Rash's Surname Index

Notes for William BALDWIN

July 13, 1861
Biography Dr. WILLIAM BALDWIN, son of Thomas Baldwin - a respectable member of the religious Society of Friends, and an approved Minister in that society - was born in the township of Newlin, Chester county, on the 29th of March, 1778. He received no other than the common English education afforded
by the country schools of that day; but he evinced at an early age an eager desire for knowledge, and, as one of the readiest needs for gratifying that desire - by the opportunities afforded for study - he became, himself, the teacher of a
country school, in the vicinity of his birthplace. After some time spent in that arduous and honorable vocation, - which rather stimulated than satisfied his appetite for scientific attainments, - he turned his attention to the Profession of
Medicine. This Profession, - so comprehensive in scope, and which has been aptly termed the eye of all the sciences, - was admirably suited to one so accurate in his observations, and so humane in his disposition, as William Baldwin. He accordingly became the pupil of Dr. Wm. A. Todd, then a popular and extensive practitioner of Medicine in Downingtown, Chester county. While a resident in Downingtown, Baldwin, became intimate with Dr. Moses Marshall, nephew and heir of Humphrey Marshall, author of 'ARBUSTUM AMERICANNUM,'and founder of the Botanic Garden, at Marshallton, Dr. Marshall
was a scholar, and a respectable Botanist, and had materially assisted his uncle Humphrey, - both in the establishment of his Garden, and in the preparation of his work on American Forest Trees and Shrubs. In the society of that gentleman,
young Baldwin had a taste for the study of Plants first awakened, which led him to become a sagacious and enthusiastic Botanist. While waiting for the means to obtain a Diploma, Baldwin made a voyage to China, as Surgeon of a merchant ship; and on his return, received the degree of Doctor of Medicine.
Being thus duly inaugurated in the Profession, he soon after married, and took up his residence, in Wilmington, Delaware, - where his researches in the vegetable kingdom attracted the notice of the Rev. Dr. MUHLENBERG, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and opened the way for an instructive and delightful
correspondence with the eminent and amiable Pennsylvania Botanist. Dr. Baldwin's health was always frail. A predisposition to pulmonary consumption pervaded in all his father's family, and finally swept away every member of it. In the autumn of 1811, the Doctor was induced to seek a refuge from our northern winters, in the State of Georgia. During the war of 1812-15, he was appointed a Surgeon in the U.S. Navy, and was stationed chiefly at the seaports of Savannah and St. Mary. All his leisure time was zealously devoted to the exploration on the Botany of that region, and in contributing to the valuable Southern Flora of the accomplished STEPHEN ELLIOTT. A genus of Plant, belonging to the Southern COMPOSITAE, was named BALDWINIA, by Mr. Nuttall, - a just
tribute of respect for the talents and industry of William Baldwin, M.D., a gentleman whose botanical zeal and knowledge have rarely been excelled in America.'...His researches were pushed, with untiring industry, in the wilderness among the Southern Indians, - and were extended into East Florida as far
as St. Augustine. Dr. Baldwinreputation as a Botanist, induced the Government to accept him, in 1817, to accompany the Commissioners, in the Congress Frigate, to Buenos Ayres, and other South American Ports, to ascertain the condition and prospects of the Spanish Colonies. He went as Surgeon of the
ship; and the prominent incidental object of his appointment, was to investigate the vegetable productions of the places which might be visited during the voyage. In the performance of this collateral duty - notwithstanding the feeble state of his health - he was most assiduous and eminently successful.
Being a zealous Republican, he also sympathized deeply with the Colonists, in their efforts to establish a free and rational system of government. On his return from South America, Dr. Baldwin was selected to accompany, as Surgeon and
Botanist, Major Long's Expedition up the river Missouri. His unflagging zeal impelled him to the enterprise; but his strength was utterly inadequate to the task. He died at Franklin, on the banks of the Missouri, - far away from the
bosom of his family, - on the first day of September, 1819, and the Compiler feels it due to the memory of his Friend, to aver that there was more unalloyed philanthropy - more of the genuine of human kindness'- in the composition of
DOCTOR WILLIAM BALDWIN, - than in any other man whom he has
had the happiness to know. [<< NOTAE CESTRIENSES>> ]

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