doubtful and the public mind full of anxious inquiry as to his condition and prospects. We cannot better describe Dr. Bradford as he appeared in his prime than to quote an account given by his former pastor, the Rev. T. K. Fessenden, who was intimately associated with him in every good word and work for several years. He says: "When I first knew him in 1842 he was, I think, between forty and fifty years of age, diminutive in stature, not over nice in his dress and appearance, often blunt and ever curt in his manner of speaking, but always truthful. There was a rare common sense in his views and mode of speaking. There was a pleasant smile on his countenance, a quiet humor in his remarks and in his social intercourse which made him a most genial companion, while his honesty, tenderness and manifest deep interest in his intercourse with the sick gained for him the confidence and love of those who employed him. He had a great abhorrence of quackery and trickery, and this often led him to speak of it in not very complimentary terms---sometimes so as needlessly to offend. But I think the largest portion of the best people of Homer then employed him and regarded him as a wise, skillful, entirely trustworthy and successful physician. I had occasion to know much of his religious character. No one could be an inmate of his family and not see that the one great aim of his life was to do the will of God. He was a generous supporter of charitable and religious objects and institutions. There was not a more liberal and public spirited donor to benevolent objects, in proportion to this means, in the congregation or community. He was a friend to whom all classes could go with the assurance of kindness and sympathy in their troubles. He did not reap a harvest of wealth; men of the world might feel that his life work was not conspicuous or eminently successful, but when tested by the true standard,---by personal worth, by professional fidelity, by the confidence and love of the good in the community in which he lived and by the blessings which have flowed from his character and sacrifices for the good of others, I believe he will receive the approval 'well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.'"
The last two years and a half of his life were spent in Syracuse at the home of his granddaughter, Mrs. Dow, who, with her mother, Mrs. Northrop, ministered lovingly to his comfort during the declining months of his life. The choicest portions of his library, medical and Miscellaneous, were arranged in cases about the walls of his room, so that he might still feel that he was at home with his friends about him and with his books and journals, and although memory was mostly gone, he daily enjoyed brief and pleasant converse. And thus life ebbed away. Late in the night of October 30th, 1883, he was resting as quietly as an infant on its mother's breast. When light broke on the earth on the morning of the 31st, it was found that the wheels had ceased to move,---he was at rest.
The funeral services were held in the Congregational Church in Homer in the afternoon of November 2d, and which were conducted by the pastor, the Rev. W. A. Robinson, assisted by the Rev. Dr. Edward Hitchcock, who pronounced a brief but appropriate discourse on the occasion from Heb. iv: 9. In speaking of Dr. Bradford he said:---
"Few lives furnish richer material for stimulating biography. On its title-page could be fairly written: "The upright citizen; the skillful physician; the conscientious representative; the wise legislator; the pure patriot; the zealous reformer; the conservative thinker; the patient investigator; the progressive scholar; the judicious adviser; the faithful friend; the sympathetic helper; the large-hearted philanthropist; the conscientious, consistent Christian man.'"
His medical brethren bore his remains to their final rest in the beautiful Glenwood Cemetery, and then assembled to pass memorial resolutions.
Dr. Phineas H. Burdick, of Preble, was born in DeRuyter, Madison county, N. Y., June 3d, 1800.
His father was a farmer of moderate means and was able to give his son only the advantages which the common school could afford him, and that mainly during the winter months, working on the farm during the summer. But his ambition to become a teacher stimulated him to push his studies with such vigor that he was early qualified to assume the duties of that calling. His wages, whether earned on the neighbors' farms or in the school-room, during his minority, were always returned to his father, so that at his majority, "with weakened physical powers, penniless, unaided and alone, he set forth to the acquirement of a noble profession," determined to succeed, "which, with alternate study and teaching, together with the strictest economy, he accomplished in due time, with no mean acquirements, as attested by his life-work."
