Josiah Crosby, M. D. by S. P. Hadley

Dr. Josiah Crosby, third son of Dr. Asa Crosby, was born in Sandwich, N. H., February 1, 1794, and died in Manchester, N. H., January 7, 1875. He married Olive Light Avery, daughter of Daniel Avery, a merchant and manufacturer of Gilford, N. H., February 9, 1829. He studied his profession with his father, and the distinguished Prof. Nathan Smith of Dartmouth College. His early practice was in Concord, N. H., and Lowell, Mass., but his professional life-work was in Manchester, N. H., from 1844 to his death. The following extracts are taken from an obituary notice of him read before the New Hampshire Medical Society by Dr. W. W. Wilkins, of Manchester:—

"Here (Manchester, N. H.,) for thirty years he was the unrivaled head of the profession. Here he originated the method of making extensions of fractured limbs by the use of adhesive strips, which gave him a high reputation with surgeons in Europe as well as at home; and, later, he invented the 'invalid bed' which has so tenderly held the patient, without a strain or jar, while the bed-clothes could be changed or wounds cared for, or, by dropping a belt or two, prevent local pressure and irritation. The skillful physician, the christian gentleman, and sympathizing friend were combinations of character in him rarely excelled.

"Those who have known Dr. Josiah Crosby, who have had the privilege of his acquaintance, been honored by his confidence, and felt the influence of his pure example, will feel more deeply than any words of mine express, the loss we have met in his death. Few men love their life-work as he did. The practice of medicine to him was no mere trade, no secondary means of obtaining something else that outranked it, but the chosen calling of his life, to which in his young manhood he gave not only his rare mental endowments, but the rich treasures of his heart; and with the weight of eighty years resting upon him, it was his greatest comfort that he could still labor in his chosen profession.

"His habits of study, that had been early formed, followed him into old age. New theories and discoveries in medical science were carefully criticised; the medical journals, to which he was a liberal subscriber, were read; and he was better posted in regard to the medical literature of the day than a majority of the young men in the profession.

"He exerted a strong influence on the profession itself. The quiet dignity of his character was felt by all who came in contact with him. No unguarded words passed his lips in regard to members of the profession that were absent that would not have been as freely expressed in their presence.

"The same elements of character made him a superior surgeon. His operations were complete. He had abundant resources, and, if the ordinary methods of treatment failed, was ever ready to supply their place by extraordinary methods. His contributions to medical science were of a character that reflected the highest honor upon him as a physician and skillful surgeon, and placed him in no mean rank as a benefactor of his race.

"He never indulged in sports, or frequented watering-places. His church, his home, and his professional duties filled to the full his days and years, and too many sleepless nights. His sympathies for the sick, his great benevolence, his love of neighbor as of himself, formed the mainspring of his life labors.

"We have known him in his strength, and we shall always recollect him as the strong, self-reliant, active physician. We are more than grateful for his record. Life is the sum total of so many days and years, to which may be added the little real good one has been permitted to accomplish in a lifetime. Looking back over these fifty years, can we compute the worth of such a life?"

His widow still lives, as also his son, Dr. George A. Crosby, of Manchester, an eminent physician and surgeon.