Moses Hale
Moses Hale

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

MOSES HALE, M. D., at the time of his death was deemed the "Nestor" of his profession. It was said that he was more generally known in the place than any other man on account of his reputation as a surgeon, and that in "all important surgical cases was, if not the first to be called upon, sure to be the last."

He was born June 12, 1780. He began the study of medicine with Dr. Josiah Kitridge, of Walpole, N. H. In order to make himself more proficient as a student of anatomy and surgery, he became a pupil of the celebrated Dr. Nathan Smith. In 1804 he came to Troy, and, having obtained his license July 12th of that year, began practicing in the village.

In 1818 he, with Prof. Amos Eaton and Dr. Ira M. Wells, of Troy, perfected the incorporation of the Troy Lyceum of Natural History. At the first meeting of the association, Nov. 9, 1818, he was chosen, with Dr. I. M. Wells and Dr. Amatus Robbins, a curator. The Hon. Isaac McConihe, in an address on his life and services before the lyceum, said, "This was a position of great labor, requiring the greatest knowledge of science to superintend and preserve all the property, arrange in cases, name scientifically, and enter into proper books all mineralogical, botanical, and other specimens. Dr. Hale was the first to make a report, and the first who made a donation to the Lyceum of Natural History. Hardly a year elapsed from the commencement before it numbered among its members some of the most celebrated men now in the country, and the publication of its transactions were commented on and printed from one end of the country to the other. This was the first society of the kind in this country. The celebrity of this one brought into existence a thousand others." Dr. Hale was one of the most ardent of its members and supporters, and at his death was its vice president. Several of his essays on scientific subjects are to be found in the transactions of the society published in the Ploughboy, a paper printed in Albany, at that time under the able management of Solomon Southwick.

Dr. Hale was deeply interested in the establishment in 1824 of the "Rensselaer School" (now the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), and was its secretary at the time of his death.

Several times he was elected president of the Rensseler Medical Society, and was frequently sent as a delegate to the State Medical Society, meeting in Albany. In 1830 he was elected a permanent member of the latter body. The University of Vermont conferred upon him the honorary degree of M. D. in 1825, and in the same year he was elected a corresponding member of the French Society of Natural History, of which Baron Cuvier was president.

In his disposition, it is said, Dr. Hale was eminently social and generous. He attached no value to money for itself, but gave it freely with his services to all who were in want. His dress was simple, his manners dignified and courteous, and in his treatment of his patients cheerful and decided. His style of living was plain, with the exception of his table, where he gratified a somewhat Epicurean taste.

Dr. Hale suffered from many years from an aneurysm of the aorta and hypertrophy of the heart, from which he died suddenly on Jan. 3, 1837.

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