American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

Surgical Set collection from 1860 to 1865 - Civilian and Military

Civil War:  Medicine, Surgeon Education & Medical Textbooks

 Dr. Michael Echols  &  Dr. Doug Arbittier


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Usher Parsons, M.D.


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Usher Parsons, the youngest of nine children of William and Abigail Frost (Blunt) Parsons, was born at Alfred, Me., August 18,1788. He had little early education and till he was twenty- one he was a clerk in several stores. He then determined to study medicine, and by diligent attention secured a knowledge of Greek and of Latin, and studying with various physicians, was admitted to the practice of medicine by the Massachusetts Medical Society in February, 1812. After some delay he secured, through the aid of Dr. Josiah Bartlett, M.C., the position of surgeon's mate in the navy. Ordered to New York to join the corvette Jokn Adams, he volunteered for service on Lake Erie. That winter he was in charge of the hospital at Black Rock, near Buffalo, and during the next summer, owing to the sickness of others, he was the only physician In Perry's fleet, During the battle and after the victory, September 10, he had charge of the wounded on the Lawrence, and spent the whole day of the nth operating on them. On the 11th he did the same for the wounded on the other vessels, having about 200 patients under his care. He had charge of the hospital at Erie, Pa., for nine months, and received a silver medal from Congress, and a share of the prize money, with which he paid his debts.

He became surgeon, April 15, 1814, and in December was transferred to the Jura at the special request of Perry, who was in command. He sailed for the Mediterranean, but, returning In 1817, he attended medical lectures at the Harvard Medical School where he received the degree of M.D. in March, 1818. In the following July he sailed for Russia and the Mediterranean on the Guerriere, but, leaving the ship at Gibraltar, he made a tour of Europe and returned to America in 1820, in which year he received the appointment at Dartmouth. He gave but one course of lectures, in 1821. The next year he was elected professor of anatomy and surgery at Brown University. The connection with the University lasted four years, but he remained in Providence forty-six years, till his death, December 19,1868.

He married Mary Jackson Holmes, a sister of Oliver Wendell Holmes, September 23,1822. He had an active mind, was a great traveler, Interested in seeing the work of his profession in many places, but he was fond of controversy, and "could handle the caustic pen as well as the scalpel or saw." Life of Usher Parsons by his son, Charles W. Parsons, 1870.

(The personal edited research notes of Michael Echols, the source of which may or may not be completely documented)


Medical Antiques Index

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques Index

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Civil War Medical Collections 


Direct links to all medical & Civil War collections on this site                         

American Surgical Sets:

Pre-Civil War:  1 | 2  -   Post-Civil War:  3  -  Civil War 1861-1865:  4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   INDEX

Medical Text-Books:

1 | 1a | 2 | 2a | 3 | 3a | 4 | 4a | 5 | 5a | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 9a | 10 | 11 | 12    INDEX

Surgeon General's Office Library printed catalogues: 1840 | 1864 | 1865
Medical Lecture Cards: 1 | 2 | 34 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21    INDEX

Medical Faculty and Authors:


Navy Surgeon Exams:

1863 Navy Surgeon Applicant Exams with Biographies   INDEX ONE | INDEX TWO

Surgeon CDVs, Images:

Army: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8    INDEX

Navy: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   

Hosp Dep't Bottles, Tins, 

U.S. Army Pannier:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

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Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016