Native and Resident Physicians, Hingham, MA



Pages 307-326

   In most of the older towns of eastern Massachusetts, the earlier ministers were practising physicians as well as pastors. This was undoubtedly the case in Hingham from the time Rev. Peter Hobart and his company arrived, in September, 1635, until his decease in 1679. He had received a liberal education at Magdalene College, England, where he took his degree of Bachelor in 1625, and of Master of Arts in 1629. He undoubtedly was qualified to fill any professional position; and after nine years of experience as a preacher at old Hingham, came with his followers and settled in our Hingham. During his active ministry here of nearly forty-four years he kept a record, in chronological order, giving most of the births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths which occurred in this parish, and from which the two following entries are inserted (surname omitted) as an illustration:----

"January 19, 1670-71, Joshua ----'s son borne."
"January 29, 1670-71, Peter, son of Joshua ----, baptized."

From the large number of births thus recorded in "Hobart's Diary," it would seem that he must have been present in the capacity of physician to have been able to make the record chronologically and accurately. Moreover, it was not until after his decease that the town or county records began to refer to any payments made to physicians, or to their conveyances here as grantors or grantees. In 1702 Cotton Mather wrote as follows:----

"Ever since the days of Luke, the Evangelist, skill in physic has been frequently professed and practised by persons whose most declared business was the study of divinity."

Referring to the Colonial period, a writer in the "New England Historical and Genealogical Register" says:----

"The training received by young physicians was very irregular. Degrees of Doctor of Medicine were possessed by only a few, who had studied abroad. . . . The few eminent physicians trained in the Colonies were to a great extent followers of a natural gift and tendency. Young men who desired to become physicians practised under the instruction off the established physicians down to the middle of the eighteenth century. After college courses of medical lectures were organized, a license from the faculty was given, which served instead of the subsequent diploma," etc.

From the foregoing it will be seen that "Hobart's Diary" is the only reliable authority from which to obtain a record of the earlier births in Hingham; that neither our town nor the county records furnish any evidence of a located physician here prior to the decease of Mr. Hobart; and that during the colonial period there was no medical school in Massachusetts to confer the degree of Doctor of Medicine upon young physicians.

The names of those natives and residents of the town who have practised medicine as a profession are subjoined in alphabetical order, as it was found to be almost impossible to give the exact year of the earlier settlements or removals.

JOSHUA BARKER, son of Capt. Francis and Hannah (Thaxter) Barker, was born in Hingham March 24, 1753, and was graduated at Harvard University, 1772, in the class with William Eustis, Samuel Tenney, Levi Lincoln, and others. After a regular course of preparatory study with Dr. Danforth, of Boston, he settled as a physician in this his native town, and was contemporary with Dr. Thomas Thaxter. Here he had a large acquaintance, and he received a share of the public patronage. Possessing a general knowledge of business in addition to the requirements of his profession, he was frequently called upon to serve in other departments of active duty, -- to give legal advice, or to act as guardian to the children of deceased parents. He was a man of culture and refinement, of broad views and liberal sentiments; and to these commendable qualifications were added an easy politeness, a cheerful hospitality, and a patriotic pride for his native town. He married, Oct. 17, 1779, Susanna, daughter of Benjamin Thaxter. They had two children, a son and a daughter. The son died in infancy, and Susan, the daughter, married Rev. Samuel Willard. Dr. Barker died in Hingham, the 2nd of April, 1800, aged 47 years. He resided on Main Street, opposite the old meeting-house. He was early a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society.

LAZARUS BEAL, born in Hingham, second precinct, April 6, 1725, was a son of Deacon Lazarus and Ruth (Andrews) Beal, and a descendant in the fifth generation of John Beal, one of the early settlers of Hingham. After receiving an education such as the public schools of the town afforded, he removed to Newton, Mass., where, as tradition says, he studied medicine with Dr. Samuel Wheat. He subsequently married Dr. Wheat's daughter Lydia, and had children born at Newton, in Hingham, and at Cohasset. In 1748 he was employed a part of the year by the Selectmen of Hingham to teach in the school of the second precinct; but after his marriage, in 1749, he located at Newton, remaining there until 1763 or 1764, when he returned to his native town. Hingham tax-lists show that he was quite an extensive farmer as well as a physician. In 1768 he improved fifty acres of land, kept four cows, a flock of sheep, etc., besides having other interests in real estate. His professional calling, however, was not neglected, as the records of the town show that he received a share of patronage up to the time Cohasset was set off from Hingham. He probably removed, at or near the time of the Revolution, to Weymouth, where some of his descendants still reside.

JOSEPH BOSSUET, for several years a physician in Hingham, was a native of the city of Paris, France. He was educated at the Htel Dieu, the medical college in Paris, where he practised his profession until France made common cause with the United States, when he came to America as a surgeon and physician in the War of the Revolution. During the war he was not only captured by the British, but he also met with many other reverses and pecuniary losses. At the commencement of the present century he located in Hingham, and resided, first, on North Street, near the harbor, in the house now owned and occupied by Leonard W. Litchfield. He afterwards lived in the Abiel Wilder house on Lincoln Street. Dr. Bossuet was a thorough master of his profession. Having had a long and varied experience, and possessing excellent judgment, his advice was frequently sought in difficult cases by our local physicians as well as by those from the neighboring towns. Late in life he removed with his family to Boston, where he died 13 October, 1827, aged 81 years; and his widow, Mrs. Catharine Rumport de Vous Doncour Bossuet, died at Roxbury, Mass., in June, 1830, aged 52 years. Dr. Bossuet joined the Massachusetts Medical Society in 1821.

DR. BOYLSTON is supposed to have been located here as a physician in 1722 and 1723, as his name appears among those to whom money was paid at that time by the Selectmen.

ROBERT CAPEN announced through the columns of the local newspaper, dated Hingham, Dec. 21, 1838, that he "has taken the house of the late Joseph J. Whiting, at Queen Ann's Corner, so called, where he may be found by those who desire his professional services." It is said that he came from Plymouth. He remained in Hingham about two years. In 1838 he was elected a Fellow of the Massachusetts Medical Society.

DAVID COGGIN received his degree of M.D. in 1868 from the Harvard Medical School, and is a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society. In 1869 he came to Hingham and practised in his profession for about two years. Owing to impaired health, however, he removed, in 1871, to St. Louis, Mo. He afterwards returned east, and is now located at Salem, Mass., where he makes a specialty of diseases of the eye.

