Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/21

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HORNER


HORNER


a boy to the local schools, afterwards studying medicine with Dr. William Brown of Alexandria, Virginia.

When fifteen he entered the Continen- tal Army as a private soldier, and served as such until made a surgeon's mate in February, 1S78.

When the war ended he settled at War- rentown, Virginia, and very soon had good practice, especially as a surgeon, before bis death being called upon to do practi- cally all the big operations in a large sur- rounding territory.

At one time his health became delicate, and as recreation he took to politics, and served in the State Legislature and was several times a presidential elector.

Regarded as an authority in his com- munity, his opinion in all questions in medicine and surgery was final.

He married and left children, and sev- eral of his descendants were prominent physicians. In the winter of 1814-15 there prevailed in Eastern Virginia an un- manageable and fatal epidemic of a dis- ease variously termed pneumonia vera, pneumonia biliosa, pneumonia typhoides, bilious fever, typhus fever and catarrhal fever, but which was, judging from the descriptions of it, probably a malignant type of epidemic influenza, in which he became much interested. He saw a great many cases and devised a treatment of a very depleting nature for the disease. Contracting the disease himself he in- sisted that he would personally try his own course of treatment, which was carried out, but he died on the first of January, 1815. R. M. S.

Homer, WilUam E. (1793-3853).

William E. Horner was the son of Wil- liam and Mary Edmunds Horner and born on June 3, 1793, in Warrenton, Fau- quier County, Virginia. His grandfather, Robert Horner, was a merchant who had emigrated from England to Maryland be- fore the Revolution, and had later moved to Virginia. Several of Horner's rela- tives on both sides of the family were physicians.

Horner was a delicate child, so light in


weight that "his rude companions would frequently snatch him up unceremoni- ously, greatly to his annoyance, and, in spite of his struggles and resistance, run off with him in bravado to display their greater strength."

When twelve years old, Horner went to school in Warrenton under Charles O'Neill, clergyman. The teacher was neither deep nor thorough. In conse- quence, Horner was more or less ham- pered in his subsequent career.

In 1809, Horner began to study medicine under Dr. John Spence, an Edinburgh graduate, and during this period attended two sessions at Pennsylvania University. In his studies he showed a special par- tiality for anatomy. The following ex- tract from a letter to his father written in May, 1811, shows his feelings at this time:

"The books you sent to me gave great satisfaction. Instead, however, of sat- isfying my present anxiety to become well acquainted with the structure of the human body, they have excited in me an enthusiastic zeal to commence practi- cal anatomy. A man, with the assist- ance of maps may obtain a tolerable knowledge of countries, but it is only by traversing them that he becomes the geographer in reality. In hke manner it is with the anatomist, for no anatomical plates can give him that confidence as to induce him to undertake a surgical oper- ation, or give him as good an idea of the subject of dissection."

In 1813 Horner continued his medical studies in Philadelphia. In July, 1813, a year before taking his M. D., Horner was commissioned surgeon's mate in the Hospital Department of the United States army. In the following September he was attached to the ninth Military Dis- trict north of the Highlands, New York. Jackson gives an interesting picture of Horner at this period:

"Let us pause and survey his position at this time. He had just reached his twentieth year, of slender form (his weight about one hundred pounds), his pay, some thirty or forty dollars per