His medical studies were had in the office of Dr. Hubbard Smith, of DeRuyter, and Dr. Jehiel Stearns, of Pompey,---the latter for many years the leading surgical authority in Central New York. He attended medical lectures in the college at Castleton, Vt., but did not complete the course requisite for graduation. He was licensed to practice medicine by the Onondaga County Medical Society in 1828, and commenced the duties of his profession in Scott in this county during the same year; also in 1828 becoming a member of the Cortland County Medical Society. "He was twice married; first to Miss Sally Dyer, of Homer, who, not long after, died of small-pox, contracted from the messenger who came to obtain the services of the doctor. Two years later he was married to Miss Laura J. Phelps, daughter of Judge Jabez B. Phelps, who was also a physician, but never engaged in the practice of medicine."
In 1833 Dr. Burdick removed to Preble, where he lived and labored up to the time of his sickness and death---a period of thirty-seven years. His early professional life, as that of many other young physicians, witnessed severe struggles with poverty. "During several of the earlier years of professional life he rode wholly on horseback, being unable to purchase a vehicle to ride in. The first carriage he ever owned he bought for five dollars---a rattling, rickety thing, but he said he felt proud of it---it was his."
"By assiduity in business he was crowned with success and at length acquired a competence quite equal to that attained by country physicians; though, through manifold charities, he had unquestionable given away much more than his accumulated property. He was a cheerful giver, often bestowing more liberally than his means would warrant."
Though suffering from difficulty of breathing and other infirmities, he continued to attend diligently to the duties of his profession until a few weeks before his death, giving himself little relaxation from work, rarely taking a vacation.
Amid all his labors he took great interest in public affairs and especially in the condition of the common schools of the town, making his early experience as a teacher available in the interest of a higher standard of education. For several years he was superintendent of public schools. For several years during the administrations of Jackson and Van Buren he served as postmaster. Aside from these instances he steadily refused any political preferment.
He was for forty-two years a member of the county Medical Society and always very punctual in attendance at its meetings, contributing to its proceedings and serving it as delegate to the New York State Medical Society for four years, and of which he was elected a permanent member in 1853. He was also sent as delegate to the American Medical Association, of which he became a permanent member. In 1851 the Regents of the University conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine.
Strict integrity was among his characteristics. He was eminently a religious man. "For the last thirty years of his life he was a most exemplary professing Christian, and for the last decade a ruling elder of the Presbyterian Church."
For the last eight years of his life he was able to leave much of the burden of his work to his son, Dr. Daniel W. Burdick, who had graduated at Geneva Medical College in 1862.
"Yet he maintained his interest in his profession, read his medical journals and continued business to some extent until September, 1869, which, and the following month of October, he spent in traveling in the western part of the country. It was by exposures during this journey that he added to his previous trouble of shortness of breath on taking active exercise, and a troublesome cough which continued to increase after his arrival home; and by the first of February, 1870, he was confined to his house, most of the time unable to lie down,---sleeping in the erect posture and suffering terribly at time from paroxysms of dyspnťa. He had all the signs of hypertrophy of the heart and valvular lesions, with pulmonary congestion, hydrothorax and general anasarca.
"After about eight weeks of the most intense suffering, which was borne throughout with the same evenness of temper and Christian fortitude that had ever characterized him, in the triumph of living faith, he died March 28th, 1870. At his funeral, on the 30th, the whole community seemed to turn out, and especially the old men and women of the town, to whom for so many years he had been a devoted and sympathizing friend---in a sense, a confessor, and a judicious adviser in times of trouble."
At a meeting of the members of the County Medical Society, present on the occasion of the funeral, suitable resolutions were passed, commemorative of the services and virtues of their deceased brother, and Dr. H. C. Hendrick, of McGrawville, was requested to prepare a memorial sketch of Dr. Burdick, to be presented at a subsequent meeting of the society. At the meeting of the society, December 14th, 1870, Dr. Hendrick read a highly interest memorial record, which was communicated to the State Medical Society and published in its Transactions for 1871.
Dr. Horace Bronson, of Virgil, was of Scotch descent.
