[Before we wrap up our blog series for the week, just a quick note that I will be in New London, Connecticut, TOMORROW, June 30th at 2 PM for the grand opening of the exhibit I wrote and drew for the Nathan Hale School House! I'll be giving a presentation on writing historical narratives as a means of education, as well as showing behind the scenes sketches and stories from the exhibit.]
This is Part 3 of a series of guest blog posts by Dr. Samuel Forman. Part 1 was about Warren’s fiance Mercy Scollay’s attempt to care for his children after his death, and Part 2 addressed the fates of Warren’s four children.
In this last post, Dr. Forman covers the fates of Joseph Warren’s three brothers: Samuel, Ebenezer, and Dr. John Warren.
A few words are in order about Dr. Joseph Warren’s surviving siblings. Brother “Jack” John Warren (1751-1815) carried on the family name by way of many children, as well as a medical dynasty through eight generations and the current day. Jack was founding professor at Harvard Medical School in 1782. A successful physician in Boston, he was plagued by financial worries for supporting his huge natural and adopted family. These concerns abated later in life as his medical practice flourished, a hefty inheritance came by way of his wife’s Rhode Island Collins family, land investments succeeded, and the Roxbury farm eventually increased in value.
His first child, brilliant and eccentric surgeon and anatomist Dr. John Collins Warren (1778–1856) was a nephew of Joseph Warren, and Dr. John Warren’s most distinguished offspring in medical circles. John Collins Warren co-founded the Massachusetts General Hospital and the influential New England Journal of Medicine, in addition to overseeing one of the largest fortunes in mid-19th century Massachusetts. He is credited as introducing painless ether general anesthesia into surgical practice along with some innovative colleagues in 1846.
That would have come in handy for Dr. John’s expectant amputee in 1776, who – if he were lucky – had little more than a dose of laudanum, a shot of rum, and a bullet to bite on. John Collins Warren is the one who had photographs of Joseph Warren’s skull taken in the 1850s, from which Lora Innes recently induced nightmares in unwitting Dreamers.
Joseph Warren’s brother Samuel (1743-1805) is recorded in family lore as having been very shy. He never married. He kept the family Roxbury farm going with his mother, no mean feat as it was astride the Continental Army entrenchments blocking the main road into Boston during the Siege. Most of the Warren Russet apple trees were cut down at this time. Samuel died just two years after mother Mary Stevens Warren. The family farm was inherited by Dr. John Warren, who rented it out to tenants until the property became valuable and was subdivided into house lots. That was in the 1840s, when the City of Boston grew by leaps and bounds.
Brother Ebenezer (1748-1824) did pretty well as an attorney. He moved to Foxboro in Southeast Massachusetts, from which he achieved a solid regional reputation. In a family including over-achieving brothers Drs. Joseph and Jack, Eben “only” was an elected representative to the state convention reviewing the proposed U.S. Constitution. Finishing that work on February 6, 1788, Massachusetts became the sixth state to ratify the foundational document. John Hancock presided. Surely Joseph Warren would have been there, had he survived. We imagine that Eben uttered a huge sigh of relief, following so much sacrifice and service among Warren men, women, and children, in helping to bring things so far. But much work and many issues remained to achieve ‘a more perfect union.’ Among them – the Bill of Rights amendments, the Civil War, and issues we hear about in the news today.
Thank you so much, Dr. Forman for taking the time to write the fantastic articles for us! Give him a Hip, Hip, Huzzah, everyone.
Come back next Wednesday for Dreamer updates as usual!