John W. (John Woolf) Jordan.

Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania (Volume v.1) online

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of his strong characteristics, his love of nature.
In his youth he found great pleasure in wandering
through the country surrounding his native city,
intent on observing the birds, insects and min-
erals, the glories of the sky, the fields and the
rivers. Moreover, he jiossessed a very studious
nature, and early displayed special aptitude in
the mastery of the branches of learning which
constituted the curriculum of the Easton Union
■ Academy, in which his youth was largely passed.

He afterward attended Minerva Academy, of
Easton, coming under the teaching of Rev. John
\'anderveer, D. D., who was one of the most
scholarly gentlemen and prominent educators of
that time. His interest in nature was heightened
by his persual of Buffon's "Natural History," a
copy of which came into his possession about that
time. He resolved then to make the study of
natural sciences one of his chief pursuits in life,
and he never abandoned this intention. He be-
came convinced that the study of medicine would
atiford him special advantages in this direction,
and he therefore determined to pursue it.

He attended two full courses of lectures in
the University of Pennsylvania, and then entered
the office of his preceptor, enrolling himself as a
student under Dr. J. K. Mitchell, professor of
medicine in Chapman's Institute. Following the
completion of three full courses in the University
and in the institute he won his Doctor of Medi-
cine degree upon graduation in 1835. Realizing
the necessity for careful and thorough prepara-
tion for the responsible duties that devolve upon
the physician, he would never receive a student
without a pledge that he would pursue three full
courses of study before he applied for a degree.
He seemed in advance of the times in this par-
ticular, for long )ears after that the colleges re-
quired only two courses and demanded no special
preparation for matriculation. Following his
graduation he was appointed physician to the
Fifth street dispensary in Philadelphia and at-
tended outdoor patients and held clinics. His-
carefulness, accuracy and capacity for work are
illustrated in the complete records he kept of all
the cases he treated. He continued this practice
throughout his medical life of nearly sixty years,
and no one was ever treated whose record will
not be found in his voluminous record books. He
was a most indefatigable worker, and although
he accomplished an amount of labor which would
have been utterly impossible to many a man, he
enjoyed good health because of the outdoor exer-
cise in which he indulged, and his ability to fall
asleep almost anywhere, and thus gained the
power and renewal of energies which only sleep
can bring. He was also methodical in his tasks,


and was so regular in his habits that irritability
Avas never noticed in his intercourse with people.
.He cultivated repose of manner, and maintained
a. cheerful spirit under all circumstances. As he
^rew older these peculiarities increased, and his
later years mellowed as they came, and made him
a most delightful companion.

Following his dispensary experience, Dr.
Green returned to Easton in 1836 and entered
upon the active practice of his profession in his
native city. While the demands for his profes-
sional services constantly increased, he yet found
time and opportunity not only to continue his
own studies, but also to advance learning in his
city through the instruction which he gave to
private classes. While still a medical student
he determined to become a teacher of chemistry,
which he designated as "his darling study." Fol-
lowing his return to Easton he organized a class
of young people whom he instructed in the
science, and it was his enthusiasm in this subject
that probably attracted the attention of the board
of Lafayette College and occasioned his selection
ty it for the position of professor of chemistry
in that institution. In the spring of 1837 the
president of the college called upon him, made
known the decision of the board, and requested
that Dr. Green take up the work the following
da}-, and was met with the characteristic response,
"I will." Following his acceptance of the posi-
tion, he continued his studies in the natural
sciences, as he had determined to do in his boy-
hood days. At this time he embraced the oppor-
tunity to acquaint himself with minerals, and in
the course of years he had a collection of fine
specimens which at his death was bequeathed to
Lafayette College. Successively he took up the
study of geology, zoology and botany, finding on
each new page of nature's text-book fields for
thought and interest.

