xt7f7m03z430 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7f7m03z430/data/mets.xml Barkley, A. H. (Archibald Henry), 1872- 1913  books b92-83-27375734 English C.J. Krehbiel, : Cincinnati, O. : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Surgeons Kentucky Biography. Lithotomy. McDowell, Ephraim, 1771-1830. Dudley, Benjamin W. (Benjamin Winslow), 1785-1870. Bush, James Mills, 1808-1875. Peter, Robert, 1805-1894. Kentucky's pioneer lithotomists  / by A.H. Barkley. text Kentucky's pioneer lithotomists  / by A.H. Barkley. 1913 2002 true xt7f7m03z430 section xt7f7m03z430 

Kentucky's Pioneer


A. H. BARKLEY, M. D., (HON.) M. C.
            LEXINGTON, KY.

   American Medical Association,
      Congress Surgeons of Nortk America,
         Mississippi Palley Medical Association,
            Kentucky State Medical Society,
               Kentucky Palley Medical Society,
                    Fayette County Medial Swciy.

 C. J. KREHBIEL  COMPANY, Publishers
            CINCINNATI, OHIO


   COPYRIGHT 1913,


          This book
  is most respectfully dedicated
            to the
Pioneer Surgeons of Kentucky,
        who contributed
  so much to the advancement
       of surgery in this

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T HE author, in presenting this little
    book to the profession, was prompted
to do so some time ago by being pre-
sented with many interesting specimens,
diplomas and instruments, along with
much valuable information, by Miss
Nannie M. Bush, a daughter of Dr. J.
M. Bush, who knew these great surgeons
and was thoroughly conversant with
their lives.
  It is only proper that some recognition
should be taken of these men and their
achievements, and to this end the author
has in a feeble way attempted to place
before the profession the incidents which
occurred in their lives.
  He feels much indebtedness to Miss
Bush, to Prof. L. E. Nollau for excellent
photographs, and also to Miss Dalton,
the typist who rendered much valuable
                    A. H. BARKLEY.
Lexington, Ky.,
    138 North Upper Street.

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i. Dr. Ephraim McDowell .................. 19
2. Lithotomy Instruments which McDowell
      used when he operated on President James
      K. Polk .............
3. McDowell's Residence and Office in Danville,
      Kentucky ............................. 45
4. Monument erected to Dr. McDowell by the
      Kentucky State Medical Society ....... 47
5. Dr. Benjamin Winslow Dudley ...........   57
6. Portable Microscope purchased by Dr. Dud-
      ley in Paris in i812 .................... 77
7. Instruments used by Dr. Dudley .......... 8i
8. Forceps used by Dudley in Lithotomy Opera-
      tions ............................. ... 83
9. Stones removed by Dr. Dudley ........... 87
10.           "...........                    89
I1.                                 ............................... 9 3
12.                                   ......  95
13. Fairlawn, the Residence of Dr. B. W. Dudley  99
14. The last Resting Place of Dr. B. W. Dudley. .ioi
IS. Dr. James M. Bush           .     .      i09
i6. Lithotrites purchased in Paris by Dr. James
      M. Bush ............................... 123
17. Degrees conferred upon Dr. James M. Bush.. 127
18. Honorary Degree from the Medical Society
       of Lexington ........... ................ 1 29
i9. Degree from Transylvania University ...... 133
20. Diploma from the Medico-Chirurgical Society
       of Kentucky ..........................' 35
2I. Residence of Dr. James M. Bush ........... 139
22. Grave of Dr. James M. Bush .............. 141
23. Dr. Robert Peter ........................ 147
24. Transylvania University Medical Hall ...... 53
25. Absolom Driver, Janitor Transylvania Med-
       ical Hall ..............................' 59

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IN presenting the facts concerning Ken-
  tucky's Lithotomists, it is appropriate
and just that something should be said
regarding the time in which these great
men lived, and the environment which
set its impress upon their character. The
picture is full of meaning, dignity, and
simplicity. During a portion of their
career, Kentucky was still a section of
Virginia. The grounds on which they
played as children were occupied by their
fathers under what was known as a
"Tomahawk Claim." Beyond lay end-
less leagues of shadowy forest.
  Illinois had not yet been admitted into
the sisterhood of states. The vast do-
main west of the Mississippi had not
been explored. The city of St. Louis
was but an outpost for traders. The



