James Davenport Whelpley

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James Davenport Whelpley (23 Jan., 1817-15 April 1872) was an American physician and author.

Whelpley was born in N. Y. City, 23 Jan., 1817. His father was Rev. Philip M. Whelpley, pastor of the 1st Presbyterian Church in N. Y. City, and his mother was Abigail Fitch Davenport, a descendant of the first minister of New Haven. He graduated from Yale College in 1837. After graduation he acted as assistant in Rogers' Geological Survey of Pennsylvania, for two years, and then entered the Medical Department of Yale College, where he graduated in 1842. He remained in New Haven until 1846, engaged in the study of the sciences, and in literary pursuits. He then went to Brooklyn, N. Y., and began to practice his profession, but was soon obliged to relinquish it from ill-health. In 1847, he removed to N. Y. City, and became the editor and one of the owners of the American Whig Review, to which he had been a frequent contributor from 1845. While thus engaged, in 1849, he formed a project of establishing a commercial colony in Honduras, and in furtherance of this enterprise, spent two years in San Francisco, purchasing and editing one of the daily papers there. His arrangements were disturbed by the presence of the filibuster William Walker in Honduras, and on going thither he was detained by Walker for nearly a year, enduring great privation, and being impressed into service as a surgeon. Escaping to San Francisco, he returned early in 1857 to the East, and again devoted himself to literature, and to scientific studies. For the last ten years of his life he was a great sufferer from asthma, which gradually developed into consumption of the lungs, of which disease he died, at his residence in Boston, 15 April 1872. Dr. WhelpIey's publications show a most original mind, and his unpublished papers are even more remarkable. He was a member of the American Academy. His scientific researches were chiefly in physics and in metallurgy.

He married first, in Jan., 1848, Miss Anna M. Wells, of Roxbury, Mass., who died 29 July 1859, leaving one daughter. His second wife was Miss Mary L. Breed, of Virginia, whom he married in the autumn of 1861, and who survived him, with her three children.

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Yale Obituary Record.