With Historical Sketches of
Cromwell, Portland, Chatham, Middle Haddam,
Middletown & Its Parishes;
David D. Field, D.D.;
Middletown, Conn.

Pages 196-199

  • Ebenezer GILBERT, was for a time a member of Yale College, but by sickness was obliged to suspend study and leave the institution before the time for taking his degree. He afterwards studied medicine with Drs. IVES and HUBBARD, in New Haven, but completed them with Dr. John DICKINSON of this city. During a part of the Revolution he was surgeon in one of our vessels of war. He afterwards went to the West Indies for his health, settle at St. Pierre, in the island of Martinique, where he remained for twenty-five years, practicing his profession during most, if not the whole of that period. He retruned to this place in 1813, and though advanced in years, practised considerably here. He died January 17th, 1833, in his 78th year.

  • Ebenezer TRACY, native of Norwich, studied medicine and surgery with Dr. TURNER of that town; has practised medicine and surgery in Middletown, since 1785.

  • William Brenton HALL, native of Wallingfied, graduate of Yale, 1786, studied medicine, and probably began practce here, about 1790, of which he had a respectable share. He was Treasurer of the Medical Society of the State from 1801, until his death in 1809.

  • Dr. BENNET, an Englishman, practised in Middletown a few years.

  • Thomas MINOR, native of Westfield Society. See onward.

  • William TULLY, native of Saybrook, graduate of Yale, 1806, M.D., studied medicine with Dr. Mason Fitch COGGSWELL, of Hartford, and spent two winters with Dr. Nathan SMITH, at Dartmouth College. He began practice in Milford, practised a short time in Cromwell, and a number of years in Middletown - practiced also a number of years in Labany, in partnership with Dr. Alden MARCH, then resided in New Haven twenty-one years. He was Professor in the Vermont Academy of Medicine for fourteen years where is department for about half the time was the principles and practice of medicine solely, which required one lecture a day, and for the other half, he taugh in addition, Meteria Medica and Therapeutics, giving two lectures a day. In New Haven was professor of Materia Medica and Therapeutics in the Medical Department of Yale College, fourteen years. He is now pracising in Springfield, Massachusetts.

  • Henry WOODWARD, native of Torringford. See onward.

  • Isaac CONKLING, native of East Hampton, L.I., student of Dr. Ebenezer SAGE, of Sag Harbor, L.I., attended lectures in Columbia College, New York City, practised three or four years in Portland, about as many in Oneida County, N.Y., and nine years in Middletown. Died in Portland February 24, 1824, aged 44.

  • Edward S. CONE, son of Rev. Salmon CONE, of Colchester, graduate of Middlebury College, 1815, student of Dr. William TULLY, attended lectures in New Haven, had a good share of practice; died February 13, 1831, aged nearly 36 years.

  • Frederick MORGAN. See Physicians in Middle Haddam

  • David HARRISON, native of North Branford, student of Dr. PARKER, of Wallingford, graduated M.D. at Yale College, 1825, began practice in Durham, moved to Middletown in 1820; in 1837, went to the Spanish West Indies for his health and practised there, returning to Middletown in 1842.

  • Joseph BARRATT, an Englishman by birth, professor of Botany, Chemestry and Mineralogy, in the Military Academy, was graduated M.D., at Yale College, in 1834. Besides performing professional duties, he has paid much attention to the language of the American Indians, and various branches of natural science.

  • Gurdon H. PARKIS, attended lectures at Pittsfield, was graduated M.D., at Williams College, in 1829. About this time he came to Middletown and practised, left in 1833; at an after period he practised dentistry in Norwich.

  • Chester PARKIS, brother o Gurdon, came to Middletown a few months after him, and left about the same time. He afterwards practised dentistry, in Salem, Mass.

  • Charles WOODWARD, M.D., son of Dr. Samuel WOODWARD of Torringford, studied medicine with his father, and with his brother, Dr. Samuel B. WOODWARD, in Wethersfield, where he practised in 1821, then ten years in Windsor; in 1832, he came to Middletown where he has since practised.

  • Samuel Gray SOUTHMAYD, M.D., graduate of Yale, 1834. After practising for a time in Middletown, he settled and practised in New York. He has since given up his profession, as a principal concern, and engaged in other business.

  • Thomas MINER, M.D., native of Stonington, attended lectures in Pittsfield, practised medicine some years in West Stockbridge, and then in Middletown; is now practising in Hartford.

  • William B. CASEY, M.D., graduate of Columbia College, N.Y., 1833, studied medicine and was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania, began practice in New York in 1836, and in Middletown, 1839; was mayor of the city in '51.

