Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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MORTON, Samuel George, physician, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 26 January, 1799" died there, 15 May, 1851. He was educated in the strictest school of orthodox Friends, and originally destined for commercial pursuits, but studied medicine under Dr. Joseph Parrish, of Philadelphia, and was graduated at the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania in 1820, and at that of the University of Edinburgh in 1823. On his return to Philadelphia the next year he began the practice of his profession, became an active member of the Academy of natural sciences, was recording secretary of that body in 1825, and president in 1850. During the early part of his professional career geology was his favorite pursuit, and the results of his studies were embodied in an "Analysis of Tabular Spar from Bucks County, Pa." (Philadelphia, 1827), and a "Synopsis of the Organic Remains of the Cretaceous Group of the United States" (1834). He was professor of anatomy in Pennsylvania college in 1839-'43, and for several years a clinical teacher at the city Alms-house hospital, he began a collection of skulls in 1830, and thus relates its origin" "Having had occasion in the summer of 1830 to deliver an introductory lecture to a course of anatomy, I chose for my subject ' The Different Forms of the Skull as exhibited in the Five Races of Man.' I could neither buy nor borrow a cranium for each of these races, and I finished my discourse without showing either the Mongolian or the Malay. Impressed with this deficiency in a most important branch of science, I at once resolved to make a collection for myself." His efforts resulted in the largest museum of comparative craniology in existence, containing about 1,500 specimens, 900 of which were human, and which were obtained from widely separated regions. It now belongs to the Philadelphia academy of natural sciences. Dr. Morton finally adopted the theory of a diverse origin of the human race, on which subject he maintained a once celebrated controversy with Reverend John Bachman, of Charleston, South Carolina The result of his investigations, as bearing' on the American aborigines, is embodied in "Crania Americana, or a Comparative View of the Skulls of Various Aboriginal Nations of North and South America," to which is prefixed an essay on the "Varieties of the Human Species" (Philadelphia, 1839). His "Crania Egyptica, or Observations on Egyptian Ethnography, derived from the History of the Monuments," with numerous plates and illustrations (4 vols., 1844), was principally based on a collection of ninety-eight heads that were obtained by George R. Gliddon from the tombs and catacombs of Egypt. He also published "Observations on the Ethnology and Archaeology of the American Aborigines" in "Silliman's Journal" (1846); an essay on " Hybridity in Plants and Animals considered in reference to the Question of the Unity of the Human Species," in the same (1847); and an "Illustrated System of Human Anatomy, Special, General, and Microscopic" (Philadelphia, 1849).--His son, James St. (]lair, soldier, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 24 September, 1829; died in Petersburg, Virginia, 17 June, 1864, was graduated at the United States military academy in 1851, entered the engineer corps, and was assistant professor of engineering at the United States military academy in 1855-'7. He explored the Chiriquin country, Central America, for a railroad route across the isthmus in 1860 by authority of congress, and on his return took charge of the work on the Washington aqueduct. He superintended the fortifying of Tortugas, in March, 1861, was promoted captain in that year, and in May, 1862, reported to Gem Don Carlos Buell as chief engineer of the Army of the Ohio. In October he became chief engineer of the Army of the Cumberland, and commanded the bridge brigade of that army, becoming brigadier-general of volunteers, 29 November, 1862. He constructed the intrenchments about Murfreesborough, Tennessee, participated in the capture of Chattanooga, was wounded at Chickamauga, and superintended the engineering operations under General William S. Rosecrans. He was promoted major of engineers in July, 1863, was chief engineer of the 9th army corps in the Richmond campaign of 1864, and was engaged in the battles of North Anna, Tolopotomy, Bethesda Church, and the assault on Petersburg, Virginia, where he was killed while leading the attack. He had received the brevet of lieutenant-colonel for gallantry at Stone River, and colonel for Chickamauga, and after his death was given that of brigadier-general, United States army, for Petersburg. He published "An Essay on Instruction in Engineering" (New York, 1856); "An Essay on a New System of Fortifications" (1857); "Memoir on Fortification " (1858) ; "Dangers and Defences of New York City " (1859); and " Life of Major John Saunders, of the Engineers " (1860).--Another son, Thomas George, physician, born in Philadelphia, 8 August, 1835, was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, and graduated in the medical depart-meat there in 1856. He practised general surgery in Philadelphia for the next three years, actively engaged during the civil war in the establishment of military hospitals, and was a surgeon at Satterlee hospital, and consulting surgeon to the United States army hospital, Chesnut Hill, Pennsylvania He has also held offices in numerous other hospitals, including the Orthopedic, of which he was the originator. In 1876 he was appointed a commissioner to erect the State insane asylum for the southern district of Pennsylvania, and was chairman of the committee on plans and buildings. He was chosen president of the Pennsylvania society for the restriction of vivisection in 1880, and vice-president of the Pennsylvania society for the prevention of cruelty to children the same year, was appointed a commissioner of state public charities in 1883, and chairman of the committee of lunacy in 1886. He is a member of numerous foreign and domestic professional bodies, and has successfully performed numerous difficult surgical operations. He introduced the ward-carriage into the Pennsylvania hospital in 1866, the bed-elevator and carriage in 1874, and in 1876 received the Centennial medal that was awarded for his hospital ward dressing-carriage. He has published numerous professional papers in the "American Journal of the Medical Sciences" and the " Pennsylvania Hospital Reports ":" Lecture on the Transfusion of Blood and its Practical Application" (New York, 1877) ; with Dr. William Hunt, "Surgery of Pennsylvania Hospital" (Philadelphia, 1880); and "Transfusion of Blood and its Practical Application" (New York, 1887).
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