Benjamin Rush Essay

2281 words - 9 pages

28BENJAMIN RUSH, M.D.Shaina ReddingerHistory 13203/12/14Benjamin Rush was many things: a physician, professor, writer, humanitarian, member of the Second Continental Congress, signer of the Declaration of Independence, Surgeon General for the Middle Department of the Continental Army, and Treasurer of the U.S. Mint. Overall, he was a well-developed character who made many contributions to society and played a very important role in the history of the United States. He was a descendent of a very religious family who held a strong Christian faith. This faith was expressed throughout his life in each of the roles that he took on. To get a better understanding of his life, understanding how he came to America is very important.The great-great-grandfather of Benjamin Rush, John Rush, was a farmer in Oxfordshire, England. He was well known for commanding a horse troop in Cromwell's army during England's Civil War. John and his seventeen-year-old wife Susanna were supporters of the Parliament during the English Civil War and after refusing to conform to the Church of England, they moved to America with their seven children (one daughter and six sons) and several grandchildren. They arrived in Pennsylvania in 1683, during the second year of William Penn's "Holy Experiment" for settlement in America where they were free to be Quakers. They settled in Byberry Township, a farming community made up of predominantly Quakers near Philadelphia. Five generations of Rushes went on to live in this community. [1: Alyn Brodsky, Benjamin Rush: Patriot and Physician (New York: Truman Talley Books, 2004), 17.][2: Carl Binger, Revolutionary Dotor: Benamin Rush, 1746-1813 (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1966), 19.]John's eldest son was named William Rush. William was Benjamin's great-grandfather, who died in 1688 at the age of thirty-six after living in America for five years. He had three children, the eldest was James, Benjamin's grandfather, who died in 1727 at the age of forty-eight. James gave the family farm and gunsmith business to his son John, Benjamin's father. Benjamin's mother was Susanna Hall Harvey. Hall was her family's name and Harvey was the name of her late husband who she had one daughter with. His family came to America from England in 1685 and she was educated in a boarding school in Philadelphia. John and Susanna had seven children together, but only four of them survived to adulthood. Benjamin was the fourth child, born on the family farm on Christmas Eve 1745, or January 4, 1746, according to the Gregorian calendar. When Benjamin Rush was five years old, his father John died at the age of thirty-nine on July 25, 1751. John died peacefully after saying "Lord! Lord! Lord!" over and over again. His mother Susanna was left to provide for the family. She sold her husband's gunsmith shop, tools, and all but one of their slaves before moving the family to Philadelphia. Here she opened a grocery/provision store and along with the proceeds...

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