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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.

Archibald Hamilton Adams

Archibald Hamilton Adams, whose name is enrolled as a member of the society in 1808, was a son of Dr. William Adams, who came to this country from Ireland, just before the close of the last century, and died in Maryland, at the advanced age of one hundred and three years. His son, who accompanied him, had completed his medical education, probably at the University of Edinburgh,* for he presented to Dr. Henry Adams, of Cohoes, when his student, in 1803, his manuscript notes from the lectures of Dr. Duncan, professor of theory and practice of medicine, taken while he was a student at the University, in 1786.

Dr. Adams settled in Schenectady, and as was usual with the educated physicians of that day, a large number of students flocked to his instructions, and among these were Dr. Thomas Dunlap and Dr. A. G. Fonda, of Schenectady, Dr. John Tonilier, of New York city, Dr. Van Dyck, of Schoharie, and Dr. Adams. Dr. Adams acquired considerable reputation as a surgeon, and his practice extended many miles to the north and west.

Dr. Adams was a man of spare frame, and in his appearance, is said to have borne a marked resemblance to Dr. Rush, of Philadelphia.

In one of his limbs he was lame, the consequence of an attack of rheumatism, so that he always walked with a cane. His manners were remarkably pleasant and urbane. He had the faculty of communicating his knowledge, and took special interest in instructing his pupils. He seldom prepared a remedy until he had first written the prescription, which was always done in Latin. He was kind and benevolent in his disposition, and is said to have exercised great liberality towards the poor, often discharging them from their legal obligations to him, when he was satisfied that they could not make payment, without sacrifice of personal comforts, and this he did with a freedom and sincerity that evinced the genuineness of his motives.

It is more than intimated that he had—as most men have—a failing; his was a great fondness for the weed. When his labors for the day were over, he often retired, with his long Holland pipe, the bowl resting upon the candlestick, which was placed upon a stand by his bed, and with the other end in his mouth, he regaled himself until, amid the perfumed clouds of smoke, he was lost in balmy sleep.

Dr. Adams was an agreeable companion; although not a professor of religion, he was regular in his attendance upon the services of the sanctuary, and sustained an unblemished moral reputation. He died in 1811, at the age of forty-two years. Those who were associated with Dr. Adams speak in high praise of his excellence, as a physician, his skill as a surgeon, and his virtues as a man.

* In 1857, I made a visit to Dr. Adams of Cohoes, in order to satisfy myself on this point. He was unable to recollect whether Dr, A. H. Adams was born in Ireland or America, but assured me that he had his manuscript notes above mentioned. He was confined to his bed by a lingering illness, and was so feeble that my interview with him was necessarily brief.

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