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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.

Henry Van OLinda

Henry Van OLinda was born in the town of Charleston, Montgomery county, in this state, on the 9th of April, 1805. He was the son of Cornelius Van Olinda, and descended in the fifth generation, from Peter Van OLinda, who came from Holland, and died at Watervliet, about seven miles north of Albany at an advanced age, in 1715.

Until he was seventeen he spent his time upon his father's farm. In 1822 he commenced the study of medicine with his brother, Dr. Peter Van OLinda, of this city, and under the direction of an elder brother, the Rev. Douw Van OLinda, he acquired a considerable knowledge of the Latin and Greek languages, and was thereby enabled to form the habit to which he uniformly adhered, and in which he took great pleasure, of tracing the technicalities of the profession, to their strictest derivations from those languages. He made good improvement in the collateral branches of the profession, and during one course of lectures was the assistant of that learned and distinguished teacher, Dr. T. Bomeyn Beck, in his chemical lectures. He was licensed to practice by the Medical Society of the county of Montgomery, in 1826, and shortly after entered into business with his brother. Albany was the field of his labor.

Dr. Van OLinda was ardent and earnest in whatever he undertook. He had not the advantages of most of the students at the present day, but the deficiencies from the want of such he labored diligently to overcome. He was indefatigable in his attention to his patients, and counted no sacrifice on his part too great for them while under his care. From such faithful attendance a strong friendship often grew between him and his patients.

After ten years of severe labor, a scrofulous disease began to develop, and it continued through his life. His health at length failed, and in the winter of 1835 he sought relief by a short sojourn in Savannah, and the ensuing winter he spent in St Augustine, Florida, with a few of his patients and friends. The relief to his malady thus obtained was only temporary and palliative. He made a voyage to Europe in the autumn of 1843, visiting Liverpool, Birmingham, London, and Manchester, but returning without going to the continent, his main object having been for a sea voyage; but his constitution was so much impaired that he derived but little benefit from it. He returned, and after a painful illness, died on the 30th of September, 1846, in the forty-first year of his age.

Dr. Van OLinda was a man of agreeable manners, social habits, and prepossessing in his personal appearace. He was fond of rural sports, and sometimes indulged in them by excursions with a party of friends to the northern counties for hunting and fishing. He made no pretensions to being a great man, but he was faithful and diligent in the duties of his profession, and occupied a respectable position in it. He had a large practice; and this may be more definite by stating that after twenty years in the profession, during ten of which he was an invalid, at times absent for months from duty, and at other times unable to perform it, yet at the time of his death his outstanding accounts amounted to seventy thousand dollars, of which only about three thousand could be collected.

This vast amount of service, rendered mostly to the poor, in such a simple, unostentatious manner, should embalm a man in the memory of future generations as a benefactor to his country and his race. But alas! how soon are such deeds forgotten.

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