Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/312

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PITCHER


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in 1S30, and commenced to study medi- cine with Dr. Edward Sparks. In 1833 he graduated from the Jefferson IMedical College, Pennsylvania, and the following year entered the United States Navy as assistant surgeon and continued on active duty until retired as medical director with rank of commodore in 1873. In 1848 he received the vote of thanks of the General Assembly of Maryland, for gallant and meritorious sevices in the Mexican War. He prepared and de- livered a series of lectures, some of which were published. Among the best are: "On the Nerves of the Brain and Organs of Sense," (1839); "Life and Character of Admiral ColHngwood" (1848); "A Treatise on Asiatic Cholera" (1849); "Home and Foreign Policy of the Government of the United States" (1854). In the same j^ear he also deUvered the commencement oration at St. John's College, and made the presentation address at the Naval Academy on the occasion of Commodore Perry's presenting the flag that had been raised on the soil of Japan. Surg. Pinkney was persistent in his advocacy for increased and definite rank for the medical officers in the Navy, and, in 1870, was chairman of a delegation which proposed the medical staff rank and grade for the United States Navy which later, after shght modifications, became the law. He died at his home near Easton, Maryland, in 1877, leaving his widow and a daughter. C. A. P.

Tr. Am. M. Ass., 1S78, xxix.

Pitcher, Zina (1797-1872).

Zina Pitcher, son of Nathaniel Pitcher and Margaret Stevenson, was born April 12, 1797, on a farm in Washington County, New York. When five years old his father died, leaving the mother with four young sons and an unattractive farm. Being Scotch, she had learned the value of education and determined to provide the best possible for her children. Zina worked hard during spring, summer and fall that he might study during the winter in common school or academy.


He began to study medicine at the age of twenty-one with private practitioners and at Castleton Medical College, gradu- ating M. D. from Middlebury College in 1822. While studying medicine he tutored in Latin, Greek and natural sciences — the latter with Prof. Eaton, of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy, New York. Soon after graduating, the Secretary of War, John C. Calhoun, sent him a commission as assistant surgeon, United States Army. The responsibihty of this position rapidly developed his self- reliance, so that he was soon made surgeon. During his fifteen years of army service he was stationed at different points on the Northern Lakes (then a savage frontier) on the tributaries of the Arkansas, among the Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws and Osages and at Fortress Monroe. At these places his leisure hours were spent in study of nature about him, observation of the habits of the Indians, their diseases and the means used for their recovery. The results of these studies may be seen in works on botany, in plants named after him; on fossils bearing his name; and in a letter to Dr. Morton on the existence of con- sumption among the aborigines and in his article on "Indian Therapeutics," printed in the fourth volume, of Schoolcraft's history of the " Conditions and Prospects of the Indian Tribes." In 1835 he was president of the Army Medical Board. In 1836 Dr. Pitcher resigned his commis- sion and settled in Detroit. From 1837 to 1852 he was regent of the University and probably planned most details respecting the medical department. With the appointment of the medical faculty he was made emeritus professor. He was mayor of Detroit in 1840-41-43. Long dissatisfied with the educational facilities of the frontier town, he made an exhaus- tive study of its schools and laid the results before the Common Council and persuaded it to join him in asking the Legislature to enact a law authorizing the estabUshment of free pubHc schools in Detroit, which petition was granted. He was city physician, 1847; county