Proctor Thayer, M.D.
Dr. Proctor Thayer, physician and
surgeon, born in Williamstown, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, October
16, 1823. When seven years old he lost his father, Daniel Thayer, a
farmer, and when of sufficient age was sent to Western Reserve College,
Hudson, Ohio, where he graduated, at the age of nineteen, in the
scientific department. On leaving college he taught school with the Rev.
Samuel Bissell, of Twinsburg, until he decided to study medicine, for
which purpose he entered the office of Dr. John Delamater, in Cleveland.
He graduated at the Cleveland Medical
College in 1849, and was associated in the practice of his profession
with Dr. Delamater for the next ten years. In 1852 he was appointed
demonstrator of anatomy at the Cleveland College, and in 1856 was chosen
to fill the chair of anatomy and physiology, holding this position until
1862, when he took the chair of the principles and practice of surgery,
with the addition of jurisprudence. During all this time he had a large
medical and surgical practice. Believing that a thorough mastery of his
profession necessitated a well grounded knowledge of the principles of
all other branches of scientific knowledge, and an acquaintance with the
newest discoveries and processes, he was an assiduous student in
mineralogy, geology, chemistry, philosophy, and mathematics, being
peculiarly gifted in the latter. The knowledge thus gathered enriched
his college lectures and enlarged the minds of the students.
In college management he was an
innovator of radical stamp. The system of reading his lectures was never
adopted by him, and even the use of notes was abandoned. In eighteen
hundred lectures delivered, not one was given with written notes, the
object being to give information in the most direct and forcible manner,
and to include the very latest facts. As he was a fluent lecturer, with
a fine command of language and a complete mastery of his subject, the
lectures were always interesting and instructive, and their success led
to the adoption of similar plans by other professors. Another innovation
was that of lecturing on practical anatomy five months instead of five
weeks, he holding that practical anatomy was the basis of the
profession. As a surgeon he was widely known to be a skillful and safe
operator, and performed many of the most important operations with
brilliant success. His reputation as a fine clinical lecturer and
demonstrator was well established. Outside his profession he was a good
citizen, who took an active interest in the public welfare, and was
known to be a man of strong convictions and of incorruptible honesty. He
served in the City Council for four years.
When the civil war broke out, he
tendered his services, without compensation, to examine the soldiers who
entered the Union ranks, and several thousand were so examined by him.
No man was more enthusiastic and patriotic than he, his time and money
being freely given to the cause of the country.
Later in the war he
entered the United States Army, serving at the reduction of Forts
Sumter, Moultrie, and Wagner, after which he was given charge of the
principal hospital for the wounded at Beaufort, South Carolina.
He was honorably relieved from further service, and returned to the
practice of his profession in Cleveland. He died October 1, 1890.
Thayer, a prominent physician of Cleveland, 0hio., died in that
city on October 1st. Dr. Thayer was born in Wil- liamstown, Mass., on
October 16, 1823, but has lived in Ohio since his eighth year. He
graduated from the Cleveland Medical College in 1849. In 1852 he became
demonstrator of anatomy, and four years later professor of anatomy and
physiology in the Western Reserve Medical College.
When the war broke out he entered the army
as a surgeon, and served at the
reduction of Forts Suinter, Moultrie and Wagner,
and was afterwards placed in charge of a large hospital at
Beaufort, S. C. Dr. Thayer was in the
battles of Pittsburg Landing and Corinth, and from the latter he brought
three hundred wounded men, distributing them on the way to Cincinnati.
He was honorably relieved from further service, and returned to
Cleveland. He resumed his
connection with the Western Reserve Medical College, and added much to
the growth and progress of that institution. Of late years he was
professor of surgery and of medical jurisprudence, hut he resigned last
winter, because of failing health. His resignation was accepted only so
far as concerned the chair of surgery, and he consented to retain his
professorship of medical jurisprudence. He was then made emeritus
professor of surgery.
Dr. Thayer had been in ill health for
several years, but until last March he did not retire from active
personal edited research notes of Michael Echols, the source of which
may or may not be completely documented)