Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dr. Hall Jackson House

Dr. Hall Jackson’s house was on the northwest corner of Court and Washington Streets.

Dr. Hall Jackson, the son of another prominent Portsmouth physician, Dr. Clement Jackson, was born in Hampton, New Hampshire in 1739. The family moved to Portsmouth when Hall Jackson was ten years old. He studied in Portsmouth public schools, then learned medicine from his father and perfected his skills in London hospitals.

Dr. Jackson had great success treating patients with smallpox. He resided in Boston for a few months in 1764, fighting a smallpox epidemic carried from merchant ships sailing from abroad.

During the Revolutionary War, he was the chief surgeon for the New Hampshire troops enlisted in the Continental Army and served as an artillery captain.

In 1782, Portsmouth granted Dr. Jackson and a few other physicians permission to create a hospital on Henzell’s Island – at no expense to the town – for the quarantine of smallpox patients.

Dr. Hall Jackson became the Grand Master of the NH Masons. Harvard College bestowed him a Doctor of Medicine degree in 1783, he was an honorary member of the Massachusetts Medical Society, and one of the founding members of the Federal Fire Society of Portsmouth in 1789.

In September 1797, he was visiting patients in his horse-and-sulky on Middle Street when the carriage overturned. He fractured some ribs, developed a fever, and died tragically in his home on Court Street on September 28, 1797. He was only fifty-eight years old.

The old photograph of his home below was published in 1902's Portsmouth . . . Historic and Picturesque.

Dr. Hall Jackson's former home is now part of Temple Israel's rear parking lot.

The epitaph on his gravestone in the North Cemetery was written by Jonathan M. Sewall:

To heal disease, to calm the widow’s sigh,
And wipe the tear from Poverty’s swol’n eye
Was thine! but ah! that skill on others shown,
Tho’ life to them, could not preserve thy own.
Yet still thou liv’st in many a grateful breast,
And deeds like thine enthrone thee with the blest.

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