Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/165

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McWILLAMS


143


MADDIN


of gallstones. Every attack weakened him more and more until he was will- ing to give in. He died suddenly April 5, 1873, after a hot bath which he had been taking for the reUef of the pain caused by the passage of a gall- stone.

His career was remarkable, saved as he was from shipwreck, far from Scotland, and then rescued to Uve, honored and renowned in his American home. J. A. S.

Trans. Maine Med. Assoc, 1873.

McWilliams, Alexander (1775-1850).

Of Scotch descent, the first of a family who came to this country hav- ing escaped threatened arrest for trea- son on account of political connection with the party of the pretender, Alex- ander McWilUams was born in St. Mary's County, Maryland, in 1775. Soon after graduating he entered the navy (1802) as assistant surgeon and afterwards was ordered to sea in one of Jefferson's gun-boats. He served during the TripoUtan War, and was present at the burning of the "Phila- delphia." On his return voyage he was taken ill with a continued fever and was left at Gibraltar, remaining there several weeks, finally returning home on the frigate "Constitution" and getting a post at the navy yard, Washington. But this he resigned and commenced private practice, locating himself near the Navy-yard, then the most thickly populated part of the city and seemingly offering the best prospect for a doctor.

He was an honorary M. D., 1841, Col- umbia College, District of Columbia; an incorporator of the Medical Society, District of Columbia, under both char- ters; assistant surgeon, United States Navy, 1802-05, and president of the Medical Association, District of Colum- bia, 1847-50.

Dr. McWilliams was very fond of natural science, more especially of bot- any, to which he devoted much atten- tion, and often, during the proper


season, neglected his professional work to make excursions in search of new plants and flowers. During the early years of the medical department in Columbia University he was professor of botany, and subsequently publish- ed the "Flora of the District of Colum- bia." He was one of the " Botanic Club" which pubHshed, in 1830, the "Prodromus of the Flora Columbiana." He was the first resident to build a conservatory, which he filled with many rare plants. This he superin- tended and managed in person for his own amusement, without any commer- cial purpose. Connected with the con- servatory was a large aviary, in which he had many rare foreign birds. He was also a good mineralogist, and made a large collection of minerals.

His inventive genius was somewhat remarkable, but unprofitable. He in- vented a ship guage to measure the draft of water a vessel would draw and to determine the depth of the water. This was approved by a board of naval ofiicers, but never adopted and con- sequently he failed to realize any profit from its manufacture. Many models of other inventions were des- troyed by a fire in the patent office. He was the first physician to employ adhesive plaster to make extension in case of fractured legs.

At the time of his death, March 31, 1850, he had for some time confined his professional labors exclusively to his duties at the Alms House, of which he was the physician. He was an ac- tive thinker on medical subjects even at that advanced age. In a discussion on the relation of typhus and typhoid fever, he maintained their unity.

D. S. L.

Minutes of Medical Society, D. C, April 1,

1850.

Busey, "Eeminiscences."

Maddin, Thomas La Fayette (1826-1908).

Thomas La Fayette Maddin was born

in Columbia, Tennessee, September 4,

1826, of Irish ancestry. His parents