In 1841 Dr. Green accepted the call from Mar-
shall College, at ]\Iercersburg, Pennsylvania, to
teach the natural sciences. Here medicine was
■dropped, and his whole time was devoted to the
teaching of his favorite subjects, except that he
■was occasionally called in consultation in difficult
cases, and that he lectured to the students on

physiology and hygiene. He remained at Mer-
cersburg from 1841 until 1848, returning then
to Easton. and the following year he was reap-
pointed to the chair of chemistry in Lafayette
College. He continued to deliver an annual course
of lectures in chemistry, and at the same time en-
gaged in the active practice of medicine, and, as
he expressed it, "in the flower season, as often
as he could, ran out to hold converse in their wild
haunts with the sweet gifts of our loving Fa-
ther." With all the labor implied in an exten-
sive practice and a professorship, he found time
for other work. He instructed classes of boys
and girls in botany, and it was a rare occasion
when he was not giving instruction in one or
more of the natural sciences. His interest in
Lafayette College never abated, and in speaking
of his connection therewith Professor Moore

"He gave his time, his money, his influence,
not once, but thousands of times. He was not
a friend for a year, but for every one of over fifty
years. He filled every official position in the col-
lege, generally without any, always with insuffi-
cient, remuneration. He worked because he loved
the cause, and furnished what money will not buy
— cheerful, unselfish devotion. He was professor
of chemistry, trustee, acting president, chairman
of the building committee, a member of the pru-
dential committee, dean and general adviser, and
always a devoted friend. He gave his profes-
sional services to every one connected with the
faculty who called him, for absolutely nothing,
during all his professional life. He made sacri-
fices for the college — the only test of sincerity
and devotion. The observatory was his gift, and
the gift was an observatory because he felt that
astronomy might be among the last subjects to be
the recipient of a gift. The building and furnish-
ings were given on condition that his name should
not be mentioned.

"Dr. Cattell, in his usual happy mood, said
at the laving of the cornerstone that "the donor,
was too modest to allow^ his name to be men-
tioned, and he felt that he could not violate con-
fidence, but he knew that, whoever he was, his
name would be green in the memories of all true
lovers of Lafayette.' He commenced his lectures
in chemistry in the basement of South College —
"the tombs" — where he was compelled to do all
the work and furnish the materials himself, and


lived to see and preside over the finest chemical
laboratory in America. He was always hopeful,
and when everything seemed dark at the burning
of that magnificent monument, erected through
the liberality of Mr. Pardee, he alone seemed to
have no fear of the future. As a teacher he was
accurate — the first requirement of scholarship ; he
was thorough — the first requisite of the in-
structor : he was truthful — truth was his highest
ambition ; he was inspiring, because he believed
what he taught ; he was a good disciplinarian — he
never said what he did not mean. His patience
was inexhaustible, but when necessary, he could
be severe."

In early manhood Dr. Green also entered upon
the enjoyments of home life. He was married
in 1844 to Miss Harriet Moore, of Morristown,
New Jersey, who shared with him in his great
love of flowers, and who had been a student in
one of his botany classes. Those who knew aught
of his home life recognized in him the ideal hus-
band and father, who put forth every effort in
his power to promote the welfare of his family,
and counted no personal sacrifice too great that
would enhance the happiness of his wife and
children. In his entire life he was a close fol-
lower of Him who came not to be ministered
unto, but to minister, for Dr. Green throughout
the years of an active manhood devoted his life
to his fellow men. It seemed his chief object to
disseminate knowledge that people might make
the best use of their powers and gain the most
that life offers in true enjoyment, happiness and
character development. He regarded no interest
which had bearing upon the welfare of a fellow
creature as too unimportant to claim his attention.

