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Blunt, James Gillpatrick (21 July 1826–25 July 1881), physician, soldier, and politician, was born in Trenton, Hancock County, Maine, the son of John Blunt. Blunt spent his early youth in Ellsworth, Maine, but at age fifteen enlisted as a merchant seaman. Leaving the sea at age twenty, Blunt studied medicine at the Starling Medical College in Columbus, Ohio, earning a medical degree in 1849. He set up a practice in New Madison, Ohio, where he married Nancy Carson Putnam. In 1856 he migrated to the frontier, settling at Greeley, Kansas. There he continued his medical practice but soon became actively interested in politics, becoming deeply involved in the antislavery movement and aiding ...

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Herman N. Bundesen. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B03896).

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Bundesen, Herman Niels (27 April 1882–15 August 1960), physician, author, and politician, was born in Berlin, Germany, the son of a Danish father and a German mother whose identities are unknown. Brought to Chicago at an early age by his impoverished, widowed mother, he graduated from Northwestern University Medical School in 1909. Also in 1909 he married Rega Russell; they had six children....

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Cooke, Elisha, Jr. (20 December 1678–24 August 1737), physician and politician, was born in Massachusetts, probably in Boston, the son of Elisha Cooke, Sr., also a physician and politician. (His mother’s name is unknown.) Elisha, Jr., was a grandson of Massachusetts governor John Leverett...

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Elmer, Jonathan (29 November 1745–03 September 1817), physician, jurist, and legislator, was born in Cedarville, Cumberland County, New Jersey, the son of Daniel Elmer, a surveyor, and Abigail Lawrence. Jonathan was born into a locally prominent family. Because he was physically frail, it was decided to give the boy a classical education. He was probably tutored by his grandfather, the Presbyterian minister Daniel Elmer, and also by the Reverend William Ramsay, whose death Jonathan eulogized in print in 1772. Ramsay apparently instilled in him the dual influences of republican ideology and New Light presbyterianism....

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Evans, John (09 March 1814–03 July 1897), physician, businessman, and politician, was born near Waynesville, Ohio, the son of David Evans and Rachel Burnet, farmers. His Quaker father left their modest farm and became a successful real estate investor. John completed his education at the Medical Department of the Cincinnati College in 1838. That year he married Hannah Canby. They moved to Attica, Indiana, where, after hearing the stirring sermons of Bishop ...

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Fayssoux, Peter (1745–01 February 1795), physician and politician, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Daniel Fayssoux, a baker, and Frances (maiden name possibly Dott). The parents were Huguenots. Daniel died the year his son was born; in 1746 his widow married James Hunter, who agreed to responsibility for the education of her children. Peter was sent to Edinburgh University, where he obtained his medical degree in 1769. There he formed a friendship with a fellow medical student, ...

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Floyd, John (24 April 1783–16 August 1837), physician and politician, was born in Jefferson County, Virginia (now Ky.), the son of Colonel John Floyd and Jane Buchanan Preston. Among the first Virginians to settle in Kentucky during the Revolution, Colonel Floyd built a stockade fort near Louisville known as Floyd’s Station and achieved prominence in the Kentucky settlements as a soldier, surveyor, legislator, and leading citizen. He was killed in a skirmish with American Indians just weeks before John was born....

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Henry D. Hatfield. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-107351 ).

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Hatfield, Henry Drury (15 September 1875–23 October 1962), physician and politician, was born at Mate Creek, Logan County, West Virginia, the son of Elias “Good ’Lias” Hatfield, a farmer and landowner, and Elizabeth Chafin. He was the nephew of feudist William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield...

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John Kearsley. Engraving, 1874. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B016144).

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Kearsley, John (1684–11 January 1772), physician, politician, and philanthropist, was baptized in the village of Greatham, County Durham, England. His father was John Kearsley, an Anglican minister; his mother’s name is unknown. Kearsley’s father provided two of his sons with a medical education; young John studied in London without earning a degree. For a time he practiced medicine in England, but in 1711 he emigrated and settled in Philadelphia....