He was born at Catskill, N. Y., September 8th, 1796. When four or five years of age the family removed to Vernon, Oneida county, N. Y. Here he had his early education in the common schools of the place and was an apt scholar, developing when quite young a taste for natural history studies. It appears that he became a member of Hamilton College, but did not complete the curriculum of college studies by graduation. During his college course he devoted much attention to chemistry and became much attached to Dr. Noyes, the professor in that department. We are not able to give the date of his commencing the study of medicine, but it was in the office of Dr. Lewis Riggs, then of Vernon, and probably completed in the office of Dr. Hastings, of Clinton; nor the date of his first connection with the Medical College at Fairfield, N. Y., where it is said he attended four full courses of lectures and graduated in 1819. He spent much time with Dr. Hadley, the professor of chemistry and materia medica, working in the college laboratory and pushing his inquiries into chemistry and pharmacy, as well as botany, geology, and mineralogy. His love for the natural sciences continued through his whole professional life. He made extensive collections and his cabinet was rich in the departments of mineralogy and paleontology. One of his red-letter periods was a visit from Professor Emmons, of Albany, one of the distinguished geologists of the State Natural History Survey, and who was indebted to Dr. Bronson for the determination of important scientific facts relating to his specialty.
Sometime, probably in 1820, he visited his former friend and instructor, Dr. Lewis Riggs, of Homer, who advised him to settle in Virgil, which he did soon after. He became a member of the County Medical Society on the 17th of October, 1821. At that time there was only one other member of the society who had received the degree of Doctor of Medicine, and that, as before mentioned, was Dr. Miles Goodyear, of Cortland.
Dr. Bronson had but few professional neighbors when he began the practice of medicine, and those often inaccessible in an emergency. He was thus thrown on his own resources, which a sound mind and thorough professional training enabled him to marshal effectively. In the departments of surgery and obstetrics, especially the latter, he was eminently successful.
He held the obligations required by the principles of medical ethics in very high regard.
"He was very forbearing to those whom he had aided, and lost much in the delinquency of his patients. He was a good citizen, hospitable to his acquaintances and
generous to the needy. He was a friend to the cause of education and also a strong friend of temperance and kindred reformatory causes. He sustained a high reputation as a man of integrity." He was for many years a consistent member of the Presbyterian Church.
For several years he was conscious of a steadily advancing cardiac trouble, which grew worse in the latter half of 1873 and terminated his useful life on the 30th of January, 1874. At the next meeting of the County Medical Society, in June 1874, his distinguished pupil, Dr. Frederick Hyde,2 read a highly interesting biographical sketch of him.
One of the most astute and popular practitioners among the early physicians of this county was Dr. Azariah Blanchard, of Truxton. He became a member of the County Society in 1821 and continued the practice of medicine in Truxton for about twenty-five years, when he removed in 1846 to Milwaukee, Wis., where he continued his professional work for several years and until the infirmities of age compelled him to desist. He died in 1868, full of years and honors and rich in the esteem and affection of his numerous acquaintances. A Milwaukee journal in noticing his decease said: "Dr. Blanchard has been a resident of Milwaukee twenty-two years, and we can say without exaggeration that no man ever lived in this community who had fewer enemies---we might say he had none, for his daily life was marked by such a guileless simplicity and Christian conduct in all his relations, which justly rendered him a most estimable and beloved citizen. His heart was warm, not merely toward his fellow-men, but toward his country. During the war his patriotic sympathies were always alive, and like a good man he prayed to live to witness the crowning triumph of the nation."
Dr. Lyman Eldredge, of Cincinnatus, became a member of the County Society in 1829, having been licensed by the Herkimer County Society. For many years he was an extensive practitioner and kept himself well posted in the literature of his profession.
Dr. Eleazer H. Barnes, of Marathon, became a member of the County Society in 1840, and pursued his profession for many years with diligence and success. For the last few years, owing to increasing physical disabilities, he has mainly retired from practice.
Dr. Homer O. Jewett was born in Lebanon, Madison county, N. Y., and when he was twelve years of age his father removed to Homer in this county. His father was a native of Lanesboro, Mass., being the son of one of the Revolutionary heroes who faithfully served his country throughout that war.
Dr. Jewett had the usual experiences of the farmer's boy of his period---constant work and rigid economy. The farm which his father purchased is now the site of Glenwood Cemetery.
