Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York online

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Nead, M. D., W. J. McKown, M. D., F. J. Cox, M. D. Attending surgeons: W. E.
Milbank, M. D., A. B. Van Loon, M. D., Edmund G. Cox, M. D.

This brief history is based upon research from records, and presents
in concise form and as accurately as could be obtained, the part per-
formed by the medical profession in the history of Albany city and
county. Many changes to meet the demands of a growing city, that
has celebrated its bi centennial anniversary, have necessitated larger
facilities for medical education and more ample provisions for the care
of its needy and afflicted citizens. The Albany Hospital, St. Peter's
Hospital, Homoeopathic Hospital, Child's Hospital, and Hospital for
Incurables, besides the Open Door Mission and Asylums, institutions
that have contributed so largely in providing for the care of the sick
and indigent, are entitled to a more exhaustive history than detailed
in this book In no city in the Union is the progressive and humani-
tarian element of the medical profession more active. The State Medi-
cal Library, the Albany Medical College, the Bender Hygienic Labora-
tory, the Hospitals and Dispensaries, are monuments that reflect credit
and honor to their untiring energy and efforts. The honorable record
of those members of the profession from the city and county, who
served their country from the outbreak through the most trying times
of the late Civil war, briefly as it is here detailed, merits appreciation
and does honor to those who shared in the great struggle. The num-
ber of physicians registered in the county clerk's office since 1880 is

This list represents a class of general practitioners and specialists

WM. M. NhAU, M. D.


who rank high in the profession and many are representative members
of State, county and special medical associations. The faculty of the
Albany Medical College is recognized as a most efficient body of medi-
cal instructors. The medical and surgical staffs of the various hos-
pitals and dispensaries are made up of men well qualified to fill their
respective positions. Lack of space prevents the writer from detailing
much matter pertaining to the history and progress of medicine in
Albany city and county. It is a privilege and a pleasure to chronicle
the good work accomplished by distinguished physicians who entered
upon their career of usefulness in this city. Many have gone, covered
with honors and duties well done. Many are still active in pushing
forward the good work inaugurated by the early pioneers of reform, in
all matters relating to higher education and greater usefiilness. The
day of primitive education in medicine has given way to the impera-
tive demands of this age of progress.

By Horace M. Paine, M. D.

The Albany County Homoeopathic Medical Society, organized Janu-
ary 24, 1861, has been a recognized force in the establishment, upbuild-
ing and permanent development of the homoeopathic system of prac-
tice, and its representative institutions, the Albany City Homoeopathic
Hospital and Dispensary.

The records of this society show that its members have been active
participants in the great medico ethical controversy of this country ;
and that they have rendered effective service in the frequent contests
for securing, in behalf of themselves and their associates throughout
the State, a status, equal in every respect to that of their old school

There has ever been a desire manifested, during the whole of the
thirty-seven years since the organization of the society, to make it a
means for the mutual improvement of its members; the purpose being,
that the contributions of practical knowledge by individuals might, in
turn, be made available by the whole membership, thereby making the
organization in the highest and best sense a medium through which the
public would be largely benefited.


While it is doubtless true that these beneficent purposes may not
have been carried out to the fullest extent, it is unquestioned that it
has been a centre of influence and power for maintaining the fellow-
ship, integrity, prestige and influence of the homoeopathic school in
this city, and, in fact, in all the northern part of the State.

The members of the Homoeopathic County Society, like other
homoeopathic physicians, maintain adherence to the tenets of their
system, on the alleged superior curative qualities of homoeopathic
remedies, when subjected to practical tests in the treatment of disease.

They admit that while some of the theoretical formulas promulgated
by Hahnemann are strangely absurd and untenable, the essentia i,
principles on which the homoeopathic system is founded are reasonable,
sound, and an exemplification of a natural law of cure

A proposition to open to the public a homoeopathic free dispensai-y
was first made at a meeting of the Albany County Homoeopathic Med-
ical Society, held February 4, 1865.

During the following two years various plans were offered and an
interest in the subject was sustained, and at length culminated, in the
fall of 1867, in the establishment of a free dispeI-jsary, at that time
the only public institution in Albany for furnishing gratuitous medical
service and medicines to those who chose to avail themselves of its

This charity has been ably supported by members of the homoeo-
pathic medical profession, and the large numbers of worthy poor who
have been the recipients of its beneficent aid attest both its popularity
and usefulness.