CHARLES HENRY COLBURN, who succeeded Dr. Ezra Stephenson, was a son of Charles H. and Martha A. (Barnes) Colhurn, and a native of Philadelphia, Penn. In early life he came to Boston to reside, and several years later was connected with some of the prominent musical organizations of the city. During the Civil War he joined the Sixth Regimental Band, and while in this service required that practical information which proved of great value to him in the profession he afterwards decided to follow. Upon returning to Boston he devoted the greater part of his leisure to the study of medicine under the tutorship of one of the most distinguished physicians in the city. He entered the Harvard Medical School in 1870, and in 1874 received his degree of M. D. Soon after the decease of Dr. Stephenson, in 1874, he received and accepted an invitation to settle in Hingham, locating near the former residence of his predecessor on Main Street, Hingham Centre. Here he met with a successful patronage, and was highly esteemed, not only for his skill as a physician and surgeon, but also for his social qualities and his recognized musical talents. He died of malignant diphtheria, contracted in the course of professional duty, the 15th of May, 1880, aged 37 years. He left a widow, and one son.

BENJAMIN CUSHING, born May 9, 1822, and the only son of Jerom and Mary (Thaxter) Cushing, of Hingham, was for several terms a pupil at the Derby Academy. He was graduated at Harvard University in 1842, received his degree of M. D. in 1846, and is a practising physician in the city of Boston.

JOHN CUTLER, who called himself "a Dutchman," and who name appears as such upon conveyances and other legal documents, was a practising physician in Hingham for about twenty years. Very little which relates to him, however, can be ascertained at this late day, either as to his educational advantages or to his professional career. At the time of Philip's War, and for several succeeding years, he resided on Town (South) Street, near Thaxter's Bridge; but he may have removed at a later date to the west part of the town, judging from the following conveyance (S. R. of D. vol. 13, p. 22, abstract): Ephraim Nichols of Hingham, "seaman" and Abigail his wife, in consideration of 135, sell to Doctor John Cutter, "Dutchman," of Hingham," our house lot of five acres, which we lately purchased of Moses Collier, with a dwelling-house, barn," etc. This estate was bounded by the Town Street, east, and by land of Thomas Lincoln, the husbandman, south. Deed dated 12 March, 1682-83, and recorded the 18th of September following. Dr. Cutler removed with his family to Boston before 1700. He married in Hingham, Jan. 4, 1674-75, Mary Cowell, of Boston. The names of his children, with their dates of birth, are given in Vol. II. p. 150 of this history.

JOHN DIXON married Elizabeth, the daughter of George and Lucy Vickery, of Hull. She survived him and married secondly Joseph Lewis, widower, of Hingham, Caty, a granddaughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (Vickery) (Dixon) Lewis, married Elijah Beal, Jr., and their daughter Caty married Caleb Gill. Hence we have had in the present century two heads of families born in Hingham, father and son, bearing the ancestral names of Dixon Lewis Gill. Concerning the professional career of Dr. Dixon, but little is known. He died in this town, and a gravestone erected to his memory in the Hingham Cemetery bears the following inscription:----

Here lies buried ye Body of
Doct. John Dixon
Deceased Feb. ye 14, 1717.
In ye 36th year
of his age.

CHARLES ALONZO DORR, who succeeded Dr. Harlow as a physician at the south part of the town, is a son of Samuel A. and Mary M. (Wedgewood) Dorr, and was born at Sandwich, N. H., Feb. 12, 1851. He entered Dummer Academy, at Newbury, Mass., in 1868; Bowdoin College, at Brunswick, Me., in 1871; attended the Maine Medical School three years; received his degree of M. D. from Dartmouth Medical College in 1877, and the same year commenced the practice of medicine at Richniond, Me. In 1880 he removed to Hingham, and in 1885 became a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society. His present residence is on Main Street near the meeting-house at South Hingham.

ROBERT THAXTER EDES, a graduate of Harvard University, 1858, M. D. 1861, and more recently a Professor in the Harvard Medical School, is a son of Rev. Richard S. and Mary (Cushing) Edes. He came to Hingham soon after the decease of Dr. Fiske in 1866, and located as a physician, remaining for about two years, when he removed to Boston. While a resident of Hingham he married at Boston, April 30, 1867, Elizabeth T., daughter of Calvin W. Clark. They resided in Hingham on Main, near Water Street, in the house built and occupied by his great-grandfather, Dr. Thomas Thaxter. See Genealogical Record, Vol. II. p. 209.

R0BERT TREAT PAINE FISKE was born at Worcester, Mass., Jan. 1, 1800. He was graduated at Harvard College in the class of l818. After the usual term of medical study, and a brief practice of his profession elsewhere, he, in 1822, came to Hingham and located as a physician and surgeon. Here he soon commanded a large and lucrative patronage, which he continued to hold up to the time of his decease. During this forty-four years of active professional service in Hingham his duties were often arduous and exacting. He was frequently called upon to attend the sick in the adjoining villages as well as at home, and his oft-repeated visits to Hull, over Long Beach, especially in the winter season, or during severe storms, were, in many instances, far from what is termed poetical. Throughout the entire period of his practice here, the length of which has been exceeded in but one or two instances, he held the respect and confidence of the community. Enterprising, influential, and public-spirited in every movement relating to local approvements, he devoted what leisure hours he could command to rural pursuits. He was one of the early proprietors of the Hingham Cemetery Corporation, and for many years its acting Superintendent; and it was largely through his excellent judgment and good taste that improvements were commenced upon this now beautiful and historic burial-place. He also was a director of the Hingham Bank, and, held other positions of trust and responsibility. Dr. Fiske joined the Massachusetts Medical Society in 1839. He married for his first wife Mary Otis, daughter of Ebenezer Gay. She died 8 August, 1852, aged 51 years. He married secondly, Oct. 16, 1854, Anna L., daughter of John Baker, and died the 8th of May, 1866, aged 66 years. He resided on North Street opposite Fountain Square. See Genealogical Record, Vol. II. p. 230.

