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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chautauqua County, New York published by John M. Gresham & Co. in 1891.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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MIRZA N. BENJAMIN, M.D., one of Dunkirk’s successful physicians and surgeons, was born in Oroomiah, Persia, and is a son of Rev. Mirza N. and Theresa (Gillett) Benjamin. He who reads of the Grecian republic and the Roman empire should not fail to learn the story of the Persian power which was supreme in western Asia for several centuries by means of the superior civilization and military genius of its people; and to become acquainted with the history of modern Persia, which now ranks as one of the foremost Asiatic countries. The Benjamin family is one of the old and respected families of Persia, and Rev. Mirza N. Benjamin, the father of Dr. Benjamin, was born in Oroomiah, where he served for many years as an Episcopalian minister. He died in 1852. His widow was a native of the same town, where she died in 1866.

Mirza N. Benjamin received his education at the university of his native town, and after he was graduated, commenced reading medicine with Dr. Franklin H. Young, who was a graduate of the Kings Medical college, of London, England. At twenty-one years of age he accompanied Dr. Young to London, where he took one course of lectures at Kings Medical college. In January, 1863, he came to New York city, where he took a course of lectures at Bellevue Medical college, and then entered the medical department of the University of Vermont, at Burlington, in that State, from which he was graduated in 1864. Two days after graduation he entered the Union army as a contract assistant surgeon, was soon promoted to surgeon and was stationed respectively in Louisville, Nashville and Memphis. After the close of the war he came in September, 1865, to Fredonia, and was in active practice there until 1882, when he came to Dunkirk, where he has been in the continuous and successful practice of his profession ever since. He is a member of the Chautauqua County Medical society, and in addition to his large practice in Dunkirk, has retained a portion of his Fredonia practice. While serving in the departments of the Cumberland and Tennessee he was one of the few contract surgeons.

Dr. Benjamin united in marriage with Julia Salsbury Spencer, daughter of Seneca Spencer, of Oneida county. Their union has been blessed with one child, a daughter, named Caroline Harriet.

Dr. Benjamin is a republican in politics and a member of the Protestant Episcopal church. He was offered the position of surgeon general of the Persian army, besides other distinguished positions in Persia, but he declined to return to his native country, as he does not like the present form of Persian government, and has declared that he would rather be in King’s county than to be king of Persia. Dr. Benjamin has never met any of his countrymen since coming here, and is probably the only Persian physician.

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This family biography is one of 658 biographies included in Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chautauqua County, New York published in 1891. 

View additional Chautauqua County, New York family biographies here: Chautauqua County, New York Biographies

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