During the first ten years of its history it affoi-ded gratuitous medical
and surgical aid to more than sixt}^ thousand applicants.

The number of medical prescriptions and of minor surgical opera-
tions performed have usually ranged from two to three hundred per

The amount of charitable work in the aggregate during the first
thirty years of its history, now nearly completed, is astonishing in
magnitude, encouraging and gratifying to those who have been its
willing supporters, and pleasing and beneficial to its thousands of
grateful recipients.

An experience of five years of dispensary service revealed the fact
that m"&ny of the applicants required hospital accommodations and


With a view, therefore, of increasing its usefulness, and placing its
work and operations upon a broader foundation, a building was pur-
chased in the summer of 1872 and supplied with the requisites for both
dispensary and hospital uses. The building at first selected having
been found undesirable, in 1875 a larger and more suitable one was

The present hospital and dispensary building is centrally and con-
veniently located at No. 12o North Pearl street, is large and complete
in its appointments, and is provided with all suitable appliances for
accommodating thirty patients. The experience of the past three
years plainly indicates that a building of double the capacity of the
present one is greatly needed.

All of the homoeopathic physicians in the city hold themselves in
readiness to render any assistance that may be needed. The staff of
surgeons, Drs. W. E. Milbank, E. G. Cox, W. H. Van Loon and W. N.
Nead, are so efficiently maintaining the high standard of success in their
special departments that the resources of the institution are not only
constantly taxed to the utmost limit, but make clear the pressing need
of securing a far greater number of suitable rooms in larger and more
desirable buildings.

While the influence of the membership of this society has been largelv
in support of the establishment of Eyu.^Lnv in the exercise of medical
civil rights, as between schools of medicine, it must be admitted that
its influence has been also actively exerted in support of the two essen-
tial principles of homoeopathic practice, viz. : the smallness of the
CURATIVE iiosE, and the physiological (pathogenei ic) action ok drugs


Although the honor of having introduced the homoeopathic system
of practice to the citizens of Albany, belongs to Dr. A. P. Biegler, who
came in 1837, the real pioneer of homoeopathy in this city was Dr.
I. M. Ward. Dr. Ward came to Albany in 1841. He was the first
resident American homoeopathic practitioner north of New York city,
and for several years the only homoeopathic physician residing in

The representatives of the homoeopathic system at Albany, prior to
the advent of Dr. Ward, were physicians of foreign birth and education.
Their antecedents and manners did not contribute to the rapid promul-
gation and popularization of the system of therapeutics which they


labored hard to introduce. Their theories were considered visionary
and their practice unsound.

The following list contains the names of upwards of one hundred
homoeopathic physicians who have resided in Albany county, and have
identified themselves with homoeopathic interests, either by member-
ship in the Albany County Homoeopathic Medical Society, or by ser-
vice in the Albany Homoeopathic Hospital and Dispensary.

The names of those who have been admitted. to membership in the
county society, are printed in small capitals. The names of those who
have not joined the county society are printed in ordinary type.

The left hand column of figures indicates the chronological order and
date of entrance on homoeopathic practice in Albany county.

1837. Augustus Philip Biegler, A. M., M. I). Born in Prussia, in
1790. Was graduated, March 29, 1832, from the Medical Department
of the University of Berlin.

To him belonged the distinguished honor of having introduced the
homoeopathic system of practice to the citizens of Albany, in Novem-
ber, 1837. He resided in Albany two and a half years, and then re-
moved to Schenectady, and subsequently, to Rochester.

He enjoyed the rare opportunity of having had a long personal ac-
quaintance with Hahnemann, and of obtaining from him a thorough
knowledge of homoeopathic principles and practice. He died at Roch-
ester, N. Y., in 1849, at the age of fifty-nine years.

1S38. Dr. Rosenstein. Formed a business partnership with Dr.
Biegler. Resided in Albany one year, and then removed elsewhere.

1839. Emanuel Sieze, M. D. Dr. Sieze and Dr. Biegler came to-
gether from Germany to this country, to engage in the practice of
homoeopathy. Dr. Sieze first located at Hudson, where he remained
a year and a half. He resided four years in Albany. He was an ed-
ucated physician. In practice he made quite an extensive use of hy-
dropathic treatment.

