Physicians And Medical Societies.
We know that Dr. Timon Stiddem accompanied the expedition which brought Governor Rising to our shore, landing at Fort Casimir, May 21, 1654,1 and that he took the oath of allegiance to Peter Stuyvesant in September, 1655, after the Dutch conquest of the colony. Certain it is that Dr. Stiddem resided for some time at Upland, for on the trial of Evert Hendrixson2 for an outrageous assault on Joran Kyn, he was one of the most important witnesses for the prosecution, stating in his testimony that the Finn, at different times, and without cause, came before his (the doctor's) door, where he made a great noise and trouble with his axe; that on one occasion, when he was going in his canoe to bleed Jacob Swenson, Evert stoned him on leaving Upland Kill (Chester Creek), so that he was in fear of having his boat sunk or being himself wounded; that he finally got out of the creek, but he was drenched by the splashing of the stones in the water, and finally "he was compelled to leave Upland's kil" because of this ruffian.
On Dec. 18, 1663, he was appointed by Dr. Jacop, who, it appears, held the appointment of the Dutch Company on the Delaware, as his successor; but D'Hinolossa objected to Dr. Stiddem, whom he regarded as Beekman's friend,3 as previous to that date he had been appointed surgeon for the colony under Beekman's jurisdiction. The doctor settled at Wilmington, and Governor Lovelace, May 23, 1671, patented to him a tract of land on which a great part of that city was subsequently built. He died previous to April 24, 1686, for his will was admitted to probate on that date. Professor Keen4 states that one of the descendants of the doctor now has the metal case, with his name and title engraved upon it, in which he carried his surgical instruments when visiting patients in the Swedish colony.
The next physician in point of time is mentioned by name in a letter from Alricks, May 25, 1657,5 in which he states that Mr. Jan Oosting, the surgeon, has given a memorandum of necessary medicines, and the following year, Oct. 10, 1658, he writes,6 "William Van Rosenberg, who came over as surgeon, put forth sundry claims against the people whom he attended on the passage in as much as his wages did not run at the time on the voyage, and he used his own provisions. There were on board the ship considerable sickness, accidents, and hardships, in consequence of a tedious voyage. One hundred souls required at least a hogshead or two of French wine and one of brandy, and a tub of prunes had also to be furnished for refreshments and comfort to the sick of scurvy and suffering from other troubles through the protracted voyage; for from want thereof the people became so low that death followed, which is a pretty serious matter. Here, on shore, I see clearly that the poor, weak, sick and indigent sometimes have need necessarily of this and that to support them one cannot easily or well refuse, though it be sometimes but a spoonful; frequently repeated it amounts to more than is supposed." Dr. Van Rosenberg, it is believed, was to supersede Dr. Oosting, for Alrichs states that "the barber (surgeon) also speaks of a house which Master Jan occupied being too small for him; he hath a wife, servant and child or children also." Westcott7 states that the doctor who died in the year 1658, as before mentioned, was Dr. Oosting, and the one who was sick was Dr. Van Rosenberg; certain it is the latter was living in 1662.
1 It may be questioned whether the date given as of Dr. Stiddem's arrival is not erroneous. In the deposition of John Thickpenny (New Haven Colonial Record, vol. i. p. 106) it is stated that while George Lamberton and the English settlers, who had been expelled from New Jersey by Governor Printz in 1643, were at Tinicum, Printz's wife and Timothy, the barber (surgeon), strove to get John Woollen drunk by furnishing him a quantity of wine and strong beer, with the intention, while he was intoxicated, of making him say that George Lamberton "had hired the Indians to cut off the Swedes." If the doctor who came with Printz was "Timothy" Stiddem, then he was in New Sweden ten years before the date given in the text, which is the time mentioned by Professor Keen as the probable date of the doctor's arrival on the Delaware. ("Descendants of Joran Kyn," Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. iii. p. 337.)|
2 "Documents relating to the History of the Dutch and Swedish Settlements on Delaware River," vol. xii. p. 424.
3 Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. vii. p. 697.
4 "Descendants of Joran Kyn," by Professor G. B. Keen, Penna, Mag, of Hist., vol. iii. p. 339 (note).
5 "Documentary History of New York," Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. v. p. 288.
6 Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. v. p. 305.
7 History of Philadelphia, chap. lii. (Sunday Dispatch).
Quite early in our annals statutory provision was made respecting the professions, for in the Duke of York's Book of Laws it was declared, so far as this colony was concerned, in 1676, -
"That no Person or Persons whatsoever Employed about the Bed of Men, women or Children, at any time for preservation of Life or health as Chirurgions, Medicines, Physicians or others, presume to Exercise or put forth any Arte Contrary to the known approved Rules of Art in such mistery or Occupation, or Exercise any force, violence or Cruelty upon, or to the Bodice of any whether Young or old; without the advice and Counsell of the such as are skillfull in the same Art (if such may be had) or at least of some of the wisest and gravest then present and Consent of the patient or patients, if they be Mentis Compotes; much less Contrary to such Advice and Consent upon such severe punishment as the nature Of the fault may deserve, which Law nevertheless, is not intended to discourage any from all Lawful use of their skill but rather to encourage and direct them in the right use thereof, and to inhabit and restrain the presumptions arogancy of such as through Confidence of their own skill, or any sinister Respect dare bouldly attempt to Exercise any violence upon or toward the body of young or old, one or other, to the prejudice or hazard of the Life or Limb of man, woman or child."8
|8 Duke of York's Book of Laws, p. 20.|
In 1678/9 Dr. Thomas Spry was a witness in a case tried at Upland on March 12th of that year.
In the Journal of Sluyters and Dankers,9 who visited Tinicum in 1679, it is stated that they met at that island Otto Earnest Cock, a Swede, whom they speak of as "late medicus," indicating that he had been, but was not then, a practicing physician. Before that date, however, we find that at the court held at Upland, Aug. 24, 1672, a petition was presented from certain resident; of Amasland, which clearly indicates that the midwife who gave to that
|9 Journal of Voyage to New York in 1679-80; Memoirs of the Long Island Historical Society, vol. i. p. 177.|