Copyright
Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York online

. (page 16 of 138)
Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 16 of 138)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


the one in the Old Stadt Huys, stood on the corner of Eagle and How-
ard streets, and was completed in the latter part of 1834. This was
used until the spring of 1854, when the jail on Maiden Lane was erected
and the old jail was fitted up for a hospital and opened August 8, 1854.
That jail served its purpose without public complaint until 1868, when
Henry Smith, then district attorney, sent a communication to the
Board of Supervisors, in which he said :

In the main apartment you will find si.xt}' male prisoners, including some children,
confined in one common room, where those youthful in years, and those who have
committed their first criminal error, perhaps those who are entirely innocent, are e.x-
posed to the influences, and often to the physical tortures, of the most depraved of
men.

In another room, of about fifteen by eighteen, you will find some twenty-two
females of various ages, even to extreme old age; some reasonably tidy and others
repulsively filthy; some apparently well and others suffering from loathsome dis-
eases, crowded together in a space where there is scarcely room for all to lie down
at once. In short, you will find a state of things that would shame a semi-civilized
community, and would not be tolerated by the people of this county for one hour if
they could for a moment look in upon the appalling horrors of that fearful den, kept
under their authority, for the detention of persons accused of crime. This state of
affairs, Mr. Smith continues, is no fault of the Sheriff or Jailer, but results from want
of suitable rooms.

This created a sensation and resulted in an immediate change. The
superintendent of the Capital Police was directed to send his prisoners
under sentence to the penitentiary, instead of leaving them in the jail,
while plans for improvement were made and carried out at an expen-
diture of $2,500.

THE ALBANY LAW SCHOOL. '

This school is among the oldest institutions of the kind in the
country.

In 1S51 the Legislature incorporated the University of Albany, giv-
ing to it the authority to organize a Literary department, a Law de-
partment, a Scientific department, and providing that the Albany
Medical College, already existing, might, if so disposed, unite with
the departments to be formed.

The department of law was immediately organized as the Albany
Law School, and has maintained a prosperous existence to the present

I Prepared by W. R. Davidson, secretary of the school.



time, having graduated over two thousand students, and having had
an attendance of over three thousand.

At the time of its organization there were three other law schools
вАФ Harvard, Yale and Cincinnati (now Columbia) ; there are now up-
wards of eighty.

The first Board of Trustees was organized as follows: Greene C.
Bronson, president ; Thomas W. Olcott, vice president : Orlando Meads,
secretary; Luther Tucker, treasurer.

The first Faculty was constituted as follows: Chancellor Reuben H.
Walworth, president, but taking no part in the instruction; Hon. Ira
Harris, LL. D., lecturer on practice, pleading and evidence; Hon.
Amasa J. Parker, LL. D., lecturer on real estate, wills, domestic re-
lations, personal rights, and criminal law; Amos Dean, LL.D., lec-
turer on contracts, personal property and commercial law.

December 16, 1851, the first class was organized, with an enrollment
of twenty-three students, in the Exchange building, corner Broadway
and State street, the site of the present U. S. Government building,
and continued sixteen weeks. The next two years the school was held
in the Cooper building, on the corner of State and Green streets, the
courses being sixteen weeks each. Of the students in the first class,
seven were graduated in the spring of 1852, viz. : Edwin E. Bronk,
Charles A. Fowler, Willard P. Gambell, John C. McClure, Worthing-
ton Frothingham, Edward Wade and George Woolford.

To accommodate the increasing enrollment of students, in 1854 the
school was removed to the south wing of the Medical College on Eagle
street (now Alumni Hall). At the same time the course was extended
to two terms of twelve weeks each. The exercises consisted of lectures,
moot cotirts, oral and written examinations.

In 1855 Thomas W. Olcott became president of the Board of Trus-
tees and continued until his death in 1880.

In 1809 Professor Amos Dean died; Professor Amasa J. Parker re-
signed in 1870 ; Professor Ira Harris died in 1875. Of these. Professors
Parker and Harris were justices of the Supreme Court; Professor
Harris was also LTnited vStates senator.

In 1870 a larger Faculty was organized. Isaac Edwards, LL.D.,
succeeded to the chair of Professor Dean; Hon. Matthew Hale, LL.D.,
to the chair of Professor Parker ; Charles C. T. F. Spoor, esq. , as lec-
turer on subjects assigned; Hon. William L. Learned, LL.D., justice
of the Supreme Court, lecturer on equity jurisprudence, civil law, and



165

the trial of causes; Hon. William F. Allen, LL.D., then judge of the
Court of Appeals, to lecture on real property.

