Alexander Brown (1826-1889)
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1863; Brigade Surg., 2d Brig. N. Y.
State Militia, 1861-62; Surg. U. S. Vols., 1862, at U. S. Gen. Hosp., N.
It is always rather a doubtful
privilege to be the son of an illustrious father, particularly when
following in his profession, but Mott the younger was operating with his
father when only twenty-four. He was the fourth son and fifth child of
Dr. Valentine (q. v.) and Louisa Dunmore Mott and grandson of Dr. Henry
Mott, and was born in New York City the twenty-first of March, 1826. As
a boy he went to Columbia College Grammar school. Then followed five
years in Europe with his family, an experience in naval warfare as a
marine in 1844, and in a mixed following of medicine and business at
Havre, France. On returning home he graduated (in 1850) at the Vermont
Academy of Medicine and took an M. D. from the University of
Pennsylvania in 1857. He had been helping his father before graduation
and continued to do so, taking charge of the operating room and
performing most of the operations in the surgical clinics.
In 1851 he married the youngest daughter of Thaddeus Phelps and ten
years later went off to the war as
and medical director successively, helping to found the first United
States Army General Hospital in New York, in which were received some
4,000 patients. This gave him an ample surgical experience. Among other
operations he tied the common carotid nine times, twice ex-sected the
entire ulna, and twice removed the entire lower jaw. He may justly be
said to have transmitted to posterity the heritage of a name illustrious
in surgery with added memories of his own good work. On August 11, 1889,
he died at his country house at Yonkcrs, after a two days' illness from
Among his writings was: "Surgical Operations and the Advantage of
His appointments included: senior surgeon, Mount Sinai Hospital;
surgeon, Bellevue Hospital; surgeon, New York State Militia; co- founder
and professor of anatomy in Bellevue Hospital Medical College.
Med. and Surg. Reporter, Phila., 1864-5.
Boston Med. S; Surg. Jour., 1889, vol. cxxi, 193.
New York Med. Jour., 1SS9, vol. 1, 214.
There is a portrait in the Surg.-Gcn.'s Library,
Wash.. D. C.
Alexander Brown, surgeon, born in New York city, 31 March, 1826, went to
Europe with the family in 1836, and received a classical education
during their five years' residence abroad. Visiting Europe again in
1842, he travelled for five years and underwent many adventures.
Returning to New York city, he studied medicine in his father's office
and in the University medical college, and afterward at the Vermont
academy of medicine in Castleton, where he was graduated in 1850. He
began practice in New York city, and at the same time attended lectures
in the New York medical college, from which he received a diploma in
1851. In 1850 he was appointed surgeon to the New York dispensary. He
also became in 1853 visiting surgeon to St. Vincent's hospital, which he
had assisted in founding in 1849, was attending surgeon in the Jewish
hospital in 1855-'63, and for fourteen years was surgeon to the Charity
hospital. In 1857 he obtained the degree of M. D. from the medical
department of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1859 he was appointed
attending surgeon at Bellevue hospital, and subsequently consulting
surgeon to the Bureau of medical and surgical relief to the outdoor poor
in New York city.
In April, 1861, he undertook the organization of the
medical corps of the militia regiments that were sent to the seat of
war, subsequently acted as medical director in New York, and founded,
with the co-operation of patriotic ladies, the United States army
general hospital in New York, of which he was made surgeon in charge,
receiving on 7 November, 1862, the commission of surgeon of United
States volunteers, with the rank of major. Toward the close of 1864 he
was made medical inspector of the Department of Virginia, and attached
to Gen. Edward O. C. Ord's staff. He was present at the conference
between Generals Grant and Lee where the terms of surrender were
arranged. He was mustered out of the service on 27 July, 1865, with the
brevet rank of colonel. Dr. Mott was one of the founders of Bellevue
medical college, and was professor of surgical anatomy from its opening
on 31 March, 1861, till 1872, and since that date has been professor of
clinical and operative surgery.
Among the important operations performed
by Dr. Mott are the ligation of the common and internal carotid, the
subclavian, the innominata, the common, internal, and external iliac,
and the femoral arteries; resection of the femur; two amputations at the
hip-joint; exsection of the ulna; removal of the entire jaw for
phosphor-necrosis twice ; and numerous operations of lithotomy.--Another
son of Valentine, Thaddeus Phelps, soldier, born in New York city, 7
December, 1831, was educated in the University of New York. In 1848-'9
he served as sub-lieutenant in Italy. In 1850, on account of ill health,
he shipped before the mast on the clipper ship "Hornet" for California.