As is every broadminded man, he was a pub-
lic-spirited citizen, and community affairs claimed
his co-operation and profited by his services. He
was instrumental in promoting manv measures
of public progress and reform, and delivered
many addresses on these questions which resulted
in arousing public thought and action. His lec-
tures on the evils of graveyards in crowded places
suggested a movement for the establishment of
the Easton cemetery, and a charter was secured
on the 5th of April, 1849. His name first appears
on the list of the charter members, and, becom-

ing president of the board of directors at the
time of the establishment of the cemetery, he con-
tinued to act in that capacity until his .death.
There is no instance in his whole life which il-
lustrates better his firmness than his resistance
of the attempts of the Easton & Northern Rail-
road to lay its tracks through the cemetery
grounds. His lectures on public lighting and
his effective defence of gas lighting had much
to do with the successful introduction
of gas in Easton, and he was one of the first di-
rectors under the charter, chosen May 5, 1851.
In his old age he was just as enthusiastic over
the successful introduction of electric lighting as
he had been years before over the introduction
of gas. He was not fearful of a fall in gas stock,
but if it came he counted it one of the prices to be
paid for every modern improvement. In his
lectures on public wells his words were of suf-
ficient weight to crystallize an opposition which
resulted in their abolition. He became interested
in the project of the electric railway system of
Easton, although he himself so loved outdoor
exercise that he thought the project would prove
of financial failure because "the points of interest
were so close together — all being within the limits
of a reasonable walk."

In politics he became a stanch Republican.
He regarded it the duty as well as the privilege
of every .Vmerican citizen to support the prin-
ciples which he believed contained the best ele-
ments of good government. Political honors and
emoluments had no attraction for him, but he
labored untiringly to advance many interests af-
fecting the welfare and advancement of his com-
monwealth. He did not believe in the ring rule
of any party, but in the organized efforts of the
best men to promote the best measures. His fel-
low, citizens honored him by putting him where
they knew his knowledge of educational matters
would benefit the community most. He was a
member of the board of control from August 15,
1856, until April 3, 1866, when he voluntarily re-
tired, and he was president of the board from
March 26, 1858, until his retirement. Here he
again made his impress. In those early times the
public school system of Easton was molded by


men of known worth and ability. Men like the
Hon. Washington IMcCartney, Rev. John \^an-
derveer, Edward F. Stewart, Esq.. Dr. Samuel
Sandt, Dr. Traill Green, ari others, were willing
to serve the people. The excellent public school
system is a living monument of their intelligence
and foresight. The state used him in positions
where his special knowledge was of value. He
was trustee of the Insane Hospital at Harrisburg
for twenty-four years, having received the ap-
pointment from Governors Geary, Hartranft,
Hoyt, Beaver and Pattison. In 1868 the legis-
lature appointed him one of the commissioners to
build a new insane hospital at Danville. His last
public service was rendered in 1892, when he was
chosen as a presidential elector.

Dr. Green stood for high standards and ideals
in the medical profession, and his labors became
an active factor in promoting the best interests
of the medical fraternity of Pennsylvania. He
early recognized the value of an interchange of
thought, experience and ideas between representa-
tives of the profession, and felt that through or-
ganization the most desirable results along this
line might be obtained. Accordingly, in 1848, after
discussing the question with some of his col-
leagues, he called a meeting which resulted in
the formation of the Medical Society of North-
ampton Covmty. In the memorial exercises held
in honor of Dr. Green, Dr. Amos Seip, of Easton,
Pennsylvania, his colaborer in the organization
of the Northampton County Medical Society,
said :

"The memory of Dr. Green needs no memo-
rial or marble or granite to perpetuate his fame !
His important services rendered to the people ; his
great professional eminence as a physician and
scientist ; his discriminating tact, clearness of
perception and solid judgment; his generous and
disinterested spirit ; his purity of character, free
from tainted thought or w'hatever partook of the
disingenuous, mean, or sordid ; his admirable ex-
ample of all that was beautiful or good ; are yet
fresh in our recollection, and are engraved upon
the hearts of the people, which will live and will
be remembered by generations yet to come. Not-
withstanding his arduous labors with an extensive
practice, which for thirty-five years was almost