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Kent, Joseph (14 January 1779–24 November 1837), physician and politician, was born in Calvert County, Maryland, the son of Daniel Kent and Anne Wheeler, farmers. Educated in Philadelphia, he returned to practice medicine in Lower Marlboro, Calvert County, in partnership with a Dr. Parran from 1799 to 1801, when he began practicing on his own. He married Eleanor Lee Wallace in 1804 and two years later moved to “Rosemount,” a plantation near Bladensburg in Prince Georges County, where he farmed and continued to practice medicine. In the crisis that followed the attack of the British naval vessel ...

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Michael Leib. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B016764).

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Leib, Michael (08 January 1760–28 December 1822), physician and politician, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Johann George Leib, a German immigrant of modest means, and Margaretha Dorothea Liebheit. After a common school education he studied medicine under Benjamin Rush. In 1780, during the American Revolution, Leib was commissioned as a surgeon in the Philadelphia militia. Following the Revolution he entered medical practice in Philadelphia and soon became known as one of the leading physicians of the city. He was one of the incorporators of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1789 and was on the staffs of the Philadelphia Dispensary and the Philadelphia Almshouse and Hospital. During the great yellow fever epidemic of 1793 he was among the physicians coordinating medical efforts, and he supervised the Bush Hill Hospital, where many victims of the epidemic were treated....

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Samuel Latham Mitchill. Engraving after a painting by Henry Inman. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B019371).

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Mitchill, Samuel Latham (20 August 1764–07 September 1831), physician, scientist, and legislator, was born in Hempstead, Long Island, New York, the son of Robert Mitchill, a farmer and overseer of highways, and Mary Latham. He learned the fundamentals of medicine from his uncle Dr. Samuel Latham, who also underwrote the cost of his nephew’s education. Mitchill served as a medical apprentice for Dr. ...

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Morril, David Lawrence (10 June 1772–28 January 1849), physician, clergyman, and politician, was born in Epping, New Hampshire, the son of Samuel Morril, a clergyman, and Anna Lawrence. David grew up in a comfortable, stable home. His father and paternal grandfather were Harvard-educated Congregational ministers; his maternal grandfather, David Lawrence, was a wealthy farmer in Epping. But when his father died in 1785, young David was sent to live first with his paternal grandfather, who wanted him to become a physician, and then with his maternal grandfather, who wanted him to run his farm. Not until his mother married Dr. Timothy Johnson of Epping was it decided that David should go into medicine. He spent the winter of 1790–1791 at Phillips Exeter Academy, studied for a few months with his stepfather, and then moved to Natick, Massachusetts, to practice medicine with his uncle Dr. Isaac Morril. By 1793 David Morril had set up his own practice in Epsom, New Hampshire, and within a year was married to Jane Wallace and building a house. The couple had no children. Morril later recalled that he was “quite happy” and that “a kind Providence smiled” upon him....

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Root, Joseph Pomeroy (23 April 1826–20 July 1885), physician and diplomat, was born in Greenwich, Massachusetts, the son of John Root and Lucy Reynolds. He graduated from Berkshire Medical College (Mass.) in 1850. The following year he established a medical practice in Hartford, Connecticut, and married Frances Evaline Alden, with whom he had five children....

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Smith, Ashbel (13 August 1805–21 January 1886), surgeon general and secretary of state of the Republic of Texas, physician, and businessman, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Moses Smith, Jr., a hatmaker, and Phoebe Adams. Smith attended the Hartford public schools, and in 1823 he entered Yale, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and received both his B.A. and M.A. by the end of his first year. To pay college debts he taught school in Salisbury, North Carolina, between 1824 and 1826, then returned to the North to study medicine. After receiving his medical degree from Yale in 1828, he established a practice in Salisbury....