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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.

Hunloke Woodruff

Hunloke "Woodruff was born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, about the year 1755, and was a descendant by his maternal ancestry from Chancellor Hyde, afterwards Earl of Clarendon, famous in English politics about two centuries ago. His mother died in his infancy, and his father during his early childhood. He was cared for and educated by his grandfather, Joseph Woodruff, who about that time was the mayor of Elizabethtown, and who held the honored position of privy counselor to George the Third previous to the American revolution. Hunloke was graduated at Princton college, New Jersey, about 1774, and having chosen the profession of medicine began his studies with Dr. Malachi Treat in the city of New York shortly previous to the commencement of the hostilities between the colonies and the mother country. Dr. Woodruff had taken up his residence in Albany, but soon after this event he entered the army as surgeon of the Third New York Regiment, commanded by the gallant Colonel Peter Gansevoort of Albany, a position in which he served with distinguished ability both as physician and surgeon until the close of the war. Brought up as he had been by his grandfather, who held the high office of privy counselor, he had naturally been taught not only to honor but to reverence the king, and the influence of his education might naturally have led him to hold his loyalty to the crown. But he espoused the cause of the colonists from the first, and devoted himself through the long and weary struggle to the accomplishment of national independence. He accompanied the northern army to Canada, and was at the siege and taking of Fort St. John. He was with Col, Gansevoort during the whole siege of Fort Stanwix, and attended General Sullivan in his expedition against the hostile Indians of western New York.

As the army was proceeding toward Montreal, the doctor and an officer were marching together, when coming to a tree they passed it on opposite sides and were almost together again, when a cannon ball from the enemy whistled between them and struck the tree. Neither felt any extraordinary effect from the passage of the ball; and the circumstance the doctor used as a practical demonstration against the prevailing opinion that the passage of a cannon ball would by its windage cause the death of any person near to whom it might pass.

At the siege of Fort Stanwix, Captain Gregg and several others ventured beyond the lines of safety, and were surprised by Indians. Some of the party were scalped and left for dead. A faithful dog who had accompanied them licked the blood from his master's face, and then went to the fort and created an alarm which led to the discovery. Dr. Woodruff was one of the number who went from the fort in search of the party. Standing at length beside a body which he supposed dead, and whose visage was obscured by masses of blood, he was startled by a low mournful voice, exclaiming, ''Doctor, don't you know me?" The scalped and wounded man proved no other than his friend, Capt. Gregg, the owner of the dog. Dr. Woodruff took him to the fort, where with much care he recovered, and survived many years.

After the termination of the war Dr. Woodruff returned to Albany, and, becoming a partner with Dr. Mancius, he engaged extensively in practice and with great acceptance, both in Albany and the country and the villages surrounding it.

Dr. Woodruff was by birth and education a gentleman: he had in early life the advantages which social position and education confer. His talents were of a high order, his mind was refined and cultivated by learning, and by association with men in the higher ranks of life. His imagination was lively and his reasoning powers were sharp and philosophical. His knowledge of his profession, and his experience in surgery, by long military service, were equal to the first men of his time. His sympathies were warm and his impulses manly and generous. His money was valued only as it could lavish comforts upon his family and friends. His whole life was high toned and honorable, an ornament to his profession and a valued citizen.

In the last part of his life he was greatly afflicted with scrofulous diathesis, which gradually increased upon him until the period of his death, which finally took place from hemorrhage from the lungs on the 4th day of July, 1811, in the fifty-sixth year of his age. An excellent likeness of Dr. Woodruff, by an Albany artist, Mr. Ames, is in possession of his family. A daughter of Dr. Woodruff married Dr. Samuel Freeman, now of Saratoga, and deceased in 1862.

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