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Brooks, John (1752–1825)

John Brooks, colonel in the Continental Army, governor of Massachusetts, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, was born in Medford, Massachusetts, May 31, 1752. The son of a farmer, he received his education at the town school and at the age of fourteen was apprenticed to Dr. Simon Tufts, Jr., of Medford, for seven years, according to the custom of the day. At school he was the companion and friend of Count Rumford. Dr. Brooks at the termination of his apprenticeship began to practise in the neighboring town of Reading.

He interested himself in raising a company of minute men in his town, and was chosen commander. On the news of the Battle of Lexington he marched to the front at once with his company and assisted in harassing the British on their retreat. He was actively engaged in the military operations of the Revolution, with the rank of colonel, and was designated by Gen. Washington for the command of a brigade at its close.

Settling in Medford after the war was over he engaged in active practice, and was one of the early members of the Massachusetts Medical Society and its president from 1823 to the time of his death in 1825, preceding James Jackson in this office.

In 1816 he was elected Governor of the Commonwealth and served seven years in that capacity. Yale College conferred her honorary A. M. upon him in 1781, and Harvard the same in 1787, and and he received the Hon. M. D. from Harvard College in 1810, also LL. D. in 1817.

He was president of the Society of the Cincinnati, president of the Bible Society of Massachusetts and a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He died March 1, 1825, in his seventy-third year. His wife, Lucy Smith, of Medford, died early in life, leaving two sons and a daughter. One son was a major of artillery in the United States Army and the other, a lieutenant in the navy, was killed in the battle of Lake Eric.

As a physician Dr. Brooks was a good diagnostician and conservative in treatment. His anniversary oration before the Massachusetts Medical Society in 1808 is preserved in its transactions, with the title, "Pneumonic Inflammation." He published also an oration delivered before the Society of the Cincinnati (1887), a discourse before the Humane Society (1795) and a eulogy of Washington (1800).

A Memoir by John Dixwell, M.D., Commun, Mass. Med. Soc'y., 1829, vol. iv.
History of Harvard Med. School, T. F. Harrington, 1805.
A Military Jour. during the Rev. War, from 1775 to 1783, James Thacher, Boston, 1823.
The Early Physicians of Medford, C. M. Green, 1898.