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Frederick S. C. Grayston, M. D.

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Frederick S. C. Grayston, M. D.

Posted: 5 Mar 2006 5:59PM GMT
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Grayston, Trott, Custance
From Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, 1901, pages 280-283

The medical fraternity in Indiana contains few names so distinguished as that of the late Dr. Frederick S. C. Grayston, for many years the leading physician of Huntington and one of the best known in the profession throughout the northern part of the state.

Dr. Grayston was born in England April 6, 1823, the third son of Bartholomew and Lucy (Trott) Grayston, both parents also natives of that country--the father an attorney at law. The Doctor's early life was spent under the parental roof, and after receiving an academic education became an assistant to his father, in which capacity he continued until deciding upon the profession for his life work. For some time he served as apprentice to a pharmaceutist of the London Pharmaceutical Society, where he studied pharmacy and practical chemistry, and subsequently became assistant to a physician, which had a decided influence upon his after life. Here his natural tastes and inclinations being encouraged, he successfully pursued the various branches of medicine, and such rapid progress did he make that within a short time he found himself sufficiently qualified to enter upon practice. Thinking that the United States afforded better opportunities for a young man just entering professional life, he decided to make the new world his home; accordingly, in 1850, he embarked and in due time reached his destination.

Immediately upon landing, he proceeded westward, and on the 12th day of October found himself with his family in the little town of Huntington, Indiana. Actuated by a laudable desire to increase his professional knowledge and the better to prosecute the same, the Doctor, early in the following spring, moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, and became a student of Prof. Lawson, of that city, under whose instruction he continued until the ensuing October, attending, meantime, private classes in the various hospitals. In October he matriculated in the Medical College of Ohio, returned to Huntington and entered upon what proved to be a most eminently successful career.

In 1860 the Doctor entered the Chicago Medical College, from which he was graduated with prize honors in March, 1861, and in 1863 he became a student at Rush Medical College, receiving from that institution in the spring of 1864 the degree of Adeundem. Subsequently, 1880, he attended the graduates' course in the Chicago Medical College, where he made the study of female diseases a specialty, and to these his attention thereafter was particularly directed. In 1882 he took a course in the polyclinic department of Bellevue Medical College, New York city, and upon the inauguration of the Fort Wayne Medical College he was elected professor of diseases of children. Subsequently the Doctor occupied the chair of pathology four terms, and later was called to the chair of theory and practice of medicine, which he filled with distinguished ability for a number of years.

In 1864 Dr. Grayston was appointed by President Lincoln examining surgeon for invalid pensioners, a position he retained for a period of twenty years. In 1880 the degree of A. M. was conferred upon him by Butler Univeristy, Indianapolis, a fitting recognition of his ability, not alone in his profession, but also from research upon various intellectual and scientific lines. The Doctor held membership in the National Medical Association, the Indiana State Medical Society, the Huntington County Medical Society, and was also an honorary member of the Medical Society of Grant county. During the years 1882 and 1883 he was president of the District Medical Society, and was ever an active, persistent and progressive worker in the varous organizations with which he was identified. His contributions to various medical periodicals, embracing a wide range of subjects, brought him to the favorable notice of the leading professional men throughout the Union, especially his prize essay upon the subject of diphtheria, which has been quite extensively published. Additional to his writings for the medical press, the Doctor also contributed many other valuable papers upon a variety of subjects, having been a thoughtful student of history, science and civics, besides having a wide and profound knowledge of the best literature of all times and all countries.

Dr. Grayston was united in marriage in his native country, May 1, 1849, to Miss Isabella Custance, a union blessed with the birth of the following children: Boston; H. B.; Sarah I.; Charles E.; Anna L.; and Fred W., the two daughters deceased.

Dr. Grayston was a Royal Arch Mason, and in politics supported the Republican party. He had a kindly and affable disposition, and many young aspirants for professional advancement attributed much of their success to his generous encouragement and kindly sympathy.

The following encomium from another, who for many years was a warm personal friend of the Doctor and at one time an inmate of his home, is an eloquent tribute to his ability as a physician and reputation as a citizen--Rev. H. C. Kendrick:

“The Doctor was a scholar; he had no superior if an equal in this particular in the community. He was not only a great student of medicine, but a careful student of many questions. He was a voluminous and thoughtful reader of the best books, journals and papers. He was not only familiar with the stirring scenes and rapid progress of his country, but was equally well informed concerning the current events and restless spirit if (sic) modern Europe. If he had given his thought and time to literary pursuits he would have made a writer that would have commanded the respect of the learned and thoughtful. This will be evidenced to those who read the masterly essays prepared for the Cosmopolitan Club, an organization numbering among its membership the bright minds and most cultivated intellects of Huntington. How he appreciated the meetings of his club! He had the kindliest regard for every member of it, though he frequently differed from many of them in their expressed views on various subjects. His splendid eye would sparkle with delight when a friend expressed a thought he appreciated and endorsed, or they would flash with the fire of indignation and warfare if his deep religious or patriotic convictions were assailed.

