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Address delivered 1899 Old Home Day and printed in a local paper.

Epsom's Physicians
Dr. Andros P. Chesley

Fellow Citizens. Ladies and Gentlemen:
Tennyson has said:
"It is a beautiful belief that ever round our head,
Are hovering on angel wings the spirits of the dead."
And I believe today the dear old souls of Epsom's past physicians are mingling with us in this celebration, perhaps it is as much a home week for the spirits of the aid as it is for us. We can fancy them gazing at the well-remembered hills and dales, the often travelled roads, the ripening harvest, the green and fertile fields, and all the old familiar scenes where they have lived and loved and worked. And perchance the lines of Longfellow come to them when he says "And in thought I go up and down the streets of that dear old town. And my lost youth comes back to me."
It is an undisputed fact that in all ages, as we are informed by history, tradition, and song, that the doctor's calling is the most important of all the vocations of man. He is looked up to; he is appealed to on all matters as guide, philosopher and friend. Not even the minister gets so near the hearts of all to cheer and comfort as the village doctor.
"He is a man to all the country dear, And passing rich on forty pounds a year."
There was no medical organization or association in the State for more than half a century after the town was settled. And information in regard to the earlier physicians is extremely limited. Stephen Sweat was the first physician of Epsom. He was followed by Obediah Williams, who was active in the affairs of the town, and was one of a committee of three to treat with the Rev. Mr. Tucke, in 1773. He also served as a surgeon in the Revolutionary War.
The doctor of the present time, who drives in his carriage over our roads, rides in his automobile, or in the electric cars, or makes his way from place to place by railroad train, knows but little of the hardships and dangers of these early days. There were in most instances no roads, and the physician on horseback, or more frequently on foot, was obliged to make his way by means of spotted trees.
These were indeed pioneer times but the records show that they did not interfere with excellent professional services.
The next physician was David L. Morrill, born in Epping, New Hampshire, 1772, June 10, son of the Rev. Isaac Morrill and Anna Lawrence. Few men in the State ever occupied more numerous and important offices than Dr. Morrill did. Educated at Washington, Mass., and Exeter Academy, he studied medicine and began to practice in this town in 1793, and continued to practice till 1800, when he became so deeply imbued with religious ideas, that he studied for the ministry, and in 1802 was ordained pastor of a church in Goffstown, but resigned his pastorate in 1811 and resumed the practice of medicine. He was representative to the General Court, 1808-1816 and in 1816 was speaker of the house, and at this session was chosen to the senate of the United States for six years. In 1823 he was elected State senator and was president of that body. He was elected Governor by the legislature and the three following years elected governor by the people. In 1825 he had thirty thousand, one hundred and sixty seven votes out of thirty thousand seven hundred and seventy which were cast. He received the honorary degrees of A.M. and M.D. from Dartmouth college, and L.L. D. from the University of Vermont. Various minor offices were held by him and there are various publications and addresses in existence. He married for his first wife, Jane Wallace of this town, Sept. 25, 1794, who died in December 14, 1823, leaving no children. The following June, 1824, he married for his second wife, Lydia Poor of Goffstown, by whom he had four sons, three of whom survived him. In 1831, he moved to Concord, after which time he did not engage in public life, and at the time of his death, June 27, 1849, was a member of the South Church. The State claims him as an honored public official. The ministry claims him as one of her soundest theologians and the medical fraternity claims him as one of her most distinguished members.
Samuel Morrill, brother of David Lawrence Morrill, was born in Epping, July 12, 1779, received his education in the public schools of the town and in 1794 became a clerk in a general store.
Through the influence of his brother in 1796, he entered Exeter Academy, afterward studied medicine with his brother in Epsom, and Dr. Josiah Bartlett of Stratham, NH. He was examined by the censors of the New Hampshire Medical society in 1800. He commenced the practice of medicine in the town of Salisbury in the spring of 1800, but in a few months, came to Epsom and took the place of his brother, who gave up the practice of medicine to study for the ministry. He continued his practice here till 1819. He was town clerk during the nineteen years of his stay in Epsom and selectman for seven years. He was a man strong in judgment, simple in treatment, skillful in application. He was a member of the New Hampshire Medical society. He moved to Concord in 1819. In 1826, he received the honorary degree of M.D. from Dartmouth college, was justice for the court of sessions for the county of Rockingham 1821, register of deeds and judge of probate for Merrimack County 1823-1828; 1829 treasurer of New Hampshire branch of Educational society; 1830, treasurer New Hampshire Savings Bank. He was a deacon of the First Congregational Church of Concord.
