Plymouth County Biographies

Part of the Massachusetts Biographies Project

Dr. Charles T. Jackson

Another of the early physicians, conspicuous in walks of honor and service to their fellow-men, aside from their professional requirements, included Dr. Charles T. Jackson, who was born in Plymouth in 1805, graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1829, studied later in Paris and was made a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in recognition of his scientific labor and research. He served as geologist of Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, explored the southern shores of Lake Superior and opened a copper mine. It is said that he suggested the possibility of communication by means of electricity and made important discoveries before Professor Samuel F. B. Morse secured a patent for the telegraph in 1840.

Discovery and Application of Ether- A memorial was presented to Congress in 1852, signed by 143 physicians of Boston, ascribing the discovery of anesthesia exclusively to Dr. Jackson. A contradictory claim was made in behalf of Dr. W.T.G. Morton and scientific and general opinion have been divided whether one of the other should receive credit for this great advance in saving of human life by surgery. The French Academy of Science decreed a prize of 2,500 francs to Dr. Jackson for the discovery of etherization and the same amount to Dr. Morton for the application. Dr. Jackson received decorations from the governments of France, Prussia, Sweden, Turkey and Sardinia, his recognition as a man of broad and scientific learning extending into many countries. He died in 1880.

Source: "History of Plymouth, Norfolk and Barnstable Counties Massachusetts; Volume I" by Elroy S. Thompson. Pub. 1928. Page 122-3