Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PARSONS, Usher, surgeon, born in Alfred, Maine, 8 August, 1788 ; died in Providence, Rhode Island, 19 December, 1868. After receiving an academic education, he studied medicine under Dr. John Warren in Boston, entered the United States navy in 1812 as surgeon's mate on the frigate "John Adams," and with the other officers and the crew of that vessel volunteered for service on the lakes in June, 1813. He was acting surgeon on the flag-ship " Lawrence" at the battle of Lake Erie, and, in consequence of the illness of both of the other surgeons, was in sole charge of the wounded of the squadron. For his conduct on this occasion he was honorably mentioned in the report of Commander Oliver H. Perry, and promoted full surgeon. He served the next year on the upper lakes, was at the attack on Mackinaw, and two years on the frigate ", lava:," under Perry. After ten years' duty in the navy he resigned and settled in the practice of his profession in Providence, Rhode Island He was professor of anatomy in Dartmouth in 1820-'2, and of anatomy and surgery in Brown in 1823-'8, president of the Rhode Island medical society in 183'7-'9, and the first, vice-president of the American medical association in 1853. He received honorary medical degrees from Harvard, Dartmouth, and Brown. His publications include "The Art of making Anatomic Preparations" (Philadelphia, 1831); " Prize Dissertations" (Providence, Rhode Island, 1843); "Sailor's Physician" (1851); "History of the Battle of Lake Erie" (1852); and "Life of Sir William Pepperell "(Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1855).--His son, Charles William, physician, born in Providence, Rhode Island, 6 September, 1823, was graduated at Harvard in 1840, and at the medical department there in 1845. He then settled in practice in Providence, was professor of physiology in Brown in 1874-'8o, and is the author of two Fiske fund prize dissertations (Providence, 1848-'54), and many medical and historical papers.
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