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Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York online

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gained in Europe, was very imperfect and the facilities for gaining




JOSEPH LHWI, M. D.



173

even that were limited. The first regular medical instruction attempted
in this countr}' began in that year with a course of lectures on anatomy
delivered in New York by Samuel Clossy, a Dublin graduate. Before
the close of that century four medical schools were established, one
each at Philadelphia, New York, and in Harvard and Dartmouth Col-
leges. But many who would gladly have availed themselves of the
facilities of these institutions could not reach them, and were forced
to content themselves with the personal instruction of some practicing
physician, who was frequently ill-fitted for the task. The passage of
the law in 180G, authorizing the formation of State and county medical
societies worked almost a revolution вАФ not at once, but by the gradual
steps that are taken by most great reforms. The names of the mem-
bers who formed the Albany County Medical Society, organized in
July of the same year that witnessed the passage of the law, are given
on a succeeding page, and are followed with a complete list of the offi-
cers. Of some of the prominent members of that date it is proper to
speak at a little more length.

The oldest physician in Albany was Dr. Wilhelmus Mancius, son of
the Dutch dominie already alluded to. He was then (1806) more than
sixty years of age and enjoyed great popularity. Dr. Hunloke Wood-
ruff was his partner for a time. Doctor Mancius died in 1808, two
years after the organization of the society.

Dr. William McClelland, a charter member of the County society,
and its first vice-president, and the first president of the State society,
was a graduate of Edinburgh. He was a leader in the profession here,
and had for partner Dr. William Bay, long a successful physician. Dr.
McClelland died in 1812.

Dr. John G. Knauff was an apothecary and probably gave more at-
tention to that business than to practice. He was a native of Ger-
many and died in 1810. Dr. Caleb Gauff, then an old man, had prac-
ticed many years in Bethlehem, while Dr. Oliver Lathrop was practic-
ing in Watervleit.

Dr. Jonathan Eights was an exact and methodical man who through
the first half of this century was held in high esteem as a family physi-
cian. He contributed more or less to medical literature.

Dr. John Stearns was a graduate of Yale, practiced a number of
years here, and is honored as being the man whose efforts procured the
law of 1806 under which State and county medical societies have been
incorporated.



174

The succeeding lists give such brief details of all the members of the
society as are permissible for this work.

When the great cholera epidemic of 1832 swept over the countr}-, a
meeting of this society was called at the request of the mayor to con-
sult upon measures for the arrest of the disease. A staff was organized
consisting of Drs. Eights, Wing, Greene, Boyd, Townsend, Wendell,
James, McNaughton, and March. The physicians of the city met every
evening in the city hall where a record was kept of the deaths. Con-
spicuous among the active and unselfish workers of that trying period
was Dr. James P. Boyd, then a comparatively young man. His faith-
ful labor in the epidemic gave him a commanding position in after
years. Dr. James McNaughton, who had formerly been a teacher of
medicine in a school, was made president of the Board of Health at
that time, and with his brother Peter labored assiduously among the
sufferers. Both of these men were for half a century among the lead-
ing citizens of Albany. Dr. Barent P. Staats was not only a prominent
physician, but took an active interest in politics, and was also a trus-
tee of numerous mercantile concerns. He was health officer of the
port during the period under consideration. Dc. Alden March was
also a well established physician at that time, having settled here in
1820. He practiced about fifty 5'ears and gained a world-wide reputa-
tion, as a surgeon and a teacher.

The number of reported cases of cholera during the existence of the
disease here was 1,147, of which 423 were fatal. There was an out-
break of the disease two years later, in which there were 124 cases,
with seventy-eight deaths.

Dr. T. Romeyn Beck was about at the height of his great fame at
the time now under consideration. As the author of " Medical Juris-
prudence " his reputation is world-wide. Both he and his brother
gave much of their lives to teaching and literary labor. One of them
was sent by the governor to the northern frontier, duing the cholera
epidemic, to procure information concerning the disease Dr. Thomas
Hun was then just entering practice and passed the remainder of his
long life in Albany, an honor to his profession and to good citizenship.
Dr. Hun was prominently connected with and for many years was dean
of the faculty of the Albany Medical College and president of the staff
of the Albany Hospital. He died in 189G, having been active in his
profession for more than half a century.

Several prominent Albany county physicians took part professionally



175

in the war of 1812. Among them was Dr. Piatt Williams, a graduate
ijf Williams College and just beginning practice when the war com-
menced. He was promptly appointed surgeon of the Second Regiment
of Riflemen and served through the war. Returning to Albany he
was appointed surgeon of theGreenbush Cantonment, before mentioned,
and served there until it was abandoned in 1822.

