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History of Providence County, Rhode Island

Richard M. Bayles, Editor, Vol. I
New York: W. W. Preston & Co., 1891

Chapter IV - The Profession of Medicine


p. 77 - 80: The practice of medicine as a distinct profession was hardly to be looked for in the chaotic years of society in the new colony of Providence Plantations.  But at an early date the legislative authorities imposed such restrictions upon it as they thought necessary for the protection of the people against irresponsible quacks.  The general assembly granted occasionally, to such as were considered competent, the privilege to practice medicine in the colony.  One of the earliest of such licenses is the following, which we give in the language of the record.  It was passed at the sitting of the general assembly at Newport, March 1st, 1664, new style.

'Whereas the Court have taken notice of the great blessing of God on the good endevers of Captayne John Cranston at Newport, both in phissicke and chirurgery, to the great comfort of such as have had occation to improve his skill and practice, &c.  The Court doe therefore unanimously enacte and declare that the said Captayne John Cranston is lycenced and commistioned to adminester phissicke, and practice chirurgery throughout this whole Collony, and is by this Court styled and recorded Doctor of physsick and chirrurgery, by the athority of this the Generall Assembly of this Collony.'

Going still further back we are told that the first regular medical practitioner in Providence county was John Greene, who remained here but a short time, and in 1641 removed to Warwick.  In cases of emergency the people here had recourse to him there.  Leading men in the early colony doubtless kept on hand small supplies of a few important drugs, and physicians in the neighboring colonies were in extreme cases called to attend patients.  The first settled physician in Providence of whom we have later notice was Doctor John Jones, who was here in the early part of the 18th century.  Doctor Jabez Bowen also came here and settled soon after. His descendants formed a line of physicians for several generations.  In the middle of the last century Doctors Vandelight and Gibbs were conspicuous for their abilities and services rendered to their townsmen.  In the revolutionary period Doctor Stephen Randall and Doctor Hewes were conspicuous members of the profession.

Several medical societies have been formed, with Providence for their center or field of operations.  The oldest of these is the Rhode Island Medical Society, which was organized in 1812, and has its place of meeting at 54 North Main street.  Here it maintains a library of some 6,000 volumes and 2,000 pamphlets.  The society has received into its membership since its organization about 500 members.  Its present membership numbers about 200. Its annual meeting is held in Providence, in June, and quarterly meetings are held in September, December and March.  The society possesses a valuable fund established by the late Doctor Caleb Fiske, one of its former presidents.  The fund was founded in 1834, and by it the trustees are enabled to offer two premiums annually, of $100 each, for dissertations on medical subjects.  By this means a large number of essays have been printed and distributed among the medical fraternity and the principal public libraries.

The society has been active in procuring important legislation in matters pertaining to public health.  The law regulating the registration of births, marriages and deaths, was secured in 1852, by the efforts of a committee of this society, and the annual registration reports for the first 25 years were prepared under its supervision.  The original movement for the examination and registration of druggists, out of which grew the State Board of Pharmacy; the successful petition for a law awarding suitable compensation for expert testimony in the courts of this state; the recent reform in the coroner system; and the effort to increase the efficiency of the state board of health, are achievements of this society.

Among those who have been promoted to the office of president or of vice-president of this society from this county during the last half century have been:  Doctors Joseph Mauran, David King, S. Augustus Arnold, Hiram Allen, William A. Shaw, Ariel Ballou, Hiram Cleveland, Sylvanus Clapp, Charles W. Parsons, Isaac Ray, Jarvis J. Smith, J. W. C. Ely, George C. Collins, Lloyd Morton, Fenner H. Peckham, George W. Jenckes, Edwin M. Snow, Charles H. Fisher, Edward T. Caswell, George F. Baker, Charles O'Leary, Job Kenyon, O. C. Wiggin, H. G. Miller, J. W. Sawyer, Albert Potter, J. W. Mitchell and W. H. Palmer.  The officers at the present time are:  Albert Potter, president; J. W. Mitchell and H. W. Palmer, vice-presidents; W. R. White, recording secretary; George L. Collins, treasurer.