DANIEL FRENCH, whose family record will be found in Vol. II. p. 236 of this history, was probably a native of Hingham and born about 1720. During his early practice as a physician he resided at the west part of the town, near Weymouth line, until his first wife died, which was Aug. 6, 1742, -- three days after her infant babe was born. Our records allow that he was not without patronage; but being located at a considerable distance from the more thickly settled parts of the town, he no doubt saw a better opening for his professional services in the neighboring village of East Weymouth, whither he shortly after removed, and where all but one of his ten children were born. Several of his daughters, however, married residents of Hingham, and this town was afterwards their home. Dr. French died suddenly in Weymouth, at fifty-five years of age.

HENRY F. GARDNER, a native of Hingham, and born Feb. 13, 1812, was the second son of Melzar and Silence (Gardner) Gardner. In early life he learned the trade of blacksmith with Charles Howard, and later was in the employ of the Messrs. Stephenson at Hingham Centre. He afterwards removed to Hartford, Conn., and thence to Springfield, Mass. Upon leaving Hingham he abandoned his former calling to become an eclectic physician. From Springfield he removed to Boston, and for a number of years was the landlord of a hotel at the corner of Beach Street and Harrison Avenue. About 1870 he assumed the position of Superintendent of the Pavilion estate, which he managed with great success and to the satisfaction of the trustees. Dr. Gardner was one of the early advocates of Spiritualism, and the first person to lecture upon this subject in Hingham, as well as at Boston. Possessed of more than ordinary talents, and of an active, sanguine temperament, he made many warm friends, especially among those who held views similar to his own. He died at Boston the 6th of December, 1878, in his 67th year.

CHARLES GORDON, born in Hingham, Nov. 17, 1809, was the second son of Dr. William and Helen (Gilchrist) Gordon, of this town. He was graduated at Brunswick College, 1829, and received his degree of M. D. from the Harvard Medical School in 1832. The following notice was published in the Hingham Gazette dated June 7, 1833. "Dr. William Gordon informs the inhabitants of Hingham and vicinity that he has connected with him in his Professional Business his son Charles Gordon, M. D." The same year (1833) he was elected a Fellow of the Massachusetts Medical Society, being at that time a resident of Lowe11, Mass. He died at Boston, March 1, 1872, aged 62 years.

WILLIAM GORDON was for mor than 30 years a practising -------------(unreadable line)------------------- and afterwards studied medicine with Dr. Thomas Kittredge of Andover. He first entered upon the practice of his profession at St. Andrews, but upon the invitation of several prominent citizens of Hingham, he came and established himself here in 1807, remaining until the autumn of 1838, when he removed to Boston. He afterwards settled at Taunton, and there passed the closing days of his life in the midst of his children. He joined the Massachusetts Medical Society in 1828. During his long residence in Hingham his practice was extensive and oftentimes arduous and perplexing, -- embracing a large circuit and requiring the utmost activity and perseverance in the discharge of professional duty. He was eminently successful, however, both as a physician and surgeon. An easy politeness in addition to a cheerful speech and agreeable manners always made his presence in the sick room pleasant to the invalid, and his removal from this town was deeply regretted. He died suddenly from an affection of the heart, to which he had been subject for several years, and at his special request his remains were brought here and buried in the Hingham Cemetery. A tablet has since been erected at his grave, upon which is the following inscription:

"In Memory of
Dr. William Gordon.
Born at Newbury,
May 17, 1783.
Died at Taunton
June 17, 1851.
From 1808 to 1838
a devoted physician this town."

WILLIAM ALEXANDER GORDON, the oldest son of Dr. William and Helen (Gilchrist) Gordon, was a native of Newburyport, Mass., and born March 17, 1808. His early education was obtained at the schools in Hingham. He afterwards entered Harvard University and was graduated in 1826, in the class with Hon. Robert Rantoul, Rev. Oliver Stearns, and others, and in 1829 received his degree of M. D. For a short time only he was located as a physician in Hingham, having for his office a room in the second story of Loring's Building, Broad Bridge. In 1834 he was elected a Fellow of the Massachusetts Medical Society, being at that time a resident of Taunton, Mass. He died at Now Bedford, Feb. 188?, in the 79th year of his age.

The Chris?tian Register says of the late Dr. Gordon:----

"Dr. William A. Gordon wo died suddenly at his late home in New Bedford ????? of Scotch ancestry, and was a son of Dr. William Gordon, who ????? time of William A. Gordon's birth, March 17, 1808, was a resident of Newburyport. Dr. Gordon was a lineal descendant of Alexander Gordon, a scion of the loyal Gordon family in the Highlands of Scotland. When William A. Gordon was two months old his parents moved to Hingham. He was prepared for college at Derby Academy in that town and was graduated at Harvard in the class of 1826 when but -----(unreadable text) ------ his father, and was graduated at the Harvard Medical School in 1829. In his death, another refined, cultivated Christian gentleman of the "old school" has gone from among us." Those who for years were blessed with his presence in sickness have felt the magnetic charm of his personality. An eminent physician with a large practice, he was yet ever ready to help the most needy patient. Goodness and strength seemed to emanate from him. Truth and uprightness were his lifelong habit, and gentleness and sweetness blending with great strength and firmness made an almost perfect character."

DANIEL GREENLEAF was for a number of years a practising physician in Hingham, and probably contemporary with Dr. James Hayward. In his professional capacity he was frequently called upon to administer to those needy residents who were sick, and to some extent cared for by the selectmen of the town. It is also fair to judge that he received a respectable patronage from other sources. He married in Hingham, July 18, 1726, Mrs. Silence (Nichols) Marsh. They had three children born in Hingham. He probably removed from here with his family about 1732. His record in the genealogical portion of this work is given on p. 279 of Vol. II.

NATHANIEL HALL, son of John of Yarmouth, was a practising physician in Hingham early in the last century. He probably succeeded Dr. Joint Cutler, who removed from here before 1700. He had been a captain under Church in the Indian War at the East, "and fought with great bravery," says Mr. Savage, "in defence of Falmouth, Sept. 21, 1689.". His wife was Ann Thornton, a daughter of Rev. Thomas Thornton. In Feb. 1708-09, he, with Ann, his wife, and sixty other inhabitants of Hingham, testified to the best of their knowledge and belief that the widow Mebitable Warren (a daughter of Edward Wilder, and born here 1664) was not guilty of the sin of being a witch, as she was reported to be; but that "she has bene a woman of great affliction by reason of Many distempers of Body; and that God hath given a Sanctified improvement, of his afflictive hand to her." In 1713 he sold his home-place in Hingham (between South Street and the meeting-house of the First Parish) continued about six acres, with dwelling-house, shop, and outbuildings there to Joshua Tucker. He may have resided for a short time ??? west part of the town. Our tax-lists show that he was, ???? Captain " by the assessors. After leaving Hingham he removed ???? the Delaware River. He left no issue.