In 1873 the University of Albany united with Union College and by
an act of the Legislature was constituted as Union University, the Al-
bany Law School becoming the law department. In 1874 Hon. John
T. Hoffman, LL. D., governor of the vState of New York, was added
to the Faculty, succeeding to the chair of Judge Allen as professor of
the law of real property.

In 1875 Professor Harris died, and Prof. Charles T. F. Spoor was
designated to succeed to his chair, lecturing on practice and pleading
at common law, and under the Code.

In 1878 Eliphalet N. Potter, D. D , LL, D., entered the Faculty, and
lectured on feudal system; also Henry Coppee, LL. D., lecturing on
international law ; also Hon. Hiram E. Sickles, lecturer on evidence.

In 1879 Professor Edwards, dean of the Faculty, died, and was suc-
ceeded by Hon. Horace E. Smith, LL. D., of Johnstown, N. Y., dean
of the Faculty, lecturing on personal property, contracts, commercial
law, common law pleading, torts and medical jurisprudence. Henry
S. McCall, esq., and Irving Browne, esq., were added to the Faculty
at this time. Professor McCall lecturing on real estate and wills, Pro-
fessor Browne, lecturer on domestic relations and criminal law.

On the accession of Dean Smith, it was evident to him that the
building where the school had been held for a quarter of a century
was no longer adequate to its requirements. The trustees purchased
the Universalist church building on the north side of State street,
near vSwan street, and through the liberality of their president, Thomas
W. Olcott, it was converted into the pleasant and convenient building
now occupied by the school. This building was dedicated to its new
use March 10, 1879. Addresses were made by Amasa J. Parker,
LL. D., Hon. Samuel Hand, Charles E. Smith, then editor of the
Albany Evening Journal, and Dean Smith. The Board of Trustees
was largely increased in numbers, Hon. Amasa J. Parker, LL. D. , as
one of the original founders of the school, remaining as one of the
honorary members. In 1880 President Thomas W. Olcott died, and
Orlando Meads succeeded to the presidency, and Marcus T. Hun, esq.,
trustee, was appointed to succeed President Meads as secretary.

In 1883 President Meads died and Hon. William L. Learned, LL.D.,
justice of the Supreme Court, succeeded to the presidency; Marcus T.
Hun, esq., resigned the secretaryship, and Charles J. Buchanan, esq.,



166

was appointed secretary; Nathaniel C. Moak, esq., entered the Faculty
as lecturer on books and judicial systems. The Alumni Association
was organized under favorable auspices, awakening new interest in
the school among the numerous graduates scattered throughout the
country. At the advent of Dean Smith the course was made three
terms of twelve weeks each, preceded or supplemented by one year in
a law office. The requirements for graduation as previously adopted
were preserved, viz. : All candidates for the degree of LL. B. should
read before the dean or Faculty six weeks before commencement, an
original thesis pertaining to the history, science or practice of law.
Moot courts for the argument and trial of causes were also continued ;
two being held each week.

In 1889 after a successful administration of school affairs, Dean
Smith resigned to resume the active practice of law. George W.
Kerchwey, esq., of Albany, was appointed to succeed to the chair of
dean.

In 1890 Hon. Hiram E. Sickles resigned from the Faculty, and
James W. Eaton succeeded him as lecturer on evidence; Maurice J.
Lewis M. D., was appointed lecturer on medical jurisprudence; and
Harold L. Hooker, esq, was appointed instructor in elementary law.

In 1891 DeanKirchwey resigned to accept a chair in Columbia Law
School, and Lewis B. Hall, A. M., was appointed to the position of
dean and instructor in contracts and commercial law.

Charles T. F. Spoor died and was succeeded by J. Newton Fiero,
esq., who was appointed instructor in common law and code practice
and pleading ; Eugene Burlingame, instructor in the law of real prop-
erty; James F. Tracey, esq., instructor in the law of corporations.

In 1894 A. V. V. Raymond, D. D., LL.D., having succeeded to the
presidency of Union University in place of Harrison E. Webster, LL.D.,
resigned, the trustees and Faculty of the school placed their resignation
in his hands for the purpose of reorganization.