Besides the limited opportunities of the common schools he enjoyed the advantages of the academy at Homer under the administration of Prof. Samuel B. Woolworth, to whose counsel and encouragement he attributes much of the success that may have resulted from his educational course.
When, in his eighteenth year, his father sold his farm and retired from business, leaving to his son the wide world for a portion, the son turned his attention to teaching, and while pursuing the business of the pedagogue he began the study of medicine, but before going on with his medical course he still further extended and established his school education by two more terms in Cortland Academy. After this he entered the office of Dr. A. B. Shipman, alternating medical study with teaching in order to be able to defray the expenses of the lecture courses, much of the time devoting sixteen of the twenty-four hours to the business of teaching and study.
In the winter of 1841-42 he attended the first course of lectures ever delivered in the medical department of the University of the City of New York. He also attended the second course given there and graduated in March, 1843. The faculty of the medical department of the university at that time consisted of Drs. Valentine Mott, Martyn Paine, Granville Sharpe Pattison, John Revere, John W. Draper and Gunning S. Bedford, one of the most brilliant and successful bodies of teachers that ever graced the halls of medical learning in this country. Dr. Payne was his oracle---an oracle well chosen---and in him he saw only what was wise and noble and generous. He showed his pupil many kind attentions, proffering him the freedom of his private office, giving him several valuable works together with much safe advice---altogether and reasonable giving him the impression that he was a favorite pupil, all of which proved a healthful stimulus to his ambition.
After practicing a few weeks with his preceptor in the summer of 1843, he established himself at Summer Hill, Cayuga county, where he remained six years. Here he had a wide field and unobstructed and which he thoroughly and successfully cultivated, acquiring much valuable experience in the way of diagnostic skill and therapeutic tact.
In the summer of 1849 he removed to Cortland where he still pursues the duties of his calling.
For more than thirty years, and until within the last five or six, it was his rule never to refuse a call that he could attend, regardless of the condition of the patient, the inclemency of the weather, the condition of the roads, the time of the day or night, or the distance from home---a statement which will apply to a vast majority of medical practitioners who conscientiously and industriously devote themselves to the duties of their profession as the medical advisers and friends of the families in their respective neighborhoods.
Dr. Henry T. Dana was born in Fenner, Madison county, N. Y., in 1836, and was the youngest son of Judge Sardis Dana.
He received his early education at home and in the local schools, and later in the Cazenovia Seminary.
He became a private pupil of Dr. James H. Armsby, the distinguished professor of anatomy in the Albany Medical College, in which college he graduated in 1863. The same year he located in Tully, Onondaga county, where he practiced his profession until 1869 when, his health becoming impaired, he removed to Chicago, Ill., and resided in that city about three years. In 1872 he removed from Chicago to Cortland and resumed the practice of medicine which he still continues with increasing success.
In 1874 he was appointed U. S. examining surgeon for pensions and held that position until the fall of 1883, when a board of examining surgeons was appointed and on its organization he was elected its president. In 1877 he was elected president of the County Medical Society.
The Cortland County Medical Society was ably represented in the medical branch of the army service during the War of the Rebellion.
Dr. Judson C. Nelson, of Truxton ranks his fellow surgeons of this county in point of time of enlistment.
Dr. Nelson was born in Danby, Tompkins county, N. Y., June 3d, 1824. His father, the Rev. Caleb Nelson, was, for many years, the pastor of the Baptist Church in Danby, afterwards living in Spencer and Candor, Tioga county.
Dr. Nelson was educated in the common schools of Tioga county.
In medicine he was educated in Geneva, where he was the private pupil, for three years, of Dr. Thomas Spencer, then the distinguished professor of the institutes and practice of medicine in Geneva Medical College, in which institution he attended three course of lectures, graduating in January, 1848. On the 20th of the ensuing November he was married to Miss Henrietta S. Walter, of Newark, Tioga county.
In March, 1848, he commenced the practice of medicine in Truxton, where he has since pursued his professional work with unusual success and popularity.
He was elected a permanent member of the State Medical Society in 1875. He is also a member of the Central New York Medical Association, as well as of the Cortland Medical Society.