The Providence Medical Association was instituted in 1848.  It holds meetings on the first Monday in each month, and an annual meeting in March, its headquarters being at 54 North Main street.  Its membership numbers about 80.  The following physicians have been presidents of the association at some time since its starting:  J. W. C. Ely, Hervey Armington, George L. Collins, C. W. Fabyan, Richard Brownell, George P. Baker, F. H. Peckham, W. O. Brown, George Capron, Edwin M. Snow, George A. Pierce, H. W. King, John W. Sawyer, Clarence T. Gardner, H. G. Miller, S. S. Kenne, W. E. Anthony, O. C. Wiggin, E. M. Harris, Albert E. Ham, William J. Burge, Edward T. Caswell, C. H. Leonard, John W. Mitchell and robert F. Noyes.  The present officers are:  C. H. Leonard, president; R. F. Noyes, vice-president; S. A. Welch, secretary; Herbert Terry, treasurer.

The Rhode Island Homeopathic Society was organized about 1849.  It was incorporated May 15th, 1850.  Among its founders were: A. H. Okie, G. S. Stevens, Henry C. Preston, Ira Barrows, J. J. DeWolf, D. H. Green, C. G. McKnight, Washington Hoppin, and others.  Regular meetings are held on the second Friday in January, April, July and October.  The society numbers about 50 members.  The following have been among the incumbents of presidential positions since its organization:  A. H. Okie, H. C. Preston, Charles G. McKnight, Charles P. Manchester, John J. DeWolf, Peleg Clarke, George Barrows, Elijah U. Jones, Grenville S. Stevens, James L. Wheaton, William Von Gottschalck, I. W. Sawin, George D. Wilcox, J. C. Budlong, Robert Hall, George B. Peck, E. B. Knight, Charles A. Barnard and Charles Hayes.  Its present officers are:  Charles Hayes, president; Charles A. Barnard, vice-president; W. H. Stone, secretary; H. A. Whitmarsh, treasurer; and Charles L. Greene, Robert Hall and George B. Peck, Jr., censors.

The Hahnemann Society of Rhode Island was organized about 1857.  It existed for about 20 years.  During that time Doctors Charles G. McKnight, A. P. King, Washington Hoppin and Ira Barrows were among its leading members, and successively occupied the position of president.  With the revival of the Homeopathic Society about 1876, this fell into obscurity.

The Providence Clinical Club was organized in 1884, and holds fortnightly meetings at the houses of its members, from October to June, for the discussion of professional subjects.  Its prominent members are F. P. Capron, R. H. Carver, C. V. Chapin, F. B. Fuller, C. M. Godding, G. D. Hersey, G. F. Keene, W. J. McCaw, R. F. Noyes, H. J. Pomroy, G. W. Porter, G. T. Swarts, H. Terry, W. R. White and B. Whitford.

The Rhode Island Dental Society was organized in July, 1878, and now has about 35 members.  Its annual meeting is held on the first Tuesday in July, and a semi-annual meeting on the first Tuesday in January.  It has a fine library, containing several hundred volumes.  The following practitioners have served it as president:  C. A. Brackett, 1880; William Barker, 1881; W. P. Church, 1882; W. H. Thornton, 1883; S. E. Greene, 1884; J. W. Smith, 1885; F. G. Eddy, 1886-87; A. W. Buckland, 1888; J. F. Lennon, 1889.