1840. Charles Frederic Hoffendahl, A. M., M. D. Born in Germany
in 1799. Was graduated from the Medical Departmentof the Univer-
sity of Berlin, in 1828. Came to this country in 1837; settled first in
Philadelphia; came to Albany in 1840; removed to Boston in 1842,
where he died in April, 1862, at the age of sixty-three years.

1841. Isaac Moreau Ward, A. M., M. D. Born at Bloomfield, N. J.,
October 23, 1806. Was graduated in arts from Yale, in 1825; and in
medicine, from Rutgers Medical College in 1829. Began practice in


Newark, N. J. ; removed to Albany in 1841 ; returned to his home at
Lyons Farms, N. J., in 1847, where he died February 24, 1895, at the
age of eighty-nine years. He was widely known as an eminent physi-
cian and an upright and highly respected citizen.

1842. Charles Herbert Skiff, M. D. Born at Spencertown, N. Y.,
May 12, 1808. Was graduated, in 1832, from Berkshire Medical Col-
lege at Pittsfield, Mass. Began practice at Spencertown; removed in
1842 to Albany; and in 1843 to New Haven, Conn., being the pioneer
homoeopathic physician of that city. Died at New Haven, December
11, 1875, at the age of sixty seven years.

1845. Henry Del.av.4n Paine, A.M., M.D. Born at Delhi, N. Y.,
June 19, 1816. Was graduated in 1838, from the College of Physicians
and Surgeons in New York city. Began practice in Newburgh, N. Y. ;
removed, in 1845, to Albany; returned to New York city in 1865.
During his residence in Albany Dr. Paine won the confidence and re-
spect of the entire community, his friends and adherents being among
the leading, most influential and intelligent citizens. The inaugura-
tion of special medical legislation in behalf of the homoeopathic as a
separate and distinct school of medicine, was due to Dr. Paine's efforts,
more than to those of any other person. By the enactment of the law
of 1857, providing for the organization of county homoeopathic medical
societies, and the enactment of the law of 1861, providing for the organ-
ization of the State homoeopathic medical society, the homoeopathic pro-
fession of the State secured the same legal rights and privileges as were
extended to old school physicians: and among those whose wisdom,
tact and zeal were instrumental, during previous years of trial and self-
denying labor, in placing the homoeopathic school and its organizations
upon a safe and enduring foundation, the unflagging energy and well
directed efforts of Dr. Paine were exceptionally effective, and are
worthy of the grateful recognition and unqualified approval of the
whole homoeopathic profession of the entire State. He died in New
York city, June 11, 1893, at the age of seventy seven years. An ex
pressive epitome of his life and character, and touching tribute to his
memory ; is found in the closing sentence of an obituary notice of his
death; "A devoted Churchman; a priestly physician; a Christlike

1846. Er.asmus Darwin Junes, M. D. Born at Upper Jay, N. Y. ,
September, 10, 1818. Was graduated from the Albany Medical College
in 1841. Began practice at Keeseville, N. Y. ; removed to Albany in


1846, where for forty-five years he conducted a laryc, successful and
hicrative practice. He was noted for self sacrificinj^ devotion to the
interests and welfare of his numerous patients. He excelled in indus-
try, accuracy of discrimination, untiring patience, and a never exhaust-
ing wealth of resources in all difficult and complicated cases. And
through, and with, these characteristic qualities, there was always ex
hibited a kindliness of feeling, courtesy of manner, and fervency of
zeal, that caused both devoted friends and professional associates to
sincere'ly regret that the infirmities of advancing years had, in 1891,
brought forced retirement from active and effective work, in the field
where his tact and skill were so long recognized as qualities developed
to a degree to which few younger men could ever hope or expect to
attain. He died August 17, 1895, at the age of seventy-seven year.s.

1847. John Alsop Paine, M. D. Born at Whitestown, N. Y., July
10, 1795. Was graduated from the Medical Department of Yale Col-
lege in 1825. Began practice at Volney, and continued suceessively in
Paris, New Hartford, and Utica, N. Y.; in Newark, N. J., Albany,
N. Y., where he remained four years; subsequently in Newark, N. J.,
and Lake Forest. 111., where he died June 16, 1871, at the age of sev-
enty six years. He practiced the allopathic system nineteen, and :he
homoeopathic twenty- six years.