"At the breaking out of the Rebellion, in 1861, he began enlisting men in his own and adjoining towns, first for the 23d Regt. N. Y. S. Vols., and then for the 76th Regt. N. Y. S. Vols, to which he was commissioned as surgeon Dec. 11th, 1861." He served his regiment faithfully when, owing to failing health, from a severe illness due in part to severe work and also to the effect of the climate, he was obliged, on the 11th of July, 1862, at Fredericksburg, Va., to resign his position in the regiment altogether and return to his home, as the medical officers of his division and himself believed, a confirmed invalid. After spending some time, however, at Avon Springs, he so far recovered that early in January, 1863, and by special contract with the surgeon-general, he entered upon the duties of a medical officer in the U. S. General Hospital, Department of Washington, in which capacity he occupied several positions of trust and responsibility. He first served as ward physician in Trinity General Hospital until its discontinuance in April, 1863, then in Mount Pleasant General Hospital until December, 1863, when he was put in charge of the Regular Army Post Hospital on the Potomac, opposite Mt. Vernon, where he remained until the following April, when he was relieved by the regular surgeon of the post. "He was then ordered to Finley General Hospital and put in charge of three surgical wards, where a large amount of operative surgery devolved upon him and where he remained (with the exception of two weeks on duty with Surgeon Antisell in attending the sick and wounded officers who reported there from the front during the great battles of the Wilderness, Cold Harbor and Petersburg) until the expiration of his term of service in November, 1864.
"On retiring from the hospital Dr. Nelson received the public thanks of the surgeon in charge for his faithful attendance to duty and from the inmates of his wards a very valuable case of amputating and general operating instruments as a testimonial of their appreciation of his services in their severe trials and afflictions.
"He was in the battle of Fort Stevens, one of the defenses of Washington, July 12th, 1864, when Generals Early and Breckenridge made their famous assault on that city."
Dr. Nelson has always been a Democrat, though during a portion of the war period he voted with the Republicans. He has held the office of supervisor of his town since 1872---now on the thirteenth year of continued service.
In the fall of 1875 he was elected as Member of Assembly in its 99th session, 1876; and again in the fall of 1882 to its 106th session, 1883. At the session of '83 he served as chairman of the committee on the public health and also on the committee on charitable institutions.
On the 20th of June, 1883, he was married the second time to Miss Florence Irwin Snyder, of Middleburg, Schoharie county, N. Y.
Dr. Henry C. Hendrick, of McGrawville, is of English Puritan stock, whose characteristics modified and softened in the course of their history, have been fairly preserved to the present generation. His grandfather, Joel Hendrick---born in 1772---removed from Southington, Conn., to Guilford, Chenango county, N. Y., when a young man---was one of the pioneers of that town and reared his family there. His son, Leontes, the father of the doctor, was born there in 1796; removed to Coventry in the same county in 1832 when the subject of this sketch was between four and five years old. Dr. Hendrick was born in Guilford, September 11th, 1827. He attended the village district school and sometimes what was called a "select school," and several terms at the Oxford Academy. He became a teacher and taught in the district and select schools some twelve terms. This has given him an interest in schools and he has ever since been more or less connected with school boards.
He studied medicine with his brother, the late Dr. E. F. Hendrick, of Danbury, Conn., who was a prominent surgeon in the war of 1861, serving as surgeon of the 15th Conn. Vols.
Dr. Hendrick attended a course of lectures in Geneva Medical College in 1852 and graduated in the medical department of the University of Michigan in 1853; practiced medicine in Willet four years; removed to McGrawville in December, 1857, where he still resides.
He entered the military service in the War of the Rebellion in the summer of 1862, receiving his commission from Gov. Morgan as surgeon of the 157th Regt. N. Y. Vols., August 15th 1862; served in that capacity nearly three years and was mustered out July 31st, 1865.
