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This biography is from ANNALS of the Medical Society of the County of Albany, 1806-1851, by Sylvester D. Willard, M. D.

Jacob Lansing Van Deusen

Jacob L. Van Deusen sprang from the Holland stock, as well known for its manly virtues as its talent and its sturdy patriotism. His father was Jacob Yan Deusen, who was born at Hudson, N. Y., in 1748, and died in 1814. Jacob Lansing was born at Albany, July 17th, 1785. He had but one brother, Abraham, a merchant of large business at Schuylerville.

He received a classical education at the academy of Cambridge, NY. At the close of his academic career, he happily chose the medical profession as his walk, pursuing his studies under Dr. Hunloke Woodruff in the city of Albany. And there too he received his degree, September 8th, 1806. This was granted by the University of the State of New York. On presenting his diploma to the young candidate after he had ably sustained the ordeal of the examination of those days, the Chancellor, John Lansing, Jr. (a kinsman of Dr. Van Deusen's), remarked: " Remember, my young friend, that I have now made a doctor of you, and I trust you will be an honor to your profession." This kindly admonition is well remembered by the then young doctor in his present old age, and his career attests forcibly how faithfully he treasured and acted upon that golden "word in season."

But though well grounded in the rudiments of his calling, Dr. V. D. was not content to commence practice without availing himself of all furtherances to a complete preparation within his reach. Philadelphia was then the seat of the highest medical instruction in the Union; and it need only be said, in proof of this, that the principal lecturers at its college were Drs. Rush, and Physic. Thither he proceeded, therefore, with his friends, Drs. Peter Wendell and Simeon Vedder.

It may be mentioned, as a striking illustration of the difference brought about in 60 years, that the friends were seven days on their voyage from Albany to New York in the good sloop Eagle, Captain Pruyn; and then they were a day and a half crossing New Jersey to Philadelphia—a distance now traveled in three hours by the aid of steam and rail road.

Following his Philadelphia sojourn, Dr. Van Deusen, commenced his active career at Albany, where he practiced twelve years, and among his most pleasing reminiscences are those of his associations with his professional brethren in that city.

The cause that led Dr. Van Deusen to change his field of labor was a pulmonary affection, threatening serious consequences. His friends and associates, Drs. Elias Willard, Townsend, Eights, and Stearns, advised him to go where a country practice would compel exercise and healthful exposure, for it was probably the sedentary and indoor life of a city which was the secret of his illness. He wisely and happily took the counsel, which coincided with his own views, and, accepting an invitation from Gen. Wadsworth and his brother James Wadsworth, located himself at Geneseo in that portion of Western New York then just developing its present vast resources. There he remained some four years, when he providentially changed his abode for the last time, founding his hearthstone at Montague, New Jersey, in the pure air and among the proverbially healthful hills of "old Sussex." And there he completed the faithful work of a life; and there, where he experienced its vicissitudes, its comforts as well as its trials, where his children grew up around him like olive plants, where the first frost of autumn whitened his locks and the snows of winter fell on his head, he still remains.

He was always happily devoted to his profession. He pursued it with his whole heart, and never gave it a half allegiance. Hence he was never a political aspirant, though always ready to meet his duties as a citizen, more especially in the offices connected with schools, which he repeatedly filled. At Albany he was a city physician by appointment, and also held the commission of surgeon to a regiment of artillery, a post tendered to him by Gov. Tompkins. But the one earnest object of his life was the kindly ministrations of his profession to the alleviations of human suffering; and it is the comfort of his genial age to know that he was never allured from his mission by the attractions of place or power, or at the call of vulgar ambition.

Every active mind has its favorite walk; and Dr. Van Deusen's specialty in surgery was in diseases of the eye. He was singularly successful in operations for cataract, effecting numerous cures both by couching and extraction. And it is his comfort to say that he has no inclination to rival the boasts of Baron Wenzer, that in his operations he had "destroyed a hat full of eyes."

Dr. Van Deusen relinquished the practice of his profession about 1860.

He was singularly happy in his family relations, and his children can "rise up and call him blessed." Of his eight sons, six are living; and of those, five are engaged in pursuits closely allied to their father's profession; four of them being druggists at Rondout and Kingston.

Such is the brief outline of a life of earnest usefulness; and he has his reward for his fidelity. The blessing of Heaven is on his head. He is surrounded by affectionate children, loving and honoring him; he has all the comforts of life to excite him to a grateful acknowledgment to "the giver of every good and perfect gift," and in the assurance of a faith that never wavered or doubled, he can serenely await the last summons. The "shock of corn fully ripe" is ready for the garner. And when the inevitable hour comes, he at least will meet it,

"Like one who folds the drapery of his couch about him
And lies down to pleasant dreams."

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