The North American Academy of the Homeopathic Healing Arts, aka the Allentown Academy. Founded in 1835, the Allentown Academy was the first homeopathic medical school in the world. Image credit: Drexel Medical Archives

John Romig M.D. (3 January 1804 – 5 February 1885) was an orthodox doctor who converted to homeopathy. Romig graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1825 and the Hahnemann Medical College. John Romig was one of the original members of the Northampton Homeopathic Medical Faculty, alongside Constantine Hering. John Romig became a pioneer of homeopathy in Pennsylvania and a founder and faculty member of The Allentown Academy, the first homeopathic medical school in the world.

John Romig was also one of the founders of the Homoeopathic Society of Northampton and Counties Adjacent in 1834.

Organized August 23, 1834, the society was formed by Drs. William Wesselhoeft, John Eberhard Freytag, John Romig, Joseph Hyppolyte Pulte, Adolphus Bauer, John Charles Gosewisch, Gustav Reichhelm, (and four ministers), King, and Rev. Christian J. Becker, D. D.

The object of the association was the advancement of homeopathy amongst its members and spread of the Law of Similia.

John Romig was born in Lehigh county, Pa., January 3, 1804. His parents were of German extraction, his paternal grandfather having come to this country about the year 1732.

Having received the degree of M. D. at the University of Pennsylvania in 1825, he commenced to practice the same year in the town of Fogelsville, Lehigh county, Pa.

In the spring of 1829 he removed to Allentown, forming a partnership with Dr. Charles H. Martin. In 1833 he commenced the practice of Homoeopathy and was one of the original members of the Homoeopathic Medical Society of Northampton and adjacent counties.

He was one of the three who formulated the establishment of the Allentown Academy and was a member of the faculty. He was vice-president of the Board of Trustees and was professor of obstetrics in the college.

In the fall of 1838 he removed to Baltimore with other practitioners of repute to introduce Homoeopathy. Dr. Haynel and McManus were then in homoeopathic practice in that city.

His stay was but two years, when he returned to Allentown, where he passed the rest of his life. He was an active temperance advocate since 1842 and was one of the Sons of Temperance, Division 7 of Allentown.

From 1836 he was an active and devoted member of the Presbyterian church, also an elder for a number of years. He had two sons, William H. and George M. Romig, also physicians, graduates of the University of Pennsylvania and of the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania, and who were his co-partners.

His conversion to Homeopathy occurred about 1833 from which time he was closely identified with the distinguished homoeopathic physicians of that period – Constantine Hering, Henry Detweiller, William Wesselhoeft, and others, and united with them in organizing the old Hahnemannian Society, and in founding the North American Academy of the Homoeopathic Healing Art.

Of this institution he was vice-president and also professor of obstetrics from 1838, a period of two years was spent in Baltimore, whence he returned to Allentown in 1840.

Dr. Romig was an active member of the Presbyterian church and a zealous advocate of the cause of temperance. His death removes another of the very few remaining founders of our school in America.

After graduating in 1825, John Romig spent four years in Fogelsville, Pennsylvania. In November, 1826, Romig married Eliza Fogel (1810 – 1828) in Alburtis, Pennsylvania. They had one son, Charles Fogel Romig, in July 1828. Charles died a month later, followed two weeks after by Eliza. In May, 1830, Romig moved to Allentown and married Matilda Susan Martin (1814 – 1883). They had nineteen children, seven of whom survived: Eliza R. (1832 – 1876), John I. (1837 – 1926), Hannah L. (1841 – 1925), Dr. William Henry (1846 – 1884), Dr. George M. (1848 – 1925), Matilda M. (1850 – 1922), and Anna J. (1852 – 1924).

In 1835, John Romig, together with Drs. Henry Detweiller, William Wesselhoeft, George Hering Bute and Constantine Hering, founded in Allentown the North American Academy of the Homoeopathic Healing Art, the first homoeopathic medical school in the world. Dr. Hering became the first President and principal instructor. John Romig graduated from the Academy on 14 August 1838 and subsequently  became a faculty member, occupying the chair of obstetrics.

For more than half a century John Romig oversaw a large family practice in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. He retired in 1880, succeeded by his two sons, Dr’s William Henry and George M. Romig.

John Romig died in 1885. His obituary was in The Hahnemannian Monthly: “John Romig M. D., of Allentown, Pa., died in the early part of February, 1885, having survived his son, the late W. H. Romig, M. D. by a very brief period.”

Of interest:

William Henry Romig M.D. (1804 – 1885) was the son of John Romig and he graduated from University of Pennsylvania and the Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia in 1871, as did his brother George M. Romig M.D. (1845 – 1925), a specialist in treating diseases of the eye, who graduated in 1870. Both of John Romig‘s sons practiced alongside their father in Allentown as homeopaths.

Joseph Herman Romig M.D. (1872- 1951), a distant relative, “… was born in 1872 in Illinois, attended Hahnemann in Philadelphia (paid for by the Moravian church who put him through  med school) & graduating in 1896, then on to Alaska to pay off the church through 7 yrs of missionary work. Besides running around the Bethel area on dog sled, he eventually set up hospitals in Dillingham, Seward, Fairbanks and Anchorage… He died in 1951 in Colorado Springs, CO … but his remains were disinterred at some point and returned to Anchorage to be buried in a family plot…’ Joseph Romig ‘… was known as the “dog team doctor” for his work in the Bethel area starting in 1896…  Joseph Romig practiced in Alaska (not continuously, but mostly) past 1939 and founded a number of hospitals, and also served as mayor of Anchorage.  He was known as the “dean of Alaskan doctors” so would have had a lot of influence over the profession… His youngest son (Howard G.) was born in 1911, attended Stanford medical school and went into private practice with his father in Anchorage for a while, and died in Anchorage in 1987…” Taken from Eva G. Anderson, Dog-Team Doctor (The Caxton Printers, Ltd, Caldwell, Idaho, 1940). With thanks to Wayne Aderhold, email correspondence 22.11.2016 and 24.11.2016.