Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/303

This page needs to be proofread.


PERKINS


267


PETER


kept up the outward therapeutic symbols. An imaginative, restless, inquiring man he introduced another remedy for dysen- tery and low fever "consisting of the vegetable with the muriatic acid in the form of common vinegar saturated with muriate of soda." Believing this to be antiseptic in yellow fever he went to New York during the epidemic of 1799, and after four weeks' unremitting care of the sick he fell ill of the fever and died, aged fifty-nine.

It was owing to the exertions of one Dr. Haygarth of Bath, England, that the idea of any healing power resident in the tractors themselves was refuted, for he and a colleague effected many cures with tractors made of painted wood, and Dr. Fessenden, of London, dealt the idea a final blow in his " Terrible Tractoration * (1800) by "Christopher Caustic."

Tliacher stoutly maintains that Per- kins had no intention of deceiving, but perhaps the large fortune made through tractoration hurried on the following act duly registered in the "Archives of the Medical Society " of the state of Connecti- cut, ISOO, "that Dr. Elisha Perkins be expelled from the society as a patentee and user of nostrums."

D. W.

Thaeher, Med. Biog., 1828, Boston.

The Med. Repository, vol. i, 1800, New

York.

London Med. Rev., vol. iii, 1800, London.

New Cases of Practice with Perkins Metallic

Tractors, by Benj. D. Perkins, London, 1802.

Terrible Tractoration, by "Christopher

Caustic," M. D., London, 1800.

International Clinics. (D. Waterson).

Perkins, Joseph (1798-1872).

Joseph Perkins, son of Joseph and Patience (Dennison) Perkins, was born in Bridgewater, Vermont, April 1, 1798. He studied under Dr. Joseph A. Gallup, of Woodstock, and Dr. Selah Gridley. He received his M. D. in 1821. Immedi- ately after, he began practice in Castle- ton, and stayed there fifty-one years. Under Dr. Perkins' guiding hand, the Castleton Medical College, where he was professor of materia medica and obstet-


rics, grew and prospered and during the years 1839 to 1854, there were gradu- ated 854 doctors. In 1857 Dr. Perkins severed his connection with the college and removed his private museum and apparatus to the medical department of the University of Vermont.

He was for many years a prominent member of the Vermont State Medical Society and its president in 1855. He died on January 6, 1872, of congestion of the lungs.

Joseph Perkins was five times married: To Mary Gridley, daughter of Dr. Selah Gridley, of Castleton; to AmeUa Cook; to Zilpah Higley; to Cynthia Claghorn; final- ly to Mrs. lola (Denison) Guernsey. His oldest son, Dr. Selah G. Perkins, practised in Waterford, New York, and later in Castleton from which place he entered the army as captain of the First Vermont Cavalry. He was killed in a skirmish in 1862. The second son of Dr. Perkins was also a physician. Dr. William C. Perkins. He had three children by his first wife; one by the second; one by the third, and six by the fourth.

C. S. C.

Peter, Robert (1805-1894).

Of good southern EngUsh stock and related to the Bathurst Peters, Robert Peter, born January 21, 1805, scientist and eager researcher into everything he could get time for, came over from Corn- wall when twelve years old with his parents Robert and Johanna. Six other children came with them and the family settled first in Baltimore, then in Pitts- burg, Pennsylvania, where the children soon had to make each a share of the family expenses. Robert went into a drug store and developed a bent for chemistry and medicine, eventually graduating M. D. from Transylvania University in 1834. But after practising for awhile in Lexington, he turned his attention wholly to natural sciences and, being a real amateur (lover), was able as a lecturer and writer to make his students enthusiastic. His chemical work while on the Kentucky Geological