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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.

Jonathan Eights

Jonathan Eights was the son of Abraham Eights, a prominent citizen of Albany, usually known as Father Eights; a man of ardent piety, and strongly attached to the Presbyterian church in which for many years he was an active and leading member, and who died in 1820, at theage of seventy-five years. His grandfather was Abraham Eights, a ship master of New York, and his great grandparents were William Eights of Amsterdam and Mary Van Dyck of Rotterdam, in Holland.

Jonathan was born in Albany, on the 26th of November, 1773, and obtained his classical education here, under the instruction of the late George Merchant. In the year 1790 he commenced the study of medicine in the office of Drs. Mancius and Woodruff, with whom he remained until April, 1795.

He was then examined by two physicians, and received their certificate of his competency to practice. This certificate was filed in the office of the clerk of the county. The first few months of his professional life he spent in one of the small towns adjoining the city. "A severe bilious remittent and intermittent fever, which was raging there with great violence," determined him upon this course. After the disease subsided, he removed to Canajoharie, in Montgomery county, where he remained until 1797, when he went to Philadelphia, and spent nearly a year, with a view to improving himself in surgery. He returned to Montgomery county, and became engaged in an extensive and laborous practice. On the 1st of May, 1810, he removed to Albany, and without delay united with this Society, to whose interests he continued warmly attached through his whole life.

He soon acquired a varied and extensive practice, and devoted his whole energy exclusively to it.

In 1822 and '23, he was one of the associate contributors to the Medical and Physical Journal, published in New York. "An account of two cases of neuralgia," and one case of "Carcenoma of the uterus," are among his contributions. He received the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the Regents of the University in 1827.

In 1830 and '31, he was President of the State MedicalSociety, having several years before represented this Society as delegate. The subject of his first annual address before that body was "Vaccination," and of the second, "Puerperal fever." At the conclusion of the former, he paid a just and eloquent tribute to the memory of his friend, the late Dr. Alexander Coventry of Utica, then recently deceased, and who was an Ex-president of the society.

Says the reviewer of the address on puerperal fever, "this interesting and important subject is discussed by him in a very able and judicious manner. Dr. Eights is evidently a clear and accurate thinker, and his style is concise, and bears evidence of considerable practical judgment."

He was President of this Society in 1814, '15 and '16, and was again reelected in 1841, and upon this occasion read before it an address on the subject of " Phlegmasia dolens."

Dr. Eights was well versed in medical literature, and accumulated a large and well selected library. His published cases were narrated with great clearness and brevity, but his almost constant professional engagements and his love of reading gave him at first but little time for writing, and this was at length succeeded by an habitual disinclination to record his valuable observations.

He was strongly attached to the profession and for many years exerted a leading influence among its members. In the every day duties of professional life he was characterized by a plodding industry and attention to the care of his patients. His business became very large and absorbed almost every other consideration. He was a man of energy, of strong will, and positive opinions, which to the younger members of the profession seemed at times to be almost arbitrary.

Dr. Eights was a general practitioner, and it was as afamily physician that he held in highest esteem; his personage was large and impressive, his manners quick and dignified, his scrutiny rigid and severe. Like his father he was decided on his preference to the Presbyterian church, leading an exemplary Christian life; he lived and died in its communion. He died on the 10th of August, 1848, in the 75th year of his age, having spent fifty-three years in professional life, and being at the time the oldest practitioner in Albany. A monument is erected to his memory in the Albany Rural Cemetery.

One son, James Eights, Esq., survives him; a man of large scientific attainments.

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