Dr. Henry Greene, a native of Rhode Island, graduated in 1814, and
was immediately made assistant surgeon of the 25th Regulars, saw hard
service in Canada and remained in the army until the war closed. He
settled in Albany in 1828, was conspicuous in the cholera epidemic and
one of the faculty of the Medical College when it was established.

Dr. Joel A. Wing practiced in Albany thirty eight years. He was
appointed surgeon in the army immediately after his graduation, but
declined and was made post surgeon of the Greenbush barracks in 1841.

The army record of the medical officers of this city and county who
honorably served their country during the most trying times of the
Rebellion, would write, if space permitted, a series of biographies show-
ing broad patriotism and a devotion to duty that does honor to the
American physician. To mention the names of those who distinguished
themselves on the field of battle, who unflinchingly accompanied the
forlorn hope, who for meritorious conduct were named inofficial orders
must be delegated to the writer of individual biographies. The list is a
long and honorable one and includes the following:

Dr. S. O. Vanderpoel held the office of surgeon general at the out-
break of the war. He served as such on the staff of Governor King
from January 1, 1857, to 1859. He was appointed a second time on
January 1, 1861, and filled the office during the administration of Gov-
ernor Morgan. His was the responsible duty of organizing the med-
ical corps of the early volunteer regiments from this .State, and upon
his recommendation over GOO medical officers were commissioned and
assigned to regiments. During the peninsular campaign he served as
a volunteer surgeon, and during the latter part of the war was inspector
of hospitals for the Sanitary Commission. After the war Dr. Vander-
poel was for eight years health officer of the port of New York. For
many years he was a member of the Medical College Faculty, and at-
tending and consulting physician to the hospitals. He removed to New
York city in 1881 and died on the 12th of March, 1886.

Dr. J. V. P. Quackenbush was surgeon-general during the administra-
tion of Governor Seymour from January 1, ISGo, to 1865. For a period



176

of thirty-five years Dr. Quackenbnsh was a leading- physician in Albany,
was a member of the Faculty of the Albany Medical College and a pop-
ular teacher and lecturer. He was a prominent citizen and attained a
high reputation in the special field to which lie devoted most of his
professional life. He died at Albany in l!S?(J.

Dr. Sylvester 1). Willard was appointed surgeon- general on the staft"
of Governor Fenton January 2, 1865, and died during the same year.
Early in 1862 he volunteered his services as a surgeon and was assigned
to duty with the Army of the Potomac. The hardships of the penin-
sular campaign undermined his health and hastened his death. He was
foremost in advocating the founding of the Willard Asylum for the In-
sane, was possessed of vigorous intellectual qualities, and a man of a
large fund of general and professional knowledge.

Dr. James D. Pomfret was appointed surgeon general April 6, 1865,
to fill vacancy on the staff of Gov. Fenton caused by the death of vSur-
geon- General Willard, and served as such until January, 1869. July
24, 1862, Dr. Pomfret was appointed surgeon of the 7th N. Y. Heavy
Artillery (afterwards the 113th N. Y. Vols). February 7, 1865, he
tendered his resignation, was discharged from the service and returned
to Albany to resume the practice of his profession. Dr. Pomfret served
with his regiment in the defences of Washington and during this time
was assigned to duty as brigade surgeon. Later on he did service in
the field and was assigned to duty as one of the division surgeons of
the 2d Army Corps. He was a conscientious officer and popular with
the officers and men of his regiment. Dr. Pomfret died in 1869.

Dr. Jacob S. Mosher was surgeon-general on the staff of Governor
Holfman from 1869 to 1873. He also served as a surgeon of volun-
teers in the field and in hospitals at Washington. During his stay at
Washington he was assigned to duty as assistant State medical director
and served until 1867. In 1870 he was appointed deputy health officer
of the Port of New York and remained in office for a period of six
years. Dr. Mosher was a member of the Yellow Fever Commission
appointed by Congress, a member of the Faculty of the Albany Med-
ical College, registrar of the Faculty and connected with the hospitals.
He was prominent as a citizen, gifted as a physician and eminent as a
chemist. Dr. Mosher died in Albany, August, 1883.

Dr. James W. Moore was commissioned as assistant surgeon in the vol-
unteer service of the U. S. navy early in 1861 and was in active service
for a period of nearly two years. He was assigned to duty as fleet sur-




SAMUEL B. WARLj, M^ U.