name of Chicago had not yet been coined.
Fort Dearborn, occupied by two compa-
nies of United States troops, marked a
roll in the prairie among the sloughs
where stands today the Queen and Mis-
tress of the Lakes. Cincinnati had not
yet taken her place on the map, but was
known as Fort Washington. General
Pakenham had not attempted the cap-
ture of New Orleans, and General Jack-
son, who was to drive him with his troop-
ers back to his ships, was unknown to
fame. Wars with Indians were of fre-
quent occurrence. The prow of a steam-
boat had never cut the waters of a west-
ern stream, and the whistle of a locomo-
tive was unheard in this section. There
were only two avenues by which Ken-
tucky could be reached from the East.
One was by the Ohio River; the other
was the Wilderness Road, blazed by
Daniel Boone. The former was covered
by keel-boats, flat-boats and canoes.
The latter was traversed on horseback
or on foot; no wheel had broken it or
been broken by it.
The fathers of these three great west-

I 2



ern surgeons followed this road after
crossing the Alleghenies. They were a
clear-eyed, bold and adventurous people.
They wrested the land from the natives,
made it secure by their arms, and by the
toil of their hands fitted it for its present
civilization. It was in such an atmos-
phere that these heroes in the ruddy
exploits of surgery were reared. From
such ancestors they drew the dauntless
courage which was so often put to the
test in their achievements, the fame of
which will never be effaced by the fingers
of time.
  One is tempted to tarry yet awhile in
the silver moonlight of the years that
are no more, but echoing in our ears come
the warning words of Horace:

"Est brevitati opus, ut currat sententia."


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Chapter I

Ephraim McDowell

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EPHRAIM       McDOWELL      was the
   ninth child, born to his parents,
Samuel and Mary McDowell, on No-
vember ii, 1771, in RockbridgeCounty,
Virginia. He came to Danville, Ken-
tucky, with his father, at the age of thir-
teen, after a most perilous trip through
a country seldom traveled. After en-
countering many hardships and suffering
much privation, they finally reached their
destination, Danville, Kentucky, then
the Athens of the West.
  There is an old saying that blood will
tell; and yet previous accounts of Mc-
Dowell seem to make little or no men-
tion of the significance of the surname.
It is a modification of the Gaelic Mac
Dughall, or Mac Dougall, meaning son
or descendant of the dark stranger. The
name was given over ten centuries ago


i8 Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists

to Danish settlers in Galloway, that part
of southwestern Scotland which gave
birth to the Revolutionary leader, John
Paul Jones, and the very district where
Robert Burns sleeps the dreamless sleep
that knows no waking. To this day there
are McDowells in the western Scottish
borderland, whose motto is, Vincere vel
mori. Among the English and Scottish
adventurers who settled upon Irish estates
confiscated by the Crown were the pro-
genitors of the subject of this sketch, and
it was from the Emerald Isle that a later
generation set sail for America. Finally
the surgeon with the Scottish surname
finds himself in the new Kentucky home.
  When McDowell was a mere child he
showed traits that were destined to
evolve a great man. He developed early
into a strikingly handsome young man,
being tall, very erect, black-eyed and of
gracious manners.  He was indeed a
commanding figure in any circle in which
he chose to move. He was a splendid
conversationalist, well informed on all
the leading topics of the day, a great
lover of music, although not himself a


Dr. Ephraim McDowell

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Kentucky's Pioneer Lith/otomists 21

musician, a strong admirer of everything
pertaining to nature, and more especially
of flowers, for which he had unusual
fondness. In fact, he was a man of fine
sense, with a well-poised mind and keen
perceptions, readily appreciative of every-
thing that was good and beautiful.
  Shortly after coming to Kentucky he
entered school such as the neighborhood
at that time afforded. Later he went to
Georgetown, Kentucky, twelve miles
north of Lexington, where he entered the
well-known school of Worley and James.
  Here he remained, closely applying
himself for some time, and later went to
Staunton, Virginia, where he began the
study of medicine in the office of Dr.
Humphrey. He studied daily under Dr.
Humphrey for two or three years. Little
is known of Humphrey, except that he
enjoyed a good reputation and had a
large practice. McDowell met, in Staun-
ton, Dr. Samuel Brown, who was also a
student under Humphrey.
  Like many other Scots, he had a ready
wit, enjoyed a joke, and would take a
delight in playing innocent pranks on


22 Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists

his friends. He was fond of such athletic
sports as were indulged in in those days.
It is said of him that while attending
school he early became the leader of
those contending for athletic honors.
While studying in Edinburgh he easily
outclassed all rivals at foot racing. In
fact, one of the Edinburgh papers at that
time said of him, "He has a superb
physique, is lithe, and of almost Hercu-
lean strength." Such was a notice that
appeared after he had defeated a half-
dozen of the best runners in Scotland at
that time. McDowell was a diligent
worker, and always kept in mind one
thing, that he expected to study medi-
cine, and to this end he trained himself
most carefully.   In  short, McDowell
practiced what Pope preached in the
familiar lines:
   "A little learning is a dangerous thing;
   Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring."


