Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/446

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SMITH 392


SMITH


Department of the University of \er- mont; President of the Medical and ChirurgicivJ Faculty of Maryland. A. B. and M. D. of Yale, and LL. D., Princeton.

E. F. C.

Cordell's Med. Ann. of Marj-land, 1903.

An Address Commemorative of (Chow S. ('.),

1S7S.

Maryland M. J., Bait.. 1S77, vol. i.

'I'r. .\ni. .Vss,, Phila., 1S78. vol. xxi.x.

y. D. Cross, Autobiography, 18S7, vol. ii.

Smith, Peter (1753-1816).

Peter Smith, who wrote a "Dispensa- tory," the first of its kind in the We.st, was a son of Dr. Hezekiah Smith, of the "Jerseys," "a home old man, or Indian doctor." Peter was born in Wales, February 6, 1753, from whence this branch of the Smith family came. He was also a relative of Hezekiah Smith, D. D., of Haverhill, Massachusetts. Educated at Princeton, he was married in New Jersey to Catherine Stout, December 23, 1776. He seems to have early, under his father, given some atten- tion to medicine, and became familiar with the works of Dr. Rush, Dr. Brown, and other writers of his day on " physic," as well as with the works of Culpepper, and acquired much information from physicians whom he met in New Jersey, Pennsjdvania, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, and Ohio. He called himself an "Indian doctor," because, as he said, he relied in liis practice much on herbs, roots, and other remedies known to the Indians, though he did not confine himself to botanical remedies. He seems to have been an original investigator, availing himself of all opportunities within his reach for acquiring knowledge, especially acquaint- ing himself with domestic and tried Indian remedies, roots, herbs, etc.

Starting from New Jersey about the year 1780, he commenced his wandering, emigrating life with his wife and "some" small children. He lingered for a time in Virginia, then in the Carolina?, and "settled" in Georgia. He sought out people from whom he could gather knowledge of "the theory and practice


of medicine," and preached the gospel, possibly in an itinerant way. He was a devout Baptist of the old school. A strong anti-slavery man, even in that early day, he could not be content with his Georgia home, as he put it, " with its many scorpions and slaves." Accord- ingly, he took his family on horseback — little children, twin babes among them, carried in baskets suitable for the pur- pose, hung to the horns of the saddle ridden by his wife — and thus, without roads to travel, crossed mountains, rivers, and creeks. The wilderness was not free from danger from Indians, but he traversed the woods from Georgia through Tennessee to Kentucky, intend- ing there to abide. But, finding that Kentucky had also become a slave State, the dogmatic old man and his family bid good-bye to Kentucky and went to Ohio. He left that State with a parting shot to the effect that it was the home of " head- ticks and slavery," and emigrated to Ohio, settling on Duck Creek, near the Columbia Old Bapti.st Church, now adja- cent to Norwood village, and near the limits of Cincinnati, reaching there about 1794.

He became, with his family, a member of the Duck Creek congregation, and fre- quently preached there and at other frontier places, still pursuing the double occupation of farming and the practice of medicine. In 1804 he again took to the wilderness with his entire family, then numbering twelve children, born in the " Jerseys and on the line of his march through the wilderness, the States and the Territories." He finally settled on a small, poor farm on Donnel's Creek, Ohio, in the midst of rich ones, where he died December 31, 1816. It seems from his book (p. 14), published while there, that he did not personally cease his wanderings and search for medical knowledge, as he states that he was in Philadelphia July 4, 1811, where he made observations as to the effect of hot and of cold air upon the human system.

In The Dispensatory," it is to be re-