JONATHAN EDWARDS HARLOW, ???? succeeded? ???? Jonas Underwood in 1850, was a resident physician of Hingham for about thirty years. He was a son of Stephen and Patience (Ellis?) Harlow, and born at Middleboro', Mass., May 1, 18??. After completing his early education, and graduating at the Bridgewater Normal School, he was for one or two years a teacher. He subsequently entered the Harvard Medical School, Sept.? ??, 1848 received his degree of M. D. The year following he studied --------(unreadable line of text)----------- whom he acquired additional knowledge in the profession he had chosen. He then went to North Bridgewater (Brockton) to establish himself as a physician, but in 1850 he settled permanently in Hingham. Here he was cordially welcomed by the former patrons of his predecessor; and as his skill and real worth became known, a more extended field of professional duty opened before him. Good health, however, although it may to some extent be an inheritance, is not always assured even to the physician; and this was true in the case of Dr. Harlow, for his physical system became impaired several years before his decease. He died of Bright's disease the 29th of May, 1880, aged 56 years. He was twice married, and a son and two daughters survived him. His family record is found on p. 290, Vol. II. of this History.

BYRON R. HARMON came to Hingham soon after the decease of Dr. Fiske, in 1866, to establish himself as a physician. His office was at the "Union Hotel." He remained only a few months.

JAMES HAYWARD, whose name ppears among the heads of families in Vol. II. p. 295, was a practising physician in Hingham for eight or ten years. He resided on North Street near the harbor; and his home-place included a large part of the land which lies between the harbor and the estates bounded by North and Ship streets. He probably removed about 1730 to Weymouth, where several years later he died, and March 3 (27?), 1739, his brother Nehemiah, of Hingham, was appointed to administer upon his estate. He had three children born in Hingham and one at Weymouth.

DR. HEARD, whose death on the 28th of November, 1675, is recorded in Hobart's Diary, may have been a non-resident friend or medical adviser of Mr. Hobart, rather than a physician of Hingham. And this seems more than probable from the fact that no other reference to his name occurs upon our records, nor does tradition furnish any information relating to such a person as having been a physician in this town.

ABNER HERSEY, the youngest son of James and Mary (Hawke) Hersey, was born in Hingham, Oct. 22, 1721. He settled as a physician at Barnstable, Mass., where he acquired a large practice, and is said to have been eminent in his profession. He died at Barnstable the 9th of January, l787, aged 65 years. He was one of the earlier members of the Massachusetts Medical Society. In his will he bequeathed to Harvard University the sum of 500 towards the establishment of a professorship of the theory and practice of physic; also an equal amount, which, for good reasons was diverted from the purposes mentioned in the legacy, and distributed among the churches of Barnstable County in accordance with the consent of his heirs. A stone erected to his memory, and to his brother James, stands in the cemetery near the Unitarian Church at Barnstable.

EZEKIEL HERSEY, the oldest son of James and Mary (Hawke) at Harvard University in 1728. He settled in his native town as a physician, probably succeeding Dr. Daniel Greenleaf. He became eminent in his profession. "In the controversy between the colonies and the mother country, he espoused the cause of the former, and his opinions had a most favorable effect on the community in which he lived. His charities were extensive, as his means were adequate to do much good. He was among the benefactors of Harvard University. In his will, executed Nov. 29, 1770, he directs his executrix to pay to the corporation of that University, 1000, 'the interest thereof to be by them appropriated towards the support of a professor of anatomy and physic.' His widow gave the same sum for the same purpose. A professorship was established on this foundation, entitled the Hersey Professorship of Anatomy and Surgery."* Dr. Hersey died Dec. 9, 1770, leaving a widow, but no children. He resided on South Street, near the present R. R. station at West Hingham.

JAMES HERSEY, second son of James and Mary (Hawke) Hersey, and brother of Dr. Ezekiel Hersey, was born in Hingham Dec. 21, 1716. He was a physician, and resided at Barnstable, Mass., where he died the 22d of July, 1741, in the 25th year of his age.

NATHAN HERSEY, born in Hingham January 28, 1743-44, was the oldest son of Elijah and Achsah Hersey. He was a physician at Leicester, Mass.

ALEXANDER HITCHBORN, a native of Hingham, and born in 1822, was the second son of Alexander H. and Cinderilla (Gardner) Hitchborn. His early education was acquired in the public schools of this town, in which he was an apt as well as a brilliant scholar. About the year 1854 he removed to North Bridgewater (Brockton) to establish himself as a physician. Here he met with sufficient encouragement to warrant a permanent settlement, and his ready conversational powers, added to a kind and obliging disposition, won for him many friends. At the commencement of the Civil War he enlisted in the Twelfth Regiment Mass. Vol. Infantry, and was commissioned captain. The year following he was appointed assistant-surgeon of the Seventh Infantry of the regular army. He was killed at the battle of Chancellorsville, Va., in May, 1863, aged 41 years.

PETER HOBART was contemporary with Dr. Daniel Shute, and both were graduated the same year (1775) at Harvard University. He was a son of Deacon Peter and Lucretia (Gill) Hobart, and was born in Hingham July 31, 1750. After his early schooling was completed he began his business life as an apprentice to Jeremiah Lincoln, a blacksmith, whose shop was in the square near the present Torrent engine-house, West Hingham; but having a taste for classical studies, he fitted for college, and was graduated in 1775, as stated above. He afterwards studied medicine, and for six months or more was a surgeon in the War of the Revolution. His wife whom he married in Hingham Nov. 16, 1779, was Mary Cushing, daughter of Elisha and Mary (Lincoln) Cushing. She was a granddaughter of Col. Benjamin Lincoln, father of General Lincoln. About 1783 Dr. Hobart settled as a physician in Hanover, where he died in 1793. His widow, it is said, removed to the State of New York and died there.