         Chapter II

Ephraim McDowell pursues the Study of
         Medicine abroad

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A  FTER leaving Staunton, Virginia, in
    company with Samuel Brown, Mc-
Dowell went to Edinburgh, Scotland, in
1793, where he and Brown entered the
University and attended lectures during
the years I793 and 1794. While attend-
ing the University he placed himself under
the renowned surgeon, John Bell, under
whom he took a special course. Dr. Bell
at that time was not connected with the
University, but conducted a private Quiz,
and many of his students, more especially
McDowell and Brown, afterward ac-
quired a national reputation.
  McDowell was devoted to John Bell,
whom he esteemed most highly, and in
after life he frequently referred to Bell
as his "accomplished instructor," and it
may be said, without fear of contradic-


z6 Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists

tion, that the idea of removing an ovary
had its inception when Bell was lecturing
on diseased ovaries, and spoke of the
utter futility of the methods of treat-
ment then in vogue to relieve such a con-
dition. In the course of his address he
intimated that operation might relieve
the trouble, and at the same time relieve
the patient.
  During this course of lectures, Bell
spent much time on "stone in the blad-
der." McDowell became much inter-
ested, as he did in all things pertaining to
medicine, but especially so in this. Among
other things Bell told them about stone
was the fact that it was found in people
residing in a limestone country. This
impressed McDowell, as he came from
a country where limestone was abundant.
He saw John Bell operate for stone twice,
and in both instances successfully. Mc-
Dowell saw much while in Edinburgh
that was of great interest and help to
him in after life, as the clinics were the
largest of any university abroad, and the
faculty was composed of men of great
reputation.  Such were the conditions


    Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists  27

under which McDowell pursued and com-
pleted his medical education.
  It might be added that keeping Mc-
Dowell abroad worked quite a hardship
on his father, who was a man in moderate
circumstances, and in letters written
McDowell by his father he was always
admonished to make the best of what
money he sent him.

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           Chapter III

McDowell returns from Edinburgh and begins
      Practice in Danville, Kentucky

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A FTER a long and rough voyage, Mc-
    Dowell finally landed in this country
and went direct to Danville, Kentucky,
to begin the practice of medicine in 1795.
Coming as he did at that time from one
of the foremost schools of medicine in
the world to a place like Danville, where
few practitioners could boast of attend-
ing t"he best schools in this country, to
say nothing of going abroad to study, at
once placed McDowell in the front rank
of his profession in the community in
which he lived, not uninterfered with,
however, by envy and jealousy. His
reputation rapidly spread throughout the
South and West, and it was only a short
time before he was acknowledged to be
the best surgeon west of Philadelphia.


32 Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists

   McDowell read Nl the current medical
literature and bought new books, which
he frequently consulted. He possessed
a good library for the time and spare mo-
ments usually found him reading. He
never would operate on any case, how-
ever trivial, without consulting the best
surgical thought. It cannot be claimed
for him that he was a highly educated
man. He possessed, however, a good
share of common sense, was a man of
keen perceptions, had an inquiring mind,
a retentive memory, and exercised judg-
ment in everything that he undertook.
  He was a man of pleasing manners,
especially so in the sickroom, quiet, gen-
tle and unassuming, never forcing his
opinions on others, as is sometimes the
case with men who occupy positions of
like character and dignity.
  He had strong convictions, and when
he felt he was right nothing could shake
him, although willing to be convinced of
error. It is said of him that when called
into consultation, he acted with the ut-
most fairness to the physician, the pa-
tient or his friends, never losing sight of


Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists 33

the fact that the patient had certain
rights; that is, that the patient should
know his true condition when possible.
  He abhorred deception and would
promptly refuse to meet a doctor in con-
sultation who was known to practice in
an unprofessional way. Above all else,
he despised quacks and charlatans, and
under no circumstances would he meet
  He had enemies among some of the
best professional men, not because of
any unprofessional act of his, but because
of the jealousy that is apt to sprout in
the heart of frail humanity.
  Animosity, happily, grew less as time
went on, and his true worth became
known. He made friends and held them
to him. He had the happy faculty, so
necessary in the medical profession, of
remembering names and faces. For in-
stance, a lady came to Danville to con-
sult him regarding herself. When she
visited the doctor, he, without hesita-
tion, called her by name and asked about
the health of her sister, upon whom he
had operated a number of years previous.