p. 80 - 82: It may be interesting to the reader to know that the following physicians were practicing in Providence in 1841, their locations being also given: William H. Allen, 155 North Main; Hervey Armington, 16 Wickenden; Augustus S. Arnold, 125 1/2 Westminster; Lloyd B. Brayton, 69 North Main; Richmond Brownell, 8 & 10 Westminster; George Capron, 3 President; Thomas Cleveland, warden of state prison; Francis Colwell, 93 High; Jeremiah Cole, Olneyville; Thomas L. H. Creighton, Prospect; E. Darling, 113 Friendship; George Fabyan, 46 Broad; Charles W. Fabyan, 77 South Main; Joseph Fearing, 135 & 137 Broad; P. W. Ferris, 60 George; Joseph B. F. Fuller, 67 Broad; L. Girardin, 132 North Main (Franklin House); William Grosvenor, 56 Westminster; Isaac Hartshorn, City Hotel; C. F. Manchester, 104 & 114 Westminster; Joseph Mauran, 48 South Main; J. Leland Miller, 181 North Main; Lewis L. Miller, 49 Broad; Lewis P. Parlin, 12 Carpenter; Usher Parsons, President; Joseph Pettes, East street, opposite Tockwotton House; John W. Richmond, 92 South Main; H. W. Rivers, Eye and Ear Infirmary, 135 North Main; Josiah W. Robinson, cor. Westminster and Pleasant; David B. Slack, 124 North Main; George H. Tillinghast, 92 Westminster; Samuel Boyd Tobey, 32 South Main; John A. Wadsworth, 45 North Main; Levi Wheaton, 73 Benefit; Hercules Whitney, Pawtuxet; Leander Utley, 25 Richmond.  The following were botanic physicians:  John A. Brown, 57 & 59 South Main; John C. Davis, 71 Weybosset; A. Farwell, 57 & 59 South Main; John Richards, 90 Pine; Elias Smith, 27 Washington; Samuel Stowe, Atwell's Avenue.  The following dentists were then practicing here:  N. Augustus Fisher, 38 Westminster; J. F. B. Flagg, President; A. C. Hawes, 92 Westminster; Marshall B. Mead, 9 Westminster; T. J. Prescott, 191 High; Samuel Trowbridge, 90 Westminster (medical electrician); Nathaniel P. Tyler, 38 Westminster; J. F. Young, 109 Westminster.

We turn now to notice some of the individual members of the profession.  In Providence generations past Stephen Randall was a physician of prominence, living in the early part of the present century.  He owned property and lived near the junction of North Main and Randall streets, and the name was given to the latter street in his honor.  Doctor Williams Thayer was an active and prominent citizen of Providence about the time of the last war with Great Britain.  His name was given to Thayer street.  Doctor Amos Throop about three quarters of a century ago occupied the mansion house afterward owned by Zachariah Allen, at 97 North Main street.  He gave name to Throop alley.  Doctor Throop was a descendant of the old Throop family, one of honorable distinction, of Bristol, Mass.  He was born in 1735.  His father, Amos, was a minister of Woodstock, Conn., having been elected to take charge of the town church in December, 1726, and died in 1735.  Doctor Amos was born at Woodstock, the same year.  He spent his childhood and youth with Doctor Jabez Bowen, of Providence.  He afterward studied with Doctor Bowen and Doctor Gibbs, having previously spent some time in study at Bristol.  He succeeded to the practice of his two instructors at Providence about 1770, and was the first male accoucher in the Plantations.  He was married, November 13th, 1768, to Mary Bernon Crawford, a granddaughter of Gabriel Bernon, a French refugee from religious persecution and who had been a resident of Newport and Providence.  Doctor Throop was prominent in town affairs.  He was in the state legislature in 1788, where he used his influence in favor of the adoption of the constitution of the United States. Politically he was a federalist.  He was one of the incorporators of the Beneficent Congregational church, but later became a member of St. John's Episcopal church.  He was a member of the state legislatures of 1805, 1806 and 1807.  In medical circles he was prominent and active.  He was also prominent in social and financial circles, being the first president of the Exchange Bank, holding that position from the start until his death, some 13 years.  He died, universally respected, April 13th, 1814, leaving no descendants.  His portrait was painted by Ralph Earl, and is a good representation of him at about 60 years of age.

Doctor Benjamin Dyer was a man of great enterprise and public spirit, who practiced here in the early years of the present century.  He projected and successfully accomplished the filling out of what was then called the new land, embracing about 27 acres, from Eddy's point to Weybosset street.  The work was commenced in 1815 and completed in 1817.  Dyer street was named in respect to his memory.

A writer of half a century ago in speaking of a former period said: 'Doctors Joseph Hewes, Ephraim Bowen, and Jonathan Arnold, all at the same time, were our most eminent physicians.  Arnold, at the commencement of the revolutionary war, took charge of the hospital, and there continued until the peace in 1783.  He afterward went as a member of congress.  He finally made a settlement in Vermont, and there died.'