177

geon of the flotilla cruising in the Chesapeake Bay and North Atlan-
tic. He was surgeon of the frigate Florida, fitted out and commis-
sioned to cruise for the privateer Alabama, and subsequently assigned
to hospital duty. After the close of the war he returned to Cohoes
and continued in the practice of his profession until his death in 188(!.

Dr. J. Savage Delevan was commissioned assistant surgeon of the
IGDth N.Y. Vols, in 1863, but was not mustered owing to the minimum
number of men in the regiment. After serving in general hospitals at
Washington, D. C, he was commissioned assistant surgeon of the 1st
Connecticut Artillery and served during the war, participating in man)-
of the artillery engagements during the siege of Petersburg, \"a. He
was also with his regiment at the taking of Fort Fisher. After the
Close of the war he resumed practice in Albany. Dr. Delevan was
vice consul at Geneva, Switzerland, for a period of two years, for sev-
eral years U. S. pension examining surgeon at Albany, attending
physician on the staff of the Homoeopathic Hospital, and member of
the State Board of Health. Dr. Delevan died in 1885.

Dr. Herman Bendell entered the service as hospital steward of the
39th N. Y. Vols., May 38, 1861; was appointed acting assistant sur-
geon U. S. A., September 1 of the same year; was commissioned as
assistant surgeon of the Gth Regiment of New York Heavy Artillery
February 23, 1863; promoted to surgeon of the 86th N. Y. Veteran
Vols. January 3, 1865, and served till the close of the war. He was
brevetted lieutenant-colonel for meritorious services May 18, 1866.
Since 1886 he has been surgeon of the 3d Brigade of the N. G. N. Y.

Dr. Samuel B. Ward was appointed medical cadet in the U. S. Arm}'
in September, 1863. In 1863 was commissioned as acting assistant
surgeon U. S. A , and subsequently commissioned as assistant sur-
geon U. S. Vols. After the close of the war Dr. Ward began the
practice of his profession in the city of New York. In 1873 he was
elected assistant surgeon of the 7th Regiment of the National Guard,
and after his removal to Albany, in 1876, he was commissioned as sur-
geon of the 5th Brigade, N. G. N. Y., in which position he served
until the reorganization of the Guard in 1886. Dr. Ward is a member
of the Faculty of the Albany Medical College, attending physician at
the Albany Hospital, consulting surgeon at vSt. Peter's Hospital, and a
representative member of the State and County Medical Society.

Dr. Charles A. Robertson was appointed surgeon of the 159th N. Y.
Vols., August 30, 1863, and resigned his commission November 3,



178

1863. Prior to the war he practiced ophthalmology in Boston. After
resigning- from the service he settled in Albany and had a large i)rac-
tice in his specialty nntil his death in 1880.

Dr. Thomas Helms of McKownsville was commissioned as assistant
surgeon of the 148th New York Vols. , December 23, 1863, and was
promoted April 5, 1865, to surgeon of the 85th N. Y. Vols. He was
wounded at Fort Harrison, and was honorably discharged at the clcse
of the war. He resumed practice in his old town, and died in 1889.

Dr. Charles H. Porter was commissioned assistant surgeon of the
40th N. Y. Vols. August 22d, 1862, was promoted surgeon of the (ith
N. Y. Heavy Artillery February 25, 1803, and mustered out with his
regiment at the close of the war. In May, 1806, he was brevetted
colonel of N. Y. Volunteers. He returned to Albany and is actively
engaged in the practice of his profession.

Dr. John L. Van Alstyne was commissioned assistant surgeon of the 3(1
N. Y. Cavalry February 16, 1803, promoted surgeon of the same regi-
ment September 5, 1864, and mustered out of service at Norfolk, Ya.,
July 12, 1865. After leaving the service Dr. Van Alstyne returned to
Albany, subsequently removed to Richmondville, Schoharie county,
N. Y. , where he is actively engaged in the practice of his profession.

Dr. Alexander H. Hofif served as surgeon-general on the staff of
Governor Clark from January 1, 1855, to 1857. He was commissioned
as surgeon of the 3d N. Y. Vols., May 8, 1861, and during the same
year detailed as surgeon in charge of the brigade to which his regiment
was assigned. From 1864 to the close of the war he was medical direc-
tor of transportation, and was mustered out of the service at Raleigh,
N. C, August 28, 1865. In 1867 he was appointed assistant surgeon
in the Medical Corps of the U. S. Army, subsequently promoted to the
grade of surgeon, and remained in the army until his death in 1876.