Josiah Crosby followed Dr. Samuel Morrill. He received his education under the instruction of the Rev. Mr. Hidden of Tamworth, New Hampshire, and afterwards attended school at Fryeburg and Amherst Academies. He attended three courses of lectures at Hanover, being the last year a pupil of Dr. Nathan Smith. He practiced in Sandwich for two years, when he moved to Meredith Bridge, and in 1818 was practicing in Deerfield. Coming here in 1819, he remained until 1825 when he removed to Concord. In 1828 he removed to Lowell, Mass., where he held various offices in the town and city governments of Lowell. He was one of the founders of the Appleton Street church. In 1838 he again moved to Meredith Bridge, and in a short time moved to Manchester where he died in 1875, at the age of 81 years. He was a member of the New Hampshire Medical Society and its president in 1850, and 1857 was elected vice president of the American Medical Association. Dr. Crosby was one of New Hampshire's noted physicians and surgeons. He invented many surgical appliances that are still in use. The records tell us that he did not protect these by letters patent, but gave them freely to the profession for the relief of human suffering, believing with the poet in the quality of mercy.
"It is twice blessed; It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes."
The next physician was John Proctor, born in Rowley, Mass., in 1781, of an old and distinguished family and a brother of Benjamin Proctor, a noted physician of Massachusetts. The earlier years of his professional life were spent in Chelmsford, Mass. He came here about 1825 and remained till he died in 1837, aged 56 years. He was twice married, his second wife being Catherine L. Gray of this town. He is spoken of by the older residents of the town as an honorable, courteous Christian physician, and a skillful surgeon. He was a friend of the poor and needy. Although his professional career was not long, his patrons' who were numerous, had confidence in his ability and he was sincerely mourned by the people of the town at his death.
Dr. Stephen Gale was a native of East Kingston, born in 1799. He went to Raymond in 1824 and practiced there the most of the time till his death in 1846. During this time he practiced one year in East Kingston and later a short time in Gloucester, Mass. In 1833 he joined the New Hampshire Center District Medical society from Epsom. His stay in Epsom was short. He was a faithful, industrious and skillful physician, and had an extensive practice. He married Sarah Kimball of Gloucester, Mass., by whom he had two children, one of whom survived him.
Dr. Babb practiced here from 1837-1840, when he moved to Manchester, where he continued his professional work for a long term of years. He was a man honest of purpose, sincere in his motives and with kindness of soul. He studied with Dr. Josiah Crosby and at Philadelphia where he received his degree. He married Maria Lang of Epsom, and three children, one son and two daughters survive him.
Hanover Dickey was born in Epsom, Sept. 14, 1809. He was educated in the town schools and at Dartmouth College. He attended the first course of lectures at Hanover and the second at Boston, where he graduated. After receiving his diploma, he returned to his native town, and practiced successfully from 1840 till 1845, when he went to Lowell, Mass. Here he pursued his professional duties to the day of his death, May 29, 1873. Dr. Dickey was a man of superior judgment, retentive memory, well-posted in his profession, honorable and much esteemed by acquaintances, patrons and professional brethren.
Leonard Peabody came to this town in 1845 and remained till 1871. He was born in Newport, N.H., Sept. 18, 1817, the son of Ami and Sarah (Johnson) Peabody. He studied at Kimball Union Academy and Concord Literary Institution, studied with Dr. Timothy Haynes of Concord, and Dr. John L. Swett of Newport, N.H., afterwards attending one course of lectures at Woodstock, Vt., where he received his degree of M.D., in June, 1844. After practicing for one year in Henniker, he came to Epsom. He was a member of the New Hampshire Medical Society, Center District Medical Society and of the New Hampshire Historical Society, a frequent contributor to periodicals, town clerk of Epsom, postmaster for ten years, member of the Legislature in 1885. He died at Henniker Jan. 13, 1899. He united with the church at the age of 16 and for sixty-five years was interested and active in all its work. No words of mine can add to the grandeur and simplicity of his life. He loved these hills and valleys, and the people that dwelt among them, never putting himself forward, still ever in the front from his inherent virtues, he stands as a bright and shining light to all who would win the reward for good and faithful services. In his professional work and in his public and private life he won universal respect and esteem, and he died rich in the grateful memories of those with whom he had come in contact.
