Holden, Dr. Samuel

From: Yaphank AS IT IS and Was
by, Beecher Homan

Holden, Dr. Samuel


I lament that I cannot grant the space and time to this sketch of a truly learned and popular gentleman and physician, that his worth and acquirements certainly deserve.

To say that Dr. Edward Holden is a true gentleman and scholar would be to reiterate the oft-repeated declarations of his admirers and patrons. Not only a physician by title, but virtually a successful, gifted and thorough M. D. the great men of his profession in England and America feel proud in ranking him a peer. In the halls of learning in the City of New York-everywhere where doctors of high standing are wont to assemble Dr. Holden is gladly welcomed and appreciated for his profound learning. His most intimate relations with such eminent members of the fraternity as James R. Wood, Lewis A. Sayre, Willard Parker, and William Detmold, and many others of the first rank, is an unquestionable passport.

But he relies not upon his high standing among the great men of his profession to advance his success and public favor, for, I can say with authority, that no physician on Long Island, outside of Brooklyn, is better qualified as a doctor of medicine than Edward H. S. Holden.


He came not to underrate, disparage, or depreciate others, to establish himself in the good graces of the public; but with the bright laurels of his public examination still blooming, and the voices of his English admirers and classical collegiates bidding him God speed to the free shores of the New World, where honor and emolument awaited him.

How proud am I, that to me was accorded the honor of penning this miniature sketch of a truly talented, but not sufficiently appreciated scholar. Dr. Holden is the author of many beautiful sentiments in prose and verse, and the varied culture of his mind is illustrated by the diversified talents of the men be once loved to gather around him. His nature is true and sympathetic, but untinged by any sickliness of taste. He is a critical, dispassionate commentator on the great questions of the day, with a mind that cannot be shaken by political storms. How common place and dim the brilliancy of preceding chapters appear, when I consider the contents before me.


Edward Henry S. Holden was born in Birmingham, Warwick Co., England, on the 9th day of April 1801. His parents were Richard and Ann S. Holden. He is five feet and two inches in height, slight in build, and almost feminine in his physical development.

Three score years and ten have sprinkled his hair with the silvery emblems of old age, and his stooping form predicts a sure decline of the physical man.

In imagination we will tread back through the hazy past of seventy years, in England, and dwell over the events of his boyhood.

His fourth to seventh years were passed at boarding school in his native county, in the acquisition of the arts of spelling, reading And English grammar.

On the completion of his seventh year, his uncle being one of the governors of Christ's Hospital, London, he entered the classical department, under the Rev. Drs. Arthur W. Trollope and F. W. Franklin, where he pursued the study of the Latin and Greek languages, with a view to the clerical profession, but, on the completion of his fifteenth year, being dissuaded, he abandoned the intention of studying Theology, and left the institution.

After some months' deliberation, he eagerly resolved to adopt the profession of medicine, for which purpose he went to Bath, and began his studies under the tuition of Surgeon Walker, a former pupil of Surgeon Baynton.

He there enjoyed the most cordial friendship of the highly accomplished scholar and judicious physician, Doe. Caleb Hillier Parry, to whose scientific attainments he is indebted for much information, both of a medical and literary character.

Before the expiration of his second pupilage year, he had formed an attachment for a young lady, whose parents were desirous of breaking off the growing affection because of her extreme youth.

Young Holden deferred the study of medicine for a season, and returned to London, where, his father then resided, and engaged in the counting-house of an eminent commercial firm -until the close of the year 1821. On the 25th day of February, 1822, banns having been previously published in due form, he was married by Rev. J. W. Bellamy, D. D., at St - Mary's Abb. Church, to Ann Margaret Gladstone, granddaughter of Sir John Gladstone, formerly of Newcastle, England, and sailed from London at the end of May in the same year, in the ship Acasta, of the Griswold line, bound for New York, where they arrived on Saturday, July 13th.

The yellow fever appeared very soon after his arrival in the great metropolis of the New World, which, causing an interruption to business, made it imprudent to engage in any permanent occupation.

The following year he opened a drug store, which he steadily attended till the mouth of March 1826, when he resumed his favorite study, by entering the office of Doe.

Alexander H. Stevens, Professor of Surgery in the old College of Physicians and Surgeons, in Barclay street, at which college he matriculated, and attended the lectures of all the professors during 1828 and 1829.

In the spring of 1830 he presented himself before the President and Censors of the Medical Society for examination.

Those gentlemen, to testify their appreciation of the promptness and correctness of his replies to every question propounded to him, proposed to honor him by a public examination in the hall of the college, to which he readily as-sented. Thus, on the 15th of February 1830, date of his diploma, Doc. Holden verified, to the satisfaction of all, his profound and extensive learning, and the remarkable adaptability of his genius to the great science, of which he is an honorable and superior representative. He was then admitted as a member of the Medical Society of the City and County of New York, in 1832.

After practicing in New York City (with the exception of two years, one in Washingtonville, Orange County, and one in Troy), from 1830 to 1850, he moved to Holbrook, L. I., where he remained three years. He then moved to Middle Island, remaining there, until May, 1858, when he moved to the Manor; from which place he moved, November of the same year, to East Moriches. There he lived until November 1859, at which period he moved to Yaphank, where he still resides.

His wife, now in her eighty third year, was afflicted, between two and three years ago, with a severe and dangerous illness of six weeks' duration, which left her in, so debilitated a condition that she has never regained her previous degree of health.

Of a family composed of three sons and two daughters, only one survives, the Rev. Robert Holden, an Episcopal clergyman, and Rector of Trinity School, New York City.

Doctor Holden may well feel proud of such a noble son. The old gentleman has not long to gaze upon the bright things of this land, for weight of years is bearing him down, and the smiles of the genial old man must soon fade; but how sweet will be the consolation of his declining years, to know that when he is summoned to go, and the implacable sword of death shall sever the brittle band that holds to this, vale of tears, his name will still be borne; aye, borne upward to honor and distinction in the estimation of his fellow -men.

The pillow of death will be softened, and the agonies allayed, by the sweet voice of a tranquil conscience.

Tranquil, because his palmy days are o'er and no cloud bedims their glory; peaceful, because lie ever drank the gall himself, and gave the sweetened honey. No thorns will be gathered with his harvest of roses, and no troubled conscience will mar the long, long sleep.

Soon the bitter words of foes will be forgotten, and the taunts of enemies will cease over the grave. With me, the little world of Yaphank will ever speak with reverence of the man who was too good to be rich, too great to be in authority, and too learned to be fully appreciated.

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