- Ronald L. Numbers
Beaumont, William (21 November 1785–25 April 1853), physician and physiologist, was born in Lebanon, Connecticut, the son of Samuel Beaumont and Lucretia Abel, farmers. Little is known about his early life, except that he attended a local common school and disliked farming. At age twenty-one he left home and settled several months later in Champlain, New York, a village near the Canadian border. For three years he taught school and read borrowed medical books in his spare time. In the fall of 1810 he moved to St. Albans, Vermont, to learn medicine as an apprentice to an established physician, Benjamin Chandler, still the most common means of acquiring a medical education. While living in the Chandler household and performing chores for the doctor, Beaumont learned by observing and doing. He rode to see patients with his preceptor, assisted in operations, compounded drugs, and occasionally filled in during Chandler’s absence....