  • Elisha B. NYE, native of Sandwich, Mass., graduate of Wesleyan University in 1835, studied medicine with Dr. Thomas MINER, 2d, of Middletown, and in New Haven, where he was graduated M.D., in 1837; practised in Moodus, a village in East Haddam, from 1837 till nearly the close of 1851; is now settled in Middletown.

  • Hamilton BREWER, native of East Hartford, graduate of Wesleyan University, 1838, graduated M.D. at New Haven in 1841, practised in Middletown several years, moved ot Brooklyn in '51; is now engaged in insurance.

  • Franklin WOODRUFF, native of Burlington, studied medicine with Dr. William BROWN of Collinsville, and his brother Dr. Lucius WOODRUFF of New Britain. The degree of M.D. was conferred upon him at the New York University in 1844, and in the same year he settled in Middletown.

  • George W. BURKE, native of New Haven, graduate of the Wesleyan University, 1839, studied medicine with Dr. A. BRIGHAM of Hartford, and in New Haven, where he was graduated Doctor of Medicine in '43; practised in Palmer, Mass., has come to Middletown since the commencement of the current year.

  • Ellsworth BURR, native of Haddam, Botanic Physician, who studied with Dr. Isaac G. SPERRY of Hartford, has practiced in Middletown and vicinity since 1837.

  • William C. BELL, Homoepathic physician, studied medicine one year under Horace BALLARD, M.D., of Chester, Mass., and then mostly under Professor CHILD, of Pittsfield, where he was graduated M.D., in 1833. He afterwards practised in Austerlitz, N.Y>, and in Great Barrington, Mass., till, '49, when he came to Middletown, where he has since practiced.

Physicians in Middlefield and Westfield
Page 200

The people in Middlefield and Westfield have depended principally for medical aid upon the physicians in the First Society and in other adjoining places. About the few physicians who have resided and practised in these places, a few words will be added to what is said in the address (pp. 95 and 6) Dr. A. WARD practised in Middlefield a few years only, dying August 12th, 1788, aged 32. Dr. J. HOADLEY, native of Branford, graduate of Yale, 1768, practised a longer period, had the reputation of being very skilful in curing the cholic. He died March 2d, 1810, aged 66*. Dr. HATCH who practiced in Westfield for a short time, and then moved to New Hartford, and afterwards to Granville, Mass., though a very respectable man, engaged on in part in his profesion in new Hartford, and verly little in Granville. A Dr. MORRIS is said to have practised for a short time in Westfield, about 1830, who moved to Meriden, and thence to Ohio. Phineas MILLER, a native of Middlefield, and brother of the Hon. Asher MILLER, who studied medicine with the 2d Dr. John OSBORNE, settled in Norwalk, and had a large practice. He has been dead more than twenty years.

Thomas MINOR, M.D.
Page 200-203

There are published accounts, in William's American Medical Biography, of two of the deceased physicians in the foregoing list, which in an abridged form will now be given.

The first is an account of Dr. Thomas MINOR, son of Rev. Thomas MINOR, of the parish of Westfield. This is mostly autobiographical; the rest is from the pen of Dr. S. B. WOODWARD, who well knew him. The whole is much too long for insertion. But it due to the standing of Dr. MINOR, that some facts should be here given concerning him. He was born Oct. 15th, 1777, and in childhood and early youth suffered much from feebleness and disease, but entered Yale College in 1792, when he was about fifteen years of age, and was graduated in 1796. He speaks very modestly of his attainments in College, and though the four years "were far from being trifled away or lost," he declared they were spent under very great and permanent disadvantages, and expresses the opinion that he "didn not acquire half the solid learning" he might have done "had he been two years older and proportionally better prepared." During the five or six years following, it is believed that his scholarship was greatly improved in accuracy and amount, by teaching, and at the same time studying himself. During this period he taught an academy for about three years in Goshen, N.Y., and then another about two years in Berlin, though inthe meanwhile he was visited once and again by disease in some of its forms. When about twenty-five, he commenced the sutdy of medicine under Dr. John OSBORNE, engaging also in the instruction of youth, and in the beginning of 1807 he entered his profession. From some time in 1808 into '10, he was in full practice in the town of Lynn, Mass., whence he removed to Lyme, in this State and thence to the city of Middletown, where in the vicinity he had for a number of years, "as much professional business as he could attend to, and more than his health would bear." In Feb. 1819, "he was seized with an affection of the lungs and heart, which suddenly ended in a great degree," his "professional career, and left him a confirmed valetudinarian at the premature age of forty-one," though for several years after he "practiced some in consulation, and amused "himself in reading two or three foreign languages, besides writing occassional medical and literary essays," which appeared in the columns of different publications. In fact, in various ways he did much for the advancement of medical science and the relief and benefit of his fellow men. In 1823, in connection with Dr. TULLY, he published essays on fevers and other medical subjects; and in 1825, an account of Typhus Syncopalis [the sinking typhus.] This work Dr. S.B. WOODWARD speaks of as one which caused a great deal of controversy; one which was most severely criticised; but one about which, although the public were divided as to its real worth, they were generally satisfied that it evinced great erudition and research. "At any rate," he says, "it was one which gave the author great notoriety as a writer and great fame as a practitioner." Dr. MINOR himself declares it was published several times entire, or abridged in other works."

