THE ancient medical schools
connected with the Scottish Universities have produced many of the most
famous physicians the world has known, and their influence and traditions
have gone out with the Scot to every country where he has, settled. In no
profession has the Scot been more successful than as a physician, and in
no country has he won more notable honours than in America.
Lionel Chalmers, M.D., was born at
Campbeltown, Argyllshire, about 1715, and was brought in childhood to
Carolina. He studied medicine and after graduation practised his
profession for more than forty years. He was the author of a number of
medical works, the most important of which was An Account of the
Weather and Diseases of South Carolina, published in two volumes in
London in 1776. The work was
also translated into German and
published in 1796.
Dr. John Moultrie, father of the
distinguished Revolutionary patriot, General William Moultrie, was a
native of Culross, and the first citizen of South Carolina to attain the
degree of M.D. from the University of Edinburgh, where in 1749 he defended
his thesis Dissertatio Medica inauguralis, de Febre maligna bilosa
Americae. He came to this country in 1733 and settled in Charleston,
he died in 1773. He was one of the founders of
the St. Andrews Society of
Charleston, and President in 1760. He subsequently became Governor of East
Florida. Another son was also named John. A cousin of this second John,
James Moultrie (died 1869), became a distinguished physician, President of
the State Medical Society, professor of physiology, and in 1851 elected
President of the American Medical Association.
Dr. John Lining, born in Dundee in
1708, studied medicine in the University of Edinburgh. He settled in
Charleston in 1730, and soon built up a prosperous practice which he held
for upwards of thirty years. To the Royal Society of London he
communicated meteorological observations carried out at Charleston between
1738-1740 and in 1742, which were the first ever published relating to the
colonies. He was also one of the first experimenters in electricity, and
in 1753 published his History of the Yellow Fever (Charleston,
1753), the first description of the disease published in America.
Another physician who acquired
distinction in America was Dr. Alexander Garden, who was born in Scotland
about 1728, a son of the Rev. Alexander Garden of Birse, Aberdeenshire.
Dr. Garden was educated in Aberdeen University and received his medical
training from the celebrated Dr. John Gregory. About the middle of the
eighteenth century he emigrated to South Carolina, where be took up the
study of botany. He was described by Ramsay (History of South Carolina,
1809) as a man of wide culture, well acquainted with the classics,
French, Italian, belles-lettres, mathematics, and whenever the duties of
his profession admitted, directing all his time to natural history and
botany. Linnaeus, with whom he corresponded in Latin, gave his name to the
genus Gardenia, in his honour. Dr. Garden also introduced, about
1764, the use of pink-root as a vermifuge, and published an account of its
properties. He also contributed to the Philosophical Transactions
of London. About 1772 he was elected a F.R.S. of London, and on his return
to Europe in 1783 was appointed one of its council and afterwards one of
its vice-presidents. For his adherence to the mother-country during the
Revolution his property in Carolina was confiscated, but was afterwards
returned to his son. He died in London, April 15, 1791.
Dr. James Craik, born in Scotland in
1731, came to Virginia early in life. He accompanied Washington in an
expedition against the French and Indians in 1754, and also served as
surgeon under General Braddock in the following year. At the siege of
Yorktown he was director-general of the hospital, and after the war became
the family physician of Washington, who greatly esteemed him, and referred
to him as "my compatriot in arms, my old and intimate friend." He died in
Hugh Williamson (1735-1819), M.D.,
LL.D., born in Philadelphia, of Scottish descent, was educated in
Philadelphia, Edinburgh, and in Holland. On his return to America he was
appointed a surgeon in the Revolutionary army. He afterwards represented
North Carolina in Congress for several years with great ability, and was a
delegate to the convention that framed the Federal Constitution, of which
he was a stanch advocate. He published Observations on the Climate of
America (1811), a History of North Carolina in three volumes,
and other works.
David Ramsay (1749-1815), the
historian of the American Revolution, was born in Lancaster County,
Pennsylvania, of Ulster-Scot parentage. He was graduated in 1765 at
Princeton and studied medicine at Philadelphia under the celebrated Dr.
Benjamin Rush. He was a zealous advocate of American Independence and
served in the army as a surgeon. He was also a member of the legislature
of South Carolina, to which State he had moved shortly after his
graduation, and in 1782 was elected a member of the Continental Congress.
In addition to his History of the Revolution (1790), he published
in 1785 a History of the Revolution in south Carolina, a Life of
Washington, in 1801, and several other works.
Dr. Thomas Graeme was born at
Balgowan in Perthshire, October 20, 1688, and in 1717 accompanied to
Philadelphia Colonel William Keith, who had been appointed
Lieutenant-Governor of Pennsylvania. In 1719 Dr. Graeme was appointed
Collector of the Port, and in 1725 was sworn into the Governors council
and became a Master in Chancery. He was appointed Associate Justice of the
Supreme Court in 1731, an office which he held till 1750. His eminence as
a physician was attested by Dr. Benjamin Rush, who stated that Dr. Graeme
"for nearly half a century maintained the front rank in his profession."
He was also one of the founders and the first President of the St.