JOHN G. LAMBRIGHT, a resident physician at South Hingham some ten or twelve years, was probably a native of Germany, or perhaps of German descent. He was not only a bright and intelligent representative of that nationality, but in his profession he was original and skilful in his ways and methods. He first located here on Main Street near the meeting-house of the South Parish; but several years later removed to Prospect Street, occupying a part of the Joshua Hersey house. His wife, Mrs. Martha Lambright, was from Fayette, Me. She died in Hingham 23 Nov. 1840, aged 44 years. Dr. Lambright removed to Boston shortly after the decease of his wife.

JOSIAH LEAVITT was for a number of years a practising physician in Hingham. He also was somewhat of a mechanical genius, and of an inventive turn of mind. Prior to the war of the Revolution he constructed a clock for the old meeting-house, "the dial of which appeared in the dormer-window on the southwesterly slope of the roof, and was thus visible to the public." Tradition says that he built a church organ and set it up in the old meeting-house, where it stood for a while, and that it was eventually sold to go to Portland, Me. I find no record, however, to verify this tradition; but that several years later he was a professional organ builder at Boston is certain. In 1773 he built and resided in the house now owned and occupied by heirs of George Bassett on Main, corner of Elm Street. This dwelling he sold in 1777 to Joseph Blake, and soon after removed to Boston. The Selectmen's Book of Records, Vol. II., show that as a physician he received a fair share of the patronage of the town, as no doubt he did from the public. His inventive perceptions, however, led him to seek other fields of employment. He was the son of Hezekiah and Grace (Hatch) Leavitt, and was born in Hingham Oct. 21, 1744. The Christian name of his wife was Azubah. She died at Boston Nov., 1803, aged 40 years. He died March, 1804, aged 59 years.

MARTIN LEAVITT, son of Elisha and Ruth (Marsh) Leavitt, was born in Hingham March 20, 1755. He was graduated at Harvard University in 1773, -- Colonel Nathan Rice, who for many years was a resident here, and brother-in-law of Martin, being one of his classmates. Dr. Leavitt was for some time surgeon on an armed ship during the War of the Revolution. His professional career in Hingham, however, was brief. He was drowned the 27th of Nov. 1785, aged 30 years. He was unmarried.

BELA LINCOLN, son of Hon. Benjamin and Elizabeth (Thaxter) Lincoln, and a younger brother of Major-General Benjamin Lincoln, was born in Hingham March 11, 1733-34. He was graduated at Harvard University 1754, in the class with Rev. Samuel Foxcroft, Gov. John Hancock, and others, and for nearly twenty years after was a practising physician in Hingham. During this time "he visited Europe for the purpose of obtaining professional information, and received the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the University of Aberdeen." In 1768 be purchased of Ambrose Low a lot of land on Town Street (corner of North and Cottage), and in 1769-70 erected thereon the building now known as the "Cushing House," and where he resided during the few remaining years of his life. He died 16 July, 1773, aged 39 years, leaving a widow, but no children.

LEVI LINCOLN, the only son of Capt. Levi and Elizabeth (Norton) Lincoln, was born in Hingham Dec. 12, 1767. After receiving his preparatory education in Hingham, he entered Harvard University, and was graduated in the class of 1789, with George and Francis Blake, Cushing Otis, Cotton Tufts, and others. He subsequently settled as a physician in this his native town, and resided on South Street, near what is now the West Hingham Station of the South Shore Railroad. Here he had many influential friends; his professional charges were reasonable, and he received a liberal share of the public patronage. Dr. Lincoln was a man of talent and refinement. He was frequently called upon to discharge duties other than those belonging to his profession. He was a lover of rural pursuits, and an original member of the first Agricultural Society of Hingham. He died the 24th of May, 1829, aged 61 years, leaving a widow and three married daughters. In 1810 he was elected a Fellow of the Massachusetts Medical Society. (See p. 483, Vol. II. of this History for his family record.)

CALEB MARSH may have had some practice in Hingham as a physician, but it does not appear that he was located here permanently. He was in Hanover, and at Scituate, several years, and in the history of these towns his name is given on the lists of physicians. His name also occurs as the teacher of a grammar school in Hingham soon after the Revolution. Dr. Marsh was a son of Stephen and Mercy (Beal) Marsh, and was born in Hingham Dec. 1, 1759. Tradition says that he was a person of delicate constitution, and unable to withstand the exposures which those who follow this profession are so often called upon to endure. He died in Hingham the 20th of August, 1799, in the 40th year of his age.

ISRAEL NICHOLS was for many years a practising physician of Hingham (sec. pre.) and Cohasset. But few particulars, however, in regard to his educational advantages or professional career can now be ascertained. He was a son of Daniel and Abigail (Beal) Nichols, and was born in Hingham Sept. 7, 1746. He was twice married, first to Anna, daughter of Peter Humphrey; and, secondly, to Mrs. Hannah (Foster) Stowell, Dr. Nichols died at Cohasset the 11th of August, 1808, in his 62d year. His son, Dr. Paul Lewis Nichols, settled as a physician at Kingston, Mass.------an unreadable line ------.

FRANKLIN NICKERSON is a practising physician at Lowell, Mass. He was born in Hingham Sept. 8, 1838, and is a son of the late Capt. Anson and Sally A. (Downs) Nickerson. He was graduated at Harvard University in the class of 1860, and at the Harvard Medical School in 1863, where he received his degree of M.D. Dr. Nickerson married in Hingham Nov. 14, 1866, Mary W., daughter of David and Hannah (Souther) Lincoln.

PHILIP J. NUJENT, a native of Ireland, practised medicine for a short time in Hingham about the year 1877. He resided on North, near Ship Street, but removed from town after being here a few months.

DANIEL O'REARDON, from Belfast, Ire., was located at the harbor in 1870-71, and practised medicine. He had a good education and a considerable experience. He went away in 1871 and did not return. It is said that he died at New York. His wife, who was Rose M. Hyslop before marriage, and a native of Belfast, Ire., died in Hingham the 11th of Oct. 1872, aged 32 years. They had one child, Mary, born here May 1, 1871.

THOMAS PHIPPS (sometimes written Phips on the receipts of the Town Treasurer) appears to have been located as a physician in Hingham from 1765 to 1769 inclusive. But little is known concerning his history or professional career except that he had patients in the second precinct as well as in other parts of the town. He was a fine penman, and undoubtedly well educated. Tradition, which may or may not be correct, says he was a teacher as well as physician here.