After the organization of the Medical School of Yale College, he was perhaps three-tenth of the time, one of the censors or members of the committee. He was a member of the committee for devising ways and means and forming the plan for the Retreat for the Insane, at Hartford, as a colleague with Doctors TODD, WOODWARD, TULLEY, IVES, and others, and with the assistance of Dr. TULLEY, wrote the committee's address to the public, which preceded their solicitation of donations.

He corresponded with may distinguished physicians in different parts of the country, and with some distinguished men who did not pursue the medical profession. The late venerable Noah WEBSTER, LL.D., was one of his correspondents. To that eminent lexicographer he wrote letters of criticism, etymology, and other philosophical subjects. Dr. WEBSTER did him the honor occasionally, to send him manuscripts, soliciting his remarks previous to their publication.

Having been afflicted twenty years and more, with a disease of the heart, early in March, 1841, he went to Worcester to visit his friend Dr. S.B. WOODWARD, to see what could be done to alleviate his sufferings, and as he said himself, "if he could not be relieved, to die with his friend." With that friend he did die, onthe morning of April 23d, 1841, in the 64th year of his age.

It is surprising that one so feeble from his early days, and suffering so much from disease should have lived so long and accomplished so much.

In communicating his death to Dr. SMITH, editor of the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, Dr. WOODWARD observes, "Dr. MINOR was a remarkable man. He has left behind him few as ripe scholars, profound philosophers and philanthropists in the medical profession. Ill health having for some years prevented active engagement in professional duties, he has devoted his whole time to study and reflection. His mind was very active to the last. He was, perhaps, one of the most learned physicians in New England, not only in proessional attainments, but in foreign languarges and theology. He was acquainted with the French, Italian, Spanish and German languages, and was often employed by publishers in the country to translate them. He was particularly fond of the German, and read works on medicine, theology and philosophy in that language with great pleasure. You well know his estimable and moral qualities. His heart was benevolent, his feelings kine. In his life he exemplified the christian character; in sickness and death he bore testimony of unbroken confidence in the christian hope of a joyful resurrection."

Pages 203-204

The second person referred to as being the subject of a memoir, in Williams' Medical Biography, is Dr. Henry WOODWARD, and brother of Drs. S.B. and Charles WOODWARD. The memoir is from the ben of the elder of these brothers, with whom after having studied awhile with the father he pursued the studies preparatory to his profession. With this brother too, while resident in Wethersfield he was associated about four years after admission to practice. From that town, he came to Middletown, where he spent his remaining life.

From the memoir and from other evidence it is apparent that he possessed naturally a very vigorous mind, that he was exceedingly apt to learn, and that he examined subjects philosophically; also that he had a kind and social tempere, polished manners, and was active and faithful in the discharge of his publich duties. He possessed that discretion in the use of these attributes and acquisitions which made him acceptable as well as useful. He had the requisites for being popular with the people, securing the esteem of his patients and the respect of his medical brethren. Accordingly he soon gained extensive practice, and for years "his business was equal to that of any other physician in the state both for respectability and extent. He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine from the Connecticut Medical Society at an earlier age than any other gentleman in the State; and no young man was more esteemed by the faculty in an extensive circle of acquaintance."

"He was twice chosen to represent the town of Middletown in the Legislature of the State, and was at the time a candidate for higher advancement. In the public stations he filled he always sustained himself with dignity and ability, and was considered one of the ablest members of the House of Representatives."

Investigating thoroughly the causes of disease and applying remedies skillfully; felicitous and happy in his intercourse with the sick, he gained their affections. "He loved society and society loved him."

"His moral character was above reproach. He was a man of active benevolence, gave much in charity, and took hold of the great moral enterprises of the day with true zeal. He was a regular member of the Episcopal Church, of which he was for some time vestryman and warden."

But "in the midst of his activity and usefulness he was cut down by a disease of the chest, which in a few months terminated his life by a rapid consumption. He died October 10th, 1832, at the early age of 37 years."

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