Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/576

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WILSON


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WILSON


Society and tlio Washington Obstetrical and Gynoc'ological Society; surgeon to the Hospital for Women of Maryland and consulting surgeon to the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

His chief papers were: "Ovariotomy During Pregnancy;" "Division of the Cervix Backward in Some Forms of Anteflexion of the Uterus, with Dysmen- orrhea and Sterility;" "Hysterectomy with a New Clamp for Removal of large Uterine Fibroid Tumors;" "Twin Pregnancy, one Child in the Uterus, Another in the Abdomen;" "Retro- Displacements of the Uterus," etc.

D. \V.


Trans. Am. Gyii. Soc, 1S9S, vol. xxiii. (IV

B. Browne).

Cordell's Med. Annals of Maryland, 1908.


Wilson, John ("Capt. Thunderliolt ") (1784-1847).

The early history of this character is wrapped in mystery. It is supposed he came from Scotland and had studied medicine at Edinburgh. He appeared in Brookline and Dummerston about 1820. In these towns he taught school, and studied medicine at the " Academy of Medicine," at Castleton, afterwards prac- tising very successfully, but in 1836 going to Brattleboro, where he spent the rest of his life. Dr. Wilson was associated with one, Arnold, at Brattleboro in building a steam saw mill, on the site of the present railroad station. This was an unprofit- able venture, but the doctor continued to live at this point. Hence he made pro- fessional visits to the rural districts " in a rather inferior carriage, accompanied by a little boy." In his prime, he was a gentleman in appearance and bearing, and apparently well educated. He was reputed a skillful practitioner. During his last years, however, he fell into intemperate habits and his practice dwindled.

A certain air of mystery and romance seems to have followed him during his life, and gained general belief after his death. Two years after Dr. Wilson's


appearance in the Connecticut Valley, a certain highwayman, Michael Martin, popularly known as "Lightfoot," was iumg at Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, for highway robbery. While awaiting execution, "Lightfoot" made a "Con- fession," which found its way into print.

In this, he described his career as a robber and desperado, and showed him- self to have possessed unusual talent in this role. He had operated with great daring and no mean success in Scotland, England, and Canada, until he was finally brought to justice in this country.

In this "Confes.sion," Martin frequent- ly mentions a companion and leader, whom he designates as "Captain Thun- derbolt." Together they had pursued an eventful career in Great Britain, and later in America. He describes certain wounds received by " Thunderbolt," among which were a cut from a saber thrust on the neck, and a shortened and wounded leg, from the effects of a musket ball. It is related that "Thunderbolt" once held up a stage coach on its way to London, and holding a pistol to a man's head, said, " Give me your money, or I'll blow your brains out," to which the man replied, " Blow away, I'd as soon go to London without brains as without money." "Thunderbolt" seems to have appre- ciated the joke or the man's nerve, for it is said he left him with a laugh. There is little doubt that the bold highwayman, " Captain Thunderbolt," and the Brattle- boro doctor, John Wilson, were the same man. There are many facts corrobora- tive of this supposition. Dr. Wilson led a secluded life, with few acquaintances and no intimates. His necessary errands to grocery and other stores seem to have furnished about the only opportunities for his neighbors to get acquainted with him. He is said to have become greatly excited, whenever "Lightfoot's Confes- sion" was mentioned, and once, when he saw a copy at a patient's house, he threw it into the fire. Summer and winter, he always wore a large muffler about his neck, and it was hinted, that during the delirium preceding his death,