JAMES HENRY ROBBINS was born at Calais, Me., July 22, 1839. He is the eldest son of James and Mary Augusta (Parkman) Robbins, who, in 1835, removed from Concord, Mass., to Calais. He received his degree of A. B. at Amherst College in 1862, and that of M. D. at the Harvard Medical School in 1867. The same year he began the practice of medicine at Machias, Me., where he remained until February, 1876, when, his family being broken up by the death of his wife, he returned to Calais, and there continued in the practice of his profession until the month of June, 1880, when he was called to Hingham. While a resident of Maine he was a member of the Maine Medical Association. Since locating in Hingham he has held several honorary positions among his associates. Dr. Robbins has been president of the "Medical and Surgical Association," and in 1887 and 1888 was chosen president of the South Norfolk District Medical Society. Resides on Main Street, near Pear Tree Hill.

CHARLES R. ROGERS came from Wareham, Mass., in May, 1883, to establish himself as a homoeopathic physician in Hingham. He occupied a house on Cottage St., but after remaining about four months removed to Ware, Mass.

EDWARD COIT ROGERS, a native of New London, Conn., was for several years a resident homoeopathic physician in Hingham. He died here the 11th of November, 1860, aged 44 yrs. and 9 months. His family record is given in Vol. III. p. 141, of this History.

IGNATIUS SARGENT was located in Hingham as a homoeopathic physician for a number of years. he was born in Gloucester, Mass., Feb. 14, 1807, and is the son of Abimelech and Mary (Allen) Sargent. His mother, Mrs. Mary Sargent, died here the 28th of Feb., 1867, at the great age of 98 yrs. and 5 months. Dr. Sargent commenced the study of his profession with Dr. Paine of Belfast, Me. His first wife, whom he married in Hingham, Sept. 12, 1828, was Sally Gilkey, daughter of Isaac and Polly (King) Gilkey. After her decease he married for his second wife, Susan S. Barnard. During the practice of his profession in Hingham, he resided on North, near Ship Street. He removed from here to Woburn, and from thence to Methuen, Mass., where he continued in practice as a physician. Having relinquished this calling on account of advancing years, he returned to Hingham, residing on Pond Street. Aug. 7, 1891, he died at Cummington, Mass., t. 84 years.

DANIEL SHUTE, born in Hingham, Jan. 30, 1756, was the only son of Rev. Daniel, D. D., and Mary (Cushing) Shute. He received a liberal education, having been graduated at Harvard University in 1775. During the War of the Revolution, his activity, patriotism, and zeal for the public good were conspicuous. He served as surgeon in the Continental army, in several military organizations under Major-General Benjamin Lincoln's command; was present at the siege of Yorktown; and subsequently was on duty at various hospitals. In 1783 he appears to have located as a physician at Weymouth; but the year following, 1784, he returned to Hingham and established himself permanently in his profession. In 1808 he was a Fellow of the Massachusetts Medical Society, and later, one of its councillors. Tradition says that he was a faithful and courteous practitioner; and judging from the 1274 entries of attendance at births, which are recorded in his account books, his business was quite extensive and perhaps lucrative. He married, Dec. 31, 1789, Betsey, the eldest daughter of Major Isaiah Cushing, of Hingham. She died 4th of Oct., 1818, aged 50 years. He died 19th of August, 1829, in the 74th year of his age. They resided on Main, at the corner of South Pleasant St., and had seven children. See Vol. III. p. 147.

DANIEL SHUTE, the oldest son of the preceding, was born in Hingham, July 23, 1793. He fitted for college at the Derby Academy, and was graduated at Harvard University in 1812, being the third of the name, father, son, and grandson, who were graduates of this institution. He subsequently studied medicine at the Harvard Medical School under the supervision of Dr. John C. Warren, and succeeded to his father's practice in Hingham. He married, Dec. 22, 1816, Hannah Lincoln, daughter of Deacon Robert Cushing. They resided on Main Street, opposite the meeting-house ---- unreadable line ----- was a good classical scholar, and very methodical find cautious in his practice. He was a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society. He was especially fond of horticultural pursuits, devoting a large share of the limited leisure he could command to the cultivation of fruits and flowers, and was one of the original members of the first Agricultural Society of Hingham, founded in 1813 by the recommendation of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture. He died the 26th of June, 1838, in the 45th year of his age. His family record appears in Vol. III., p. 147, of this History.

GUSTAVUS L. SIMMONS, the only son of Samuel and Priscilla (Lincoln) Simmons, was born in Hingham, March 13, 1832. He was graduated at the Harvard Medical School, 1856, in the class with Robert Ware, Conrad Wesselhoeft, and others, and is now an established physician and surgeon of large practice at Sacramento, Cal. He married, in 1862, Celia, daughter of Rev. Peter Crocker, of Barnstable, Mass., and has children, Gustavus, Carrie, Celia, and Samuel.

HENRY E. SPALDING8 (Edward Page7, Henry6, Samuel5, Henry4, Henry3, Andrew2, Edward1) was born among the hills of New Hampshire. His boyhood was spent on the farm which his father carried on in connection with his business as dealer in cattle. His early educational advantages were only such as the district afforded, and an additional few weeks of instruction during the winter, when his father would supplement the school term by hiring a teacher for his boys at home. At the age of fourteen he left home for a student's life in Appleton Academy (now McCollom Institute), Mt. Vernon, N. H. Here, with the exception of a short time at Francestown Academy, he pursued a course of study preparatory to entering college. The winter months he spent in teaching, as a means of earning a part of the money required to pay his expenses during the remainder of the year. The breaking out, of the Civil War found him just completing his college preparatory course of study, and with it came the question of duty that so deeply stirred the hearts of millions. Should he respond to his country's call for men which, not mentioning all other possible sacrifices and losses, meant for him the unavoidable giving up of the long-coveted collegiate course of study for which he had been working four or five years? The decision was soon made, and in the fall of 1862, together with about twenty of his classmates and friends, he was enrolled a soldier in the 13th Reg. N. H. Vols. The following spring, however, he was discharged for disability. After his health had become sufficiently restored he commenced the studv of medicine, most of the time under the tutorship of J. H. Woodbury, M. D., of Boston. He attended lectures at Harvard Medical School, and afterwards at the New York Homoeopathic Medical College, from which latter institution he graduated in 1866, find at once located in this town. Of the positins of honor to which he has been called in his profession are the presidency of the Boston Homoeopathic Medical Society, also of the Massachusetts Homoeopathic Medical Society, and lecturer at Boston University School of Medicine.