entirely done on foot, extending from Cooper's
furnace to Glendon, and from South Easton to
Chestnut Hill, with the outlying and intervening
districts, his indomitable industry and systematic
arrangement of time enabled him to accomplish
much. He was always able to meet his engage-
ments, public or private, for matters in which his
presence was required. Whh his strong moral
perception, and gentle, sympathizing heart, his
firm conviction of duty, he could not contemplate
with indifference the moral degradation or suf-
fering of his fellow-mortal, and conscientiously
believing that one of the most prolific sources of
poverty, misery and crime is the fruit of unlimited
indulgence in intoxicating beverages, he became
a zealous and ardent advocate of temperance, and
opposed the indiscriminate use of alcoholic stimu-
lants in the practice of medicine. In later vears
he noticed with regret that so many young men
were entering the medical professsion without
previous training in the regular colleges. He
thought that the preparation for the study of
medicine could not be too complete, either for the
physician or his future patients. Hence, in 1876,
with others, he launched the American Academy
of Medicine, entrance to which could only be
obtained by thpse who had taken a degree in col-
lege. It was not an institution for the formation
of a medical aristocracy, but an organization to
prevent the practice of medicine from degenerat-
ing into a mere trade. He was the first president,
and continued to be active during the remainder
of his life. The academy has wrought a great
work. The colleges have been influenced to
adapt their curricula to the needs of the medi-
cal student, and the student has taken advantage
of what they have provided. The time has at
last come when the medical student has an oppor-
tunity to pursue a course which, while it has the
same elements of utility for drill as the displaced
one, prepares in a measure for future medical
studies. His desire to promote the more general
knowledge of science is illustrated in his being
one of the first members of the American Associa-
tion for the Advancement of Science, whose birth
is coincident with his membership (1851). He
continued a member and fellow until his death,
taking an active interest in its proceedings."

Dr. Green's interest in the young was ever
one of his salient characteristics, and the boys
and girls of younger age as well as the students
who came under his instruction as a college pro-
fessor recognized his deep sympathy and his


earnest and sincere appreciation for all they were
doing in the line of intellectual progress and
character development. Boys always delighted
to do him honor by making him an honorary
member of their societies, and this was often done.
It made no difference how humble the call, he
was always gentleman enough and interested
enough to acknowledge his thankfulness for their
consideration, and to offer his services if he could
assist them in any way. All this took time from
an extensive practice. Among these societies
were the Philomathean, of the Lawrenceville
High School, the Calliopean, of the same school,
the Natural History Society of Lafayette Col-
lege, the Natural History Society of Rutgers
College, December i8, 1883, the Buft'alo Society
of Natural History, 1864, the Troy Scientific So-
ciety, September 18, 1871, the Lancaster Lin-
naean Society, January 30, 1864, the Scientific
Society of the University of Pennsylvania, De-
cember 18, 1883, and doubtless others which are
now unknown.

Dr. Green was a champion of education for
women as well as men, and was aggressive in
the improvement of opportunities for their higher
education. The idea that sex was a subject for
discussion in the case of education was to him a
self-evident absurdity, and he instructed many
classes of girls in various branches of natural
sciences. He was the advocate of more study for
women in the line of medical instruction, and of
association with their brethren of the fraternity
in different medical organizations. He cham-
pioned the admission of women students into the
clinics of the hospitals of Philadelphia and in ac-
tive membership relation with the County IMedi-
cal Society, the State IMedical Society, and the
American Medical Association. He felt that his
work in this direction, however, was not com-
plete even when his efforts in these fields were
crowned with success. His study of the condi-
tions of the state insane hospitals led him to the
firm belief that it was an absolute wrong to the
women patients to have the wards in which they
were confined presided over by men. He felt
that women physicians should be placed in charge,
and introduced the subject to the state legislature.

Again and again he met defeat in his efforts to
have a bill presenting his ideas passed by the
general assembly, and he never gave over his
effort until it was attended by successful comple-
tion. He held a most chivalric feeling for women,
and possessed for them the greatest sympathy,
and this quality in his nature made his presence in
the sick room like a ray of sunshine. His labors as
a physician also brought to him an intimate
knowledge of the horrors of the liquor habit such
as few men possess, and he put forth every effort
in his power to suppress intemperance, and to
arouse public sentiment concerning the evils of
intoxicants. He was a leader in the temperance
movements in his county, and long served as the
president of the organized temperance movement
there. Dr. Green's fight was against alcohol as
a beverage just as his fight against opium was
against its abuse. He recognized both drugs as
God-given, and prescribed them when he thought
the occasion demanded them. He was thoroughly
consistent in his beliefs and in his practice.

