Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Alonzo Wallace

Years Served: 1875 to 1879

Alonzo was born in Bristol, Maine on February 17, 1847. He was the only son of David and Margaret F. Wallace. His grandfather, David Wallace, was one of the early settlers of New Hampshire. Wallace went to college in the public schools of his native town, Lincoln Academy, New Castle, Maine, and the Eastport conference Seminary, Bucksport, Maine. He also attended the medical schools at Bowdoin College and in Portland, Maine and then graduated from the Dartmouth Medical School in 1874.

At the age of thirteen he began to follow the sea during the summer season, and at seventeen became a second mate of a bark. Yet despite interests in the sea, he was intent on preparing himself for educational pursuits so he could earn sufficient money through teaching to defray his college expenses. A hard working lad, he devoted his winters to study, and so earnest was he in his endeavors to obtain rapid advancement, that at one time it was his custom to travel on foot ten miles to school on each Monday morning and return in the same manner each Friday evening.

At the age of eighteen he began to teach in his home town, teaching two terms a year, from early fall to late spring, for a period of about three years. At the age of twenty-one he was elected superintendent of Bristol schools and was principal of Bucksport, Maine High School. After graduating from Dartmouth Medical School, in 1869 he accepted the position of assistance teacher in the Boston Reformatory School on Deer Island and, in a short time, was promoted to the principal of the school. His work at the reformatory attracted the attention of Dr. Durgin, then port physician of the Boston Board of Health, who advised him to enter the medical profession.

In 1872 he was a medical student at Bowdoin College. However, by an urgent request of the reformatory management, he was induced to return to Deer Island. He was hired in June 1873 as the second assistant physician in the Northampton Lunatic Hospital located in Northampton, Massachusetts where he was responsible for the health of over 600 lunatics. During his last year of service in that institution, and after holding this position for several years he acquired an enviable reputation for his excellent management. Shortly afterward he resigned in order to resume his studies and, entering Dartmouth College, he graduated in 1874.

After finishing his studies he accepted the position of first assistant port physician of the city of Boston on October 21, 1874 when Dr. William S. Crosby, assistant port physician resigned resigned. When Wallace assumed his new duties the City had established smallpox, yellow fever and ship fever (i.e., typhus) as the only diseases that required quarantine. When Chester Irving Fisher resigned his position as port physician on September 15, 1875, Wallace succeeded him. This post required the approval of the City’s very popular Mayor, Samuel Crocker Cobb, who endorsed Wallace as the City’s seventh Port Physician. In turn Wallace recommended Dr. Thomas Kittredge to become the Assistant Port Physician who was approved by the Board of Health on September 15, 1875. About a year after becoming Port Physician he married Mary F. Maynard on November 2, 1876. Like other Port Physicians, Wallace realized that island quarantine work and marriage were incompatible.

Four years later, on April 6, 1879 Wallace resigned as port physician and moved from Boston to Brookline, New Hampshire where he established himself as a physician in general practice. During his residence in Brookline, he enjoyed a large, lucrative and constantly increasing practice, embracing not only this town, but also all of the towns in its vicinity. His reputation as a physician learned and skilled in his profession being second to none in Hillsborough County.

By 1888 his business had increased to such an extent that it occupied nearly all of his time both by night and by day. His professional calls were urgent and frequent, and they kept him constantly on the move. Exposure to all sorts of weather conditions during his long professional rides and the constant strain on his mental and physical faculties began to have a perceptible effect upon his health. After careful deliberation, he decided that a change from Brookline to some location where he could practice his profession under more favorable environments be both prudent and reasonable. Having decided upon his course of action, he governed himself accordingly, and in 1888 removed from Brookline to Rochester, New Hampshire.

Wallace’s departure from Brookline was sincerely and universally regretted by its citizens who held him in the highest respect and esteem both as a physician and a citizen. He remained in Rochester but a comparatively short time, and finally settled in Nashua, where he developed an extensive practice, covering the towns and cities in a large area of the surrounding country. His reputation as a physician grew over the years, and was ranked with the leading physicians in New Hampshire. He had a wide range of community interests including membership in the Congregational Church, the Order of Odd Fellows, the United Order of the Golden Cross and the New Hampshire Medical Society. He served as Vice President of the Alumni Association of Dartmouth Medical College and as President of the New Hampshire Medical Society.

He died in 1930 at the age of 83. He four children; His oldest son, Arthur Lowell Wallace born in Lowell, MA on October 12, 1877 during the time when his father was still serving as Port Physician in Boston. He is buried in the Edgewood Cemetery in Nashua, New Hampshire.


Boston City Document No. 85, Third Annual Report of the Board of Health of the City of Boston, 1875, p. 110. Also see, Public Document No. 21, Twentieth Annual Report of the Trustees of the State Lunatic Hospital at Northampton, for October 1875, Boston, Wright Potter State Printers, 1876, p. 9. For information on his hiring at the Lunatic Hospital, see Public Document No. 21, Nineteenth Annual Report of the Trustees of the State Lunatic Hospital at Northampton, for October 1874, Boston, Wright Potter State Printers, 1875, p. 8.
Boston City Document No. 85, Third Annual Report of the Board of Health of the City of Boston, 1875, p. 33
Medical Notes, Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, Vol. 93, No. 10, September 2, 1875, p. 286. Accessed online:,+died&source=bl&ots=It7e5YeICw&sig=FCFlHZ8MZDshCwSf9h1NNji6xdc&hl=en&ei=BKw4TO-FMIGdlgfB5OzUBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CDAQ6AEwCA
Boston City Document No. 53, Fourth Annual Report of the Board of Health of the City of Boston, 1876, p. 45.
Societies, JAMA, Vol. 36, No. 22, June 1, 1901, p. 1576.
Accessed online:
[7] McDufee, Franklin; Hayward, Silvanus, History of the Town of Rochester, New Hampshire from 1722 to 1890, p. 448. accessed online:,+physician+died+in+Nashua&source=bl&ots=-kL5x9HGee&sig=UTBQVFMgmuP7gysxyfqVIZhao2g&hl=en&ei=TLI4TOuqMsaqlAeAoIHWBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CDAQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=alonzo%20Wallace%2C%20physician%20died%20in%20Nashua&f=false

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