Dr. Norman L. Snow was commissioned assistant surgeon of the
153d N. Y. Volunteers, August 23, 1862, was promoted surgeon of
the same regiment March 10, 1864, and mustered out of service with
his regiment October 2, 1865. Doctor Snow served with Sheridan in
the Shenandoah, in the Red River expedition under Banks, and during
the latter part of the war was health officer of the district of Savannah.
After the war he resumed practice in his native locality, Canajoharie.
In 1875 he became the associate of Doctor Vander Veer at Albany, was
a member of the medical and surgical staff of the Albany Hospital, a
curator of the college, and was president of the Board of Aldermen at
the time of his death in December, 1885.




CHARLES H. PORTER, M. D.




(b'^^






I



179

Dr. Albert Vander Veer entered the service early in 1861 as a medi-
cal cadet. He was one of the original corps of one hundred medical
cadets appointed in the U. S. army and was assigned to duty at the
Columbia College Hospital at Washington. January 3, 1863, he was
commissioned assistant surgeon of the 66th New York Vols., promoted to
surgeon of the same regiment July 29, 1864, and mustered out of service
August 31, 1865. Doctor Vander Veer is actively and prominently en-
gaged in the practice of his profession at Albany. He is a member of
the college faculty and dean of the faculty, also attending and consult-
ing surgeon on the hospital staff and a Regent of the University. He
is prominent as a citizen, eminent as a surgeon and a liberal contribu-
tor to the literature of his profession.

Dr. A. B Huested entered the service as hospital steward of the
113th N. Y. Volunteers (7th Heavy Artillery) early in 1862. March
21st, 1804, he was commissioned assistant surgeon of the 21st N. Y.
Cavalry, was promoted to surgeon October 15, 1865, and remained in
service to the close of the war. He returned to Albany, is engaged in
the drug business and is a member of the faculty of the College of
Pharmacy.

Dr. George H. Newcomb was commissioned assistant surgeon of the
113th N. Y. Volunteers August 15, 1862, was promoted to surgeon of
the same regiment February 18, 1805, and mustered out of service
June 6, 1865, at Federal Hill, Md. At the close of the war he resumed
practice at Albany.

Dr. George T. Stevens was commissioned assistant surgeon of the
77th N. Y. Volunteers October 8, 1861, was promoted to surgeon of
the same regiment February 16, 1863, and mustered out of service
with the field and staff of his regiment December 13, 1865. Doctor
Stevens is a contributor to the surgical history of the rebellion and
author of "Three Years With the Sixth Corps." He practiced in Al-
bany for many years after the war, contributed largely to the litera-
ture of his specialty, ophthalmology, and removed to New York city
in 1881.

Dr. P. M. Murphy was commissioned assistant surgeon of the 134th
N. Y. Volunteers March 30, 1864, was promoted to surgeon of the 89th
N. Y. Volunteers June 20, 1805, but not mustered as such. He accom-
panied .Sherman on the March to the Sea, and at the close of the war
returned to Albany and engaged in the drug business. Doctor Murphy
died at Albany June, 1894.



180

Dr. Alexander A. Edmeston was commissioned assistant surgeon
18th N. Y. Volunteers, May 17, 1861, and resigned September 25,
1862. He again entered the service as surgeon of the 92d N. Y. Vol-
unteers October 7, 1S63, and resigned his commission December 2,
1864. He resumed practice at Albany and died from the results of
disease contracted in the service.

Dr. Frank J. Mattimore was commissioned assistant surgeon of the
18th N. Y. Volunteers, August 11, 1862, and mustered out of service
with his regiment May 21, 186:5. He died a few months after his re-
turn from disease contracted in the service.

Dr. Wesley Blaisdell was practicing at Coeymans. Was appointed
assistant surgeon of the 113th Regiment N. Y. Vols., later the 7th
Heavy Artiller)', August 15, 1862, and resigned September 29 of the
same year. He again entered the service as assistant surgeon of the
75th N. Y. Vols. November 15, 1862, and resigned July 4, 1863. Dr.
Blaisdell died at Newbern, N. C, in 1864.

Dr. Cornelius B. O'Leary was commissioned surgeon of the 25th mih-
tia regiment May 31, 1861, to serve three months and was mustered
with his regiment September 8 of the same year. September 12, 1862,
Dr. O'Leary was appointed assistant surgeon of the 175th New York
Vols, and was discharged, by resignation, January 16, 1863. He was
commissioned surgeon of the 175th N. Y. Vols. January 17, 1863, mus-
tered into service the same day, and discharged from the service Sep-
tember 19, 1863. Was recommissioned assistant surgeon of the same
regiment October 17, 1864, but not mustered into service. Dr. O'Leary
resumed practice at Albany and died in 1877.

