north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program
 

 
 
 

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Essay:
     Solomon S. Satchwell, physician and founding member of the Medical Society of North Carolina, was born in 1821 in Beaufort County, the son of James and Elizabeth Satchwell. His parents stressed education, and Satchwell attended Wake Forest College from 1839 to 1841 before entering New York University, where he received his doctoral degree in medicine in 1850. Upon returning to North Carolina he practiced medicine in southeastern North Carolina.

     During the 1850s, Satchwell became one of the preeminent physicians in the state. In 1852 he reported to the Medical Society his research on malaria, determining that it was the number one killer of people South. Although he incorrectly presumed that the disease was not caused by mosquitoes, Satchwell did recognize the correlation between bodies of stagnant water and the disease. From 1854 to 1856 he served as the Society secretary, and in 1858 was one of the main proponents for the publication of the Medical Journal of North Carolina. The following year he successfully lobbied the state legislature for the authorization of a state board of medical examiners.

     From 1860 to 1861, Satchwell attended a series of medical lectures at the University of Sorbonne in Paris. He returned home after the outbreak of the Civil War, and accepted a position as surgeon of the 25th North Carolina Infantry. Shortly thereafter he was appointed head surgeon of the Confederate hospital at Wilson, where he remained until the war’s end.

     After the war, Satchwell opened a private practice in Pender County, but remained active in the Medical Society and as the secretary of the Board of Medical Examiners. In 1872 he presented to the society the credentials of Dr. Susan Dimock, the first female native of North Carolina to receive an M.D. degree. As a young child living in Washington, North Carolina, Dimock had lived across the street from Satchwell. He often allowed her to join him on house calls, and actively encouraged her interest in medicine. Satchwell remained active in the medical field until his death on November 9, 1892 in Burgaw. He had been married twice, and had four children. He is buried in Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington.


References:
William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, IV, 284-285—sketch by W. Conard Gass
Dorothy Long, ed., Medicine in North Carolina (1972)
Guion G. Johnson, Ante-Bellum North Carolina: A Social History (1937)
Ursula Loy and Pauline Worthy, Washington and the Pamlico (1976)C. Wingate Reed, Beaufort County: Two Centuries of Its History (1962)
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north carolina highway historical marker program


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