Doctor Ephraim Bowen, of Providence, used to ride extensively in the surrounding towns before the conflict of the revolution.  He died about 60 years ago, at an advanced age, being past 90 years.  Contemporary with him was Doctor Benjamin Slack, who lived in the extreme northeast part of Scituate.  He came from Massachusetts about 1750.  The oldest record of him in Scituate is the birth of his daughter Mary, September 28th, 1753.  His first wife, Phebe, died July 8th, 1762,.  Doctor Slack was much esteemed, and his practice was extensive in Glocester, Smithfield, Scituate and other towns.  He also owned a large farm, of good land.  His second wife was Miss Hannah Harris, of Johnston, whom he married March 5th, 1767.  Doctor John Barden lived in the northwest part of Scituate three of four miles west of Doctor Slack, during and after the war of the revolution.  He had considerable reputation as a doctor, and used to take long rides into Massachusetts, where he had many friends and much practice.  Doctor John Wilkinson, a medical practitioner of high estimation in Scituate, was also a distinguished surgeon in te revolutionary war.  Doctor Caleb Fiske was a man of much distinction in Scituate, living on Bald hill, at the southeast part of the town.  He was the son of John and Elizabeth Fiske, early settlers in the place, and was born February 24th, 1753.  He was president of the Rhode Island Medical Society, acquired much property, and left to the society $2,000, and most of the balance of his property to his grandson, Caleb F. Rea.  Doctor Owen Battey was in medical practice for many years, but retired later in life.  He was president of the Exchange Bank at Greenville in Smithfield, and held the office of postmaster in South Scituate for a long time, through many party changes.  He was a gentleman of the old school, and was highly esteemed.  He was the son of Joshua Battey, and the grandson, through his mother, of Oliver Arnold.  His great-grandfather, Owen Arnold, was a British officer who came to this country and engaged in the French war, and died July 24th, 1762, in his 90th year.

p. 82 - 85: Doctor Jeremiah Cole, who studied medicine with Doctor Anthony, of Foster, resided about a mile and a half west of North Scituate village.  Near the close of his life he removed to Olneyville, where he died suddenly, May 7th, 1843, in his 73rd year.  He was a man very much esteemed in his practice. Doctor Cyril Carpenter lived in the latter part of the last century in that part of Scituate now included in Foster.  Two generations in the healing art have descended from him.  These are his son Thomas and grandson Thomas O. Carpenter.  The latter was a skillful doctor of great promise, who died at an early period in life.  Doctor John H. Anthony practiced medicine for many years, residing in North Scituate.  His health failing, he removed to Providence, gave up his practice here, and died in the city.  Doctor T. K. Newhall, after practicing about 17 years in Scituate, removed to Providence. Doctors James E. Roberts, Charles N. Fisher and William H. Bowen, later physicians of Scituate, long enjoyed the respect and confidence of the citizens of that town.

In the town of Woonsocket, Doctor Jonathan Arnold was a physician of repute, who lived near Woonsocket Hill before the revolution.  He took an active part in the scenes and discussions of the time.  In 1787 he removed to Vermont.  Doctor William Arnold was a practitioner in the same locality at a later day, and is said to have been one of the most learned men of his time. His love for study and scientific pursuits gave him the name of the 'Philosopher'.  It is said that he was the first man in America to discover an explanation of longitude, in compliance with a call from the British government, offering a reward of L10,000 for the first satisfactory solution of the question.  He failed to secure the reward, however, being anticipated by an English astronomer who secured the prize by being a few days in advance.  Doctor Arnold died about 1820, at the age of 70 years, highly esteemed by all who knew him.  Endowed with many characteristics of quite a different nature was Doctor Ezekiel Comstock, of the same locality.  He was skillful but erratic, and had a genius for adapting himself to all conditions at all times.