Andrews Society of Philadelphia (1749) ; and a member of the American
Philosophical Society. Dr. Graeme died at his beautiful country seat,
"Graeme Park," September 4. 1772. His daughter, Elizabeth (Mrs. Ferguson),
was an accomplished woman, and one of the earliest woman writers of poetry
in America. Among her woiks was a paraphrase of the Book of Psalms
(1766-1768), the manuscript of which is in the Historical Society of
Dr. David Olyphant was born near
Perth, Scotland, in 1720. He was a surgeon at the battle of Culloden,
April 16, 1746, shortly afterward escaping to Charlestown, South Carolina,
where, and in St. George, Dorchester, he lived for many years practising
his profession and rising in it to the h.ighest eminence. He was a member
with Hon. John Rutledge and others of the Provincial Congress and the
Legislative Council of February, 1776; and Director-General of Southern
Hospitals during the Revolution. He removed to Newport, R. I., in 1785,
where he continued in the practice of medicine until his death in 1804. An
extended biography will be found elsewhere in this work.
Dr. Adam Thomson came from Scotland
to Upper Marlborough, Maryland, a graduate of Edinburgh University, and is
noted as the first physician in America to practice innoculation for the
prevention of smallpox. His method, which he introduced as early as 1738,
became the accepted practice in both America and Great Britain. Dr.
Thomson was one of the founders of the St. Andrews Society of
Philadelphia in 1749, and Vice-President, 1751; in 1755 he removed to New
York, where he interested himself in the founding of the New York St.
Andrews Society. He was its first Vice-President, 1756-1757, and its
second President, 1757-1758. Dr. Thomson died September, 1767.
Dr. Peter Middleton, Dr. Thomson's
friend and an executor of his estate, was also born in Scotland, and was
educated at Edinburgh. He died in 1781. Dr. Middleton was one of the most
noted practitioners of his day. In 1750 he assisted Dr. Bard in making the
first dissection in this country, and in 1767 established a medical school
in New York which was afterward incorporated with Kings College (now
Columbia University). He was the eighth President of the New York St.
Andrews Society, 1767-1770.
Dr. James Tillary (1756-1818),
another noted New York physician of Colonial times, was born in Scotland.
He was President of the St. Andrews Society 1814-1818. During the
epidemics of yellow fever in 1795 and 1798, he remained in the city,
rendering great service to rich and poor alike. He was a graduate of the
Edinburgh University and a member of the Royal Medical and Physical
Society of Edinburgh.
Dr. Lawrence Turnbull (1821-1900),
the great aural surgeon, for many years connected with Jefferson Medical
College and Howard Hospital, Philadelphia, was a native of Shotts,
Lanarkshire, Scotland. He served with distinction in the Civil War and was
the author of many medical books.
His friend and preceptor, Dr. John
Kearsley Mitchell (1796-1858), was born in Virginia, the son of Dr.
Alexander Mitchell, a native of A.yrshire, Scotland. At the age of
fourteen he was sent by his father to the academy at Ayr, and was educated
there and at the University of Edinburgh, returning to America in 1816. As
a physician and teacher, Dr. Mitchell was eminently successful. He was
twice honoured by the municipality for his services in time of pestilence.
His son, Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell
(born February 15, 1829; died January 4, 1914), was the
distinguished physician and man of letters. He was a graduate of the
University of Pennsylvania and in 1850 received his degree of M.D. from
Jefferson Medical College, and his eminence in his profession was
recognized by degrees and honours from the University of Bologna, Harvard,
Edinburgh University, Princeton, Toronto and many other institutions and
societies. He made an exhaustive study of the diseases of the nervous
system and their treatment, of the poisons of serpents and numerous
medical subjects. In 1880 he began the publication of tales, essays and
poems that were to make him as famous as a writer as a physician. His
first long novel, Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker, published in 1897, when
he was sixty-eight years old, assured his literary success; and the many
books that followed from his pen found an ever increasing number of
readers the world over.
Alexander Johnston Chalmers Skene,
one of America's foremost surgeons, was born at Fyvie, in June, 1837. He
received his university education in Aberdeen and there also laid the
foundations of his medical knowledge. On coming to the United States he
continued his medical studies at the University of Michigan and later at
Long Island College Hospital, from which institution he was graduated in
1863. During the Civil War he served for a year as surgeon in the Union
army, and in 1864 settled in Brooklyn as a practicing physician. He was
appointed professor of gynecology in the Post Graduate Medical School of
New York. He performed the first successful operation of gastro-elytrotomy
that is recorded, and also that of craniotomy. Surgical science is also
indebted to him for a number of important instruments, which he invented
for special operations. He also contributed many articles on medical
subjects to the professional journals, as well as writing two or three
independent works. His volume on the diseases of women is considered one
of the best textbooks ever published.
Of the many surgeons and physicians
of Scottish descent among the foremost are: Dr. Ephraim McDowell
(1771-1830), born in Virginia, son of the noted jurist, Samuel McDowell.
Dr. McDowell settled in Danville, Kentucky, and is conceded to have been
the greatest surgeon in the Southwest after 1785. He received many honours
from the University of Maryland, Philadelphia Medical Society, and others.
His skill in operative surgery won him a reputation in Europe as well as
Dr. Frank Hastings Hamilton
(1813-1886), the famous surgeon and inventor of many surgical appliances,
was a native of Vermont. He played a notable part in the hospital service
during the Civil War, afterward returning to his work at Bellevue
Hospital, New York City. He was one of the surgeons called in consultation
at the time of the shooting of President Garfield.
Dr. Daniel Hayes Agnew (1818-1892),
professor of surgery in the University of Pennsylvania, is also widely
known by his surgical inventions and writings.
John Fox Hammond (1821-1886), a
native of South Carolina, was famous in the medical department in the