US GenWeb

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

James M. Brown

James M. Brown was a native of Albany, the son of Major Brown, and was born on the 25th February, 1804. His father died when he was only five years old, but he received careful and gentle training from his mother, who was a woman of exceedingly mild and amiable disposition, and of a consistent Christian character. He received a good English education, and, when a boy, applied himself quite diligently to study. At the early age of sixteenyears, he began the study of medicine under the direction of Dr. Christopher C. Yates, and was subsequently a student of Dr. Platt Williams. In 1823, he attended lectures at the Vermont Academy of Medicine. He received his license to practice from this Society, of which he became a member in 1828. He began practice and met with only indifferent success during a period of sixteen years. In the autumn of 1844, he was induced to remove to Delphi, Indianna. Here he found considerable business, but continued ill health in his family led him to return to Albany after a short period. But he was not successful in the effort to re-establish himself here, and pecuniary embarrassments and misfortune followed in rapid succession, such as were calculated to keep his mind constantly depressed. Many, indeed most of his patients were among the poorer classes, from whom it was quite impossible to obtain remuneration; still however an appeal to him for any service that he was able to bestow was never unanswered.

In disposition Dr. Brown was generous, frank and sincere. In all his trials he never inclined to charlatanism, or waivered in his adherence to his profession. He shrank from publicity, and his sense of responsibility made him the subject of great mental suffering, whenever he had a very sick patient. He was rather timid, and his great respect for the opinion of others, made him regard his own with too much diffidence; he lacked confidence in his own abilities. His health was so impaired that he was unable, during several of the last years of his life, to make severe physical exertions or endure great fatigue. He needed health and success to stimulate and encourage him; sickness and disappointments abated his ardor. Thus twenty-six years rolled away.

In the spring of 1854 he was appointed resident physician at the alms house hospital. A few weeks after his appointment, and in the discharge of duties incident to the office, he contracted a typhoid fever, which was prevailing there, and by which his life was terminated on the 23d day of May, 1854. His age was fifty years.

Says one who well knew Dr. Brown: "The tone of his last letter to me, written just before his illness, was unusually hopeful and cheerful. The expressions of Christian faith which it contained; the glimpses of his habitual frame of mind, afforded during his illness ; and, more than all, his Christian life are to us cheering evidences that the summons, though it came suddenly, was a summons to immortal joy."

I saw him once after his appointment as resident physician, and I thought that his new and uniform duties had given elasticity to his spirits, and vigor to his step. In a conversation with me, his attending physician, Dr. Spencer, confirmed, by relating a touching incident which he witnessed, the allusion just made to the exercise of his devotional spirit during his fatal illness.

Send comments or suggestions to:
Debby Masterson

Go Back to Albany County Biographies
Go Back to Home Page