Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/284

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PARSONS


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PARSONS


colleague, Dr. E. L. Duer, re-organized the lying-in wards and utilized the valuable clinical material for the students. One result was his " Observations on Relaps- ing Fever in Philadelphia in 1869-70." As a member of the Pathological Societj^ and the College of Physicians and Surgeons he wrote many papers for the meetings, notably one on "Rachitis, " his conclusions as to its equal prevalcncy in Philadelphia being supported by exhaus- tive statistics; another paper was on "Inherited SyphiUs."

Appointments and honors came rap- idly: physician for women's diseases at the Presbyterian Hospital; counsellor of the College of Physicians; president of the Obstetrical Society; vice-president of the Pathological Society, and surgeon to the State Hospital for Women and Infants which he had helped to found. Although in bad health he made a big fight to complete his notable book — "Extra-uterine Pregnancy" (1875) — and many remember how in his library, pale, haggard and racked with cough, he toiled day and night. He was persuaded on its completion to go to Florida, though but little hope was entertained of his return. This proved to be the case, for only the work-battered earthly tent returned for burial, after young Parry finished his pilgrimage, in Jacksonville, on the eleventh of March, 1876.

His biographer, Dr. J. V. Ingham, describes him as a writer never idle, and gives a list of some thirty-five excellent articles, reviews, and his additions to the second American edition of " Leish- man's System of Midwifery," notably those on "Forceps" and a whole chapter on " Diphtheritic Wounds of the Vagina."

Tr. Coll. Phys., Phila., 1876, 3. s., vol. ii (J. V. Ingham).

Quart. Tr. Lancaster City and Co. M. Soc, 1881-2, vol. ii (J. Price).

Parsons, Joseph Addison (1815-1886).

The author once asked a man if Col. Joseph Parsons, of Parsonsfield, were a scholarly man, for he had named one of his sons after Sir Charles Grandison, and the other after Joseph Addison. "Oh


no, said he, "he was a good farmer and had no great knowledge of books, but as one of twenty-three children himself, and having sixteen of his own, he had to call them something." Now this Joseph Addison, or as he called himself, J. Addison Parsons, was the seventeenth child of Joseph Parsons and Abigail Adams, liis second wife. He was born June 30, 1815, and a direct descendant in the fifth generation of Coronet Joseph Parsons, who settled in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1635.

Joseph and brother Charles went to school together, studied medicine to- gether, graduating at the Medical School of Maine in 1837, and practising side by side for a while. But Charles soon abandoned medicine, leaving Joseph to continue a physician for the rest of his long life. In his prime he was a nice looking man, picturesque, tall, rather long haired, and with a prominent nose, a good humored man, talked well on medicine and at one time was a great hand at making political speeches, although he never went really into politics, or accepted offices.

During the Civil War he promised to attend gratuitously the wives and chil- dren of every man in the town who would enlist. Later in life he married Miss Mary Ginn, but had no children. For many years before that event, he was an old bachelor, and kept, literally, an open house for the benefit of his friends. Whenever anybody wanted him in the day time, they would walk in and if at night they would run upstairs and waking him up out of his sleep, make him go with them to a patient.

He was once called out by a man who had the habit of getting pretty "full" to cheer himseK when there was sickness in the family. One day he dragged the doc- tor out into his own team, and started off in haste. Passing through the village, on the way to the farmhouse where the patient lay sick, the man pulled up the horse with a jerk, so that Dr. Parsons was nearly hurled over the dasher. "Why Simms," said he, "are you crazj-, what