He served in extra service as follows: On staff of Gen. Carl Schurz in charge of 3d Division 11th Corps Hospital at Brooks's Station, Va., from March, 1863, to the 23d of June following. Was assigned by Medical Director Suckley in general charge of the dressing department of 11th Corps Hospital, third and fourth days of the battle of Gettysburg. Assigned as one of the medical examining board, Folly Island, S. C., Sept. 21st, 1863. October 21st, 1863, was made chairman of special examining board to inquire into the sanitary condition of certain regiments on Folly Island. On the 16th of January, 1864 appointed chief medical officer 2d Brig., Folly Island. In March, 1864, was post surgeon at Jacksonville, Fla., and in April, 1864, post surgeon at Fernandina. On the 13th of July, 1864, appointed member of medical examining board at Hilton Head, S. C., and at the same place July 19th, 1864, was appointed chief medical officer of Provisional Brigade. August 24th, 1864, appointed post surgeon, Hilton Head, chief medical officer of "District of Hilton Head, Fort Pulaski, Beaufort, St. Helena and Tybee Island." October 24, 1864, appointed post surgeon in charge of troops and Confederate prisoners (600 officers) at Ft. Pulaski, Ga. January 11th, 1865, was place in charge of Field Hospital No. 1, Coast Division, S. C.
At the close of the service he was commissioned "Lieutenant-Colonel by Brevet for meritorious service during the was"---his rank as surgeon being "Major of Cavalry."
On calling to say good-bye to his friend, the medical director of the department, he handed him the subjoined document, which was certainly a handsome recognition of the doctor's faithful and efficient services during the war:---
"OFFICE OF MEDICAL DIRECTOR.
"DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH.
"HILTON HEAD, S. C., July 12, 1865.
"On your being mustered out of the service of the U. S.--the term of enlistment of your regiment having expired, it gives me great pleasure to testify to your uniform excellent conduct as an officer and gentlemen since you have been on duty in this department, and to the able manner in which you have discharges your official duties.
"Your obedient Servant,
"Lieut. Col. U. S. Vols. and
"Med. Director, D. S."
Dr. Hendrick has been twice married---first to Miss Eliza J. Mooney, of Willet, who died June 12th, 1858; and again September 5th, 1860 to Miss Marinda McGraw, daughter of the late Harry McGraw, of McGrawville.
Dr. Hendrick is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and for the past fifteen years has been an elder in that church.
Dr. James W. Hughes was born in Mendon, Monroe county, N. Y., May 23d, 1832. He pursued his preparatory studies in Cortlandville Academy, teaching a portion of the time in the village schools, and a year and a half in Northern Mississippi, and entered Williams College in 1856. He subsequently was professor of mathematics in Cortlandville Academy, devoting his spare hours to the study of medicine with Dr. Miles Goodyear, and, after attending two courses of lectures in the University of the City of New York, he graduated in 1863. In September of the same year he was commissioned assistant surgeon of the 59th Regiment N. Y. Vet. Vols., and entered on his duties at once. In May, 1864, he was detailed for duty in the division field hospital, and had charge of two of its wards until August, when he was promoted to the more important and responsible position of one of the division operating staff. On the 4th of March following he was commissioned surgeon of the 152d Regiment N. Y. Vols., and on the 25th of the same month was, by order of Major-General Francis C. Barlow, made division surgeon, and put in charge of the division field hospital, in which position he served until the close of the was.
On being mustered out he returned to his home in Cortland and commenced the practice of medicine, and still continues his professional work in that place.
In natural history Dr. Hughes "follows in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessor," the venerated Goodyear, in his taste for botany and horticulture. His familiarity with the flora of Cortland county renders him an authority in that department.
He keeps his library well supplied with the latest and best professional books and journals.
As a physician he is faithful in his devotion to the interests of his patients.
Dr. Hughes is an elder in the Presbyterian Church.
Dr. John H. Knapp was born in 1819. Studied medicine in the office of Drs. White & Lyman, of Sherburne, and was licensed to practice in the spring of 1843. Having practiced in Marathon and Etna, he finally fixed his resident at Harford, where he has largely enjoyed the confidence and respect of the community as a physician and citizen.
He united with the County Medical Society in 1858 and was its president in 1861 and again in 1867.
