Sue Young Histories

The Blackwood Surname and Homeopathy

February 27, 2008

Blackwood surnameThe Blackwood surname has contributed a prodigious author who was also a Senior Professor of Materia Medica and Professor of Clinical Medicine in Hahnemann Medical College Chicago, a borough physician and a jobbing homeopath who wrote about the Gold Rush:

A L Blackwood Diseases of the Liver and
PancreasAlexander Leslie Blackwood 1862 - 1924

of Chicago, Illinois, was born in Huntingdon county, Canada, July 28, 1862, son of John and Ann (Steell) Blackwood.

He attended common schools and was graduated from Huntingdon Academy in 1882, with the A. A. degree, from McGill University, at Montreal, in 1886, and Hahnemann Medical College, Chicago, in 1888.

He studied in the New York Post-Graduate School in 1889 and Johns Hopkins School in 1901, and since completing his course in Hahnemann Medical College has practised in Chicago.

He is now (1905) Senior Professor of Materia Medica and Professor of Clinical Medicine in Hahnemann Medical College, Chicago.

Alexander contributed to many homeopathic journals including The Clinique: A Monthly Abstract of the Clinics and of the Proceedings of … , Medical Century, The Medical World, The Medical Advance, Journal of Therapeutics and Dietetics, The Hahnemannian Monthly, North American Journal of Homoeopathy, Jottings, Homoeopathic Eye, Ear, and Throat Journal, and he wrote Diseases of the Heart, Diseases of the Kidneys and Nervous System, Diseases of the Liver and Pancreas, The Food Tract: Its Ailments, Diseases of the Liver, Materia Medica with Constantine Hering, Contagious, Constitutional and Blood Diseases, Materia Medica Therapeutica, A Manual Of Materia Medica.

Haddonfield high schoolJames Wright Blackwood **1875 - **

of Haddonfield, New Jersey, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 18, 1875, his parents being William E. H. and Sarah (Wright) Blackwood. His grandfather was a physician in Haddonfield, being licensed in 1830.

Dr. Blackwood was graduated from the Haddonfield high school in 1890, the University of Pennsylvania in 1897, and Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia in 1901 ; having in the meantime spent two years in the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Blackwood began practice in Haddonfield February 10, 1902. In March, 1903, he was appointed Borough Physician.

In 1896 he married Bertha M. Hart, and has two children -Helen E. (deceased) and Marion H. Blackwood.

blackwoodThomas R Blackwood 1835 - 1895 was born in Moorestown, July 30, 1835.

He graduated from Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania, practiced in Atlantic City, and became the pioneer homeopath in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, settling in the latter town in 1847, he then located in Camden, continuing there until his death, July 30, 1895.

In 1843 Rev. J. D. Perrypersuaded Dr. Thomas Blackwood of Plymouth, Wayne county, to test the truth of the new practice, with the result that he soon became an avowed follower of the doctrines of Hahnemann.

In a visit to a patient Dr. Blackwood met Dr. Lamb and the result of the treatment caused the latter to espouse the new cause. Mr. Perry was a zealous missionary of homeopathy and made many converts. He was of value in assisting young physicians, and was held in great esteem. He is said to have been a skillful prescriber…

Interestingly, we find in the The Diary entries of John Geddes of Washtenaw Co., MI - 1847 the following entries:

29.1.1847 - Dr. Blackwood was hung in effigy in Ypsilanti

24.3.1847 - This day is appointed to try Dr. Thomas Blackwood for breach of Seventh Commandment by the Sessions of Ypsilanti M. Church

30.4.1847 - After three days trial, Dr. Blackwood was acquitted of breach of Seventh Commandment

And maybe we then find the reason for this false charge:

While living in Plymouth he was challenged by Dr. E. F. Olds, a champion of allopathy, to a public discussion of the merits of the two systems of medicine, with the result that Dr. Olds became a believer in homeopathy (NB: Dr. Olds actually converted to homeopathy).

In 1847 Dr. Olds removed to Ann Arbor and was invited by his allopathic brethren to repeat his lectures against homeopathy, which he refused to do, being half-convinced of its truth…

Isaac Newton Eldridge practiced for a time with Blackwood in Ann Arbor…

In 1849, Blackwood was acquitted of an accusation of paternity by Henrietta Bagley, and suffered some financial reverses. Blackwood left behind his wife Jane Osburn Blackwood and four children, though not in financially straightened circumstances to try his luck in the Gold Rush.

Blackwood wrote The Gold Rush: Voyage of the Ship Loo Choo Around the Horn in 1849_ _with John B. Goodman, Morgan Bates and Sylvester W. Higgins (passenger list of the Loo Choo)

Blackwood sailed on the Loo Choo from New York City on March 8, 1849, arriving in San Francisco on Sept. 15, 1849. After unsuccessful attempts at prospecting, Blackwood returned to Ann Arbor by the autumn of 1850. Blackwood then headed back to California via the overland route with his wife, two sons, and two daughters.

In 1857 Drs. J. R. Andrews, Samuel Carels and G. S. F. Pfeiffer were practicing homeopathy in Camden. In 1875 Drs. Purnell W. Andrews, James H. Austin, Thomas R. Blackwood, J. K. Bryant, C. J. Cooper, Wm. H. Crow, Henry F. Hunt, Melbourne F. Middleton, Silas H. Quint and H. K. Stewart were in practice there… continue reading:

The Blackwood Family Papers are held at Clark Historical Library:

Family Papers, 1826, 1971. Family Papers, 1827-1971 and undated, include family correspondence, diaries, journals, notebooks, a photograph of the family home, receipts, and miscellaneous materials. Most of the materials relate to Dr. Thomas Blackwood or his wife, Jane Osburn Blackwood.

Dr. Blackwood materials include: correspondence, medical note book, 1827-1832, including the diagnosis and treatment of his patients, receipts, payments, and a list of births, Aug. 1832-Sept. 1833, his certificate of entrance to the Washtenaw Medical Society, June 1832, and his journal of his voyage to California, 1849.

Family correspondence tells of a Negro uprising, June 16, 1827, and a cholera epidemic, 1849. Also included is a Washtenaw Whig (newspaper), Sept. 1849 (Ann Arbor, Michigan), with a copy of one of Dr. Blackwood’s letters from California to his wife. Several of his letters as well as parts of his journal were published in the Washtenaw Whig. continue reading:


Any views or advice in this site should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment, especially if you know you have a specific health complaint