Richard Bayley

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Richard Bayley
Born 1745
Fairfield, Connecticut
Died August 17, 1801(1801-08-17) (aged 56)
Relatives James Roosevelt Bayley, grandson

Richard Bayley (1745 – August 17, 1801) was a prominent New York City physician and first chief health officer of the city.[1][2]

Biography[edit]

Bayley was born in 1745 in Fairfield, then in the Colony of Connecticut, to a family of French Hugenot descent, based in New Rochelle, New York. In 1766 he was apprenticed to New York City physician John Charlton. Bayley married John's sister, Catherine Charlton, at St. John's Episcopal Church (Elizabeth, New Jersey); her father was the rector of St. Andrew's Church, Staten Island. The couple had three children, including Elizabeth Ann Bayley. Later, known as Mother Seton, she became the foundress of the first group of Catholic Religious Sisters in the nation, and was the first native-born citizen of the United States to be declared a saint.[2]

Bayley traveled to London in 1769, where he studied anatomy with William Hunter. Bayley returned to the United States in 1772, where he opened a practice with Charlton, his brother-in-law and former instructor. He returned to England in 1775 to continue his work with Hunter.[3]

A Loyalist, Bayley returned to America and enlisted in the British army as a surgeon at the start of the American Revolution and was stationed in Newport, Rhode Island. In 1777, however, the illness of his wife caused him to return to New York, where she soon died. He took no further part in the conflict. The following year he married Charlotte Barclay, and they eventually had four children.[2] They later separated.

Bayley's chief focus in his medical practice was the poor of the city.[4] He helped to found the New York Dispensary, which operated in the Greenwich Village neighborhood well into the 20th century. He was the first American surgeon to successfully amputate an arm at the shoulder.[3] His laboratory was attacked in the 1788 Doctors' Riot.[5] His anatomical collection was destroyed, but he escaped without injury. In 1792 he began to teach anatomy and surgery at Kings College of New York.[3]

He began studies of yellow fever when the disease broke out in New York in 1795. His work helped discover its epidemiology. As a result, around 1796, he was appointed as the first health officer of the Port of New York, in charge of a quarantine station at Tompkinsville, Staten Island (now St. George). He contracted yellow fever while checking a ship just arrived from Ireland that was contaminated with it.[3]

He died from yellow fever on August 17, 1801, and was buried in the cemetery of the church served by his father-in-law.[2][4]

Legacy[edit]

Bayley Seton Hospital, once located in the Clifton section of Staten Island, was named for both Bayley and his daughter, Elizabeth. It was founded and run by the Sisters of Charity of New York, founded by her, until 2006.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Richard Bayley Biography (1745-1801)". Faqs.com. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Mother Seton". Catholic Online. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Richard Bayley Biography (1745-1801)". Advameg, Inc. Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Dr. Richard Bayley". St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Museum. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Famous Staten Islanders". Staten Island on the Web. Archived from the original on February 10, 2009. Retrieved July 16, 2014.