He was third mate of the clipper "Hurricane" in 1851, second mate of the
ship " St. Denis" in 1852, mate of the " St. Nicholas" in 1854, and
returned to California in 1855. He served in Mexico under Ignacio
Comonfort in 1856-'7. In 1861 he became captain of Mott's battery in the
3d Independent New York artillery. He was made captain in the 19th
United States infantry in 1862, lieutenant-colonel of cavalry in 1863,
and later colonel of the 14th New York cavalry, and chief of outposts in
the Department of the Gulf under General William B. Franklin. He
resigned in 1864, and in 1867 was nominated as minister resident to
Costa Rica, but declined. He went to Turkey in 1868, and was appointed
in 1869 major-general and ferik-pacha in the Egyptian army. In 1870 he
was made first aide-de-camp to the khedive. In 1874, his contract with
Egypt having expired, he refused to renew it, and in 1875 went to
Turkey, where he remained during the Servian and Russo-Turkish wars. In
1879 he settled in Toulon, France, on account of his health. In 1868
General Mott was named by the sultan grand officer of the imperial order
of the Medjidieh. In 1872 he was made grand officer of the imperial
order of the Osmanieh, and in 1878 he was given the war medal of the
"Croissant Rouge" nomination, of which but eighteen had been awarded,
the sultan himself being one of the number.--Alexander Brown's son,
Valentine, physician, born in New York city, 17 November, 1852, was
graduated at Columbia in 1872, and then studied natural science at
Cambridge, England, where he was graduated in 1876. He was graduated at
Bellevue medical college in 1878, and began practice in New York city.
He has been attending surgeon for the out-door department of Bellevue
hospital since 1879, and has performed many of the larger operations in
surgery. In May, 1887, he went to Paris as the representative of the
American Pasteur institute, and studied under Louis Pasteur the
prophylactic treatment for hydrophobia, which he introduced into the
United States, bringing away the first inoculated rabbit that Pasteur
allowed to leave his laboratory. He has successfully treated many that
have been bitten by rabid animals. His principal medical paper is
"Rabies and How to Prevent it, being a Discussion of Hydrophobia and the
Pasteur Method of Treatment."--A grandson of the first Valentine, Henry
Augustus, chemist, born in Clifton, Staten island, New York, 22 October,
1852. He was graduated at the Columbia college school of mines in 1873
with the degrees of engineer of mines and bachelor of philosophy, and in
1875 received his doctorate in course.
Dr. Mott at once directed his
attention to technical chemistry, and held consulting relations to
sugar, soda, oleomargarine, and other industries. His connection with
the manufacture of artificial butter dates from its introduction into
the United States, and his process for preventing the crystallization of
the butter made possible the commercial success of the product. In the
domain of food chemistry his investigations are numerous, and for three
years the supplies that were purchased by the Indian department were
examined by him. Dr. Mott has frequently appeared in court as an expert,
and he has conducted numerous investigations for private persons. In
1881-'6 he was professor of chemistry in New York medical college and
hospital for women. Dr. Mott was the first to question the validity of
the wave theory of sound, and asserts that he has shown its fallacy. He
has devoted much attention to the so-called "philosophy of substantialism," and his latest investigations and papers have been
prepared to establish the entitative nature of force, claiming that it
has as much objective existence as matter, though not material; also in
accumulating data to show the fallacy of the wave theory of sound. He
received the degree of LL.D. from the University of Florida in 1886, and
is a member of the chemical societies of London, Paris, Berlin, and New
York, and of other scientific associations. The titles of his scientific
papers in various departments of chemistry and philosophy are very
numerous. He has published "The Chemist's Manual" (New York, 1878) ; "
Was Man Created ?" (1880) ; "The Air we Breathe and Ventilation" (1881);
and "The Fallacy of the Present Theory of Sound " (1885).
History--Part II, Volume II
Chapter VII.--Injuries Of The Pelvis.
Section II.--Wounds Of The Blood-Vessels And Nerves
Wounds and Ligations of the Sciatic Artery.--The examples of lesions of
this vessel that were reported were fatal. Cases recorded further on
were treated--by Professor Brainard, by ligation of the primitive iliac;
by Surgeon A. B Mott,
by tying the hypo-gastric;
--Sergeant-Major E. Raymond Fonda, 45th New York, aged 28 years, was
wounded at Drury's Bluff. May 7, 1864, by a minié ball, which entered
one inch to the right of the coccyx, passed upward and out to within
half an inch of the surface, just above the trochanter major of the
right side. The ball was cut down upon and removed on the same day; it
did not injure the bone. The wounded man was treated in a field hospital
until the 10th, when he was admitted into Hampton Hospital, Fort Monroe;
thence transferred to New York, and admitted to Ladies' Home Hospital on
the 23d of May. Surgeon A. B. Mott, U. S. V., reported: "When admitted,
the patient was very much emaciated; the wound healed unhealthy and
inflamed, the discharges thin and offensive, and there was a disposition
to slough. The sloughing increased on the 26th; the discharge was
sanious and thin, the patient weak and restless. On the 28th, the wounds
were still unhealthy in condition and showing evidence of gangrene. June
1st: The discharge was slightly increased and the wound painful. Five
ounces of sherry wine daily, with extra diet. was ordered. On the 8th,
the wounds were still painful, and the discharge continued to look
unhealthy. Haemorrhage occurred on the 13th, coming probably from the
sciatic artery; persulphate of iron was applied and the wound plugged.