SAMUEL HOPKINS SPALDING was born at Wilton, N. H., Aug. 31, 1856. He is the son of John H. and Mary L. (Hopkins) Spalding. After completing his early education in the public schools of his native town, he entered Phillips Andover Academy, in 1870, and was graduated there in 1873, ranking third in his class. During the next two years he was employed in the store of Macullar, Williams, & Parker, Boston. He their decided to study medicine, and in the autumn of 1876 he joined the middle class of Phillips Exeter Academy. In June, 1879, he became a student at Harvard College, and was graduated there in 1881. In the following autumn he entered the Boston University School of Medicine, from which he was graduated in 1884, serving during the last two years as House Surgeon in the Massachusetts Homoeopathic Hospital. He was a member of the Hahnemann Society. After graduating from the School of Medicine he was in the practice of his profession for three years in Arredonda, Florida. Jan. 6, 1888, he came to Hingham, and has since been in practice here as a physician and surgeon; first as assistant, and later as partner with Dr. Henry E. Spalding, under the firm name of Drs. Spalding and Spalding. He is a member of the American Institute of Homoeopathy, and of the Massachusetts Homoeopathic Medical Society. He married, Dec. 17, 1891, Ella Elizabeth Drew, of Boston.

JOHN WINTHROP SPOONER commenced the practice of medicine in Hingham in 1871. He is a son of John P. and Abby Elizabeth (Tuckerman) Spooner, and was born at Dorchester, Mass., Sept. 20, 1845; was educated in the public schools of Dorchester; fitted for college at Phillips Academy, Exeter, N. H.; was graduated at Harvard University in 1867, and received his degree of M. D. in 1871, being elected a Fellow of the Massachusetts Medical Society in the same year. He was House Physician at the Boston City Hospital for one year. He has served three years as censor of the Plymouth District Medical Society; was for several years chairman of the board of censors of the Norfolk South Society, and later one of its councillors. He holds positions of trust and responsibility in several local institutions. In April, 1886, he was appointed by the Governor a Medical Examiner for Plymouth County. Resides on Main St., near the Old Meeting-house. See, also, genealogical record in Vol. III., p. 163, of this History.

EZRA STEPHENSON was born in Hingham, Oct. 13, 1805. He was a son of James and Desire (Sprague) Stephenson. His earlier education was acquired at the public schools, and in the Derby Academy. He subsequently worked for a short time at the trade of carpenter but soon abandoned the occupation to enter the medical school of Harvard University, from which in- (-----unreadable line-----) was elected a Fellow of the Massachusetts Medical Society. He commenced the practice of his profession at Barnstable, Mass., and for six years devoted himself with marked success to the labors of his chosen calling. Upon the retirement of his immediate predecessor in Hingham, Dr. William Gordon, he returned here to establish himself for the remainder of his life. His office and residence were on Main St., at Pear Tree Hill. As a physician and surgeon he was trusted and respected by those whom he visited, and he was highly esteemed by his associates of the profession. He died the 20th of May, 1874, aged 69 years. Of his family, a widow and two sons survive. See his family record in Vol. III., p. 188, of this History.

GEORGE GROSVENOR TARBELL (Har. Coll. 1862), located in Hingham for the practice of medicine and surgery in 1866, and received sufficient encouragement to have remained here; but a larger field for his professional services having presented itself at Boston, he accepted the opportunity and removed thither. While in Hingham he resided on Lincoln Street.

THOMAS THAXTER, second son of Major Samuel and Abigail (Smith) Thaxter, was born in Hingham, Aug. 25, 1748. After completing his early education at the public schools, and his subsequent term of medical pupilage, he commenced the practice of medicine and surgery in his native town, succeeding Dr. Bela Lincoln. He had many influential friends and connections to encourage him; his charges were moderate; and his successful treatment in difficult cases, especially of the then prevailing throat distemper, won for him more than a local reputation. He was a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society. While visiting the sick in town he usually rode on horseback, although when the patient resided at a distance his square-topped chaise was brought into use. During the later years of his life he and his son Robert rode out together daily on horseback to visit the sick, each having his saddle-bags, and riding upon opposite sides of the road. Dr. Thaxter superintended the education of a number of medical students, several of whom were from other places. He was the proprietor of a drug store, the attendant being his sister, Miss Abigail Thaxter. He also gave a portion of his time to agricultural pursuits and the improvement of farm stock. His first wife, whom he married Jan. 8, 1773, died the 2d of March following. His second wife was Mary Barker, daughter of Capt. Francis and Hannah (Thaxter) Barker, and sister of Dr. Joshua Barker. They had five children. He built and resided in the house now owned by Arthur Lincoln, on Main, near Water St., in which he died, the 20th of June, 1813, aged 65 yrs. His family record is given in Vol. III., p. 237, of this History.

EZEKIEL THAXTER, fifth son of Major Samuel and Abigail (Smith) Thaxter was born in Hingham, May 15, 1758. Concerning his professional life and place of residence but little is known in Hingham, except that tradition says he removed to Nova Scotia, and that towards the close of the Revolution he was surgeon on a privateer.

GRIDLEY THAXTER, fourth son of Major Samuel and Abigail (Smith) Thaxter, was born in Hingham, April 9, 1756. He studied medicine with his brother Thomas, and was for some time surgeon on an armed vessel during the War of the Revolution. About the year 1780 he was settled in Abington; and as a physician for more than half a century, enjoyed a very extensive practice. "He probably rode more miles and visited more patients," says his biographer, "than any other physician who ever resided in the County of Plymouth." In 1809 he was elected a Fellow of the Massachusetts Medical Society. His first wife, whom he married July 13, 1783, was Sarah Lincoln, a daughter of General Benjamin and Mary (Cushing) Lincoln. He died the 10th of Feb., 1845, aged nearly 89 years. Dr. Ezekiel Thaxter, of Abington (Harvard University, 1812), was his son.

