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Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Woodhouse, James

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WOODHOUSE, James, chemist, b. in Philadelphia, Pa., 17 Nov., 1770; d. there, 4 June, 1809. He was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1787, and at its medical department in 1792. In 1791 he served as a surgeon in Gen. Arthur St. Clair's expedition against the western Indians. When Joseph Priestley declined to accept the chair of chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania in 1795, Dr. Woodhouse received the appointment, which he held until his death. He is said to have been the first to demonstrate the superiority of the Lehigh anthracite coal in Northampton county, Pa., over the bituminous coals of Virginia for intensity and regularity of heating power. He was a member of the American philosophical society, and contributed to its transactions, to Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell's “Medical Repository,” and to Dr. John R. Coxe's “Medical Museum.” Besides editing Parkinson's “Chemical Pocket-Book” (Philadelphia, 1802) and Chaptal's “Elements of Chemistry” (4th ed., 2 vols., 1807), he published “Dissertation on the Chemical and Medical Properties of the Persimmon-Tree” (1792); “Observations on the Combinations of Acids, Bitters, and Astringents” (1793); “Answer to Dr. J. Priestley's Considerations on the Doctrine of Phlogiston and the Decomposition of Water” (1794); “Young Chemist's Pocket-Companion” (1797); and “Experiments and Observations in the Vegetation of Plants” (1802).