Abbildungen der Seite

1847, to Samuel Field, merchant, of Philadelphia. Mary is in the communion of Rev. Dr. Bethune’s church. VII. Susan NA Ann, seventh child of Robert and Amy Patterson, was born August 25, 1790; and died August 1, 1795. She is represented as a very interesting and bright little girl, a favourite of brothers and sisters; knew half of the Shorter Catechism; and was as likely to live as any. But in the course of human life it is so, that death claims a share from among the little children, and in a large family, some are almost sure to fall early. Her disease was croup. VIII. The youngest of the children, Elizabeth MATILDA, (usually known by the second name) was born February 13, 1794. Being so much younger than her sisters, who were all married before she had grown up, and her mother being now well advanced in years, she fell heir at an early age to the cares and honours of the house; and to the handsome fulfilment of this duty, then and since, a constitutional love of order and neatness has successfully contributed. It is hardly neccessary to say, that she received the best education which the city afforded; and from what has been shown of her father's house, it seems equally unnecessary to add, that she possessed all the advantages of a refined circle of society, and of Christian training and example. A considerable repugnance to life in the country, was vanquished by an agreeable offer from that direction; especially as the proposed migration, though “to the westward,” was not to a cabin in Illinois, but to a mansion in the valley of Chester; a rich and charming region, then distant only sixteen miles, now (by the railroad) only an hour, from Philadelphia. On the 20th April, 1820, she was united in marriage (my father officiating) with Dr. WILLIAM HARRIs; of whom, and whose parentage, we have somewhat to say. From that enterprising and prolific hive in Northern Ireland, which has furnished America with so many good citizens, came Thomas Harris, in the early tide of emigration, and settled in the fertile valley just mentioned, where he became a large landholder. On the same soil his son William was reared; a lad, who at the age of eighteen, found himself strong enough, and in his country's cause willing enough, to bear the brunt of war. He joined the revolutionary army at the interesting period when Washington was slowly forcing the enemy out of Jersey; took part in several memorable battles; and in fact continued in the service until the close of the war. He came back to the homestead and the plough; got married, and reared a family of six sons; and had he lived to this day, to see what stations they fill in life,” would have acknowledged that republics are grateful, or that Providence is kind. His wife was Mary, daughter of Rev. John Campbell, Presbyterian minister at Charlestown, in the same neighbourhood. She was yet but two years old, when her father, reading from the pulpit a verse in metre from the 116th Psalm—“precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints”—dropped down, and presently expired.t To this sudden and appalling termination of a life of forty years, her own case was in entire contrast. She had been twenty-five years a widow, and was in her eighty-fourth year, when, in 1838, she was quietly called away. She was for many years a member of Great Walley Presbyterian church. Her husband (usually spoken of as General Harris, having passed to that rank as a citizen soldier since the war) died in 1812, in his 53d year. At the time of his death, he was a member of the State Legislature. WILLIAM, their third son, was born August 18, 1792. After receiving a classical education at Brandywine Academy, he entered upon the study of medicine, and took the degree of M. D. at the University of Pennsylvania in 1812—at an earlier age than the regulations allow. He entered upon the practice, in his own neighbourhood; and if, for eight years, he deferred an almost indispensable requisite for a full doctor, it was not for want of prosperity in his profession. Having purchased a house and farm in an eligible position, and “taken to himself a wife,” his business continued to progress, until it reached as large a compass as he was capable of fulfilling, and as extensive and lucrative as can well be attained in a country place. His range of daily and nightly travel ran over a circuit of about six miles from his own house, in every direction, with occasional calls still farther; and this in a populous and wealthy district. He had also, continually, a number of students under his instruction, and generally under his roof. When a man has arrived at this point of consideration, his character and influence commonly induce other demands, and other engagements, than those which are merely professional. After some years' service as captain of a troop of horse, he was chosen colonel of the Chester county regiment of volunteers, a very respectable command, which he retained until his removal from the county. Owning and superintending an extensive dairy farm (156 acres), he took hold of agriculture as a science, and availed himself of every improvement to bring the place into the finest order. He was consequently well known amongst liberal cultivators, and was an active member, and a vice-president, of the Pennsylvania Agricultural Society. His influence was also felt in the church. About five years after their marriage, Mrs. Harris, after a long consideration, and much feeling, on the subject of religion, made profession of her faith. Some four years later, her husband came to the same decision, and united with the Presbyterian church under the care of Rev. Dr. William Latta. He was chosen ruling elder in the same congregation, not long after. If to these things we were to add a description of his elegant place, of the surrounding country, of the state of society, and of other advantages, we should show reasons enough why the doctor and his family might wish, as no doubt they did expect, to continue in that location indefinitely. But we are not our own masters, and the smallest incident may suffice to overturn all our expectations. In their case, we may say, the mere hoisting of an umbrella, changed entirely the scenes and plans of life; and if this change was beneficial, it is none the less impressive, as a lesson upon the uncertainty of human affairs. How small a hold have we upon any thing, if a mere flurry of wind can bring us to the ground, to rise again in a new and strange place, to renew the battle of life in a most doubtful arena Ž On a cloudy morning, in May, 1833, the doctor mounted his horse to start upon the usual round of visitation. The animal was young and gay, and so much the more to the rider's mind. As the doctor was seating himself in the saddle, a gust of wind forced open his umbrella; the horse, startled by the sight and sound, made a sudden plunge, and threw his rider, nearly head-foremost, upon a heap of stones. Had it only finished his plans for the day, it were of little moment; it had like to have terminated his days. He was carried into the house ; and to his own apprehension, and in the fears of the family, and of medical attendants, was a dying man. The fluctuations of the sick bed were afterwards fully detailed by the patient himself, in an article which may be read in a medical journal.” But the statement is professional and technical, and we see there nothing of the anxieties, the heartstrokes, attendant upon his precarious state. The family was not consigned to widowhood and orphanage. The doctor slowly recovered; but his stature, hitherto erect, was slightly bent forward; there was something not right, either at the spine or in the heart. The toils and jolts of riding about the country, became all but intolerable; and after the deliberations of a year, he resolved to seek relief in an easier sphere of practice, where population is condensed, and streets are paved. It was a confident movement, to come to a place already overstocked with physicians, many of whom would have been satisfied to exchange for a fragment of what he was leaving. But in 1834, we find him a Philadelphia doctor, established in Spruce street. The following year, he purchased a house in Walnut street, corner of Twelfth ; there he has since resided, and in the rapid and solid accumulation of business, has exceeded all expectations, and probably rivalled any other experience. We have not much more to add. Besides his round of practice, he is engaged in a summer course of lectures, and constantly trains a few students for graduation. His eldership in the country church being vacated by removal, he was elected to the same office in the Tenth Presbyterian church. An injury to his knee, which happened while getting into his carriage (December, 1838), though it laid him by for some weeks, had a good effect upon the weakness in his back; so that he now enjoys good health, except from an occasional attack of rheumatism, which neither gives nor receives any quarter. His habits are active to the last degree; and his energies are ever ready to promote the interests of a friend, or of the public, as well as those of his own house. He writes occasionally for the press, on medical subjects, and has recently edited, with approbation, a reprint of an important and considerable French work. A series of original lectures on a kindred subject, published by request of his class, was also well received. Dr. Harris has had six children. 1. EMMA Ewing, was born January 27, 1821. At the age of nineteen, she made profession of religion, in the Tenth Presbyterian church of Philadelphia. On the 25th April, 1844, she was married to Dr. Nathan D. Benedict, of the same city. Dr. Benedict comes from a highly respectable New York family,” who have set us an example in tracing and recording their own genealogy; so that his children will be able (in due time) to study their descent on both sides. His paternal grandfather was a Congregationalist minister in Connecticut; his father, Mr. Robert Benedict, is a farmer in Otsego county, New York, not far from Utica. Dr. B. was born April 7, 1815, in Tompkins county of that state, but removed, or was moved, at the age of two years, to Otsego ; which he rather looks upon as his startingplace. He was prepared for college at the seminary of Rev. Dr.