At the beginning of the course in 1895 the Board of Trustees was
reorganized as follows :

Hon. Amasa J. Parker, A. M., president; James W. Eaton, esq.,
treasurer; Charles J. Buchanan, esq., secretary: Andrew V. V. Ray-
mone, Matthew Hale, Marcus T. Hun, William L. Learned, J. Newton
Fiero, Seymour Van Santvoord, Alton B. Parker, Charles C. Lester,
Alonzo P. Strong, James Lansing, Judson S. Landon, and Edward P.
White.




C^^^-^^^^ L / yj^c^^r^-^C^^



ic:

The Faculty was also reorganized as follows: Andrew V. V. Ray-
mond, D. D., LL.D., president; J. Newton Fiero, dean; James W.
Eaton, Eugene Burlingame, James F. Tracey, Joseph A. Lawson, in-
structors. Special lecturers; Judson S. Landon, LL.D., Hon. Alton

B. Parker, Matthew Hale, LL.D., Hon. D. Cady Herrick, Hon. Dan-
forth E. Ainsworth, Andrew McFarlane, M. D., Hon. Walter E. Ward,

C. E. Franklin. The Board and Faculty for 189G are the same with
the addition of Lewis R. Parker, lecturer on bailments and suretyship.
Of thisFaculty, three are justices of the Supreme Court, Appellate Di-
vision. J. Newton Fiero, dean, author of "Special Actions," and
"Special Proceedings," was for two successive years president of
the State Bar Association, and was largely instrumental in securing
the establishment of the Board of State Law Examiners, making the
examination of applicants for admission to the bar uniform throughout
the State. The Court of Appeals rules for admission of attorneys,
etc., went into effect January 1, 1895, requiring three years of prepa-
ration of all students at law before applying for admission to the bar, and
requiring them to be examined before the new Board of Law Exam-
iners.

The course of the school was changed to conform to the new law and
methods to one year of eight months divided into two semesters; to be
preceded by two years in a law office, or law school, retaining the former
method of instruction, with moot courts once a week.

From the first class to the present time the school Register shows in-
creased attendance, even during the years of the war between 1860 and
1865. Of some classes were graduated ninety, fifty-seven, fifty-nine,
none less than fifty. At the close of the war the attendance was larger
than at any time before. At one time every rank in the army from
pi'ivate up to brigadier-general was represented among the students.

After what has been said of the army representation among the
students, it can be stated with equal correctness, that every rank from
city and county attorney to the judges on the bench of the United
States Court and president of the United States, has a representation
among the students whose names are to be found upon the Register of
the school. Without doing more than to mention a few as they occur
to the mind of the present writer, himself a graduate in '04, may be
noted: Class of '58, Hon. David J. Brewer, judge United States bench ;
William McKinley, jr., class of '67, president-elect of the United
States; Hon. Redfield Proctor, '60, ex-secretary of war, now United



States senator; William F. Vilas, 'GO, ex-secretary of war, now United
States senator; Irving G. Vann, '65, judge of the Court of Appeals of
this State; James H. Eckles, '80, a member of President Cleveland's
cabinet; Hon. Alton B. Parker; Hon. D. Cady Herrick, '(57; Hon.
William D. Dickey, '66; Hon. William W. Goodrich, '53, justices of the
Supreme Court (Appellate Division).

In this county the present district attorney, county judge, surrogate,
city recorder, and one of the justices of the City Court are graduates
of the school, and with a very few exceptions the bar of Albany county
are graduates of the school.

During the administration of Dean Hall very many improvements
were made to the building, which has been largely supplemented by
Dean Fiero, making it one of the best equipped school buildings of its
kind in the country. Albany as a seat of a professional school cannot
be overrated. Here are located the executive, legislative and judicial
departments of the State



CHAPTER XIII.



THE MEDICAL PROFESSION IN ALB.'INY COUNTY.
By Hkrm.\n Bf.ndell, M. D.

The early history of Fort Orange and Albany seems to indicate that
the first settlers were fortunate in receiving medical treatment and care
of some description when they were sick. That it was not of the high-
est character in a professional sense need not be asserted. The Dutch
West India Company itself endeavored to protect its subjects from ill-
ness, possibly from partially selfish reasons. One of their recorded
regulations reads as follows:

The patroons and colonists shall, in particular and in the speediest manner, en-
deavor to find way.s and means whereby they may support a minister and a school-
master, that the service of God and the zeal for religion may not grow cold and be
neglected among them, and that they do for the first procure a comforter for the sick.

