Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The First Doctors in America

The First Doctors in America
The history of the doctor in America commences with early physicians of the North American colonies.

With but little hope of material reward –sharing in every danger, hardship and privation of the other emigrants – a number of medical men of eminence came to the New World during formative days of the colonies; and the treatment and care which the settlers received at their hands were on a par with that administered to the friends and relatives whom they had left behind in their native lands.

Dr Thomas Wooten was undoubtedly the progenitor of medicine in North America.

Carrying a commission as Surgeon-General of the London Company, he arrived in 1607 on one of three ships bearing 165 colonists who landed at the mouth of the James River in Virginia, is named in honor of King James I, son of Mary Stuart who succeed her half-sister, Elizabeth, upon the English throne.

The settlement of Jamestown was built. After their cherished dreams of finding gold had faded, these settlers turned their attention to the rich Virginia soil which was particularly adapted to the cultivation of two plants which were to determine the colony’s future-tobacco and cotton.

During the following year, a Dr. Russel was accompanying Captain John Smith on his exploration of Chesapeake Bay.

But it would seem that neither of these physicians remained very long; because, in 1609, the hardy old warrior who had been the leader and protector to the first white settlement in the New World, after being wounded was compelled to return to England for lack of medical aid in the settlements.

In 1611, Dr, Lawrence Bohun succeeded Dr. Wooten as Physician-General of Virginia.

When Peter Minuit purchased the island of Manhattan for twenty four dollars in 1626, there was probably no physician in his party,

The first records of a doctor in New York-then New Amsterdam-are of one Johannes La Montagne, a Huguenot who arrived in 1637, and Dr. Herman Van den Bogaerdt.

Dr. La Montagne was counselor to the Director General of New Netherlands. Both of these men recorded to have possessed great learning.
The First Doctors in America
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