In 1855 Dr. Knapp represented his county in the Legislature as Member of the Assembly, and has also served his town in the Board of Supervisors.
In May, 1863, he was appointed by President Lincoln as surgeon of the board of enrollment for the 23d New York Congressional district, and remained as such to the close of the war,---having examined in that time probably over 6,000 men.
Dr. John D. Tripp, of Virgil, was born in Dryden, N. Y., August 15th, 1843. His preparatory education was received in the common school and in Dryden Academy.
He enlisted in the army in September, 1861, was injured in Fort Totten, and discharged in 1862; returned to Dryden and commenced the study of medicine under the instruction of Dr. Isaac S. Briggs; attended medical lectures at Geneva, and in the spring of 1864 was examined and appointed medical cadet. During the winter of 1864-65, was assigned to the department of the east, with headquarters at New York city, and by doing night duty, was permitted to attend the spring session of lectures at Long Island College Hospital, and graduated from that institution in June, 1865. He then did duty for a time as assistant surgeon.
In October, 1865, he settled in Virgil, where he continues the practice of his profession. He became a member of the County Medical Society, June, 1866, and in 1878 was elected its president. He has read before the society several interesting papers, more especially on the recent discoveries in the functions of the nervous system.
The County Society has always maintained a representation in the State Medical Society as well as in the American Medical Association, and in the District Medical Associations of Central New York, also in the neighboring county medical societies.
The society adopted the code of ethics of the American Medical Association after the organization of the latter in 1847, which had also been adopted by the State Society, so that it was, in the matter of ethics, in conformity with the State and national societies.
But when, in 1882, the State Society, at a thinly attended meeting, but packed for a purpose, adopted what is called the "new code," against the most serious and earnest protests and warnings of the minority present, as well as against a large majority of the constituent county societies,---refusing to postpone the consideration of the subject for even one night,---the Cortland County Medical Society refused to comply with the demand of the State Society to revise its code of ethics so that it should conform to that of the State Society. By a large majority---twenty-three to four---the County Society stands by the national code, and is largely represented in the new State Medical Association.
The society in its meetings, annual or semi-annual, has, with few exceptions, held its proceedings and discussions in a most harmonious spirit. It has been the aim of its members at such times to elicit and impart practical information,---to draw out the valuable results of individual experience, observation and study, while a healthy esprit de corps has been maintained.
|CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF MEMBERS.|
|Lewis S. Owen||1808|
|Elijah G. Wheeler||1808|
|Robert D. Taggart||1808|
|Joel R. Carpenter||1817|
|Peleg B. Peckham||1818|
|Oliver P. Raymond||1820|
|Geo. W. Bradford||1820|
|Elias P. Metcalf||1822|
|Joseph H. Ellis||1823|
|Eleazer W. Crain||1824|
|Hiram N. Eastman||1828|
|Phineas H. Burdick||1828|
|Sylvester F. Pelton||1828|
|Daniel M. Wakely||1828|
|Robert C. Owen||1828|