This office had a Dutch name of its own and its incumbent was the
first person recognized in such a capacity in the colonies under the
Dutch regime. This " comforter of the sick" frequently combined in




^Jyf^MOM^d^OML^



himself the offices of physician, preacher and possibily a civil position
of some nature. His medical skill and knowledge could not, of course,
have been of a high character. Among those who thus mingled medical
practice with religious teaching was the noted Dominie Johannes
Megapolensis, who bore the title of "Rev. Dr." He was probably the
first Dutch dominie to settle at Albany. Another was Dominie G. W.
Mancius, who educated his son, Wilhelmus, in the medical profession
to such good purpose that he practiced successfully during the most of
the remainder of his life in Albany. Both of these pioneers became
members of the Albany County Medical Society upon its formation in
1806. But the first " comforter of the sick" at Fort Orange was
Sebastian Jansel Crol. He had previously filled a similar office at Fort
Amsterdam, coming to this colony in 1026 with the appointment of
ViceDirector and Company's Commissary to Fort Orange. He was
succeeded in his official position by Hermanns Myndertse Vander Bogart
in 1646. It is believed that he was ship surgeon on the Eendraght,
which came over in 1630, and therefore was a qualified practitioner.
He served at Fort Orange only two years and was probablv burned to
death in an Indian wigwam on the Mohawk.

The first regular physician to settle in this locality came over in 1642
in the same vessel with Rev. Dr. Megapolensis, in the person of Sur-
geon Abraham Staats. Very little is known of his qualifications, or
whether he was employed, like the ininister, to serve the inhabitants
both spirtually and professionally. Albany consisted then of only
twenty-five or thirty houses scattered along the river, and a population
of about 10(1; hence Dr. Staats probably did not find himself over-
pressed with professional labor. He was doubtless a man of good
character and public spirit, for he was the first presiding officer of the
village council of Rensselaerwyck. In 1642 his dwelling at Claverack
was burned bj' the Indians, and his wife and others of his family per-
ished. He became the owner of Fort Orange, it is said, and the land
on which it stood came down to his descendants.

One of the first, perhaps the very first, enactment, to regulate medi-
cal practice at new Amsterdam was the following:

Ordered, that ship barbers shall not be allowed to dress wounds, nor administer
any potion on shore, without the consent of the petitioners [the local chirurgeous],
or at least Dr. La Montagne.

The inference from this extract as to what had been practiced upon
occasion, is clear. This Dr. Johannes de la ^lontagne was a Huguenot,



170

and although a physician, was known in political affairs only. He ar-
rived in New York in 1637 and was vice-director of Fort Orange from
1036 to 1664, and held other offices.

Surgeon De Hinse was a physician at the fort in 1666; there is little
record of his practice. These surgeons who were on duty at Fort
Orange at that period received for pay 2s. 6d. per day. In 1689 a
Scotch physician named Lockhart was surgeon at the P'ort and prac-
practiced among the inhabitants. At a later date a son of Rev. Dr.
Megapolensis vv-as a surgeon of the colony. He and his brother Samuel
were graduates of Leyden, and passed most of their lives in New York.
These are about all the phy.sicians of whom the records speak until
along in the beginning of the. next century. Less than fortj' physicians
are known to have come to the province of New York during the seven-
teenth century, though there may have been a few more whose names
are lost in the past.

The old French war and the war of the Revolution brought hither
and into prominence many physicians. The English army was accom-
panied by a respectable medical staff and from that time onward the
profession on this side of the ocean occupied a much higher plane than
before. Dr. Samuel Stringer, a native of Maryland and educated in
Virginia, where a medical school was early established, was the lead-
ing physician in Albany during the eighteenth century and shared in
the labors connected with both these wars. In 1755 he received the
appointment from Governor Shirley of officer in the medical depart-
ment of the army, and accompanied Abercrombie in 1758 in his disas-
trous campaign at Ticonderoga. .Serving through the war he settled
in Albany and remained in practice until the beginning of the Revolu-
tion, when he was appointed by Congress Director- General of Hospitals
in the Northern Department. In this capacity he accompanied the
army in the Canadian invasion. He was subsequently removed from
this high position, possibly through sympathy with General Schuyler
in the ill fortune and opposition which that gallant officer met. His
removal called out a vigorous remonstrance from the general to Con-
gress. He returned to Albany in 1777 and here passed the remainder
of his long life.