34 Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists

  He was a man of exemplary habits,
and was never known to use profane lan-
guage or to indulge in coarse or vulgar
stories. He did not use tobacco and
often said he could not conceive how
any person could chew the weed. He
would occasionally take a small glass of
cherry bounce or whisky after he had
experienced any unusual exposure. He
was, however, very temperate in all
things, even in eating, in which so many
  By this time McDowell had acquired
a wide reputation as a surgeon and felt
the need of a helpmeet. He was intro-
duced to Miss Shelby, a daughter of
Governor Shelby, a charming and highly
educated young woman. Their friend-
ship finally developed into true love,
and in i8oz they were married at the
home of the bride's parents, a few miles
from Danville, Kentucky.
  McDowell's people were strict Pres-
byterians, and why, with such influence,
he did not affiliate with them is not
known. While he was religiously in-
clined, he did not become a member of


Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists  35

any church until after his marriage to
Miss Shelby. Her influence over him
was great, and shortly after their union
he joined the Episcopal Church, of which
his wife was a devout member. There-
after he took a great interest in church
affairs. He contributed liberally toward
its support, as is attested by the fact
that he donated the grounds upon which
the Episcopal Church in Danville now
  His home life was pleasant. He was
a devoted husband and loving father,
and notwithstanding his extensive prac-
tice, which often called him a hundred
miles or more from home, and would
cause him to be absent for days, he never
lost sight of the family circle. Indeed,
all his spare time was spent in the bosom
of his family, often surrounded by loving
and admiring friends.
  He found much satisfaction in beauti-
fying his home, and would watch with
interest and profit the development of
his stock and the cultivation of his land.
He had an overseer for his farm, as it
was impossible for him to devote his


36 Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists

time to his farm, owing to his large prac-
tice. He owned slaves, as did every
Southern gentleman at that time, but did
not traffic in them, as he never thought
it right to separate families. His slaves
were devoted to him, as he ministered
to their wants, never forgetting that they
wee human.
  McDowell had many warm friends in
Danville, and occupied an enviable place
in the community, being one of the orig-
inal incorporators and curators of Center
College. He was also a prominent church-
man, and, in fact, co-operated in every
movement for the betterment of the
community. Still, he had many things
to annoy him. For instance, some of the
negroes were afraid of him and would
seldom venture out after dark unless it
was known he was out of town. They
believed he possessed some supernatural
power and would cut them up for pas-
time. This was instilled into them by
their masters who did not like him. An-
other story that irritated him was that
Mrs. McDowell had been poisoned by a
medical student in the doctor's office,


Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists 37

who was alleged to be none other than
a young woman dressed in man's cloth-
ing. This story was accepted by some
of the credulous, and not until after the
student had married and become a father
would they believe otherwise.  Most
eminent men have to endure the tattle
of a small town.
  McDowell was considered by all com-
petent judges to be the most expert man
with the scalpel in the whole South and
West in his day. He performed many
difficult operations with success. He had
already gained a great reputation by the
time he performed the operation of
Ovariotomy on Mrs. Crawford, and while
this brought him into the limelight, it
also provoked adverse criticism.  In-
deed, the fact that he really did perform
the first Ovariotomy was not settled
until some years afterward. He exer-
cised good judgment, and never per-
formed any operation, however trivial,
without consulting the best authorities,
rehearsing each step in the operation
with his assistants. He usually had two
or three students whom he required to


38 Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists

give a succinct account of the anatomy
of the parts involved in the operation
as well as the technic as practiced in that
  Aside from his reputation as an Ovari-
otomist, he also was widely known as a
Lithotomist, and probably had the best
record of any man at that time practic-
ing Lithotomy. He performed twenty-
eight operations for Lithotomy without
a single death. This record was probably
not equalled by any of his contempora-
ries and by few even at the present day.
All these operations he performed for
stone in the bladder up to I828, and
among this number was one patient who
afterward became prominent. This was
President James K. Polk, who came to
Danville, Kentucky, in i812, and placed
himself under McDowell. Polk was sev-
enteen years old and after undergoing
the operation known as Lateral Lith-
otomy, he returned home entirely re-
stored to health., He had suffered from
stone in the bladder since he was eleven
years old, and upon arriving in Danville
he weighed, it is said, eighty-five pounds.


Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists 39

So great had been his suffering and so
much was he impaired in health, that
McDowell kept him for some time before
operating, preparing him for the ordeal.
This was his practice in every case.
  Polk wrote McDowell a letter dated
from Maury County, West Tennessee,
December 3, i812, in which he informed
McDowell of the progress of his cure and
feelingly expressed his gratitude for the
services which he had received at the
noted surgeon's hands. The bad or-
thography and worse grammar contained
in this letter constitute a strong contrast
to the contents of one which he wrote to
McDowell fourteen years later when he
represented Tennessee in the Congress of
the United States.  The second was
written with accuracy and even eloquence.
  McDowell had met Polk before, for
when he was five -years old McDowell
cured him of a hernia-we are not told
by what method, but probably by pres-
sure, which was extensively practiced in
those days. The instruments that Mc-
Dowell used in his operation on Polk are
shown on page 41, and were given by


40 Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists

McDowell to Dr. B. W. Dudley, of Lex-
ington, Kentucky, and Dudley later gave
them to his partner, Dr. Jas. M. Bush,
in whose family they have been since Dr.
Bush's death, until Miss Nannie M.
Bush presented them to the author,
along with many other treasures belong-
ing to Drs. Dudley and Bush.
  It may be said of Ephraim McDowell
that he was certainly "a man among
men." He was a man who used his tal-
ents to the best possible advantage and
accomplished much thereby. When we
stop to think of the time in which he
lived, the meager opportunities for inter-
course with other physicians, the poor
facilities for travel, the crude ideas they
had of certain diseases, the unsettled
state of many things that pertained to
medicine, arid above all, the fact that
anaesthesia was not known, it is difficult
to comprehend the depth of his native
  It has been declared that were it pos-
sible for such men as McDowell and his
contemporaries to come back, they would
not know how to conduct themselves in


    Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists 41

Lithotomy Instruments which McDowell used when
   he operated on President James K. Polk

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Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists  43

a modern hospital. This is not a tenable
view from the fact that they accom-
plished so much with so little outside
help; for it must be remembered there
were no research laboratories or other
sources of help such as we now enjoy,
and it is not possible to conceive what
they might have accomplished had they
been more fortunately situated.  Too
much credit cannot be given such men,
as it is largely through their pioneer ef-
forts that many of the sound surgical
principles practiced at the present day
have been evolved.
  The later years of McDowell's life
were spent on a beautiful farm which he
purchased near Danville, Kentucky. He
died on June 20, i830, after a brief ill-
ness, of what the attending physicians
diagnosed as acute inflammation of the
stomach. He died surrounded by his
devoted wife and family. His death
occurred toward the close of the eve-
ning, and it was one of the most heavenly
of all midsummer twilights. Fanned as
it were by the zephyr breezes, the spirit
of this great and good man passed from
his earthly possessions.


44 Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists

  When the great surgeon had passed
away, the medical profession of this
country had sustained a great loss, and
many a sigh was heaved when the sad
thought came that it would be a long
time before his mantle would find worthy
shoulders.  He has been followed by
many Lithotomists and Gynecologists
whose work has added luster and fame
to American surgery; but it is doubtful
if the names of any of them will last
longer than that of this kindly western
surgeon, who chose for his life's work a
place far removed from the populous
centers of surgical thought. It is to be
hoped that the time will never come
when the name of such a benefactor will
be buried in oblivion.
  The illustration on page 45 shows Mc-
Dowell's home and office in Danville,
Kentucky, where he first began practice.
The house is still standing, though in
rather a dilapidated condition. To the
right will be seen a small one-story build-
ing. This was his office, and it was in
this office, in the front room, where he
performed most of his Lithotomies and

Kentucky's Pioneer Litltotomists 45

        And; . z00am  At. 

