Biography of Samuel M. McCurdy, M.D.

SAMUEL M. McCURDY, M.D. – This venerable deceased pioneer of the Lower Sound, whose name will ever be held in honorable regard by the people of this coast, was born near Londonderry, Ireland, in 1805. In his youth and early manhood he was favored with the best of educational advantages, and before crossing the water to America held the degree of M.D. from Trinity College, Dublin.

In 1836 he had reached St. Andrews, New Brunswick, and was engaged in the practice of his profession. In 1849 he sought to begin life anew in the Golden state, and in the spring of 1850 was established at Marysville, California, still practicing medicine. With the penetration which enabled him to perceive the great future of a northern country, he decided to make Washington his home, and came in 1854 to the deep-wooded and rugged site of the present port of Washington, and in those solitudes erected the first house constructed of boards on the present site of the elegant McCurdy Block.

Upon the outbreak of the Indian war, he enlisted as surgeon in the Northern Battalion, and served until the end of hostilities. Returning to his home he was appointed surgeon of the Marine Hospital, holding the position until 1859. Relieving himself in this year of that somewhat confining work, he associated himself with Traverse Daniels in the establishment and publication of the Port Townsend Register, the first newspaper published in Port Townsend, thus becoming one of the pioneers of journalism in Jefferson county.

He was also one of the organizers of St. Paul’s church, and was ever foremost in urging forward the public schools. In 1859 he was appointed United States commissioner of the court, and served two years as sheriff of Jefferson county. In 1860 he had so far identified himself with the city of Port Townsend, Washington Territory, as to send for his family, and to make his permanent home within its limits. He thereupon undertook the general practice of medicine, and in this work became universally known upon the Lower Sound.

His useful life was ended in 1865. His widow, Catherine, née Boyd, of Ireland, to whom he was married in 1840, and five of his children, still survive. Three of the children are deceased.


History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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