Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/297

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PEIRSON


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PEIRSON


defective, though spelling was then at a low ebb. But what can we think of " Spinin, Howin, Halin, Sain, digin, Spinin TOE, spinin Linnen"? The nearest he ever got to the name of " Chisholm," was plain " Chism." " Duz- zen, Betters (heaters), biscates, macrel," and so on were frequent humerous blunders on his books.

Here is something queer, "To a quart of rum and to a pint of rum which your wife pretended to BORROW but never paid any attention to."

A certain patient paid for services in the shape of a "Nice Apple Tree," which Dr. Peirce at once caused to be planted by the man who brought it. A child is born to a certain family not connected with the Sheafes, yet he says " The child is more than 3/4 Sheafe."

Peirce was published to Olive, daugh- ter of Rishworth and Abigail Gerrish Jordan, September 20, 1765, and probably married her soon after. On her death he married Ruth, daughter of Dr. Sargent, of New Castle, or his widow. He had nine children who were well brought up. They wore home-spun suits and occasion- ally were treated to leather "britches." Their schooling was paid for by patients, and only once in their lives did one of them go to a "Summer Camp" and even that was at the expense of some other- wise unpaying patient. He was a devout man. When his parents or relations died he noted down their departure for a better land and emphasized their decent burial. When his wife died, he mentions the sad fact simply yet bravely. As for himself when his time came he died suddenly, August 25, 1803, and let us hope that after his years of medical practice he received that same decent burial which he had given to his relations gone before him. J. A. S.

Facts complied from "Old Eliot," by Dr. J- L. M. Willis, Eliot, Maine, and from Dr- Peirce'a "Leigers" extending from 1705 to ISOl.

Peirson, Abel Lawrence (1794-1853).

Abel L. Peirson, for many years the leading surgeon of Essex Countv and the


first to publish a "Report of Private Surgical Operations Performed with Ether Anesthesia," was a descendant of John Pearson, or Pierson, who settled in Rowley, Massachusetts, in 1643, and the son of Samuel Peirson, of Biddeford, Maine, being born in that town, Novem- ber 25, 1794.

Entering Harvard College as a sopho- more in 1809, he graduated in 1812, and at once began to study medicine with Dr. James Jackson, four years later tak- ing his M. D. from Harvard. Vassalboro, Maine, was the place of his early prac- tice, but he remained there less than a year and a half, removing to Salem, Massachusetts, early in 1818, for a larger field and to be in closer touch with the leading members of his profession with whom he had many ties of friendship.

He married his cousin, Harriet Law- rence in 1819, and in 1832 went abroad and studied medicine in Paris and else- where, being among the first of the Americans to become acquainted with Laennec's method of exploring the chest for the physical signs of disease. In his practice he gave chief attention to sur- gery and acquired a high reputation. From a conversation he had with Dr. Charles T. Jackson in October, 1846, he learned of the properties of sulphuric ether. He was present at the Massa- chusetts General Hospital on the occa- sion of the first use of that anesthetic, October 16, having been a consulting surgeon to that hospital since 1839, and November 14, 1846 he made trial of etherization in the removal of a fatty tumor, with complete success. Again, on November 19 he did an amputation of the arm without the patient experi- encing pain, and in the next few days did an amputation of the leg and removed a large fatty tumor of the shoulder under ether anesthesia, the ether being admin- istered in each case by a dentist named Fisk. These cases were sent to the "Boston Medical and Surgical Journal" for report. (" Boston Medical and Sur- gical Journal," December 2, 1846, vol. XXV, p. 362.) This is the first published