1848. Henry Adams, M. D. Born at Coxsackie, N. Y., July 6, 1787.
Licensed to practice under the law of 1808. Began practice at Cox-
sackie. Appointed surgeon to one of the regiments of the American
army in the war of 1812, and was stationed at Sackett's Harbor, N Y.
Adopted the homoeopathic system of practice in 1846. Removed to Al-
bany in 1848, and to Cohoes in 1850, where he resided to the time of
his death, July 6, 1857, his seventieth birthday.

1849. HoR.ACE Mansfield, A. M., M. D. Born at Paris, N. Y.,
November 19, 1827. Was graduated, March 11, 1849, from the Medi-
cal Department of the University of the City of New York. Began prac-
tice at Albany; removed to Clinton, Oneida county, in 1855; returned
to Albany in 1865. Relinquished active practice in 1895. Resides, in
summer, at West Newton, Mass., and in winter, at Atlanta, Ga. He
has, for forty years, been actively identified with the adoption of meas-
ures for establishing the homoeopathic system of practice on a reasona-
able and enduring foundation ; for dissociating it from untenable and
visionary theories; for securing the enactment of such laws as would ex-
tend to the representatives of all recognized schools of medicine



civil. RIGHTS and privilf.i;ks; and such laws also, as would unify and ele-
vate medical educational standards, by transferring the right of medical
licensure from medical college faculties (private corporations), to State
control. In the prosecution of these measures, during the whole of
that period, he has steadily made use of official positions on commit-
tees, or as secretary of a number of medical associations, for promot-
ing these desirable purposes. He received the degree of Master of
Arts (honorary) from Hamilton College in 1859; and the honorary de-
gree of Doctor of Medicine from the Regents of the University, on the
recommendation of the State Homoeopathic Medical Society. He is an
honorary member of a number of State homoeopathic medical societies
in this and other countries.

1850. David Springsteed, M. D, Born in the town of Bethlehem,
Albany county, January 17, 1808. Attended medical lectures at the
Medical Department of Yale College, and at the Duane Street Medical
College in the city of New York. Licensed to practice in 1830, by the
Medical vSociety of the State of New York. Began practice in Bethle-
hem. Adopted the homoeopathic system in 1845. Removed to Albany
in 1850; retired from active practice in 1880, after having completed a
full half-century of successful professional work. He removed in 1880
to Saugerties, N. Y; in 1884, to New York city; and in 1889, to South
Woodstock, Conn., where he died March 26, 1894, at the age of eighty-
six years. He was appointed county physician by the Board of Super-
visors of Albany county in 1851, the first appointment, it is believed, of
a homoeopathic physician to such a position in the United States.

1851. William Henry Rantiel, M. D. Born at Albany, N. Y., Au-
gust 28, 1829. Was graduated, in 1851, from the Medical Department
of the University of the City of New York. Began practice in Albany,
where he remained to the time of his death, December 13, 1887, at the
age of fifty-eight years. Dr. Randel was closely identified with the
work and progress of the Albany Homoeopathic Hospital and Dispen-
sary, and was unreinitting in his efforts to promote its development
and usefulness.

1851. Pascal P. Brooks, M. D. Came to Albany in 1851. He had
been an old school practitioner sixteen years, and had recently adopted
the homoeopathic system. He remained in Albany two years, and
then removed elsewhere.

1852. James William Cox, M. D. Born at Gilbertsville, N.Y., Feb-
ruary 5, 1828. He was graduated from the Albany Medical College in


Janiiar}-, 1852: Began practice in Albany, in association with his
former preceptor, Dr. H. D. Paine. He remained a resident of Al-
bany to the time of his death, June 9, 189G, at the age of sixty eight
years. Dr. Cox was an accomplished, skillful and successful physician.
His natural powers of insight enabled him to distinguish hidden and
obscure features of disease; and he was blessed, in a remarkable de-
gree, with the ability to inspire with courage, cheer and ho^je, those to
whom he ministered as a physician. These qualities of mind were of
the highest order, and won for him the steadfast confidence and love of
all who were fortunate in making his acquaintance.

1S53. Charles Gilbert Bryant, M. D. Born at Gilbertsville, N. Y.,
March 13, 1829. Was graduated from the Albany Medical College in
January, 1852. Began practice at Little Falls, N. Y, ; came to Albany
in 1853; removed in 1854 to San Francisco, Cal., where he died in
1806, at the age of thirty-seven years.

