All Biographies

You are here: Home > Major John Farrand Hamilton, U.S.V.     

Major John Farrand Hamilton, U.S.V.

Major John Farrand Hamilton was born at Marbledale, Litchfield County, Connecticut, December 22, 1830; was the eldest son of a father who had inherited the force and nobility of character of his immediate ancestor, Alexander Hamilton, without the environment essential to the development of his splendid powers.

He blessed his son with a large measure of his native virtues; therefore, in the more auspicious sphere of life in which that son moved, the father saw some fruition of his own unsatisfied aspirations.

From a farm-plough John "looked not back," but onward. He strove hard for his academic course, and from such insufficient preparation entered upon the study of medicine at Rush College, Chicago, from which he was graduated in 1854, attracting the favor of his professors, and receiving immediately, through the great Surgeon Brainard, appointment as house-surgeon to the U. S. Marine Hospital, where theories were tested by their practical applicability, and where the young man found in the master-mind no temper for commonplace service.

Care for the disabled toilers of the inland seas was hourly duty. Thus was he disciplined, and soon, like many others, hurried into the vortex of the Civil War.

In the then far-off Colorado he was in August, 1861, appointed surgeon of the first cavalry regiment organized by Governor Gilpin, and sent south to watch Sibley's Texans. At Fort Craig they camped in the sand, and then came inaction, impatience, and suffering.

As the soldiers fared, so fared he, relieving the encroachments of the dreaded scurvy with wild onions and grapes, which he obtained for them. Officially he was upon the commander's staff, but his actual whereabouts during this dreary campaign was at the hospital tent and ambulance.

The ferocious frontiersmen composing that regiment, styled in derision " The Colorado Pet Lambs," doffed their hats with a salute born of true affection when he appeared, because, although he exacted obedience, mercy and justice were ever his religion. Thus he honored the great profession of medicine, of which he was to his last day a reverent disciple.

During the seasons of 1862-63 he guarded his sick on the Rio Grande and dreary plains, as the forces scouted after Texans and Indians, whose coalition threatened to carry New Mexico and Colorado out of the Union.

At the battles of Valverde and Apache Canon he participated, and was then ordered to Denver for promotion as medical director Department of the Plains, General Connor's staff, remaining there upon duty until honorably mustered out Nov. 18, 1865. He then accepted a special commission to Fort Douglas, Utah, which after two years he resigned. He soon engaged in the practice of medicine in Salt Lake, where he gained brilliant advantage from insignificant scientific opportunities, in a field isolated from centers of learning, but which was for him comprehensively the intermountain empire. He established permanently the first of Utah's hospitals, "St. Mark's," under the auspices of the Episcopal mission, extending its gracious ministries to all, regardless of creed.

His observations here upon the action of lead-poison were extensive and his treatment original, having already been adopted as specific by the profession, who regret that he wrote no brochure upon this interesting and obscure disease; indeed, he could not reconcile silence with his ideal helpfulness to his fellows. Lacking the calmness necessary for authorship, he cheerfully accepted toil equally severe, and when importuned to write, remarked, that "if he wrote too little, many doctors wrote too much." He made but few notes of his cases, but was glad to help younger men and lighten their discouragements.

He founded the Salt Lake Medical Society, being twice its president, and promoting that esprit de corps and high standard of professional honor known as the greatest stimulant of individual excellence.

When circumstances suggested he uttered some aphorisms, which are a perfect index of his honest directness and contempt of sophistry, avarice, and cowardice.

" Go to a busy man for a favor."
" I want no widow's cow."
" Death is as much a part of life as living."

Thus this man beloved wrought on modestly, bravely, until the familiar enemy with whom he had so often battled met him in the gate. He saluted the inexorable Commander with a smile of peace, and passed onward beyond bound of mortal record or recall, on April 9, 1892, a faithful member of G. A. R., and Loyal Legion, U. S. A., Commandery of California.

" Laborare est oram"

Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419 pgs.

Related Links:




Access Genealogy
One of the largest websites online providing free genealogy. A must see for Native American research!

Find Your Ancestors at SurnameWeb
The oldest, most complete listings of surnames and related websites online.

Free Family Tree
Family Tree Guide is a quick, simple and free way for you to share your family history. Within minutes, you can have a dynamically driven website that creatively portrays your family tree.

Free Genealogy Charts
These free genealogy charts will enable you to begin development of a notebook in which you can track your ancestry as you research it.

Copyright, 2005-2010 by Webified Development all rights reserved.