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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PERRY, William, physician, born in Norton, Massachusetts, 20 December, 1788 : died in Exeter, New Hampshire, 11 January, 188'7. He was partly educated at Union, and in 1807 he was one of the passengers on Robert Fulton's steamboat. "The Clermont," on its first trip down the Hudson. He was graduated at Harvard in 1811, and at the Medical school in 1814, after which he settled in Exeter, New Hampshire, where he practised until a few years before his death. In 1835-'6 he was lecturer on the theory and practice of medicine at Bowdoin, and later he declined a professorship there. He was especially eminent as a surgeon and as an expert in insanity, and was the first to suggest the erection of a state insane asylum, of which he was a director. Until 1878 he was frequently called into court to testify in cases involving mental alienation, as well as those relating to surgery. He operated successfully five times for strangulated hernia after reaching his eighty-seventh year, and once again with success when he was ninety-two. Dr. Perry discovered the true character of "British gum," or charred potato-starch, which was formerly used largely as sizing in cotton-mills, and liable to heavy duty. He engaged in its manufacture at Exeter from 1828 till 1835. His son, John T. Perry, was for a time editor of the "Cincinnati Gazette."
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