Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BLAND, Theodoric, soldier, born in Prince George County, Virginia, in 1742 ; died in New York City, 1 June 1790. In 1753 he was sent to England, and, after preliminary studies at Wakefield, he pursued the academic and subsequently the medical course at the University of Edinburgh. After being admitted to the practice of medicine in England, he returned to this country about 1764. Dr. Bland was one of the number who petitioned the house of burgesses to enact a law forbidding any person to practice medicine in the colony without a proper license. He was among those who removed from Lord Dunmore's palace the arms and ammunition, which that official had abstracted from the public arsenal, and he afterward, published a series of bitterly indignant letters against the governor, under the pen-name of "Cassius." He continued active in his profession until the beginning of the revolutionary war, when he at once sided with the colonists and became captain of the first troop of Virginia cavalry. After the enrollment of six companies he joined the main army in 1777 as Lieutenant-Colonel. Later he became colonel, and throughout the war signalized himself as a vigilant and efficient officer, enjoying the esteem and confidence of General Washington. He especially distinguished himself at the battle of Brandywine, and was placed in command of the prisoners taken at Saratoga, who were marched to Charlottesville, Virginia In 1779 he had command of the troops at the Albemarle barracks in Virginia. He served during the war for one term in the Virginia senate, and later was elected to the continental congress, serving from 1780 till 1783. He was also a member of the Virginia convention of 1788 on the adoption of the federal constitution, and was among those opposed to adoption. Then he became representative from Virginia to the first congress, taking his seat 30 March 1789. His death occurred during the sessions of congress, and he was the first member whose decease was announced in that body. He was buried in Trinity Churchyard. See the "Memoir of Theodoric Bland," in "The Bland Papers," collected by Charles Campbell (Petersburg, 1840).
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