DR. AMASA TROWBRIDGE was born 30 May 1779 in Pomfret, CT, son of William Trowbridge. He died 10 April 1859 in Watertown, NY and married on 16 September 1805 in Lanesborough, MA to GLORIANNA HAVENS BILLINGS, daughter of ANDREW and GLORIANNA BILLINGS. She died 27 June 1849 in Watertown.
Amasa obtained his early education at the country schools in the intervals of active labor on his father's farm in Pomfret, CT. At age 17 he began a course of study with Dr. Avery Downer of Preston, New London County, and three years later he was admitted to practice and received a diploma from the Connecticut Medical Society. He returned to his native town, where he spent one year with Dr. Thomas Hubbard, and then removed to Lanesborough, Berkshire Co., Mass. Soon after his marriage, Dr. Trowbridge removed with his wife to Trenton, Oneida Co., NY, where he practiced two years in company with Dr. Luther Guiteau*. He fell in with the tide of immigration that was flowing into the "Black River Country" where his reputation had preceded him. In 1809 he removed with his family to Watertown, Jefferson Co., which he made his permanent residence and where he entered at once into a large medical and surgical practice in company with Dr. Paul Hutchinson, a talented physician who was also from Oneida Co., NY.
Dr. Trowbridge was a Republican in politics and became conspicuous in the party ranks. The doctor was an easy and agreeable writer, and was the author of a series of political essays designed to sustain the administration, which were widely published and served to identify the author strongly with is party.
At the outbreak of the War of 1812, Dr. Trowbridge volunteered for duty and on 29 June 1812, Gen. Jacob Brown appointed him surgeon of the forces he was collecting on the St. Lawrence, and ordered him to organize hospital quarters at Cape Vincent and Sackett's Harbor. On 10 October 1812, Governor Tompkins confirmed his assignment and brevetted him surgeon of militia. From then until the close of the war he was identified with the movements of the troops on the frontier, and his history involves the history of the war itself.
He had his quarters principally at Sackett's Harbor during the winter of 1812-13, and was very busy treating a large number of cases of the "epidemic" which prevailed in the country. In April 1813 he was on board the brig Oneida in the expedition which sailed on the 25th against Little York and attended principally among the enemy and citizens, many of whom were wounded by the explosion of the powder magazine. He returned with the fleet to Sackett's Harbor and resumed duties at that place throughout the battle of May 29. On August 28 he received an appointment as surgeon of the U.S. army and was ordered to report to Col. Ripley of the 21st Regiment Infantry.
Of interest is the fact that he pitched the first hospital tents used on the frontier and removed the 200 sick to them, where under sanitary arrangements they were fitted to take their places again within the ranks. He served with Ripley's Regiment in Gen. Wilkinson's unfortunate expedition down the St. Lawrence and continued with it until its arrival at French Mills. The doctor remained with the army, surrounded by a wilderness, and where the sick and wounded were without suitable clothing or medicine. On 20 Jan. 1814, he was ordered to Sackett's Harbor to prepare quarters for the 200 sick of that unfortunate army.
Dr. Trowbridge continued in the service and marched with his regiment to Buffalo in the spring of 1814. He was in the battle of Chippeway on 5 July and Lundy's Lane on the 25th, and performed arduous duties in caring for the wounded after those engagements. After Chippeway, he was again engaged with his hospital duties in Sackett's Harbor until the close of the war. Immediately on is return to private practice he was appointed one of the assistant justices on the bench of Jefferson County, and in 1818 he was appointed a judge. In 1819 he was appointed sheriff of the county, a position he held for two years, and in the meantime continued his medical and surgical practice in the county. He spent the winter of 1822 in Philadelphia and in 1834 received the appointment of professor of surgery and medical jurisprudence in Willoughby University in Ohio. He kept his residence in Watertown, until 1838 when he gave up his practice to his son, Amasa, and removed his family to Painsville, Ohio. His talented son, Amasa, died in June 1841 and so Dr. Amasa, Sr., returned to Watertown, NY where he continued to practice until his death.
Dr. Trowbridge was an inventor in his profession and one of the most successful operators in his profession. He was favorably known not only throughout the state and nation but in Europe and many of his operations were chronicled wherever surgical journals were printed. It is said that during his long life he amputated the leg at the thigh nearly 100 times and performed the first successful operation of cutting open the windpipe of a child to save its life in all known history of surgery.
Dr. Trowbridge was also one of the pioneers of Masonry in Jefferson County and a founder of the first Masonic Lodge ever formed in Watertown and one of the first officers of Watertown Chapter, No. 59 of the Royal Arch Masons. He was active in the group until his death.
On page 537 of the Trowbridge Genealogy are handwritten accounts by Dr. Trowbridge of the military engagements and conditions of the War of 1812, which includes the fact that he worked at amputations and dressing of wounds often for 36 hours non-stop.
Children of Amasa Trowbridge and Glorianna H. Billings:
1)GLORIANNA BILLINGS b 4 June 1806; m 10 May 1827 to CHARLES CLARK of Watertown, NY
2)CATHARINE FRANCES b 1808; d 1811
3)AMASA b 1811 d 1812
4)AMASA b 21 August 1813; died 2 June 1841 in Watertown, having been thrown from his horse and died of his injuries the following day. Only his father's legendary career eclipsed his own medical expertise.
5)WILLIAM RIPLEY b 22 August 1816
6)ANDREW BILLINGS b 2 May 1817; d 25 May 1862 in Willoughby, Ohio at 43 years.