|Arabert B. Smith||1828|
|Constantine P. Weaver||1830|
|Isaac S. Briggs||1830|
|Ira L. Babcock||1831|
|Orvil P. Laird||1833|
|Azariah B. Shipman||1833|
|George W. Maxson||1833|
|Melvin A. Webster||1834|
|Francis A. Decker||1834|
|William M. Freeman||1834|
|Christopher L. Main||1836|
|Edwin P. Healy||1838|
|Jonathan W. Jones||1839|
|Eleazer H. Barnes||1840|
|David W. Houghtaling||1840|
|William J. Wilson||1842|
|Franklin T. Mayberry||1842|
|Lysander B. White||1842|
|Anson B. Caul||1843|
|Henry P. Eells||1844|
|Lyman H. Davis||1844|
|George N. Woodward||1846|
|W. B. Sturtevant||1846|
|Charles N. Kingman||1846|
|Titus B. Davidson||1847|
|Lorenzo J. Keen||1850|
|Daniel E. Foot||1852|
|Marcellus R. Smith||1853|
|Charles H. Swain||1853|
|Dix A. Shevalier||1853|
|Henry C. Hendrick||1855|
|William H. Niles||1855|
|Charles S. Richardson||1858|
|A. D. Read||1858|
|J. H. Knapp||1858|
|T. C. Pomeroy||1859|
|G. L. Newcomb||1862|
|D. W. Burdick||1863|
|I. D. Warner||1865|
|A. L. Head||1865|
|H. O. Jewett||1865|
|James W. Hughes||1866|
|J. D. Tripp||1866|
|L. C. Warner||1867|
|N. R. Barnes||1867|
|J. C. Nelson||1867|
|De Forest Hunt||1867|
|S. C. Webb||1867|
|M. G. Hyde||1868|
|O. G. Dibble||1869|
|D. C. Waters||1869|
|William B. Niles||1871|
|George G. Bosworth||1871|
|Marcellus L. Halbert||1872|
|Henry T. Dana||1872|
|George D. Bradford||1875|
|Owen C. Hall||1875|
|J. B. McClellan||1876|
|Francis G. Wheelock||1877|
|Edward W. McBirney||1877|
|Dewitt C. Clark||1880|
|Herman D. Hunt||1880|
|Francis W. Higgins||1881|
|Charles E. Bennett||1882|
|Frank H. Green||1882|
|CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF PRESIDENTS.|
|Lewis S. Owen||1808, 1820|
|John Miller||1820, 1821|
|Lewis S. Owen||1823|
|Lewis Riggs||1825, 1826|
|A. Blanchard||1828, 1829|
|Miles Goodyear||1834 to 1840|
|A. B. Shipman||1841|
|A. B. Smith||1843, 1844|
|P. H. Burdick||1848|
|Frederick Hyde||1849, 1850|
|P. H. Burdick||1851|
|C. M. Kingman||1853|
|Geo. W. Maxson||1854|
|L. J. Keen||1855|
|Geo. W. Bradford||1856|
|C. M. Kingman||1860|
|J. H. Knapp||1861|
|S. Beebe||1864, 1865|
|I. D. Warner||1866|
|J. H. Knapp||1867|
|J. C. Nelson||1868|
|S. C. Webb||1869|
|H. C. Hendrick||1870|
|Isaac S. Briggs||1871|
|E. H. Barnes||1872|
|H. O. Jewett||1872, 1874|
|M. G. Hyde||1875, 1876|
|H. T. Dana||1877|
|J. D. Tripp||1878|
|D. W. Burdick||1876|
|A. Quivey||1880, 1881|
|Marcellus R. Smith||1882, 1883|
|Charles E. Bennett||1884|
|CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF SECRETARIES.|
|Jesse Searl||1808 to 1820|
|Lewis Riggs||1820 to 1823|
|Jesse Searl||1823 to 1825|
|Geo. W. Bradford||1825 to 1870|
|Caleb Green||1870 to 1884|
|PRESENT MEMBERS OF THE SOCIETY.|
|Jerome Angel,||Union Valley|
|E. H. Barnes,||Marathon|
|Charles E. Bennett,||Cortland|
|Isaac S. Briggs,||Dryden, Tomp. Co.|
|Daniel W. Burdick,||Homer|
|George D. Bradford,||Homer|
|Dewitt C. Clark,||Marathon|
|Henry T. Dana,||Cortland|
|William Fitch,||Dryden, Tomp. Co.|
|Frank H. Green,||Homer|
|M. L. Halbert,||Cincinnatus|
|A. L. Head,||Homer|
|H. C. Hendrick,||McGrawville|
|F. W. Higgins,||Truxton|
|James W. Hughes,||Cortland|
|Herman D. Hunt,||Preble|
|Miles G. Hyde,||Cortland|
|Homer O. Jewett,||Cortland|
|John H. Knapp,||Harford|
|George W. Maxson,||Scott|
|Edward W. McBirney,||Willet|
|Judson C. Nelson,||Truxton|
|A. D. Read,||Marathon|
|Marcellus R. Smith,||Cincinnatus|
|J. D. Tripp,||Virgil|
|Sumner C. Webb,||Homer|
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1885 History of Cortland County
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