Dr. Moses Hale
1780 - 1837
Rensselaer School –
Now Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Moses Hale, MD, was born June 12, 1780 and
died on January 3, 1837.
Doctor Hale began the study of medicine with Dr. Josiah
Kitridge, of Walpole, New Hampshire and became a pupil of
the celebrated Dr. Nathan Smith. In 1804 he came to Troy
and having obtained his license on 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 Rensselaer 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 dimple, 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
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.
NOTE: Death notice for Hale was published in The Troy Daily
Whig on January 3, 4, and 5, 1837.