7)FRANCES CATHARINE b 30 Sept. 1819; married 2 June 1841 to COMFORT LEWIS HOYT of Painsville, Ohio
8)HELEN MAR, b 1 May 1821; married 19 May 1841 to Gen. ARTEMAS TROWBRIDGE SHARPE of Minneapolis, Minnesota
9)CORNELIA ELIZABETH b 2 May 1824; married 10 Sept. 1851 to THOMAS ROACH CASE of West Simsbury, CT. Married in Williamsburgh, Ohio.
Dr. WILLIAM RIPLEY TROWBRIDGE (#5) was born 22 Aug. 1816 in Watertown, Ny and died 19 August 1886 in Watertown. He married 24 September 1848 in Watertown to LOUISE MARIE SMITH, daughter of SYLVESTER and ROSE (TUTTLE) SMITH, born 1 April 1825 in Dover, N. H. The marriage was held in Trinity Church. Dr. William R. attended schools in Watertown, NY and eventually entered the dry goods business in St. Louis, MO. He had been in St. Louis for four years when the death of his elder brother, Dr. Amasa, Jr., recalled him to Watertown. It was then that he entered medical school and received his diploma from Willoughby University and entered into a partnership with his father in 1846. He ranked among the most active and eminent physicians in the county. The practice of father and son was very large and after his father's death he continued alone. He was considered to be one of the most skillful surgeons in Northern New York.
Dr. William served as the examining surgeon in the Civil War and was appointed surgeon of the 18th Dist. Regiment, NY Volunteer Infantry in 1862. He was an enthusiastic naturalist and an amateur taxidermist of great skill.
Like his father, he was long a member of the Jefferson County Medical Society, and prominent in Masonic circles. He was raised to the degree of Master Mason in Watertown Lodge, F. and A. M., on 21 March 1855 and made a Royal Arch Mason in Watertown Chapter on 24 March 1858. He was knighted in the Watertown Commandery No. 11, on 1 September 1865. At the time of his death he was the oldest citizen of Watertown who had been born within its limits and his funeral was largely attended with societies and individuals who were united in honoring his memory.
Children of Dr. William Trowbridge and Louise Maria Smith:
1)EDWARD WILLIAM b 16 July 1849
2)HELEN ROSE b 15 August 1853; resident of Watertown, NY
3)STANTON SYLVESTER b 10 Dec. 1854
4)FREDERICK GUITEAU b 30 August 1857
5)WILLIAM AMASA b 14 July 1866.
Dr. Edward William Trowbridge, son of Dr. William, was born 16 July 1849 in Watertown, NY and lived in Watertown. He married on 7 June 1873 in Black River, NY to LILY SPRINGSTEEN, daughter of WILLIAM HENRY and EMELINE (BUTTERFIELD) SPRINGSTEEN, b 4 Dec. 1850 in Black River. Edward attended the schools in Jefferson County and studied medicine with his father; he practiced in Watertown, NY. They married in the home of the bride's parents.
Children of Dr. Edward W. Trowbridge and Lily Springsteen: 1)LENA SHERMAN b 10 April 1875; m 6 Oct. 1897 to EDWIN CAPE MACOMBER and lived in Easton, PA.
Stanton Sylvester Trowbridge, son of Dr. William, was born 10 Dec. 1854 in Watertown and moved to Rochester, NY. He married on 18 Sept. 1877 in Gouverneur to HELEN GRACE UTLEY, daughter of ALBERT MONROE and HELEN ADELIA (VAN BUREN) UTLEY, b 24 Sept. 1857 in WAtertown. Stanton became involved in politics and cultural affairs and became a practicing lawer in June 1877.
Children of Stanton S. Trowbridge and Helen Utley:
1)ETHEL BROWN b 21 July 1878.
Dr. Frederick Guiteau Trowbridge was born 30 October 1857 in Watertown., son of William R. He married 27 September 1897 in Watertown to MINNIE FRANCES AUSTIN, daughter of ENOCH OLIN and ANNA LOUISE (BAKER) AUSTIN, born 27 June 1875 in Carthage, NY. Frederick attended local schools and began study of medicine with his father, Dr. William R. In the fall of 1881 he entered the Univ. of Buffalo and received his M.D. degree in 1883. He joined the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
William Amasa Trowbridge was born 14 July 1866 in Watertown, son of William R. He married on 10 September 1902 in Gouverneur, NY to CARLOTTA LOUISE SEAMON, daughter of ALBERT RUTHERN and MARY ELIZABETH (SMITH) SEAMON, born 15 September 1875 in Gouverneur. He was for many years active and prominent in the fraternal circles of his native city. He was also the traveling representative of the Lodge Record, and constantly among the various lodges of fraternal orders. He was a member of several fraternal organizations throughout the county and state.
Children of William Amasa Trowbridge and Carlotta Louise Seamon:
1)FREDERICK LYNDEN b 2 June 1908.
Source: History of the Trowbridge Family in America by Francis Bacon Trowbridge, Pub. New Haven, CT, 1908.
*See biography of Jane Guiteau, this site, who married Luther Guiteau.
Copyright 2018 Jefferson County NYGenWeb — a member of the NYGenWeb Project
If you have any questions or comments about this page, please contact,
County Co-Coordinator Nancy Dixon or
Co-Coordinator Bruce Coyne.
Return to Jefferson County Genweb Page