Dr. Nicholas Schuyler also served professionally in the armies in
both wars, after which he settled in Albany and died in Troy in 18 - >4.
Dr. J. Cochoran, of Pennsylvania, served as surgeon in the Revolu-
tionary army, occupying high position. He was made Surgeon General



1?1

of the Middle Department, and in 1781 was appointed Director-General
of the Hospitals of the United States. He settled in Albany at the
conclusion of the war.

During an early period Moses and Elias Williams, brothers and na-
tives of New England, practiced their profession in Albany. They
with their father shared in the battle of Lexington. Elias had begun
the study of medicine before the war broke out and after serving a
short time as a private he entered a military hospital in Boston, which
was then much used as a training school for needed surgeons. Two
years later he was appointed surgeon in a Maine regiment and served
to the close of the war. He settled in Albany in 1801 and practiced
there twenty-five 3'ears. His brother was j'ounger and entered the
service later.

Hunloke Woodruff a graduate of Princeton, began the study of
medicine a short time previous to the beginning of the Revolution and
took up his residence in Albany. He was soon appointed surgeon of
a New York regiment, accompanied Colonel Gansevoort at th'e siege
of Fort Stanwix and General Sullivan in his famous expedition into
the country of the .Senecas. After the war he settled in Albany,
where he passed most of the remainder of his life. He was the first
president of the County Medical Society and bore the reputation of a
skillful physician.

It is a historical incident of importance that during the French war
a hospital was established in Albany, to care for the wounded brought
down from the Ticonderoga battlefield. Mrs. Grant, in her "Memoirs
of an American Lady," notes the occurrence, an-d states that the hos-
pital was opened in the barn of Madame Schuyler, where a band of
ladies attended on the sufferers. Another historical authority states
that a hospital was established here during that war, and describes it
as it appeared in 1788 as follows:

It is situated on an eminence overlooking the city. It is two stories high, having
a wing at each end and a piazza in front', above and below. It contains forty wards,
capable of accommodating 500 patients, besides the rooms appropriated to the use of
the surgeons and other officers.

After the defeat of Burgojme at Saratoga it is said that more than a
thousand sick and wounded soldiers and officers were sent to Albany,
filling the hospital, the Dutch church and many dwellings. Many of
these victims of the war remained until the following June, when the
military hospital was removed to the highlands of the Hudson. At a



172

later date there was a military cantonment and liospital in Greenbusli,
which was maintained until 18'2"2.

Besides the victims of war the early physicians had to encounter
epidemics at times that were, perhaps, more to be dreaded than bullets.
Small-pox found its victims in thousands and in the early days was
difficult to manage. In 1613 it broke out and spread with frightful
virulence among both Europeans and Indians. Twelve of the few in-
habitants on the site of Albany died in one week, while a thousand
Indians perished. During two months Connecticut maintained a quar-
antine against the New Netherlands. Some years later the dreaded
disease again broke out with all its former fatality; indeed, in early
times this epidemic was more feared and its ravages were more exten-
sive than those of any other disease. With the introduction of inocu-
lation and its quite general adoption about 17:30, the mortality from
small-pox began to diminish.

In 1746 a disease which took the name of the Barbadoes distemper,
and other appellations, was imported by foreign ships and made its ap-
pearance in Albany. The disease was doubtless yellow fever. In 1793
the citizens of Albany, having been informed by Judge Lansing that
yellow fever was on board of a vessel that had passed New York, a
meeting of citizens and the Council was held and measures adopted to
prevent any vessel from passing above the Overslaugh without exam-
ination. The Council recommended a day of fasting and prayer as an-
other means of averting the disease. Two days later Hon. Alexander
Hamilton and his wife arrived at Greenbush, where they were visited
by a committee from Albany, who reported that the distinguished
couple were apparently well and recommended that they be permitted
to cross the river. The committee consisted of the following physi-
cians of this city: Drs. Samuel Stringer, W. Mancius, H. Woodruff,
W. McClelland and Cornelius Roosa.

With the opening of the present century the character of the medi
cal profession in this country began to improve. Albany had a popula-
tion of about 5,000, but they were nearly all Dutch. There was a de-
mand for better educated physicians and the demand was soon sup-
plied. Quackery and charlatanry, which had been rampant, began to
receive such, merited condemnation from both reputable physicians and
well-informed persons generally, that their hold upon the public could
not long continue. Prior to 1750 the education of physicians, unless



Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 16 of 138)