Dr. Green's loyalty in citizenship was mani-
fested in particular measure by his co-operation
in behalf of the Union cause at the time of the
Civil war. His utterances, his writings, his
means and his time, were given to uphold the
government at Washington and to promote the
cause of humanity. In the early days of the war
almost every physician offered his services as a
surgeon in the state troops, but it was found that
evil results from this course followed. Many
men untrained and untried in the practice of med-
icine volunteered, and threatened a danger to the
soldiers often greater than that of the bullets of
the enemy. It became necessary to establish a
board to examine all surgeons who ministered to
the Pennsylvania troops, examinations being held
in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Washington, and
Dr. Green was made a member of the state med-
ical board in 1861 and again in 1862.

Dr. Green was for many years a member of
the church, and it is perhaps in his Christian life
and faith that we find the true secret of his kind-
liness, his sympathy and his usefulness in the
world. Rev. Mr. Haines at the funeral services
said :


"We are very thankful that those who best
knew and loved Dr. Green, who truly appreciated
the lofty type of his character, did not wait until
after his departure to give worthy and deserved
praise for all that he was and accomplished
among us. It is a source of great gratification to
his many friends that on more than one memora-
ble occasion, when he was the honored center of
interest, there was laid before him very sincere
tributes of respect and affection. Who of us
shall ever forget the celebration of the eightieth
birthday, four years ago, on the 25th of May,
1893. All the flowers of love have not been
kept to spread upon his grave ; all praise has not
remained unspoken until after he left us. It has
well been said since his translation, 'With the
death of Dr. Green there ends one of the most
useful careers of any man who has made Eastori
his home.' We can not improve on such a fitting
and just statement as this. He always thought
life worth the living; yes, he made his life to
be worth the living. He delighted in life, in its
joys, in its sunshine, in its friendships, in its work,
and in its demands upon him. 'It is good to be
alive,' was the language of his life. He enjoyed
young life ; he easily made friends with the
young, and kept them as friends until the end.
Thus he kept his own heart young. He did not
separate his life as a physician from his life as
a Christian. He lived as the Christian physician
before us ; his Christianity was not hid ; his Chris-
tian character was manifest to all. He always
sought to arrange his duties as a physician so that
they would not interfere with his duties as a
member of his church. I know of no physician
with a practice so large and demanding who has
been more faithful in attending divine worship on
Sundays and at mid-week services than was Dr.
Green. He believed in all good causes ; he gave
much strength and attention to the work of the
American Bible Society, to the American Tract
Society, to Sabbath observance, and to temper-
ance reform at a time when temperance reform
was far from popular in this place. In every
movement that had for its purpose the promotion
of the good of the world, he was interested, and
bore no insignificant part. Often, as the chairman
of a meeting, called to advance the moral well-
being of the community, was his voice heard ;
and always did his words carry weight with them,
as he sought to further some good cause. He
took delight in good people ; he welcomed to his
home many a person who came there for the pur-
pose of advancing some form of beneficent en-
deavor. He believed in and practiced Christian
■hospitality in a very cordial and hearty way."

To sum up : Dr. Green stood for high ideals
and lofty purposes and his life was devoted to
the intellectual and spiritual advancement of those
with whom he came in contact. His state largely
reaped the benefit of his services, and yet his in-
fluence has spread abroad throughout the land
wherever his students have gone, for no one ever
came in contact with Traill Green upon whom he
did not leave the impress of his individuality for

Points in its History. — Location and
Scenery. — Easton Educational Enterprises. — •

Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanHistoric homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania (Volume v.1) → online text (page 2 of 92)