Thomas W. Blatchford, A. M.
Thomas W. Blatchford

Information on this page is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.

THOMAS W. BLATCHFORD, A. M. was born July 20, 1794, in Topsham, Devonshire, England. His father removed to the United States, and subsequently, in 1804, took charge of the united congregations of Presbyterians of Lansingburgh and Waterford, N. Y. In 1812 he attended medical lectures in the "New Institution," New York, of which Dr. Nicholas Romeyn was president. In November, 1813, he matriculated at the "College of Physicians and Surgeons," and in 1814 he was appointed resident physician of the New York State prison in Greenwich. In 1815 he visited Europe, and while there he attended in London two courses of medical lectures at the United Schools of Guy's and St. Thomas's hospitals, given by Sir Astley Cooper and Professor Cline. In 1816 he returned to New York, where he graduated at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1817. After practicing for some time in New York, he removed to Jamaica, L. I., where he practiced for nine years. After the death of his father he removed to Troy in May, 1828. When he first came to Troy, he was not as successful as was expected by those who induced his coming, as the best practice of the city was monopolized by three or four popular physicians.

It is said that he even thought of returning to his former home on Long Island. He soon, however, entered upon an extensive and lucrative practice, and became known in the profession as one skilled in diagnosis, and whose counsel was sought after by the younger physicians of his day.

His habits of early rising, industry, and methodical arrangement of his daily duties permitted him to accomplish a great amount of work in his lifetime. He was much interested, while he lived, with the affairs of the Marshall Infirmary. The lunatic asylum connected with this institution was originated by him. At his death he left his medical library of over 600 volumes to the infirmary, and which gift is now known as "the Blatchford Medical Library of the Marshall Infirmary."

He was for seven years connected with the board of education of this city, and, with the exception of seventeen months of that time, was its presiding officer. In 1862 the Fourth Ward school was named the "Blatchford School," in honor of his eminent services in the cause of public education in this city. He was also for several years a trustee of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and of the Troy Female Seminary. In 1828 he became a member of the Presbyterian Church, and in 1839 was ordained a ruling elder, which position he held to the end of his life.

Dr. Blatchford was the author of a number of excellently prepared papers and essays: "Inaugural Dissertation on Feigned Diseases," 1817; "Letter on Corsets," 1823; "Letters to Married Ladies," 1825; "Homeopathy Illustrated," 1842; "Equivocal Generation," 1844; "Inaugural Address before the Medical Society of the State of New York;" "Two Cases of Hydrophobia," 1854; "Report on Hydrophobia," 1856, by which he was made extensively and favorably known to the profession, not only in this country, but also in Europe; and "Report on Rest and the Abolition of Pain as Curative Remedies," 1856.

He died of typhoid pneumonia, Jan. 7, 1866, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

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