ROBERT THAXTER, born in Hingham, Oct. 21, 1776, was the oldest son of Dr. Thomas and Mary (Barker) Thaxter. He was graduated at Harvard College in the class of 1798, with Dr. Wm. E. Channing, Judge Story, Rev. Perez Lincoln and others, who at a later period were distinguished for their eminent services. After graduating, he studied medicine with his father and for nearly ten years was a practising physician in Hingham. In 1808 he joined the Massachusetts Medical Society, and in 1842 was elected its vice-president. In 1809 he removed to Dorchester, Mass. There he published the following:----

NOTICE: Doct. Robert Thaxter informs the Inhabitants of Dorchester that he has taken lodgings at the residence of Mr. William Richards, where he will be ready at all times to attend to his profession. He will inoculate with kine Pox, free of expense, all persons who feel themselves unable to pay. -- Columbian Centinel, July 22, 1809.

Dr. Thaxter was an accomplished physician, and highly appreciated in a widely extended circle. Gentlemanly and kind to all, and especially charitable to the needy, "he was indeed the beloved physician." He contracted a ship disease while in the discharge of his professional duties, from which be died the 9th of Feb. 1852, aged 75 yrs. He never married.

JONAS UNDERWOOD, who succeeded Dr. Daniel Shute, announced to the public of Hingham and vicinity, through the columns of the local newspaper of April 5, 1839, "that in compliance with an invitation of a committee of the Parish of South Hingham, he has taken rooms at the house of the late Bela Tower, and respectfully tenders to the public his services in the several branches of his profession."

Dr. Underwood was a native of Hudson, N. H. Receiving his early education in his native town, and in the academy at Exeter, he afterwards entered Harvard University, and was graduated in 1815, in the class with Appleton Howe, William (-----unreadable line------) came distinguished as physicians. He subsequently was employed as teacher in a school at Philadelphia, Pa., and in 1822 received his medical diploma from the university of that State. After participating in the advantages of hospital and dispensary practice under the most distinguished professors of Philadelphia, he commenced the practice of his profession at Andover, Mass. He joined the Massachusetts Medical Society in 1837, and resigned his membership in 1849. In 1839 he removed to Hingham, as previously stated. Here he was highly esteemed as a physician and citizen by his many patrons, up to the time of his decease. He was unostentatious and of sound judgment, possessing many excellent qualities of mind and heart, and his patients found in him at all times a warm and sincere friend. He died in Hingham, the 26th of Feb., 1850, in the 62d year of his age. The record of his family is given in Vol. III., p. 271, of this History.

JOHN WARE, the second son of Rev. Henry and Mary (Clark) Ware, was born in Hingham, Dec. 19, 1795, and when a lad of about ten years, removed with his parents to Cambridge, Mass. He was graduated at Harvard University in 1813; received his degree of M. D. in 1816; was early elected a Fellow of the Massachusetts Medical Society, in which organization he held many important offices, and was its president for a number of years. He resided at Boston, and died in 1864, in the 69th year of his age. Dr. Ware married in Hingham, April 22, 1822, Helen, daughter of Dr. Levi Lincoln of this town. She died at Boston, 25th Jan., 1858, aged 59 years.

JAMES WILDE, the only son of Elijah D. and Lucy (Beal) Wilde, was born in Hingham, Nov. 29, 1812. His early education was acquired in the public schools and at the Derby Academy. He subsequently entered Harvard College and was graduated in the class of 1832; received his degree of M. D. from the Harvard Medical School in 1835; and shortly after settled in the practice of his profession at Duxbury, Mass, where be continued to reside until his decease, which occurred the 15th of Oct., 1887. In 1839 he was elected a Fellow of the Massachusetts Medical Society.


The permanently located physicians of Hingham have been among the most useful, devoted and respected citizens of the town. Wherever duty called, or in whatsoever positions they were chosen or delegated to fill for the public good, a prompt and willing service has been given. Educated in most instances at the best medical institutions, they have been qualified to impart information upon a variety of subjects; to hold offices of trust; to act as counsellors; and to assist in all local or public improvements.

It would be singular indeed if among the ------unreadable text------circumstances or individual traits preserved by record or tradition which would remind us of their peculiarities and the conditions under which they were placed. Did space permit the insertion of such notices in this connection they would in many instances, no doubt, furnish interesting reading to those who have a love for the curious, or a taste for the study of the methods and proceedings of the past. The following are illustrations.

Among the disbursements recorded by the Selectmen in 1794, are the following:----

To Ebed Hearsey for keeping & nursing Elijah Hearsey
from the time his leg was taken off, 13 weeks, 5 sh. per
week, and 7 sh. per week for nurse for him . . . . . . 7. 16. 0
To Doct'r Barker, as per account . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.  7. 6
To Doct'r Thaxter, as per account . . . . . . . . . . . . 11. 15. 5

Probably Doctors Barker and Thaxter were both present, professionally, at the amputation referred to; but we get no information from the account rendered as to how much was charged per visit in surgical operations, as at that time other subjects of the town were under a physician's care, and for the payment of these services the town was responsible. Ordinarily, the charges of these physicians was one shilling per visit.

Many years ago a venerable gentleman of this town said to the writer: "It was an agreeable picture to see Dr. Tom Thaxter and his son Robert riding along together horseback, each occupying opposite sides of the road, with their saddle-bags, to visit the sick. Usually they were very jolly, laughing and joking together like school-boys. Occasionally, when Dr. Tom was alone, he rode in a square-topped chaise which had wooden springs."

The wages for a nurse, in ordinary cases, at the commencement of the present century, were seventy-five cents per week.

Dr. William Gordon, who came here about the time Dr. Robert Thaxter removed to Dorchester, was a very popular young man. At first he rode in a sulky when visiting his patients. His charges then were fifty cents per visit, but before removing to Boston his price was raised to one dollar.

Isaiah Cushing, s. of Major Isaiah (Vol. II. p. 163: 36), studied medicine with Dr. Thomas Thaxter, and settled in the State of Maine. He died in 1819, t. 42 years.

The life of a physician is one of incessant anxiety and toil. It does not have the freedom and liberty which is enjoyed in other pursuits, nor, in a pecuniary point of view, do statistics show that it brings to a majority in the profession great wealth. It has been to the writer, however, a pleasant task to recall the virtues of those who have engaged here in this calling; to know that their lives have been given to the relief of sickness and distress, and to feel assured that such services in our midst have met the approval of this community.