Bullet-Point Bio: Benjamin Rush

-One of the signers from Pennsylvania.

-Benjamin Rush was born on January 4, 1746 to John and Susanna Rush.  He grew up outside of Philadelphia and was the fourth of seven children.

-Benjamin went to school at West Nottingham Academy at the age of eight, while living with his aunt and uncle, after his father died.

-Benjamin then went to Princeton University and graduated at the age of fourteen.  He continued his studies in the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

-While overseas, he became fluent in French, Italian, and Spanish.

-After returning to the states, Benjamin became a professor of Chemistry at the College of Philadelphia while also opening a medical practice.

-Rush was very active in the Sons of Liberty and was soon elected to attend the conference that would later send delegates to the Continental Congress.  He was then elected to represent Philadelphia and signed the Declaration of Independence.

-Rush worked in the medical field in the army, though there was a lot of sharp dispute between the surgeons on the way things should run.  In 1778, Rush resigned from his position of surgeon-general.

-In 1783, Rush became a staff member at the Pennsylvania Hospital.  He also was elected as the treasurer of the United States Mint.  He served from 1797-1813.

-Then, in 1791, he became a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

-He was a social activist, an abolitionist, and the most well-known physician in America at his time.  He had strong views about a variety of topics, including slavery, education for women, mental health, and capital punishment.

-He founded the Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

-Before Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark on their expeditions, Rush taught Lewis about many frontier illnesses and the concept of bloodletting.  He put together medical kits for Lewis before he set out on his mission for Jefferson.

-Rush wrote the first American textbook on Chemistry.

-Benjamin Rush married Julia Stockton (the daughter of another signer of the Declaration) and together they had 13 children.  Only 9 of his children lived past their first year of life.

-Benjamin Rush died at the age of 68 and was buried next to his wife in the Christ Church Burial Ground.


Photo credit: Wikipedia Public Domain

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