Doctor Hiram Allen was one of the first physicians located at Woonsocket. He was born at Franklin, Mass., in 1803, and began practice in 1825.  For 30 years he was professionally engaged, but in the latter part of his life devoted himself to other affairs.  He died March 14th, 1864.  One of his students was the present well known Doctor George W. Jenckes, who rode with him six months in 1853, and who since 1854, the year of his graduation from Harvard Medical College, has been actively engaged at Woonsocket, now ranking as the oldest regular physician in practice in the city. Contemporary with the foregoing was Doctor Ariel Ballou, who was born in Cumberland, October 25th, 1805, and died July 15th, 1887.  In 1830 he became a practitioner at Woonsocket, and lived there until 1882, when he removed to Providence.  He was not only prominent in his profession, but was also active in every affair of the town which had in view the advancement of society.  A distinguished fellow physician of the same period was Doctor Ezekiel Fowler, who died July 20th, 1863, aged 77 years.  He was prosperous in his affairs, and provided for the perpetuation of his name in a very commendable way by setting aside a fund for the establishment of a hospital at Woonsocket.  Doctor Horatio Stockbridge died here in 1864, aged nearly 76 years.  After practicing in Maine he came to Woonsocket in 1833, and opened an apothecary shop, which he continued until 1851, after which he engaged in other business.  Doctor Peletiah Metcalf came to Woonsocket in 1834, and remained until his death, October 26th, 1866, at the age of 87 years. Doctor James Helme located at Woonsocket after 1840, and for more than 20 years was engaged in the drug business.  He was a lineal descendant of Gabriel Bernon, the founder of the Huguenot colony at Oxford.  His death occurred in December, 1883, while in the 78th year of his age.  In this period Doctor Tyler Briggs was in practice at Union Village, and died there in 1860.  Doctor Joseph Warren was in active practice from about 1840, in the southern part of the town.

In 1862 Doctor Rodney Moore located at Woonsocket, and practiced medicine there until his death in 1880.  Doctor A. M. Paine has been actively engaged in Woonsocket since 1864, ranking now as one of the oldest allopathic physicians here.  Doctor Gideon Archambault came to Woonsocket in 1869, and has been in practice since that time.  The first French physician to locate here was a Doctor La Ferriere, who removed to Woonsocket before 1868. Doctor Joseph Hils has been in practice since 1872; and other French physicians have been Doctors Joseph A. Gagnon, P. E. Gervais, E. A. La Ferriere and Joseph C. Maranda.  Contemporaneous allopathic physicians were Daniel M. Edwards, John J. Baxter, Peter H. Madden, William C. Monroe, Henry W. Stillman, George R. Smith and Frank H. Jenckes.  Among those who have been in practice but have removed to other fields are remembered Doctors William T. Thurston, Charles A. Burton and Fisher Bosworth.  The first regular lady physician to practice in the city of Woonsocket is Miss Mary L. Farnum, daughter of John B. Farnum, an old resident of this place.  She was born here April 23d, 1863.  After being a student at the Friends' School at Providence, she graduated from the Woman's Medical College at Philadelphia, in March, 1886.  After spending a year and a half in the New York Infant Asylum, she studied one year at Vienna, Berlin and Stockholm, and then located for regular practice at Woonsocket in October, 1888.  In the period that she has been here she has established a successful practice, fully demonstrating the capacity of women for this line of work.

In the year 1842 great interest was manifested in the Thompsonian system of medicine, and several practitioners of that school settled in Woonsocket. Among them was Doctor J. M. Aldrich, who also opened an herbarium or medicine store.  This was located on Main street, near the Baptist church, and there he also furnished vapor baths.  Doctor G. W. Davis was also located here at the same time, and later conducted a Thompsonian Infirmary in the town.  Besides being a physician he was a writer of ability, and helped to edit one of the papers of that period.  Doctor Thomas Wilbur  belonged to the same school, which lost favor in the course of a few years. In September, 1849, Doctor A. S. Wetherel, a disciple of the eclectic school, located in Woonsocket, and has since been in practice.  For less periods of time Doctors Edwin Boulster and John M. Taber have been practicing there, and others have removed after a short residence.

