The Sawyer HomesteadBenjamin Edward Sawyer M.D. (11 August 1811 – 1 August 1879) was an American orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy.

Sawyer was an American delegate to the International Homeopathic Congress in London in 1881, and was elected President of the American Institute of Homeopathy in 1889.

Benjamin Edward Sawyer was born on August 11, 1811 in Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland, Maine, USA, the son of Reverend Benjamin Sawyer (1782 – 1871) and Mima Wines (1791 – 1817).

B. E. Sawyer was the homeopath of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s wife, Sophia Peabody, and his daughter Annie Sawyer Downs was a friend and fellow botanist of Henry David Thoreau.

Sawyer was also part of the intelligentsia who gathered around James Thomas Fields, one of America’s most famous publisher of American writers. Fields, a partner in Ticknor and Fields, had a bookstore known as Parnassus Corner on Old Corner, Washington Street in Boston:

His literary salon was packed with the influential people of the time, including Louisa May Alcott, John Greenleaf Whittier, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, James Russell Lowell, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Julia Ward Howe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, , Mark Twain, Margaret Fuller, William Makepeace Thackeray, Charles Dickens, Matthew Arnold, Robert Browning, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Bret Harte, Bayard Taylor, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Edwin Booth, and Nathaniel Parker Willis, who described Parnassus Corner as “the hub in which every spoke of the radiating wheel of Boston intellect had a socket…

Benjamin Edwards Sawyer of Haverhill, Mass., was born at Cape Elizabeth, Me., on August 11th, 1811 His father from whom he inherits rare judgment and unusual discrimination, was Benjamin Sawyer, at the time of our subject’s birth Minister of the Congregational Church at Cape Elizabeth. His mother, Maria Wines, was the daughter of Abijah Wines, D. D., of Newport, N. H., who was noted for his argumentative skill in the religious controversies of his times, and for his devotion to early missionary work in Maine.

A year after the birth of Dr. Sawyer, his father moved to Amesbury, Mass. During the early years of his boyhood, he attended an excellent academy at that place. He fitted for college at Hampton; N. H., in the same class with Hon. Gaines Grimes, of Iowa, Hon. Daniel Clark, and Hon. Amos Tuck, of New Hampshire.

Having made choice of the medical profession, he began to study therefor with Dr. R. D. Mazzey, of Dartmouth College, and continued under his instruction until he graduated at Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Me., in 1837. Dr. Mazzey was the Professor of Anatomy and Surgery at both these colleges during Dr. Sawyer’s course.

On receiving his diploma, he commenced the practice of allopathy, and continued therein for eight years. Then through careful study and patient experiment he became convinced of the truth of the homœopathic theory.

At once he adopted it. About this time he left Boscawen, N. H., where he had been located, and took up his residence in Concord, Mass. At that time Concord was the centre of a vigorous intellectual circle, and it offered a congenial field to him.

His practice became large and lucrative, while his intense sympathy with the anti-slavery movement had a full opportunity for practical exercise. At Concord, as at Boscawen, he was the friend and coworker of Nathaniel Peabody Rogers, Parker Pillsbury, and Stephen C. Foster.

His children have never known the slightest prejudice of color, having been brought up to regard whites and blacks as equal.

He resided nine years in Concord, then removed to Haverhill in the same State, and has lived there up to the present time.

For years he has been the leading physician of his school in the neighborhood. His clear-sighted judgment, his skill, tender sympathy, and hearty kindliness to poor as well as rich, cause him to be much sought after. Though so far advanced in life he enjoys full health and vigor.

Dr. Sawyer is an ardent lover of nature and has spent so much of his time among the lovely hills and valleys of Essex, that he has come to be regarded as an authority on the rare wild flowers of the Merrimack Valley.

Early in life Dr. Sawyer married Lucy C. Noyes, of Newport, N. H. She came of the best Puritan stock, what Dr. Holmes calls the “blue blood” of new England, her direct ancestor being Governor Dudley. She died after a brief union, but left behind her several children, between whom and their father exists a peculiarly close communion.

Benjamin Edward Sawyer and his wife had five children, two of whom followed their father into the medical profession: Annie Maria Sawyer (1836 – 1901), Ellen Augusta Sawyer (1839 – 1928), Benjamin Addison Sawyer M.D. (1843 – 1920), Lucy Cordelia Sawyer (1846 – 1848), Charles Milton Sawyer M.D. (1849 – 1919).

After the death of his wife, Lucy, in October, 1849, Sawyer moved to Concord, remarried twice, and finally settled in Haverhill.

Benjamin Edward Sawyer died at his residence on Water Street, Haverhill, Mass, on 1 August 1879, aged 68.

Of Interest:

Sawyer surname The Sawyer surname contributed one Chair of Obstetrics and Surgery at University of Michigan and the President of the Michigan State Homeopathic Society; one orthodox doctor who converted to homeopathy to become the President of the American Institute of Homeopathy; and one White House Physician and Brigadier General in World War 1.


Alfred Isaac Sawyer M.D. (31 October 1828 – 7 May 1891) was an American homeopathic physician who practiced in Ohio and Michigan. He was a graduate of the Western College of Homeopathic Medicine in 1854 and the Cleveland Homeopathic Hospital. In 1854, Alfred Sawyer first set up in practice in Marietta, Ohio, with Dr. Ephraim Craig Beckwith (1824 – 1880). He subequently practiced in Ann Arbour and in Monroe, Michigan.

Charles Elmer Sawyer (January 24, 1860 – September 23, 1924) was the White House Physician to President Warren G. Harding and his wife Florence. Harding appointed him Surgeon General and Brigadier General. Charles Elmer Sawyer was also the homeopath of Hardin’s successor President Calvin Coolidge. Charles Elmer Sawyer was also a personal friend of Florence Nightingale.

Decatur Mowry Sawyer (1 February 1849 – 7 January 1931) [no evident relation] was a wealthy American businessman who consulted and supported homeopaths.