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John T. Shotwell was born in Mason
Bounty, Kentucky, on the 10th of January, 1807. His parents were
immigrants from New Jersey, at an early period in the history of the
West, and were among those who established its character as the home of
hardy, brave, enterprising men, of indomitable perseverance and of
kind-hearted, true-hearted, womanly women.
His father was a farmer during the early period of the life of his three
sons; and hU example, as well as his precepts, laid a foundation in
their characters for the industrious habits in their several
professions, by which they were distinguished.
A love of literature in early life was remarked in the character of
John, the eldest son, and his father determined to give him the best
opportunities which the West afforded for the cultivation of this taste.
This, with other reasons, induced the removal of the family to
Lexington, where he entered the Transylvania University in 1822, and
graduated in 1825, with so high a reputation for scholarship, that the
late Dr. Drake, with that appreciation of character by which he was
distinguished, was desirous to h»ve him embrace the medical profession,
and offered all the aids and advantages within his control, to qualify
him for that excellence which he foresaw awaited him in that profession.
He entered the office of Dr. Drake in 1826, and continued his pupil
until 1830, when he became his partner. His health having been impaired
during his pupilage by too incessant devotion to his studies, he was
induced in spring of 1829 to try the effects of a journey 'n a more
southern climate for its restoration.
He first went to New Orleans, and from thence journeyed on horseback
through several of the Southern States and the Indian nations. This
journey, although attended with much fatigue and exposure, greatly
improved his health ; and his habit of observation, and of making the
result of his observations practically useful in the principal pursuits
of his life, added strength to his mind in proportion as exercise in
open air added to the strength of his body. He became a graduate of
Medicine at the Medical College of Ohio in 1832, and having dissolved
his connection with Dr. Drake, he commenced practice with the advantages
derived from that connexion and the reputation he had already acquired
and then the cholera visited this city, in that year, he became most
extensively known as a successful practitioner, and as characterized by
that amenity of disposition and anxiety for success in his treatment of
cases, which convert patients into friends, and inspire that confidence
which facilitates the labors of the physician, as well through a strict
observance of his directions, as from the curative influence of faith
He married in 1832 Miss Mary Ward Foote, daughter of John P. Foote,
Esq., of this city, and during the remainder of his life, displayed
those amiable qualities as a husband which won so strongly the
attachment of all who knew him, both as a physician and a man.
In the year 1832, Dr. Shotwell was appointed adjunct Professor of
Anatomy to his friend, the celebrated Dr. Cobb, who then occupied the
chair of Anatomy in the Medical College of Ohio, and whose fame as a
teacher of that science was rapidly extended throughout this United
States, and excited competition in other institutions to obtain the
advantages of the talents. Among the offers of chairs made him in other
cities, he chose to accept that of the Medical Institute at Louisville,
Ky., in which he remained until his bodily health became so affected by
his labors as to necessitate an abandonment of the duties of a medical
instructor. His resignation of the professorship he held in the Medical
College of Ohio, was followed by that of all the other professors except
Dr. Locke, who was in Europe at that time, and Dr. Shotwell, who was
appointed to succeed Dr. Cobb.
The strong inclination to devote his practice exclusively to surgery,
which would naturally be developed by devotion to the duties of his
chair, induced him, in 1842, to visit Europe for the purpose of learning
from the celebrated surgeons of France and England, any improvment which
their extensive practice had enabled them to make in their profession, a
knowledge of which would be usefnl to him as an operator. He considered
that his journey had been successful, and that the advantages thus
obtained were a full compensation for the loss of time and expense of
For the purpose of relinquishing all except surgical practice, he formed
a partnership with , his former pupil, Dr. H. E. Foote, intending to be
relieved, by this association, from as much of his ordinary regular
practice as possible. Had he been permitted to carry this plan into full
effect, his valuable life might perhaps have been spared. But during the
cholera season of 1850, his regular patients would not dispense with his
attendance, and many others, in their anxiety to obtain his services,
added to the fatigue, labor, and exposure he was compelled to undergo.
His own health soon yielded to his solicitude for the health of others,
and one evening, on his return home from a very arduous series of
labors, he found himself unable to do more, and went to bed with a
determination to take that rest which he found had become absolutely
essential to the preservation of his power to continue his usefulness.