On the 14th. there was a very profuse haemorrhage, which was arrested by
persulphate of iron with pressure. Haemorrhage recurred on the 15th, and
was checked by the application of Lambert's tourniquet with compresses.
The patient was much reduced in strength; pulse 130. Beef-tea and five
ounces of sherry wine were given and frequently repeated during the day.
There was no haemorrhage the next day; beef-tea and wine continued. The
patient was much better on the 17th; his pulse 160. After consultation,
it was decided that the only chance for the patient's recovery would be
to ligate the right internal iliac artery. He was put under the
influence of a mixture of chloroform and ether, and the operation was
performed by Surgeon A. B. Mott, U. S. V.
Citations in the Med.
and Surg. History: MOTT, A. B, 81, 332, 487, 638, 644, 672, 690, 777,
784, 785, 825, 982, 987, 988
Alexander Brown Mott.
By John W. Shrady, M.D.
Alexander Brown Mott, who was born in New York city, 25 Park place,
March 31,1826, was the fourth son and fifth child of Dr. Valentine Mott
and Louisa Dunmore Munn. His grandfather, Dr. Henry Mott, a native of
Hempstead, L. I., and descended from Adam Mott, was born in 1757; he was
a pupil of Dr. Samuel Bard, and a New York practitioner for many years,
dying at the age of eighty-three. Valentine, an elder brother, and also
a physician of rising reputation, died from yellow- fever in the prime
of life. Dr. Valentine Seaman, so well known in our local annals, was
also a remote relative of the family, all of whom belonged to the
Society of Friends, or, as they are generally known, Quakers.
Following up the doctor's career in chronological order, his first
preceptor was William Darling, then a tutor in his father's family,
afterwards the erudite Professor of Anatomy in the University Medical
College. Next came the thorough course of the Columbia College grammar
school, of which Prof. Charles Anthon was the rector. This brought him
up to 18:56, when, during the European sojourn of his family until 1841,
he enjoyed the privileges of the best masters. On his return to his
native city, a desire to adopt the military profession turned his
attention to West Point, which project, however, was abandoned after a
short course of instruction under Lieut. Wayne, who was connected with
that famous institution.
During the autumn of 1842 the subject of this sketch again went abroad,
passed nearly a year upon the continent, principally in Germany and
France, in the meantime accepting a position of trust in the Naval
Agency, Marseilles. In the summer of 1844 he accompanied Commodore
Morris, U. S. N., in command of the Mediterranean squadron, as his
private secretary. Becoming identified with one oC the Spanish
revolutions, he found himself in command of a battery, and, as a plucky
leader at the siege of Barcelona, which surrendered after a three days
engagement, he was obliged to flee the country. Penniless, he worked his
passage to Marseilles, where he formed a business connection which
enabled him to visit Piedmont, Austria, and Italy—all during the year
Most of 1846 he spent in Havre, France, in the study of medicine under
the direction of a friend, using what time might be spared from
mercantile pursuits; but not until the future doctor's return to New.
York in 1847 was there any real systematic effort,—not before a formal
entrance into his father's office and matriculation at the University
Medical College. He afterwards took the course of the Vermont Academy of
Medicine in Castleton, where he was graduated in 1850. He immediately
began to practice in New York, but at the same time he continued his
studies, attending lectures in the New York Medical College. This
institution granted him a diploma in 1851, he being one of the thirteen
who constituted the first class of graduates. From being a busy aid 'to
his father in his multifarious duties, he gradually developed many
philanthropic plans of his own, for even while yet a student he is
credited with helping to organise the St. Vincent's hospital, of which
he was for a long time one of the attending surgeons. At the founding of
the "Jews," now " Mt. Sinai," hospital, he was appointed Senior
Attending Surgeon, and so continued until 1863, when he resigned. In
1859 he was appointed Attending Surgeon to Bellevue hospital, and was
somewhat later quite active in the organisation of the college which has
reflected so much lustre upon the institution which suggested its name.
