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Bennett, John Cook (03 August 1804–05 August 1867), physician, religious leader, and entrepreneur, was born in Fair Haven, Bristol County, Massachusetts, the son of John Bennett, a shipowner, and Abigail Cook. At his father’s death in 1817, he moved with his mother to Ohio to stay with relatives. In 1825, after a three-year apprenticeship with a physician and an oral examination by an Ohio medical society, Bennett received his M.D. and a license to practice. That year he married Mary Barker; they had three children. There is no evidence supporting his claim to have attended Ohio University or McGill College in Montreal; he did, however, become a Freemason in 1826....

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Durnford, Andrew (1800–12 July 1859), free man of color, planter, and physician, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Thomas Durnford, an English immigrant and merchant, and Rosaline Mercier, a free woman of color. Thomas Durnford was a cousin of Colonel Elias Durnford (1739–1794) of the Royal Engineers, lieutenant governor of British West Florida. Andrew Durnford, reared by parents who were denied marriage by law, grew up in New Orleans’s free colored community with the comforts afforded the family of a successful merchant and speculator. His schooling, like most of his early life, is a matter of conjecture. In his adult years he revealed a working knowledge of written and spoken English and French, the rudiments of elementary arithmetic, and medical procedures. He apparently passed freely between the white community with his father and the free colored community with his mother and her family. For example, John McDonogh, a successful merchant and planter of New Orleans and Baltimore, had business ties with both Durnford and his white father. In 1825 Durnford married fifteen-year-old Marie Charlotte Remy, a free woman of color; they had four children, three of whom lived to adulthood. Thomas Durnford died in 1826, two weeks before his namesake, Thomas McDonogh Durnford, was born. In 1828 Andrew Durnford left New Orleans to build a plantation on lands purchased from McDonogh, where he resided until his death....

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Emerson, Gouverneur (04 August 1795–02 July 1874), physician, statistician, and agriculturalist, was born near Dover, Delaware, the son of Jonathan Emerson and Ann Bell, well-to-do farmers. After education at the Quaker Westtown School in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and the classical school of the Reverend Stephen Sykes in Dover, Emerson began the study of medicine in 1811 with Sykes’s physician brother James, also of Dover, and then entered the School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania in 1813. He was graduated in 1816, offering a dissertation on hereditary diseases. For two years Emerson practiced in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania; then in 1818 he went to Canton, China, as surgeon on a merchant vessel. He opened his practice in Philadelphia on 4 August 1820....

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Gouverneur Emerson. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B06655).

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Favill, Henry Baird (14 August 1860–20 February 1916), physician, civic leader, and farmer, was born in Madison, Wisconsin, the son of John Favill, a physician, and Louise Sophia Baird. Through his mother, Favill descended from the Ottawa chief, Kewinoquot (“Returning Cloud”), and took pride in this ancestry. Henry received his early education in the Madison schools, graduating from high school in 1876. He entered the University of Wisconsin that fall, took the classical course, and received his B.A. in 1880. Although his father had taken his M.D. at the Harvard Medical School, Favill entered Rush Medical College in the fall of 1880. For two years he served as prosector to Charles T. Parkes, professor of anatomy. His grades were so high that in his senior year he filled in at Cook County and St. Luke’s hospitals for several interns when they were ill or on vacation and so obtained valuable practical experience. He received his M.D. in 1883....

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Gale, Benjamin (14 December 1715–06 May 1790), physician, scientist, and political polemicist, was born in Jamaica, New York, the son of John Gale, a miller, and Mary (maiden name unknown). The family moved to Goshen, New York, in 1721. Gale prepared for college with Connecticut Anglican ...

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Marsh, John (05 June 1799–24 September 1856), California ranchero and physician, was born in Danvers, Massachusetts, the son of John Marsh and Mary “Polly” Brown, farmers. After graduating from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, in 1819, Marsh received his B.A. from Harvard in 1823. That year he accepted an appointment as a tutor at Fort St. Anthony (later Fort Snelling), in Michigan Territory. For two years Marsh taught school and studied medicine under the guidance of Edward Purcell, the post surgeon. Purcell died without giving his apprentice a certificate, but this did not prevent Marsh from successfully practicing medicine years later in California....

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Miles, Manly (20 July 1826–15 February 1898), physician, biologist, and professor of agriculture, was born in Homer, New York, the son of Manly Miles and Mary Cushman, farmers. When he was eleven, his family moved to a farm in eastern Michigan, near Flint. Trained in farm labor and deeply interested in science, especially chemistry and biology, in which he was ambitiously self-educated, he earned an M.D. from Chicago’s Rush Medical College in 1850. He married Mary E. Dodge in 1851. After practicing medicine in Flint for nine years, he became zoologist for Michigan’s new state geological survey. As its physician and zoologist he gathered collections of mollusca, birds, reptiles, and other animals, some of which he shared with scholars, including ...

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Palmer, Daniel David (07 March 1845–20 October 1913), founder of chiropractic, was born in a log cabin on the shore of Lake Scugog, about thirty miles west of Toronto, Canada, the son of Thomas Palmer, a rural Ontario teacher and postmaster, and Catherine McVay. Growing up on the harsh Ontario frontier when Upper Canada was still a crown colony of the British Empire, Palmer had few opportunities for advancement. He wrote that “I was cradled in a piece of hemlock bark” by his German-English father. In 1865, while the Civil War was still raging in the United States, Daniel and his older brother Thomas left home to seek employment in one of the port cities of the Great Lakes. According to Thomas Palmer’s autobiography, they walked for thirty days before reaching Buffalo “with their meager belongings packed in a carpet bag and two dollars borrowed from friends.”...

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Pell, Thomas (1608?– September 1669), physician and landholder, was born in Southwick, Sussex, England, the son of the Reverend John Pell, a schoolmaster, and Mary Holland. Most sources give the date of Pell’s birth as 1613, but there is also evidence to suggest that he was born in 1608. His brother John Pell was born in 1611 and is usually referred to as Thomas’s younger brother; in addition, the dates of various events in Pell’s life would seem to point toward the earlier birthdate....