Abraham Duryea Wilson
Source: John F. Gray, Homoeopathy in New-York

Abraham Duryea Wilson M.D. (20 September 1801 – 20 January 1864) was an American orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy to become one of the founders of homeopathy in the United States.

Wilson, and homeopathic colleagues Drs. Hans Burch Gram, the first homeopath in America, and William Channing, were the examining censors of the Homoeopathic Medical Society of the County of  New York.

Abraham Wilson was also a colleague of the second homeopath in America, John Franklin Gray. Following Wilson’s death in 1864, Gray published a memorial and history, Homoeopathy in New-York, and the Late Abraham D. Wilson, A.M., M.D.

 

Abraham Wilson was born on 20 September, 1801, on the campus of Columbia College, New York, to Scottish-born professor, classicist, and theologian, Peter Wilson LLD (1746 – 1825), and his second wife, Catharine Duryee (1761 – 1843).

Dr Wilson graduated at Columbia College in 1818 at the age of 17 years, and, after reading medicine in the office of Drs. Francis and Hosack, in 1821 took his degree at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in this city. In 1824, he married Miss Eliza Holmes, who survives him.

In 1829, having made the acquaintance of Dr Gram, he was convinced of the new doctrines he taught, and adopted the teachings of Hahnemann as the basis of his future medical practice. Dr Wilson was known as a successful practitioner, to which his numerous patients attest, a generous colleague, a kind friend and a trusted counsellor.

At a meeting of the Homoeopathic Medical Society of the County of New York held on the 22d ult to take suitable action on the death of their fellow member the following were adopted:

Whereas, The members of this society have received the intelligence of the decease of Abraham D. Wilson M.D., our late revered associate in the profession; and, whereas, we desire to make a public expression of our respect for his memory and provide a desirable record of his virtues as a man, and of his learning and great skill as a physician. Therefore,

Resolved, That this society do appoint a committee consisting of the President and two other members, whose duty it shall be to make suitable preparation for a public meeting and eulogy.

In 1824, Wilson married Eliza Holmes (1803 – 1885) in New York City. They had a daughter, Rosamund Holmes Wilson (1832 – 1906).

Abraham D. Wilson of New York City was born in Columbia College, in that city, in which institution his father was a professor. He received his education in the same college, where he graduated in 1818, at the early age of eighteen. He then commenced the study of medicine by entering the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons, taking his degree there in 1821. He immediately entered upon the practice of this profession, which he followed with much success for a time as an allopathic practitioner. Some time after this he was introduced by Dr. John F. Gray to Dr. Gram. Incredulous at first, and, like nearly all his brethren of the old school, deeming the new doctrine nothing short of a humbug, he resolved to follow in his old course; but the convincing arguments of his new acquaintance, together with the extraordinary and difficult cures which he witnessed, induced him to further investigate the subject by study and experiment, These tests resulted in his becoming a convert to the system of Hahnemann, and in 1829, he publicly adopted the homoeopathic method in the treatment of his patients, continuing steadfastly in the same path till the day of his death, which happened June 20th, 1864.

Although he did not contribute much to the literature of homoeopathy, he was nevertheless active and zealous in the propagation of the new faith, and did much by his practice and conversation towards the advancement of the cause. His influence was great, a singular and genuine affection always existing between himself and his patients. His memory is still cherished with love and esteem, and he is regarded as among the few, in those early days of homoeopathy, who did the most for its advancement and success.

Shortly after converting to homeopathy, Wilson participated in an investigation into conspiratorial practices by orthodox medical men in New York with the intention of excluding and alienating homeopaths. According to a summary of the committee’s findings, in an address given by Benjamin Franklin Bowers in 1871, the eventual manifestation of this “secret exclusive association, called the Kappa Lambda Society,” was the creation of the orthodox New York Academy of Medicine:

So long ago as 1831, Philip E. Milledollar M.D., Felix Pascalis M.D., Abraham D. Wilson M.D., Hans B. Gram M.D., were appointed, by the Medical Society of the City and County of New York, a committee “to investigate the subject of the existence of a secret association of medical men in New York, said to be for purposes derogatory to the profession and injurious to the public.” They presented a full and interesting report, which was approved, almost unanimously by the society, consisting of two hundred and ninety physicians, in which they say: That it originated in selfishness, and has been continued for the purpose of advancing the pecuniary interest of, and making professional reputation for its members, without submitting to fair, open competition, which decided talents and honorable minds never wish to avoid.

Dr. Wilson died of pulmonary apoplexy at No. 17 ; West Eleventh St., New York, on January 20, 1864, aged 63 years.


Of Interest:

George Wilson (1787 – 1842), brother.

Peter/Petrus Wilson (1785 – 1856), brother.

Catherine Wilson (1791 – 1860), sister.