“Everything about Dr. Grayston spoke of largeness and nobility; he looked and acted like a nobleman. He had faith in his fellow men; he had high conceptions of what it is to be a man. His character was of such high order that any father might well desire to place it before his son for imitation, and for an incentive to high and noble living. He had noble qualities of mind and heart not appreciated by the many. His was a rare and fine intellect. His physical powers were marvelously developed, and he would see and feel more in a moment than many could see in a week.

“As a physician Dr. Grayston was thoughtful, careful, sympathetic and conscientious. He never suffered himself to become a ‘back number.’ He was familiar with all new discoveries in surgery and medicine; was proud of his profession, and aspired, as every true physician does, to be a healer of men. He was in tenderest sympathy with his suffering patient, and would often suffer with him. While others slept, he would sit up to think and study for some sick one he had attended the previous day. He would often be seen at midnight investigating medical books and journals that he might know as much as possible about the disease he was treating. He will long be tenderly remembered by hundred of patients in Huntington and adjoining counties.

“Dr. Grayston was a Christian. He was an honored and most worthy member of the First Christian church of Huntington, liberal in his offerings and wise in his counsel. His love and appreciation of the church increased until he was stricken, and he always took the greatest interest and pride in all its advancements and improvements. He had great faith and a beautiful hope, and said, ‘I never saw the day that I was not a believer in God, in Christ and the Bible.’ These great truths which were accepted by the wise and good whom he loved and respected he believed without question. He afterward learned by thoughtful investigation that his childhood faith was not childish, but that the manly and noble of the ages had a like faith.

“The Doctor was a man of domestic tastes, and his home was his castle. There was no spot so dear to him. Here he found rest, peace and consolation. After the abrasion of a busy day he joyfully turned toward the old home. In the hour of trial, anxiety or sickness, he had one chief consoler—the dear wife. Her presence, words and touch would frequently act like a talisman to drive away the enemies to his comfort. How he loved and appreciated the companion that so long and with such self-denying devotion shared his joys and sorrows, and how beautiful his affection for his children and grandchildren; he was never happier than when they were all well and prosperous. There was no peace or sleep for the good father when he felt all was not well with his children. If he could, he would gladly have borne for them their burdens and their grief.”

To the above beautiful and appropriate tribute may be appended the following from the editor of the Herald, also a warm and devoted friend of the Doctor: “Huntington has lost a man whose citizenship has been an honor to humanity. Clear, courteous, honorable in all walks of life, he won and retained the respect of all during the nearly fifty years he was identified with the people. Beloved as a man and physician, honored and esteemed by old and young, his death is regarded as a personal calamity in hundreds of households in this county. The example of his life is worthy of emulation, and the world has been brightened by his career.”

Incidental reference is made in a preceding paragraph to Dr. Grayston by contributors to current professional, scientific and historical literature. He was a profound thinker, and couched his ideas in forcible English, which for clearness and elegance of diction is surpassed by the writings of few scholars of the day. His paper on “England’s Colonial Policy; or, John Bull in the Right Place,” is a masterly review of the history of Great Britain from the time of Charles I to the beginning of the present century, with special reference to its colonial expansion and present commercial standing among the nations of the world. It has elicited the warmest encomiums from many of the leading scholars of the nation and forms a vaulable (sic) addition to the historic literature of the times. “The Nervous System of Man,” a physiological inquiry in relation to matter and mind, is a profound scientific treatise on one of the most abstruse subjects to which the intellect of man has ever been addressed. His deductions from original research in this deeply interesting and profound field of investigation prove him not only a ripe and brilliant scholar, but a master of logic as well. Another of his literary productions, “Insanity and its Relation to Mankind,” is also a thoughtful and scholarly treatise which has been widely read and frequently quoted by those interested in this and kindred subjects. Additional to the above, he wrote at different times other carefully prepared papers for discussion before the various medical societies to which he belonged, in all of which he sustained his reputation as a clear and logical thinker and writer, ranking with the first in the west. His was indeed a strong mind, containing vast stores of knowledge on many subjects, acquired partly during the course of his professional experience and partly gathered by careful research from various departments of science, philosophy and literature. Physician, scholar, philosopher and model Christian gentleman, it may be truly said that Dr. Grayston was indeed one of the notable men of his day and generation. His death occurred at his home in Huntington on the 5th day of November, 1898.
















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