12th LOGO


Submitted by Linda Fluharty.

From History of the Upper Ohio Valley, Vol. I, pages 294-295. Brant & Fuller, 1890.


     Dr. John Frissell was born in Peru, Berkshire Co., Mass., March 8, 1810. He is the son of Amasa Frissell, a thrifty former of Scotch descent. His mother was of English parentage, named Wilcox. They secured good educations to their six children, four sons and two daughters. The eldest of the sons was a farmer, and the other three received collegiate educations, and represented the professions of divinity, medicine and law. The subject of this sketch in his youth worked on the farm with his father, attending the common school in the winter, from which he was advanced to the academy in Old Hadley. He entered Williams college in 1827, and graduated A. B. in 1831. He commenced the study of medicine with Dr. Ebenezer Emmons, of Williamson, whose assistant he had been in the Chemical laboratory of Wllliams college for two years. In 1832 he attended lectures at the Berkshire Medical college, in Pittsfield. At the invitation of Prof. Willard Parker, he accompanied him to Woodstock, in the spring of 1833, where he became demonstrator of anatomy. He filled the same position for Prof. Parker in the Berkshire Medical school. At that period it was the duty of the demonstrator to prepare the dissections for the professor, and afterward to recapitulate closely to the class the professor's lecture, and to carefully superintend and instruct all those, making dissections. Having continued demonstrator through the year 1834, and attending lectures, he graduated M. D., from the Berkshire college at the close of that term. In the fall of this year he received the degree of A. M. from Williams college. Dr. Frissell moved to Wheeling, W. Va., in 1836, arriving there June 3. Dr. Frissell was early called upon to make those operations which his exact knowledge of anatomy enabled him to perform with skill and success. In 1838 he performed his first operation for hare-lip with deformed upper jaw, and in 1839, shortly after the first operations by George McClellan, of Philadelphia, for club-foot, by the division of tendons, Dr. Frissell operated for the relief of this deformity by the same method in Wheeling. In 1841, he commenced operations with success for strabismus; in November, 1853, he introduced in Wheeling the use of chloroform in capital operations. Dr. Frissell was connected with the Wheeling infirmary during its continuance, and has been connected with the hospital which succeeded it from the time it was established. For more than twenty years he has held the appointment of chief physician and surgeon to these institutions, which as hospitals have fully supplied an urgent want in West Virginia, and also to Western Pennsylvania and southeastern Ohio. Soon after the breaking out of the war Dr. Frissell was appointed by Gov. Pierpoint, medical superintendent of the military prisoners and soldiers stationed at Wheeling. He was subsequently continued as acting assistant surgeon at the same post by the surgeon general of the United States army, to the close of the war. Most of the time he had full charge of the medical department of the post. Dr. Frissell was also a member of the state board of examiners for surgeons entering the army during the war. The position of surgeon for the marine patients at Wheeling has been filled by him for more than twenty-five years. He is also physician of the convent of the Sisters of Visitation, and the school for young ladies at Mount de Chantel, and to Saint Vincent's college. He was the first president of the medical society of the state of West Virginia, instituted May 10, 1867. He is a member of the American Medical association, and of the Medical society of Ohio county, and an honorary member of the Medical society of the state of California, and was a member of the Centennial International Medical congress of 1876. Dr. John Frissell was married to Elizabeth Ann, daughter of Col. John Thompson, of Moundsville, W. Va.