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Brodie, William (1823–1890)

William Brodie was born at Fawley Court, England; July 26, 1823, but in 1832 his father emigrated and settled on a farm twelve miles west, of Rochester, New York. William had his general education at a district school and the Collegiate Institute at Brockport, New York. In 1847 he became a student with Dr. William Wilson of Pontiac, Michigan, and after one course of lectures in Berkshire Medical Institution at Pittsfield, Massachusetts, one in Vermont Medical College at Woodstock, Vermont, and one in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York, he took his M. D. from the last in 1850, at once beginning practice in Detroit, Michigan. In 1807 he was secretary of the American Medical Association and its president in 1886. He was one of the editors of the Peninsular Medical Journal, 1855–56–57; editor of New Preparations, 1879–80; editor of the Therapeutic Gazette from 1880 to 1885; president of the Michigan State Medical Society, 1876; from 1850 to 1863 he was surgeon to St. Mary's Hospital; president of the Wayne County Medical Society (Detroit) from 1876 to 1890 excepting two years; a founder of the Detroit Medical Society (1852–59), and its president in 1855; professor of clinical medicine in the Michigan College of Medicine and for many years he was the motive power of the Wayne County Medical Society, maintaining a club feature of refreshments and social discussion at all meetings, thus attracting the members. Dr. Brodie was the first surgeon to volunteer from Detroit during the Civil War and was commissioned surgeon of the First Regiment, Michigan Volunteers, and took charge of the wounded during the first battle of Bull Run. Later he was appointed brigade surgeon with Gen. Fremont. His friends, before antiseptic surgery was introduced, used to wonder that Dr. Brodie's surgical cases rarely suppurated. The fact was, from his natural neatness of person, clothes and surroundings, including instruments, he was aseptic all the time. Dr. Brodie was about five feet ten inches tall, of medium weight with reddish-gray hair, closely cut whiskers, nervous manner, energetic movement, always pushing for some person or thing; quite ready to fight obstacles opposing his plans.

In November, 1851, he married Jane Whitfield, daughter of James Whitfield, of England, by whom he had two sons and one daughter. One son, Benjamin P., became a doctor.

Dr. William Brodie died at his home in Detroit, July 30, 1890, from the results of vascular degeneration. His writings are to be found in the Transactions of the American Medical Association, and in the Peninsular Medical Journal for the most part.

Biog. Sketches of Early Pioneers of Detroit, Mich., Fred. Carlisle, O. S. Gully and Bornman, 1890.
Farmer's History of Detroit, 1884.
Representative Men in Mich.