Foreseeing that calls would be made upon him during the night, his
family determined that all of them should be dismissed without his
knowledge. This was done with several applicants, but at length one of
them insisted so strongly on seeing him, and asking at his bedside for
advice in the case of his wife, whom he considered in a peculiarly
dangerous condition, that he was permitted to do so, and being there, he
represented to the doctor that the life of his wife depended on seeing
him — that her confidence in his skill was such that the mere sight of
him would be more efficacious for her recovery than any medicine that
could be administered. The doctor could not resist this appeal, and left
his bed, to which he returned after his visit, but never left again. In
the eloquent memoir of him, by his attached and steady friend, Dr. J. L.
Vattier, the following statement is given of the commencement and
termination of his disease : " On the morning of the 14th of July,-he
visited the Hospital. On his way home, finding himself quite unwell, he
called at my house to rest himself. He looked pale and haggard: remained
twenty minutes and left for his home. That night he was summoned to
attend a patient on Third street, and while preparing for the visit, was
assailed with unmistakable symp toms of Cholera. He, however, attended
the call, and while yet at the house of his patient, the symptoms
becoming more aggravated in their character, he was forced to resort to
medical remedies to enable him again to reach his home.
The next morning his friend, that excellent physician, Dr. Walcot
Richards, was summoned to attend' him, and continued to have the
principal charge of his case up to the time of his death. I saw him
frequently, as did many others of his numerous friends.
His disease assumed a malignant character, and he was for a while
considered in imminent danger; at last, however, medical skill obtained
the mastery, and he commenced to convalesce, and continued to do so for
several days. He was patient under suffering, and looked forward with
hope to a speedy restoration to health; but this hope proved false, for
with him all life's scenes were fast drawing to a termination. The
improvement in his condition was not destined to be permanent; reaction
became too violent: congestion of the brain set in, and though every
means was resorted to that medical skill could suggest, death closed the
scene at 11 o'clock, P. M., on the 23d of July."
His death was regarded as a public calamity by all classes of citizens ;
and a stranger, on seeing the immense assemblage at his funeral, anxious
to pay the last tribute of affection and respect, would have understood
that a great man had fallen; and if he had inquired what manner of man,
and who it was that had such power after death over the hearts and
feelings of such a multitude, he would have been told that a good man
was lost to a numerous body of friends, who justly appreciated his
virtues and talents; that a heavy affliction was laid on the poor who
had experienced their benefits; and that the science of medicine had
lost one of its most promising cultivators, in the death of John T.
Shotwell. — Cin. Med. Obser.
From Google Digital
Shotwell was born in Mason county, Kentucky, January 10, 1807. In
1822 his father sent him to Transylvania University, where he remained
until 1825. Later he came to Cincinnati and began the study of medicine
in the office of Dr. Drake, who was his cousin. For three years he
studied in Drake's office. He then became a student in the Medical
College of Ohio, receiving his degree in 1832. He opened an office on
Walnut street below Third street. The cholera epidemic of 1832 gave him
a chance to show his mettle, and he made a splendid record. In 1835 he was made demonstrator of anatomy; the
following year he was appointed adjunct professor of anatomy. In the
upheaval of 1837 Shotwell became master of the situation. John Locke was
in Europe; John Eberle, J. C. Cross, Jedediah Cobb and A. G. Smith had
resigned. Shotwell being the only member of the faculty left, made
himself dean. Drake, his cousin and preceptor, who had founded the
Medical Department of Cincinnati, became his rival and bitter enemy.
Shotwell's reputation suffered much in the struggle.
In the latter part of 1849, to save the
apparently moribund institution, Drake was earnestly solicited to
return. He accepted the chair of theory and practice,
and delivered the opening address November 5, 1849. At the end of
the session he resigned, and went back to Louisville. In 1852 he was
again importuned to return. He began his work, but took sick in
October, and died November 6, 1852.
On February 22, 1851, an
important meeting of the trustees was called by Dr. John L. Vattier.
Dr. Thomas O. Edwards, professor of materia medica (1850-5), was
authorized to go to Columbus and aid in making certain changes in
the charter, and get permission to obtain a loan for erecting a new
building. A special committee was authorized to procure a loan of
twenty thousand dollars by issuing forty bonds of five hundred
dollars each, the capital to be paid back in ten years. Subsequently
twenty more bonds of like amount each, were issued. Within one year
the building, a Gothic structure of imposing appearance, and
considered the finest and most practical edifice of its kind in this
country, was ready for occupancy. It contained two large
amphitheatres, each capable of accommodating between five and six
hundred students; rooms for clinics, library, museum, laboratories,
dissecting rooms, and private apartments for the faculty.