A Doctor Gage was one of the first homeopathic physicians, living at Woonsocket prior to 1849, and removing thence to Medway.  Doctor R. G. Belt came awhile later and remained for a few years.  In June, 1858, Doctor Richard Carique, a graduate from the Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia, began practicing at Woonsocket, continuing there until his death, in December, 1866.  Contemporary with him was Doctor O. D. Cargill, who gave up his practice here in July, 1867, removing to Boston.  Doctor Jerome Harris became his successor.  He came from Norwich, Conn.  About the same time Doctor J. S. Nichols was here in practice, and he was reputed to be an excellent physician.  Doctor Thomas H. Mann came later, and was succeeded in 1885 by the present Doctor E. N. Kingsbury, who has for a contemporary in this school of medicine, Doctor Robert G. Reed.  The latter has been in practice a number of years, locating in Woonsocket when Doctor W. R. McLaren was also a homeopathic physician.

p. 85 - 88: One of the first permanent practitioners of dentistry in Woonsocket was Doctor Ambrose Horton, who was for 30 years engaged in that profession, prior to his death in 1859.  Before the last mentioned date Doctors S. B. Bartholomew and M. W. Small were also dentists in that town.  Soon after Doctor Amos A. Pevey came, and continued more than 20 years.  Since the war Doctors A. W. Buckland and Fred L. Cleveland have been leading dentists.

Matthias Abel, M.D., was born in Bethlehem, N.J., January 1st, 1836.  He was the son of Enoch and Nancy (Smith) Abel.  He began the study of medicine with John Blane, M.D., of Perryville, N.J., and afterward graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York, in the class of 1857.  He joined the Dis. Med. Society of Hunterdon county and the New Jersey State Medical Society the same year, and was licensed to practice medicine and surgery by the latter.  He was one of the censors of the state medical society in 1862-64.  He filled numerous positions of responsibility in medical, social and educational circles in New Jersey, where he was first located for medical practice at Quakertown, and after a period of about 25 years' practice he sold out, and removed to Providence in 1883.  Here he has since been located.  He was married to Miss Ellen M. Hires, daughter of Reverend W. D. Hires, a Baptist clergyman, at Quakertown in March, 1864. They have one daughter, Alice M., now the wife of of C. J. Parrott of Scranton, Pa.

Thomas E. Allen, M. D., was born at London, Middlesex county, Ontario, March 7th, 1845.  He was a graduate of Bailey's Grammar School and Arts College, in 1863, also of the Homeopathic Hospital College of Cleveland, in 1867, and of the the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1869.  He was married to Emma E. Row, of Billeville, Hastings county, Ontario, January 24th, 1881. As yet they have no children.  The parentage of Doctor Allen is from Vermont on the paternal side, and from Sutton, Quebec, on the maternal side.  Their names were Hugh and Martha Allen.  He is an active and enterprising man and a conscientious physician, and having made the study of chronic diseases a specialty, he has recently established a sanitarium for their treatment at a point just south of the city of Providence, and at the head of Narragansett bay.  The locality is convenient of access by horse cars, electric cars and other means, and offers a very desirable retreat for invalids who wish quiet and restful surroundings.

Oliver H. Arnold, A.M., M.D., was born in Coventry, R.I., June 23d, 1841, his father being of the Arnold family of Warwick, and his mother Elizabeth M. Greene, of the celebrated family whose ancestry came to America in 1636. Through this line Doctor Arnold is the eighth generation in America.  His great-grandfather, Jacob Greene, was a brother of General Nathaniel Greene, of revolutionary fame.  Another brother of the general was Doctor Jabez Greene, a physician, who received his education in England.  On the breaking out of the war for independence these three Greene brothers carried on at their farm the forging of anchors.  The remains of the forge were well known to Doctor Arnold in the days of his boyhood.  During the revolution a part of the ancestral homestead was used as a hospital, and some of the soldiers were buried on the farm and have since been removed to the family burying ground.  Doctor Arnold was born at the homestead, where his mother is still living, she also having been born there.  He attending Pierce Academy, Middleborough, Mass., and Lapham Institute at Scituate, R.I., and afterward spent about three years at the University Grammar School in Providence.  He afterward passed through Brown University, and graduated with the degree of A. B., in 1865.  He pursued medical studies at Harvard University, and received the degree of M. D. there in 1867.  He began the practice of medicine at Pawtucket, with Doctor Charles F. Manchester, with whom he remained about four years, having also been a student of Doctor A. H. Okie, of Providence.  He continued the practice of his profession from that time to 1883 alone.  In the summer of 1883 he went to Europe, and remained there two years, traveling, and studying in the hospitals of London, Glasgow, Paris and Vienna, most of the time in the last mentioned place.  On his return in 1885 he located in Providence, where he still continues.  He was married in 1868, to Emma Josephine Ayer, of Providence.  He has had a large and successful practice as a physician.

