- Eric Howard Christianson
Holten, Samuel (09 June 1738–02 January 1816), physician and public official, was born in Salem Village (now Danvers), Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Holten and Hannah Gardner, farmers. Several sources claim that his parents intended to send the youth to college. According to these accounts, as he was tutored for entrance exams his health declined and his parents decided to fit him for a career that would not require collegiate education. Subsequently, at about seventeen years of age, he served an apprenticeship of about a year’s duration with physician Jonathan Prince. By 1756 he seems to have started practicing medicine in Gloucester, where he married Mary Warner in March 1758; the couple had three children. Sometime in 1758 they moved to Danvers, where he may have entered a joint practice with his brother-in-law, Jonathan Prince, Jr. With the death of his partner in 1759, Holten became the town’s only resident physician, yet his business was modest. Unfortunately, the records are rather ambiguous on whether or not he encountered stiff competition from already established practitioners in the area, or merely inclined toward another calling, politics. Nothing for certain is known about his medical practice, which may have ended entirely by 1775....