This building was the home of the
college until 1896, a period of forty-four years, when the college
became the Medical Department of the University of Cincinnati, and
was removed to its present location. The opening of the new building
was the beginning of the prosperous career of the college. The
organization of two new schools, (the Cincinnati College of Medicine
and Surgery in 1851, and The Miami Medical College in 1852), did not
in any way injure it. During the decade 1850 to 1860, the faculty
was made up of the ablest men in the profession; such men as Henry
E. Foote (1857-60); Jesse P. Judkins (1857-61); George Mendenhall
(1857-61); C. G. Comegys (1857-60, and 1864- 68); N. T. Marshall
(1853-7); Samuel G. Armor (1854-57); John A. Warder (1854-7); George
C. Blackman (1855-71) ; James Graham (1855-74); Leonidas M. Lawson
(1847-56); John Locke (1837-50, and 1851-3).
In this group of able men George
C. Blackman stands out as one of the most brilliant and scholarly
surgeons of his time. His reputation was international. In the
hospital amphitheatre, with the patient on the table before him, he
was the demi-god of more than three hundred students who looked down
upon him from the benches. He was irritable, quarrelsome with his
confreres, and vain to a degree. This latter characteristic was
encouraged by the students who would gather around him. At times,
however, he was most agreeable. His ambition, and his ability to
work were boundless. Under the most distressing poverty, and much of
the time in ill-health, he spent months abroad in study.
In 1853 he translated Vidal's
"Treatise on Syphilis," and later Velpeau's "Operative Surgery," in
three large volumes. For several years before his death he was
engaged with the Hon. Stanley Mathews of the United States Supreme
Court in preparing an exhaustive work on "Legal Liability in
Surgical Malpractice." At the same time he was gathering material
for a work on the "Principles and Practice of Surgery." His minor
works and articles in the journals were numberless.
At the same time (1855) Dr. James
Graham entered the school. Equally brilliant as a teacher, and
successful as a practitioner, he was in some respects the
counterpart of Blackman. While decided in his opinions, he was never
He acted among his confreres as a peacemaker. A striking contrast to
these two was Dr. C. G. Comegys. Of commanding appearance,
dignified, affable, scholarly, always mindful of the interests of
his profession, enthusiastic in everything that belonged to
educational progress, he worked to the last for the advancement of
the school, and the interests of the university. His principal
literary work was the translation of "Renouard's History of
It is not to be inferred that all
was harmonious during these years. Resignations and new appointments
were constantly taking place. The troubles, however, were confined
to the faculty for the most part. The profession and the public were
friendly to, and interested in, the welfare of the school.
In the year 1857 two full courses
were given, and two commencements held. In most of the western
schools at that time two courses of five months each were required
for graduation. In the east six months constituted a term. The
question of a higher education agitated the profession then as now.
There were a number who urged the possession of a baccalaureate
degree as'a requirement for matriculation.
In 1853 Dr. Thomas Wood was
appointed demonstrator of anatomy. In 1855 he became professor of
anatomy. In 1857 the chair of anatomy was divided between Wood and
Jesse Judkins, the former teaching surgical, and the .latter
descriptive anatomy. In 1858 microscopy was added to Wood's subject.
In 1859 he resigned. Wood was one of the remarkable men of his day.
He was a great surgeon, a poet, litterateur, journalist, and
inventor. Among his inventions was an instrument called the "Lineal
Mensurator" for which he was granted a patent. The purpose of the
instrument was to enable anyone to find the exact number of square
feet in a piece of ground no matter how irregular in outline. He
also designed a dirigible balloon. A goodly number of his poems
appeared in the journals, and he left an equal number of unpublished
On October 2, 1871, he made a
hip-joint amputation in the new Cincinnati hospital, two hours after
Dr. M. B. Wright had delivered the address at the formal dedication
of the institution.
The reorganization of the faculty
before the session of 1860-61, was a delicate and difficult matter.
Every member of the old faculty had resigned except Graham, on
account of their hostility to Blackman. The trustees finally decided
to create the chairs of Clinical Medicine and Clinical Surgery. The
other members of the new faculty were: L. M. Lawson, professor of
theory and practice of medicine, John Davis, professor of anatomy,
Jesse P. Judkins, professor of principles of surgery, George
Mendenhall, professor of obstetrics, C. G. Comegys, professor of
physiology; John A. Murphy, professor of materia medica, Henry E.
