Dr. Benjamin Rush

Discussion in 'Revolutionary War' started by The General, Dec 3, 2006.

  1. The General

    The General New Member

    Those of you who know of my Civil War work know of my long-standing fascination with the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry, also known as Rush's Lancers.

    Part of my fascination with the Lancers comes from my interest in Dr. Benjamin Rush. Dr. Rush was the grandfather of Col. Richard Henry Rush, the first commander of the Lancers.

    I first learned of Dr. Rush in 1978, when I visited the campus of Dickinson College as a high school junior. Dickinson is located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In 1773, Dr. Rush, who had long held an interest in higher education, founded Dickinson and named it for his friend, the Pennsylvania Farmer, John Dickinson. One half of the campus is called the Benjamin Rush Campus in his honor. I ended up attending--and graduating from--Dickinson College. Today, there is a handsome monument to Dr. Rush that stands on the Benjamin Rush Campus.

    Rush was a physician, but he was also a prominent and important politician. He signed the Declaration of Independence as a Pennsylvania delegate, and he was close friends with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. In fact, during the years when Adams and Jefferson were on the outs, Rush was the common tie that held them together, and who served as the conduit for communications between them. Rush, however, ended up on the outs himself and was not a delegate to the constitutional convention in Philadelphia.

    Nevertheless, I remain fascinated by this complex man. Does anyone else share my interest in this important founding father?

  2. Bob Hall

    Bob Hall New Member

    Didn't Dr. Rush have an instrumental part behind the scenes of the Lewis and Clark expedition also?

    Hmm, I did a quick search on him in wikipedia.org and confirmed his involvement with Lewis and Clark. While researching the links posted on his wiki page, I see that Benjamin's mother's maiden name was Susannah Hall. My grandmother has told me that the Hall branch came from the Philly area in the early 1700's. I'll have to look into this.
  3. The General

    The General New Member


    That's very cool. Please let me know what you learn.

  4. J David Petruzzi

    J David Petruzzi New Member

    Yes, very cool, Bob. You may have just stumbled upon some great family history there.

  5. Pamela Jo

    Pamela Jo Guest

    Perhaps the most impressive thing about Benjamin Rush is the fact that he was only 30 years old when he signed the Declaration of Independence. He had risen to a position of prominence at an early age and was truly a "self-made" man. His father died when Benjamin was only 5 years old. He graduated from the College of New Jersey (which was to become Princeton University), and after an apprenticeship to a Philadelphia physician, Rush attended the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland. There he received his medical degree.

    Besides having friendships with John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Rush also befriended Thomas Paine...it was Rush who encouraged Paine to write "Common Sense" in 1776. Rush wrote the first American textbook on the subject of chemistry.

    He helped draft a declaration of Pennsylvania's support for national independence and, as such, was chosen to attend Congress and play a role as one of the signers of Jefferson's Declaration. Rush also served as Surgeon General in the Middle Department of the Continental Army. He resigned his position in anger over a superior's maladministration. Rush began harsh criticism of George Washington over the matter and thus ended his military career...and his political career, for a time.

    Rush went on to become one of the best known physicians in the country. He practiced the theory of "bleeding" as a treatment for disease and was one of only a few doctors who remained in Philadelphia during the yellow fever epidemics.

    He did, in fact go on to help found Dickinson College. In an ironic twist of fate, Rush died of typhus during an
    epidemic in 1813. He was 67 years old.

    How fortunate for you, Eric, to have graduated from Dickinson College! It's a beautiful campus and a well respected institution with an impressive history!



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