As its Professor of Surgical Anatomy he did most excellent work, and
gradually improved himself in extemporaneous discourse, but never to the
extent of overburdening his words with rhetoric at the expense of
clearness or exactness of statement. He was terse and emphatic, but
In April, 1861, when President
Lincoln made his first call for troops, Dr. Mott, as surgeon to the
Second Brigade New York State Militia, received orders, and after two
hours' notice was ready to go to Washington with his command. His sense
of responsibility compelled him to weed out the druggists and mechanics
who filled the position of regimental surgeons and assistants. Well
qualified physicians, equipped with the proper appliances and instructed
in the duties of their new rank, at his instance filled the vacancies.
When on the eve of departure, however, he received a countermanding
order, appointing him medical director pro tem. He was next ordered to
inspect recruits, and is credited with labouring night and day, until
thirty-eight New York regiments were sent to the field. Of those
inspected he rejected twenty per cent. Those whose memories fail to
recall this war epoch of the nation's history can but feebly appreciate
the magnitude of this great work.
Dr. Mott persevered in his humanitarian work, becoming medical director
in New York, and founding, with the help of a number of well known
women, the United States Army General Hospital in New York. He was made
surgeon in charge of this hospital, and received, on November 7, 1862,
the commission of Surgeon of United States Volunteers, with the rank of
Major. This grade, equivalent to that of the regular army grade, carried
with it plenary administrative powers as regards hospital supervision
and eligibility for appointments as medical directors, while it was
understood to excuse from regimental duties in the field. About the end
of 1864 he became medical inspector of the department of Virginia, and
was attached to Gen. Edward O. C. Ord's staff. He was present at the
memorable conference at Appomattox court-house on April 9, 1865, when
the terms of General Lee's surrender were arranged, and, with the brevet
rank of Colonel, was mustered out of service on July 27, 1865. He then
resumed practice in New York.
Dr. Mott helped to found Bellevue Hospital Medical College. He was
Professor of Surgical Anatomy there from its opening until 1872, after
which he became Professor of Clinical and Operative Surgery. He
performed many important operations, ligated most of the arteries, and,
independently of his career of useful activity, his contributions to the
advancement of medical science were such as will hand his name down to
In 1851, April 3, he married Miss Arabella, the youngest daughter of
Thaddeus Phelps, by whom he had a son and a daughter, the latter dying
at an early age. Dr. Mott's domestic life was an unusually happy one
while his wife lived. After her death in Rome, in 1874, he gave his
whole attention to his profession and to the affairs of the many
societies of which he was a member.
He held a prominent place in the Century Club, and was president of the
Mott Memorial Library, at No. 64 Madison avenue, and of the Amer- can
Pasteur Institute. He was also a member of the County Medical
Association, and was connected with all the important medical societies
in the country. He belonged to the Protestant Episcopal Church, aud took
a great interest in Masonry, being Sovereign Grand Inspector-General of
the Supreme Council (Cerneau Rite) and Puissant Lieutenant- Commander
thereof for the United States and territories. He held under that body
the thirty-third aud last degree in the A. and A. Scottish Rite; was
Most Illustrious Sovereign Grand Master-General 33°.90°.96°, of the A.
and P. Rite and the Rite of Memphis. He was also Junior Vice-Commander
of the Rice Post, G. A. R., a Companion of the Loyal Legion (N. Y.
Commandery), a member of Holland Lodge, No. 8, F. and A. M., a Companion
of Jerusalem Chapter, No. 8, R. A. M., and a Knight of St. John of
Malta; also a Past Commander of the Adelphic Commandery, No. 59, of
Knights Templar (mounted).
Dr. Mott died Sunday morning, August 11, 1889, at his country seat in
Yonkers, of pneumonia, after a two days illness.
Mott, Alexander Brown
M. D., Univ. Penn., 1850; N. Y. Med.
Coll., 1851; Attend Surg., N. Y. Disp., 1850; Vis. Surg., St.
Hosp., 1851, Jews' Hosp.,
1863; Brigade Surg., 2d Brig. N. Y. State Militia, 1861-62; Surg. U. S.
Vols., 1862, at
U. S. Gen. Hosp., N. Y.; Prof.
Surg. Anat., Bell. Hosp. Med. Coll., 1861-72; Prof. Surg., 1861; Clin. &
Surg., 1872-89; Cons. Surg., Charity Hosp. Died, 1889, aet. 63 ; cause,
acute lobar pneumonia. Son of Valentine Mott.
(The personal edited research
notes of Michael Echols, the source of which may or
may not be completely documented)