Foote, professor of chemistry, B. F. Richardson, professor of
diseases of women and children. The trustees made a rule
enjoining the professors from speaking ill of each other. Graham
and Blackman accepted the rule; the other professors promptly
The trustees were disgusted, and
in turn resigned. The governor accepted their resignations, and the
next day reappointed them. They met and organized. Then they
appointed Blackman, professor of surgery; Graham, professor of
theory and practice of medicine; M. B. Wright, professor of
obstetrics, and Mr.
Charles O'Leary, professor of chemistry. At the end of the term Mr.
The appointment of the remaining
professors was left to the four above named. They elected James F.
Hibbard, professor of physiology and pathology; John C. Reeve,
professor of materia medica; L. M. Lawson, professor of theory and
practice of medicine; Jesse P. Judkins, professor of anatomy; John
S. Billings, demonstrator of anatomy. The latter entered the army,
and Wm. W. Dawson took his place. In 1862, C. G. Comegys
reentered the faculty.
In 1867 the college building was
purchased by Joseph C. Butler, and leased to the faculty. Some of
the men who entered the faculty in the sixties were: W. W. Dawson
(1861); Roberts Bartholow (1864) ; Theophilus Parvin (1864) ; Wm. H.
Gobricht (1866); Phineas S. Conner (1868); Samuel Nickles (1865); W.
W. Seely (1865); James T. Whittaker (1869) ; Chauncey D. Palmer
(1870). During the late sixties the number of students was more than
three hundred each year. In 1872 the college graduated a class of
ninety. In 1878 there were about eight hundred medical students in
Cincinnati. Of these about three hundred and fifty were in the
Medical College of Ohio. The following year (1879) one hundred and
twenty-one graduated. For several years thereafter the number was
never less than one hundred. In 1871 Dr. Bartholow suggested buying
the college building and presenting it to the university for its
medical department. Drs. Graham, Dawson and Bartholow were appointed
a committee to interest the citizens in the matter. The plan,
however, was a failure. Fifteen years later the Medical College of
Ohio became nominally the medical department of the university. The
arrangement, however, conferred no rights, and imposed no
obligations on either the college or university.
In 1894 the length of the session
was increased to six months, and a graded course of three years was
established. In the following year the curriculum was extended,
making a four-years' course compulsory for obtaining a degree. A
closer affiliation was effected April 27, 1896. when the trustees of
the university and the faculty of the college signed an agreement,
provisionally merging the college into the university. The latter
gave to the college a new home in the McMicken University building.
The trustees of the university were to be the governing body. At a
meeting of the faculty, held June 4, 1896, the plans and estimates
for the buildings presented by Dr. Reamy, appeared to be
satisfactory, and it was voted that the matter be left to Drs. Reamy
and Hyndman, with power to act. and that they be limited to seven
thousand dollars for the dispensary building. The treasurer was
authorized to borrow, as required for building purposes, a sum not
exceeding ten thousand dollars. On October 17, 1896, the faculty
invited the trustees of the Medical College of Ohio to inspect the
alterations made in the old building. These included new
laboratories, lecture- rooms, and the clinical buildings. The sum
expended was fourteen thousand dollars. Of this seven thousand, five
hundred was applied to the new clinic building on McMicken avenue.
In 1906. the lectureship on
hygiene was made a full professorship. In the same year laboratories
for instruction in electro-therapeutics, embryology, and
pharmacology were established. In 1907 a professional chair of
and economics was established. A post-graduate course was founded,
beginning about the middle of April and ending June ist.
In 1909, the union of the Medical
College of Ohio, then the medical department of the university, and
the Miami Medical College, was effected. The new establishment was
to be known as the Ohio-Miami Medical College, the medical
department of the University of Cincinnati. Instructors on full time
and pay were appointed in pathology, bacteriology, and chemistry,
laboratory methods of teaching being employed. The professors of
pathology and bacteriology had charge of the laboratories of the
Entrance requirements were
advanced to one year's university work in physics, chemistry,
biology and a modern language.
In 1910 the instructors in
anatomy and physiology were put on full time and pay.
During the current year (1911)
the following advances have been made: Cooperation with the board of
health; a library established and equipped; seniors to act as
clinical clerks in the wards of the Cincinnati hospital.
Ohio-miami Medical College.
Joseph Eichberg Endowment
(The personal edited research notes of Michael Echols, the source of
which may or may not be completely documented)