Dr. Warren Van Steenberg was commissioned assistant surgeon
1st N. Y. Vol. Infantry December 3, 1861, and was discharged Sep-
tember 30, 1862, to accept promotion as surgeon 55th N. Y. Vols, and
was discharged from the regiment December 22, 1862, by reason of
consolidation. Dr. Van Steenberg again entered the service as surgeon
of the 120th N. Y. Vols April 27, 1863, and was mustered out with his
regiment June 3, 1865. After the war he resumed practice at Cohoes,
N. Y. He died in 1880.

Dr. P. L. F. Reynolds was commissioned assistant surgeon 16th N.
Y. Volunteers September 22, 1862, and was discharged from the service
on surgeon's certificate of disability at Folly Island, S. C, December
13, 1863. In March, 1865, he was commissioned as assistant surgeon
of the 94th X. Y. Volunteers but was not mustered. He resumed prac-



181

tice at Albany, subsequently removed to Oneida, Madison county, N.
Y., where he died. April, 1887.

Dr. William H. Craig was commissioned surgeon of the 177th N. Y.
Volunteers October 11, 1863, and mustered out with his regiment Sep-
tember 10, 1863. He resumed practice in Albany. He was U. S.
pension examining surgeon from 1865 to 1877, when he was appointed
postmaster of Albany. Dr. Craig took an active interest in all matters
pertaining to public improvements. He was a patriotic soldier, hon-
ored and esteemed as a citizen and a trusted physician. Dr. Craig died
in October, 1889.

Dr. Jeptha R. Boulware was commissioned assistant surgeon of the
177th regiment N. Y. Volunteers November 5, 1862, and mustered out
with his regiment December 10, 1863. After the war he was surgeon
of the 10th Regiment and surgeon of the 9th brigade of the National
Guard of the State of New York. Dr, Boulware was a prominent
physician. He was surgeon on the staff of St. Peter's Hospital For
several years prior to his death he was a victim of disease contracted in
the service. He died October, 1887.

Dr. Henry R. Haskins was commissioned surgeon of the 192d N. Y.
\'olunteers February 1, 1865, and was mustered out of service August
28 of the same year. He practiced in Albany until his death in 1884.
Was professor of anatomy on the faculty of the Albany Medical College
and promiijent as a surgeon.

Dr. Oscar H. Young was commissioned assistant surgeon of the r77th
N. Y. Volunteers November 6, 1862, and was mustered out of service
with his regiment September 10. 1863. He resumed practice in Albany
and subsequently removed to Michigan.

Dr. Thomas Beckett was enrolled as surgeon's mate of the 25th N.
Y. State Militia May 21, 1862, and mustered out with his regiment
vSeptember 8 of the same year October -4, 1862, he was commissioned
assistant surgeon of the 175th N. Y. \'ols. and resigned from the service
Jane 11, 18f>:5. In 18G5 he was appointed acting assisting snrgeon U. vS.
A. and assigned to duty at the Ira Harris Hospital, sfrsing to the close
of the war. Dr. Beckett resumed practice at Albany. He never fully re-
covered his health, undermined by arduous duties during the campaign
in Louisiana, and died in 1895.

Dr. Charles P. Staats was commissioned assistant surgeon 67th N. Y.
Volunteers January 21, 1863, and mustered out of service with his regi-
ment July i, 1S64. Dr. Staats resumed the practice of his profession
at Albany. He died in 1884.



182

To complete this honorable list it is just to record the names of
phj'sicians from this city and county who served the country in its
time of need but were not assigned to regimental organizations, and
also to name those whose valuable services are mentioned in official
reports and whose labors are entitled to recognition. The act of April
10, 1861, authorizing the enrollment of 30,000 volunteers in this State,
necessitated prompt and energetic action on the part of the chiefs of
departments to properly equip and provide for this large volunteer
force that was rapidly being concentrated at the designated rendezvous.
Efficient organization to provide for the physical examination of re-
cruits, quarters for the sick and disabled, and medical attendants was
demanded. The qualification of candidates for the position of surgeon
and assistant-surgeon was to be determined. The position of surgeon-
general, which up to this time was only complimentary, became active
and responsible. Dr. Alexander A. Hoff was appointed medical inspector
of the military rendezvous at Albany. He served in this capacity until
May 15, 1861, when he was relieved to accept the position as surgeon
of the 3d N. Y. Vols. Dr. Hoff was succeeded by Dr. Mason F. Cogs-
well, who faithfully performed the duties of medical inspector until the
completion of the levy. Drs. John Swinburne. Alden March, and
Howard Townsend volunteered their services in attending the sick and
disabled soldiers, who, under contract with the managers, were ad-



Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 17 of 138)