Walter Eugene Anthony, M.D., was born in Providence, December 12th, 1847. His father was Lorenzo D., and his mother Mary S. Anthony.  His early education was in the public schools of Providence and at Highland Military Academy, of Worcester, Mass.  He graduated from Brown University in 1864, and began the study of medicine with Doctor George Capron, in 1863.  He also attended lectures at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York, at the University of Vermont, at Harvard Medical College, and at the University of New York, where he graduated in March, 1867.  He began practice in Providence in April of the same year.  He has been physician to the Children's Nursery, the Home for Aged Women and the Dispensary, also secretary of Rhode Island Medical Society from 1874 to 1880, and president of Providence Medical Association in 1879 and 1880.  He was surgeon of the First Light Infantry, 1868 to 1873; assistant surgeon general of Rhode Island, 1873 to 1878; member of American Medical Association, since 1876; one of the incorporators, and the first treasurer of Rhode Island Pharmaceutive Association;
one of the founders and the first librarian of the Rhode Island Medical Society Library, and a charter member of Rising Sun Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons.  He was married to Marie Louise Knowles of the city of Providence, and their adopted daughter is now the wife of Frederick Potter Eddy, of that city.

Joseph H. Akers, M.D., was born on the 11th of November, 1856, at Granby, Mass.  His parents were Joseph W. and Lucy A. Akers.  After attending the schools of his native town and graduating from the high school at age 17, he taught schools, worked in stores at different trades and at farming, saving his earnings with the view of studying medicine.  The inspiration to this course had come to him through his intercourse with a physician with whom he lived while attending the high school.  One year before entering the medical college he studied in the office of Doctor H. S. Bell, of Granby, Mass.  He attended Dartmouth Medical College, graduating in the class of 1884, and for one year previous to graduating was assistant physician in Doctor Ira Russell's 'Family Home', at Winchendon, Mass., a private retreat for the treatment of nervous and mental diseases and the alcohol and opium habits. He first located at Fiskdale, Mass., where he remained one year, after which he took a post graduate course at the Polyclinic School in the city of New York.  He then spent another year at Fiskdale.  In 1885 he was married to Miss A. L. Sholes of the city of Providence, and in the following year moved to that city and began practice there, where he still continues.  Doctor Akers has succeeded in establishing a lucrative practice and bids fair to attain prominence in his chosen profession.

Mowry Paine Arnold, M.D., of Foster Centre, was born in Smithfield (now Lincoln) September 30th, 1801, being the son of Israel and Anna (Chace) Arnold.  He was a lineal descendant, in the sixth generation, of William Arnold, one of the 13 original proprietors of Providence.  Doctor Arnold was educated in Belchertown, Mass., and at Amherst College, where he acquired Latin and Greek.  He studied medicine with Doctors Cutler Gridley, of Amherst, and Potter Allen, of Glocester, R.I., and graduated at Berkshire Medical School in Pittsfield, Mass., in 1827, taking the highest honors in his class.  In 1828 he moved to Foster, where he resided, in the practice of medicine, till his death.  He was thrice married:  first to Dorcas Peckham, April 10th, 1828; second to Electa Randall, in 1841; third to Asenath Place, in January, 1847.  He has now living three sons and two daughters.  The sons, Barnard and Henry, are practicing physicians, and Mowry P. is a well-to-do farmer.  He has held various offices in the town.  Doctor Arnold was the first superintendent of the first Sabbath school in Foster Centre, in 1828, and long served as librarian of the Manton Library of Foster.  For some years he was postmaster at Foster Centre.  In 1848 he was elected state senator, and declined a reelection the following term.  He was town treasurer since 1865, and was connected with the schools of the town for more than 50 years, and most of this time was chairman of the committee.  In 1832 he united with the Christian baptist church in Foster, of which he was for some time secretary.  He died April 26th, 1890, in the 89th year of his age.

