Lake County Ohio GenWeb
From The Painesville Telegraph, Painesville, Ohio, August 1, 1867, and reprinted by Phyllis Williams in the July 1987 Newsletter of the Lake County Genealogical Society, later "LakeLines". Retranscribed by Cynthia Turk.
Dr. A. Merriman, of Madison, O., whose death was noticed in the last week's issue, was born in Dutton, Berkshire County, Mass., on the 14th of July, 1795. He was the son of a farmer, and at an early age manifested a desire to becme a physician. But it seems likely that he was indebted more to the influence of an incidental circumstance for his success in becoming a student of medicine, than to the strength of his desire. A man of his neighborhood had, in accidentally cutting his foot, divided an important blood vessel, while the only physician of the town was far away. In spite of the dressings applied by the frightened neighbors, the wound continued to bleed so rapidly as to threaten the man with immediate death.
Dr. M., then a lad of some dozen years, concluded that the blood could not as easy run up hill as down, caused the wounded man to lie down, and taking the foot in hand, stood and held it up as high as the length of the limb would allow, till surgical help could be obtained. The Doctor on arriving, was so much pleased with the philospoy of the plan and the success that attended its execution, that he took the lad home with him, insisting that he must become a doctor as soon as he should become of suitable age.
After persuing the study of latin for some time, under the instruction of the parish minister, he commenced the study of medicine in the office of Dr. Dorance, with whom he remained several years and subsequently closed his term of study by attending a course of lectures delivered by Dr. Hosack in the Medical College of New York.
In the spring of 1817 he left his New England home and arrived in Madison, O., on the 17th of June, being then in the 22d year of his age. Here, he said, he stuck his stake, determined to revolve around it so long as there was disease to combat, or pain to subdue.
Fifty years have witnessed the carrying out of this resolution, with a record of labor performed, of hardships endured, that few, if any in the State of Ohio, can equal.
To measure the magnitude of his labors and hardships, we must go back to that time when the Indian's hunting grounds had but recently passed into the possession of a few widely scattered inhabitants, many of whom were too poor to have any title to the land they occupied, living in log cabins, with few of the necessaries of life, and none of its comforts - when there were few roads and no bridges, rendering it necessary to swim rivers, ford creeks, and then pursue the line of travel through undrained swamps and impenetrable forests still tenanted by the bear, the wolf, and the panther, while with a sharp eye he must keep a look out for the marked trees that are to keep the woodsman on his course. Under these circumstances it was not strange that Dr. Merriman could say, in the language of one of old, that he was "in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils in the wilderness, in werariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness," - for in spite of his vigilance he occasionally found himself "lost in the woods," and there with no company but his horse, and with no music but that of the wolves, he had upon one occasion to remain through a long winter's night. But never did he suffer darkness, nor storms, nor tempests to stand betwist him and his patient. But disease and pain - and sometimes poverty - seemed to be, under all circumstancs, the only conditions necessary to secure his immediate attendance. We say povetry, because we have known him not only to give his professional servics to the poverty stricken, but also to hire a nurse to administer his proscriptions.
Indeed, it did not seem so much to be his desire to practice medicine for a livng, as to live to practice medicine on the principles illustrated in the character of the good Samaritan. In this particular he undoubtedly loved his neighbor better than himself - otherwise he would have been the most wealthy citizen of his town.
But not with the discharge of his professional duties did he allow his responibilities to end. He was foremost in every good enterprise, whether religious, educational, or for public convenience.
Said an old citizen on the day of his funeral: "A few years ago there was not a bridge within a circuit of ten miles that Dr. Merriman did not help build or a bad piece of road that he did not contribute largely to repair." but his toils and exposures seemed too much for even a good constitution.
Death did not wait for his system to wear out with old age, but employed disease to hasten his exit from a world of toil to a land of peaceful rest, at the age of 73 years.
Dr. Merriman possessed a genial nature, which never failed to draw to his side kind and true friends, those that could weep with him in affliction and rejoice with him in prosperity. He moreover possessed an unblemished christian character, having spent nearly fifty years in training himself to walk in the footsteps of Him who went about doing good. And if patience and resignation through a long and painful sickness is an evidence of a successful training, then may we hope that he has found a home among the pure in heart, and the celestially virtuous in the "mansions of rest."
In his departure, a widow, four daughters, and a host of loving friends are left to mourn, remembering that the last end
"of the good man is peace. How calm his exit;
Night dews fall not more gentle to the ground,
Nor weary, worn-out winds expire so soft.
Behold him in the evening-tide of life -
A life well spent - whose early care it was,
Its riper years should not upbraid its green.
By unperceived degrees he wears away,
Yet like the sun seems larger at his setting."
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