Sullivan A. Taylor was born in Strafford, N.H., Jan. 19, 1839. He graduated from Bishop's College, Lenoxville, P.Q., and in 1866 began the study of medicine at Mt. Gill College, Montreal, where he graduated in 1870. He practiced his profession in Lenoxville, till 1872, when he came to Epsom and remained here four years. He then went to Concord, N.H., where he remained two years and then moved to Gilmanton where he is still located. He excelled in the practice of medicine, also in the department of surgery. He made himself familiar with the various improvements of the times, and was thoroughly impressed with the dignity and high importance of the medical profession. He was true to his chosen occupation and cultivated it with industry during his stay in Epsom.
Albion H. French, M.D., once a well known physician of Epsom, was born in Gilmanton, N.H., March 27, 1849, son of Thomas H. and Mary Ann (Brown) French. He was only three years of age when his father and mother died. He attended the academies in Pembroke and Pittsfield and the Northwood seminary. He fitted for college at the Gilmanton Academy, took a partial college course under the tutorship of Professor Avery of the Tilton Seminary. He graduated from the medical department of the University of Vermont with the class of 1875. After that he pursued his medical studies in New York City. He was a delegate by substitution to the National Medical convention in New York City in 1880. The first eight years of professional life were spent in Epsom, N.H., from October 1875 to 1883. While in Epsom he gained a host of friends and built up a large practice. He was regarded as a skillful and reliable physician, and much sought for in all the adjoining towns. He moved to Leominster, Mass., in 1883. In 1892 he located in Pittsfield, N.H., and has since remained there. He has a large and lucrative practice and is highly esteemed by all.
Dr. M.F. Smith came to Epsom in 1883. He was born in Weare, N.H., and was a graduate of Dartmouth Medical College. He faithfully performed the duties of his profession for five years when poor health compelled him to give up his professional work. After six months of r est he located in Hampton, N.H., where he has acquired not only a large practice, but the esteem and respect of all with whom he comes into contact.
Dr. Roscoe Hill was born in Northwood, N.H., Oct. 9, 1856, son of Ivory B. and Eliza (Fogg) Hill. He received his education in the district schools and Coe's Northwood Academy and studied medicine at Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York, where he graduated in 1882. He practiced two years in Norfolk, Conn., three years in Lynn, Mass., and in 1887 came to Epsom, where he has since practiced. His cheerful smile, gentile countenance and his quiet sympathy are known to you all. I knew him as a faithful student, you know him as a thorough and skillful physician and as a citizen, who is always foremost in all that tends to the well-being of the community.
Such, briefly is the history of the doctors of Epsom. They were men of influence as well as physicians and occupied many positions of honor and trust, and many of them, who sought larger fields, attained a high position in their profession. They were men, whose duties did not exist only in the dispensing of drugs, but embraced a wider sphere, a broader field of action, services actuated by patriotism, humanity, kindness and love of all which was most ennobling and for the best interest of the community.
These acts of kindness and love have caused their memories to be transmitted to posterity. Daniel Webster fully appreciated this work when he said, "If we work upon marble it will perish. If we work upon brass, time will efface it, if we rear temples they will crumble to dust, but if we work upon our immortal minds, if we imbue them with principles, with the just fear of God and our fellowmen, we engrave on these tablets something that will brighten to all eternity."
The old Epsom stock, it improves greatly on acquaintance. May it retain its identity and its integrity and continue to exert a somber and healthful influence in the shifting population through generations to come. No son of Epsom is or need be ashamed of the home of his fathers.
The speakers of the day have told us of the town as she was and as she is, but she speaks for herself. New Hampshire has sent her sons into every State in the Union, and everywhere they have maintained a high standard of integrity and ability. To this number Epsom has furnished more than her full quota.
"Princes and lords may flourish and may fade. A breath can make them as a breath has made.
But a good yeomanry, that country's pride, When once, destroyed, can never be supplied."