1854. Lester Marcus Pr.\tt, M. D. Born at Pratt's Hollow, N.Y.,
April 25, 1818. Was graduated in 1854 from the Pennsylvania Homoeo-
pathic Medical College at Philadelphia. Began practice the same year
at Albany. Remained in Albany until August, 1893, when he retired
from active practice and removed to Homer, N. Y. During his long
medical career he endeared himself to many personal friends on account
of his recognized professional skill, his readiness to minister to the
relief of human suffering among those in the higher walks of life, as
well also as the illiterate and indigent. He possessed a cheerful and
hopeful disposition and a sympathetic nature. Having these estimable
qualities of mind and heart, it is not surprising that his friends were
drawn toward him with a strong and abiding attachment; nor that his
influence and life were radiant with the elevating and ennobling ten-
dencies that mark the highest and best type of true manhood.

1857. Georoe Henry Billings, M. D. Born at Claremont, N. H.,
June 19, 1835. Was graduated from the Castleton Medical College in
June, 1857. Began practice at Cohoes in September, 1857; removed to
Cambridge, N. Y., in 18G2. to Brooklyn, N. Y., in 1865, and returned
to Cohoes in 1871, where he died May 20, 1893.

1862. John Savage, M. D. Born at Ballston, N. Y., Oc-
tober 18, 1840. Was graduated from the Albany Medical College,
December 23, 1861. Began practice at Albany in 1862. Served three
years in the war of the Rebellion in the capacity of assistant surgeon.
Returned to Albany in 1865; removed to Geneva, Switzerland, in 1872;


returned to Albany in 187G, where he remained to the time of his death,
which occurred by accidental drowning, August 7, 1885. Dr. Delavan
was respected for his noble and generous impulses. He stood in the
front rank of the profession. His smile of recognition, his cordial
greeting, and his faithful services were characteristic of a whole souled,
generous hearted friend.

1863. Walter Samuel Baker, M. D. Born at Newark, N. J., July
18, 1841. Was graduated in March, 18G3, from the New York Homoeo-
pathic Medical College and Hospital. Began practice at Cohoes in
June of the same year, and in 1870 removed to Newark, N. J., where
(in 1897) he still resides.

1865. Joseph C. Butler, M. D. Pursued the study of medicine under
the supervision of Dr. W. H. Randel, of Albany, and was graduated in
1865 from the New York Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital.
Began practice in Albany immediately thereafter in association witli
his former preceptor. After a residence in Albany of two years he
removed to Florida, where he died the following year.

1867. Harmon Switz, M. D. Born at Schenectady, N.Y. , June 29,
1818. Began the study of medicine in the office of Dr. L. S. Roe, a
homoeopathic physician of that city; entered on practice before he had
completed his studies on account of the sudden death, by accident, of
his preceptor. He subsequently attended medical lectures, and re-
ceived the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1865 from the New York
Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital. He became a member
of the Albany County Honioeopathic Medical Society in 1867. He was
for many years the sole representative of the homoeopathic school of
practice in the city where he was born, and where he resided during
the whole period of his life. Possessing the faculty of close observa-
tion with acuteness of perception, he acquired a thorough practical
knowledge of the theory and practice of medicine long before he be-
came a legall}' qualified practitioner.

1867. Joseph N. White, M. D. Born at Deerfield, N. Y., July 4,
1816. Was graduated in 1854 from the Medical College of Ohio at
Cincinnati. He began practice at Amsterdam, N. Y., and remained
there to the time of his death, April 24, 1890, at the age of seventy-
four years. He became a member of the Albany County Homoeo-
pathic Medical Society in 1867. He possessed a natural aptitude for
his profession. He was gentle and sympathetic in manners, of simple
tastes and habits, tenacious of principle, a Puritan in morals, yet withal
possessed of the broadest charity.


1807. Herman Brownei.l Horton, M. D. Born at New Lebanon,
N. Y., October 9, 1831. Was graduated in 1858 from the Berkshire
Medical College at Pittsfield, Mass. Began practice at Eden, N. Y. ;
removed in 1865 to Poestenkill, Rensselaer county, to Bath, in the same
county, in 1866; to Albany in 1867; to Kinderhook in 1869; and in
1S71, to Huntington, Suffolk county, where he died September 1, 1890.
Dr. Horton took an active interest in the canvass which resulted in the
establishment of the Albany Homoeopathic Dispensary, and on its or-
ganization was appointed its first resident physician. He practiced the

Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 21 of 138)