American Medical Biographies/Alexander, Ashton

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Alexander, Ashton (1772–1855)

Founder and first secretary of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, provost of the University of Maryland, Alexander was born in 1772, near Arlington, Alexandria County, Virginia. The town of Alexandria was named after his ancestors, who owned large tracts of land in its vicinity. His father commanded a company of horse in the Continental Army at the commencement of the Revolution. His youth was spent in Jefferson County, Virginia, where he was educated at a private institution and studied medicine under Dr. Philip Thomas, of Frederick, Md., finishing at the University of Pennsylvania, where he obtained his medical degree May 22, 1795. He settled first in North Carolina and in 1796 went to Baltimore. He was a founder of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland and its first secretary (1799–1801); then he was treasurer (1801–1803) and the last surviving charter member.

Other positions Dr. Alexander held were the following: Commissioner of Health, Baltimore, 1804–05 and again 1812; attending physician, Baltimore General Dispensary, 1801–03; consulting physician, Baltimore Hospital, 1812; president, District Medical and Chirurgical Society, 1819–20, provost, University of Maryland, 1837–50.

Dr. Alexander is described as being a self-possessed and courteous man, neat in his dress which included knee and shoe buckles and gold-headed cane. He died of pneumonia in Baltimore in February, 1855, in his eighty-third year.

He married in December, 1799, a daughter of his preceptor, Dr. Thomas, and had eight children, only three of whom arrived at maturity and all of whom died before he himself did. His first wife dying, he married very late in life Miss Merryman, but had no children.

Boston Med. and Surg. Jour., 1881, vol. civ.
Memorial by I. N. Tarbox, N. E. Hist. and Genealog. Reg., Oct., 1881, vol. xxxv.