* Campbell and James are substantial farmers on the Genesee flats, New York; the former is father-in-law of the present Governor (Young) of that state. Thomas, one of our most eminent medical men, is chief of the bureau of medicine and surgery in the navy. John is major of marines; an elevated grade in that branch of the service. Stephen is a well-established physician in the Great Valley. f Since the above was written, the following was found in No. 18, of “Glances at the Past,” a series of original articles in the Presbyterian. “In May, 1747, Charlestown and New Providence petitioned New Brunswick Presbytery, that if Mr. John Campbell was licensed at that meeting, he might be sent as their supply. He was born in Scotland in 1713, came to America in 1734, studied at the Log College, and was licensed October 14, 1747. He immediately accepted the call from Charlestown and New Providence, and was installed on the 27th of the month he was licensed. He was struck with palsy in the pulpit, on the first of May, 1753, while commencing the morning services, and giving out these words in the 116th Psalm : Dear in thy sight, is thy saints' death, Thy servant, Lord, am I.’”

* Medical Examiner, Vol. II., 1839.

* Among his near connexions, are Mr. James Brown, and Rev. Drs. Nott and Phinney, of New York; Mr. James Neilson, and Rev. Dr. Miller, of New Jersey; Bishop Potter, and Mr. James Hunter, of Pennsylvania.

« ZurückWeiter »