p. 88 - 88a: Barnard Arnold, M.D., of Scituate, was born August 9th, 1852, in Foster, R.I.  His parents were Doctor Mowry P. Arnold and Asenath (Place) Arnold. Doctor Arnold was given a superior public school education, so that when he reached his twentieth year he had taught three terms of public school.  In June, 1876, he graduated at East Greenwich Academy, having pursued and successfully completed other branches of study besides those in the college preparatory course proper.  He published an original poem showing some merit, in the 'New England Journal of Education', March 4th, 1876, and wrote some prose articles that were printed while at school.  Thomas W. Bicknell, formerly commissioner of education of the Rhode Island schools,  published the 'Journal' at this time.

In March, 1878, he graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, with the degree of M.D.  He had studied medicine under his father for three years, and had gathered the experience arising from attendance upon the cases brought into the college clinics and the New York hospitals. He began to practice at Foster, R.I., with his father, but tried other fields, at Brooklyn, N.Y., and at Wauregan, Conn., until 1882, when he located at Chopmist, in Scituate, where he has built up a large and increasing practice.  His practice of medicine extends over a large territory, including the villages of Rockland, Ponagansett, Richmond, Clayville, South Scituate and throughout the town into surrounding towns. He has performed many of the most difficult operations in surgery, and the publication of some of them, in newspapers and by other means, has given him considerable reputation.  In 1885 he was appointed by the town council president of the board of vaccination, consisting of the town physicians, to furnish vaccination gratuitously to school children.  Since the year 1886 he has been town physician of Scituate, and is a well known correspondent of the state board of health, having been the foremost of his section to report the famous influenza or 'la grippe' of 1889-90, and treated between one hundred and two hundred cases without a single death.

He was elected superintendent of public schools for Scituate in 1886, and held that office three years, and he did much to bring the schools up to a higher standard.  In 1890 he was elected a member of the Rhode Island State Medical Society, his name being proposed by Doctors Charles H. Fisher and N. B. Kenyon.

Doctor Arnold was married November 23d, 1881, to Charlotte Elizabeth Cooke, daughter of Amos W. and Elizabeth (Tourtellot) Cooke, the marriage taking place at the home of the bride in Scituate, Reverend J. M. Brewster of Providence officiating as clergyman.  Doctor Arnold's excellent success is largely due to his talented and accomplished wife.  She obtained a superior education at the Rhode Island State Normal School, always taking first rank in her classes and is now one of the best teachers in Scituate.  Mrs. Arnold is a member of the Rhode Island Woman's Suffrage Association and is a gifted writer for the newspaper press.  Since her marriage she has pursued the study of medicine and is now prepared to enter medical college.  They have one child, Earle Bernon Arnold, born October 27th, 1886, and named from Gabriel Bernon, a Huguenot ancestor on his mother's side.  Doctor Arnold and wife are members of the Free Baptist church at Chopmist.  He is a public spirited citizen and together with his wife has done much for the upbuilding of the church and society in the place where they now reside.

John L. Ashton, M.D., of Pawtucket, was born in that place May 3rd, 1856. He was the youngest son of John and Hannah (Worsley) Ashton.  He graduated at the high school in his native city, and during the seven years following he was connected with the drug business there and in Brooklyn, N.Y.  He also spent two years as prescription clerk in the Rhode Island Hospital.  He then studied medicine with Doctor Sylvanus Clapp, in Pawtucket, and in the fall of 1877 he attended a course of lectures at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York.  He then attended Dartmouth Medical College and graduated from that institution in 1879.  Within the same year he began the practice of his profession in Pawtucket, and has continued there ever since. He enjoys a lucrative practice, and is highly esteemed by his professional associates and the community at large.


The Profession of Medicine Continued


These documents are made available free to the public for non-commercial purposes by the Rhode Island USGenWeb Project.
Transcribed by Beth Hurd, 2000.
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