ELISHA B. ROBERTSON
For many years the name of Elisha Bryant Robertson has been closely interwoven with the professional interests of Amador County. He won distinction as an eminent physician and surgeon, and he gained the respect, confidence and love of those with whom he came in contact by reason of his broad sympathy, kindliness and generosity. Through the storms of winter or under the midsummer sun he daily passed to his duties and hastened as quickly to the bedside of the poor and lowly as to those of more exalted station and of better financial condition. He never stopped to inquire whether compensation would be awarded him for his service, but administered freely to all in need of a physician’s aid. His life was consecrated to tthat most humane calling, and his great loving interest in humanity was manifest in the manner in which he discharged his professional duties. In his death the community lost one of its most valued citizens, and the record of his life well deserves a place on the pages of California’s history.
The Doctor was born at the head-waters of Goose Creek, in Tennessee, on the 22nd of October, 1826, and was of Scotch ancestry. His grandfather, Jesse Robertson, was born in Scotland, and in 1740 immigrated to Virginia, locating in Prince Edward County. He was one of the early settlers there. He and two of his brothers participated in the war of the Revolution, serving under the direct command of General Washington. He wedded Miss Mary Hunter, and after the independence of the nation was assured they removed to Sumner County, Tennessee, where both died in the year 1832. They reared three sons, one of whom was David Robertson, the father of the Doctor. He was born in Virginia, participated in the battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812, and was near General Peckingham when he fell from his horse mortally wounded. He had removed with his father and the family to Tennessee, where he was married to Miss Mary Bryan. In 1839 they took up their abode in Missouri and became the parents of nine children, of whom four died in infancy. The eldest son, John Robertson, became a minister of the gospel. The father died on the 28th of January, 1847, and his wife passed away in Polk County, Missouri, in 1863, at the age of eighty-seven years.
Dr. Robertson, their youngest child, acquired his early education in Missouri, but his advantages in that direction were rather meager. He was truly a self-made man, who owned his advancement along educational and material lines entirely to his own efforts. In 1850 he crossed the plains to California, read medicine under the direction of Dr. Hoerchner, and was graduated at the Cooper Medical College of San Francisco in March, 1864. He also pursued two courses of lectures in the medical department of the Pacific and began the practice of his profession in Mokelumne Hill, in Calaveras County, where he met with excellent success. In 1882 he removed with his family to Jackson and soon secured a liberal patronage, which was accorded him until his life’s labors were ended, on the 13th of August, 1899. He served as the county physician of Calaveras County from 1869 until 1880. He was a man of strong mentality, a deep thinker and carried his investigations far and wide along original lines in the medical profession. His many ably written articles on subjects relative to the practice of medicine and surgery commanded wide-spread attention and interest. He was an active, useful and efficient member of the Northern California Association, attended its meetings and delivered many able addresses before that body. He also contributed interesting articles to medical journals, and his writings received favorable comment throughout the west. He made a specialty of surgery and was very successful on account of his accurate knowledge of anatomy, his careful diagnosis and his great skill in the manipulation of the delicate instruments used in such work. He performed many very intricate and difficult operations, which were attended with splendid success, and thus he won eminence in that department of the medical science. He also held membership in the State Medical Society, the American Medical Society, the Medical Society of Northern California and the Alumni Association of Cooper Medical College.
Dr. Robertson was married in Copperopolis, Calaveras County, on the 1st of January, 1866, to Mrs. Lucy Coates, nee Sherman, a lady of English lineage and a daughter of Lewis Sherman, a native of the Empire state, descended from good old Revolutionary stock. Her father attained the very advanced age of one hundred years. Unto the Doctor and his wife were born three daughters. The eldest, Lucy Amelia, a lady of education and refinement, became the wife of T. T. Crittenden, of San Francisco, and died in her twenty-fourth year, leaving a little son, Elisha Frederick, who was adopted by his grandparents when a child and is now living with his grandmother, at the age of fifteen years. Lillie Virginia is now the wife of Dr. C. A. Herrick, a prominent dentist, of Jackson. The youngest daughter is Elsie Blanche, the wife of Dr. A. M. Gall, a well known medical practitioner of Jackson.
Dr. Robertson became a member of the Masonic fraternity in 1866, and for several years was the master of the local lodge and a member of the grand lodge. He attained the age of seventy-two years and became one of the most valued and respected citizens of Jackson, a kind and loving husband and father, a faithful friend and a most devoted representative of his profession. His wife still survives him and is living at the pleasant home in Stockton which was left to her by her husband. She enjoys the highest esteem of friends and neighbors, and her circle of acquaintance is very extensive. The veil was lifted to gain the new glory of a true and beautiful life when death set the seal upon the mortal lips of Dr. Robertson. Any monument erected to his memory and to commemorate his virtues will have become dim and tarnished by time ere the remembrance of his noble example shall cease to exercise an influence upon the community in which he lived and labored to such goodly end.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2011 Gerald Iaquinta.