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Monument erected to Dr. Ephraim McDowell by the
         Kentucky State Medical Society

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Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists 49

where he operated on James K. Polk,
hlow afterward became President of the
United States. It was also in this same
room where he operated on Mrs. Craw-
ford for Ovariotomy for the first time in
the history of the world.
  The idea of erecting a monument to
McDowell for his many achievements as
a surgeon originated with the late Dr.
John D. Jackson, also of Danville, Ken-
tucky. Dr. Jackson brought this to the
attention of the American Medical So-
ciety and also before the Kentucky State
Medical Association. Dr. Jackson died,
however, some time afterward, but funds
were raised throughout the country, and
at the dedication many notable men occu-
pied seats on the platform, such as Drs.
Samuel D. Gross, Whittaker, Seely,
Ayres, Stevens, Lewis A. Sayre and V. P.
Gibney, besides members of the Ken-
tucky State Medical Society, the Gov-
ernor of the State and others notable in
their respective vocations.
  The dedication of the monument took
place on May 4, i879, in Danville, Ken-
tucky. The monument is a tall shaft


50 Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists

of Virginia granite. A bronze medallion
of McDowell adorns one side and be-
neath the medallion is his monogram
with the words, "Honor to whom honor
is due." On the front is inscribed, "A
grateful profession reveres his memory
and treasures his example," and on the
opposite side are the words, "Erected
by the Kentucky State Medical Society,
i879." On the western face is inscribed
his place and date of birth and the date
of his settlement in Danville, Kentucky.
The monument is located near the center
of the city in a small park.
  At the dedication of this monument
the late Dr. Samuel D. Gross delivered
an eloquent address. The late Dr. Cowl-
ing presented Dr. Gross with the "door-
knocker" from McDowell's front door.
Gross responded in a most touching man-
ner, saying he would ever keep sacred
the memento presented to him on this
memorable occasion, that it would be
placed under lock and key with other
valuables which he prized, that it should
always remain in his family, and would
ever be dear to him, as around it clustered


     Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists 51

so much medical history of an almost
forgotten past.
  In bidding farewell to this valiant,
kindly healer of men, it will not harm
us to glance at the simple picture of Hope
thrown upon the screen by Byron-

"White as a white sail on a dusky sea,
  When half the horizon's clouded and half free,
  Fluttering between the dun wave and the sky,
  Is hope's last gleam in man's extremity."

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     Chapter I

Dr. Benjamin Winslow Dudley

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No man ever lived, however great his
    achievements, whose place could not
be filled. With the passing of McDowell
from the surgical world there was re-
moved a man who stood in a class by
himself, and it was many years before
the gap in the surgical ranks was filled;
but it was filled, and by a man who per-
formed many wonderful feats for his
time. This man was none other than
Dr. Benjamin Winslow Dudley.
  Dr. Dudley was born in Spottsylvania
County, Virginia, April 12, 1785, and like
McDowell he came to Kentucky with
his father, Ambrose Dudley, when but
a little over one year of age. Dudley's
people in Virginia were held in high es-
teem, and his father was widely known
as a Baptist minister, logical and elo-


56 Kentucky's. Pioneer Lithotomists

  Dudley's parents settled to the east
of Lexington, Kentucky, on May 3, 1786,
after their arrival from Virginia. They
moved into Lexington in I797, when
young Dudley worked in a store owned
by Samuel and George Trotter.
  Dudley also went to a school such as
one might expect among pioneers, and
early in life became interested in thera-
peutics and the cognate branches of sci-
ence. Thereafter he was placed under
the tutelage of Dr. Frederick Ridgley,
who was at that time a well-known physi-
cian in the West. Dr. Ridgley practiced
physic in Lexington, Kentucky, and after
taking young Dudley into his office to
study medicine he gave him every ad-
vantage, being always careful to explain
and make clear the problems that the
ambitious youth did not readily com-
prehend. Dr. Ridgley was himself a
well educated man, and it can be readily
seen that under such a man Dudley ac-
quired considerable knowledge of medi-
cine before entering a Medical College.
It is not known how long he read medi-
cine before he entered college, as it was


Dr. Benjamin Winslow Dudley

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Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists 59

the custom then, as in later years, for a
boy to place himself under a private
  Not much is known of the boyhood
days of Dudley; indeed, it may be said
that he had none, as he entered upon
the study of medicine at an unusually
early age, and applied himself so closely
to his studies that he had little time for
the usual sports and pastimes indulged
in by lads of his age.
  Dudley was a man of medium stature,
very erect, with a fair complexion and a
pleasing voice, his face being marked by
lines which indicated a strong character
and his head such as would indicate to a
phrenologist an influential and original
mind. At all times he was exceedingly
polite and was in the habit of using the
broad "a" in his pronunciation. He was
a man of intense likes and dislikes. He
made friends slowly, but when he made
a friend he made one for life. He treated
his enemies, who were few, with a cordial
hatred.  He despised deception and
quackery and always stood for what
seemed right and just in all dealings with


6o Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists

his fellow man. He affiliated with no
secret orders and was not a member of
any church, though he always kept a
pew and attended, when possible, the