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Below is a family biography included in the book,  Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company.  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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BENJAMIN RUSH FIELD, M. D., is a member of a family that has gained eminence in both England and America, and by his rare mental endowments has added lustre to the honored name he bears. Not only is he one of the most influential citizens of Easton, which he has served efficiently as Mayor, but he is also well known in the world of letters, and as an author has gained wide distinction. A man of versatile talents, his readings cover a wide range of literature — medical, scientific, historical and poetical. In his profession it has been his aim to keep in touch with the developments and discoveries of modern times.

Of one so gifted by nature and honored by men, the reader will be pleased to learn, and we therefore present, though briefly and imperfectly, an outline of the events that have given shape and character to his career. The family originated in England, and his ancestors for several generations were members of the medical profession, in which their abilities gained them pre-eminence. One was a graduate of the University of London, another a student of Sir Astley Cooper, and others gained distinction in their localities as men of broad knowledge and deep medical research.

The parents of Dr. Field were Dr. Cridland Crocker and Susau (Freeman) Field. The former was born February 18, 1817, on board the ship “Ann,” on her arrival from England, within the bounds of Queens County, N. Y. In his name was incorporated that of Captain Crocker, who commanded the vessel, and who covered him with the American flag. The family settled in Philadelphia, then made a short sojourn in Plainfleld, Northampton County, and later returned to the Quaker City, where the lad was the recipient of excellent educational advantages. Upon completing his literary studies he entered the office of Dr. William E. Horner, at one time Professor of Anatomy in the University of Pennsylvania, and well known in medical circles as the author of “Horner’s Anatomy.”

After some time under the tutelage of this preceptor, the young student entered the University of Pennsylvania, from which he was graduated with honor in 1837. The following year he came to Northampton County, and opened an office at Bethlehem, where the same year he married Miss Susan, the daughter of Jacob and Susan Freeman. After a short time in Bethlehem he came to Easton, where he practiced his profession almost uninterruptedly for fifty years. By natural qualifications and training he was admirably adapted for his chosen occupation. A man of keen insight and shrewd discernment, he was equally skilled in the diagnosis of difficult diseases and in their treatment. Especially in the field of surgery did he gain an enviable reputation. Such was his success that he was frequently called to remote points for consultation, and few physicians in this part of the state have become as widely known as he. As he advanced in years, and approached a time of life when most men would relinquish active labors, he retained the energy and youthful spirit that had characterized him in life’s prime. Nor did he allow himself to fall behind in the onward march of the profession. Business nor social pleasures took him from its study, and he was a thoughtful and intelligent reader of the foremost medical journals of his day.

Notwithstanding his large practice, Dr. Field never turned a deaf ear to the appeals of the poor and destitute, who ever had in him a generous, self-sacrificing friend. He accepted calls from those from whom there could be no hope of pecuniary recompense. His books bear evidence of a sum equal to a fortune uncollected from the poor. He performed many notable and difficult operations, a large number of which were performed on the neck; several times he removed tumors that had entirely encompassed the carotid artery. One of his achievements, which to himself was as satisfactory as any he ever performed, was the removal of a shawl pin from the windpipe of a little girl in South Easton. For eleven days she had been apparently at death’s door, and no one would attempt the operation. He was called in, and succeeded in removing the pin. This is but one instance of many in which he was enabled by his skill to accomplish successfully operations from which other physicians shrank.

When Dr. Field came to Easton there was no doctor between this city and Nazareth on the one hand, and on the other none between this point and Bethlehem. There were but two between Easton and Lehigh Gap. Improvements were few and roads were circuitous. Philipsburg was unsettled farm land, and South Easton contained very few houses. Through the long period of his connection with the history of Easton, he witnessed its wonderful development and rapid growth, and was an important factor in securing its progress. A man of genial presence and courteous manners, his death, December 3, 1886, was widely mourned by his patients, his neighbors and the many friends whom he had drawn to him through the long period of his residence here. He was a member of the first Odd Fellows’ society in Easton, and was its first Noble Grand. He was also identified with the Masonic fraternity, and was buried with Masonic honors. Surviving him were the following-named sons and daughters: William Gibson, of Brooklyn, N. Y.; Mrs. Emma Amidon, wife of Dr.R. W. Amidon, of New York City; Mrs. Belle Carryl, wife of Henry D., Carryl, of New York City; and Dr. G. B. Wood and Dr. B. Rush, who are practicing medicine in Easton.

The subject of this sketch was born in Easton, Pa., November 3, 1861. In youth he received the best advantages the state afforded. After passing through the public schools of his native city he attended Lafayette College, and in 1883 he was graduated from the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania, since which time he has been associated with his brother in active practice at Easton. In 1890, through his efforts, the Easton Medical Society was organized, and of it he has since been Secretary. For three years he served as Physician for the County Coroner, and in 1886-87 was Physician for the County Prison.

As a Democrat Dr. Field has been active in politics. In 1890 he was chosen to represent the Fourth Ward in the Common Council, of which he was President for three years. In February, 1893, he was elected Mayor of Easton for a term of three years, in which capacity he has been instrumental in securing many needed municipal improvements. His election proved, better than mere words could do, his popularity with the people. His Republican opponent was the most popular man of his party in the city, and, to make the contest even more uncertain, there was a factional fight among the Democrats, some of whom united with the Republicans. His election showed the high regard in which he is held.

Although prominent in many ways, it is, perhaps, as an author that Dr. Field will be longest remembered. In 1884 he published “Medical Thoughts of Shakespeare,” a second edition of which was run the following year. In 1887 he published a work entitled, “Wine, Women and Song of Shakespeare and Byron,” which was at once recognized as a work of great merit, and was accorded a place in the libraries of the foremost universities. In 1889 the New York Shakespeare Society published his “Volume V, Bankside Editions of Shakespeare,” which is regarded, as authoritative. His frequent contributions to “Shakespeariana” show his great familiarity with the works of that immortal writer, as well as his own critical and cultured tastes. He is a member, and for the past seven years has served as librarian, of the New York Shakespeare Society. By those who have read his writings it is said that as an author he has ventured into new fields, even with the old standard writers. In the domain of literature he is a profound thinker and a man whose erudition has gained attention and respect.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the book, Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company. 

View additional Northampton County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Northampton County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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