Biography of Henry E. Jones, M. D.

The subject of this brief memoir, was born in Steuben, Oneida county, New York, in 1837, and is the third child in a family of nine children of Hugh W. and Sarah (Smith) Jones. His early life was spent on a farm and during his youth his educational advantages were of the most limited nature. The humble circumstances of his parents, with a large family to provide for, made it impossible to give their children anything but the most meager opportunities for gaining an education. Until after our subject had reached his majority most of his time had been passed in labor upon the farm, during which period the only mental discipline he received was such as could be obtained in the winter terms at the district school. Enthroned by circumstances which offered little to encourage his ambition; surrounded by obstacles which seemed almost insurmountable, his future prospects for a career beyond that of the most modest pretensions were any-thing but bright, but even at this time he determined, however much the effort might cost him, to rise above the conditions in which fate had placed him.

He knew how hard the work would be, he knew the difficulties he must face and overcome, but a high purpose made him courageous and he was not dismayed. Solely dependent upon himself, with none to share the inspiration of his cherished plans, and with few kindly works of cheer, he commenced the struggle for self advancement. It is, perhaps, needless to follow him during this period of his experience which finds a counterpart in the lives of so many who from like condition under the incentive of a worthy purpose have risen to fame and fortune. Compelled to earn his support by severe manual toil, while pursuing his studies, his advance was necessarily slow, and when he entered Whitetown Seminary he was at that time much older than the oldest ‘ student there. The embarassment caused by this disparity in age was a severe test of manhood, and surely there is not a moment in the history of this gentleman when the unalloyed’ metal of his character shone more brightly than when he resolved under the circumstances to go on in pursuit of an education.

While preparing for college at this institution the war of the rebellion began and all over the great State of New York, at the first call for troops, men from the ranks of the professions, from the farm, from work shops, from schools and colleges stepped forth to defend the Union. Active preparations for war were seen on every hand, ordinary avocations of life lost their charms, and in the wild excitement which prevailed the military spirit was enkindled in the most sluggish nature. Our young student was enthused with the spirit of the times, and even his ambitious thirst for an education became secondary to the great cause which demanded the services of every patriotic citizen. After assisting in the formation of a company he enlisted on August 1, 1862, as a private in Company I, 146th Regiment, New York Volunteers. His promotion in the service rapidly followed. On October 1, 1862, he was appointed first sergeant; February 1st, 1863, commissioned second lieutenant; March 1, 1863, first lieutenant, and November 19, 1863, captain.

Beginning with the battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, ,December, 1862, he participated in all the engagements in which his regiment bore such conspicuous and gallant part until disabled at the battle of the Wilderness, May 5th, 1864. This service included the memorable advance on the Rappahannock by Gen. Burnside in the winter of 1862-3, and the sanguinary battle of Chancellorville under Gen. Hooker, in May, 1863. The soldierly qualities displayed by Officer Jones quickly won the good opinion of his superiors. At the time of Gen. Hooker’s withdrawal from the Rappahannock, the 146th was on picket duty at the United States Ford. When the Union forces withdrew, Officer Jones was left with 100 men to guard this ford, remaining twelve hours after his corps and regiment had left. He then by a forced march started to rejoin them, overtaking them some sixteen or eighteen hours later at Manassas Junction. He was overtaken on the way by the advance of Stuart’s cavalry and skirmished with them for about ten miles south of Bristow Station. His conduct throughout this trying ordeal was most highly commended and was the direct cause of his subsequent promotion as captain.

During the second, third and fourth days of the battle of Gettysburg, the 146th regiment formed a part of the 3d brigade, 2d division, 5th army corps and was in the thickest of the fight which marked this decisive battle of the rebellion. On the second day the 146th, with three other regiments, at a severe loss of officers and men, charged up and obtained possession of Little Round Top, a position recognized by Meade and Lee as the key of the critical battle of the war, and held it through the entire engagement. It was here, on the third day of the fight, while his company supported Battery D, of the 5th U. S. Artillery, during the terrible cannonading, that Officer Jones received a concussion, which, with his subsequent exposure eventually resulted in the loss of hearing in his right ear and partial loss in the left.

After the battle of Gettysburg, he took part in the battle of Williamsport, the pursuit of Lee’s army and the battle of London Heights. He also engaged in the skirmishing in advance of Stuart’s cavalry at Brandy Station, while the Union forces were falling back from Culpepper to Rappahannock Station in October, 1863. This service was followed by participating in the battles of Rappahannock Station, November, 1863, and of Mine Run of the same month, after which the regiment went into winter quarters at Warrento Junction where it was employed in guarding the railroad.

The 146th shared the fortunes of the Army of the Potomac until the spring of 1864, when General Grant assumed command of the army. The first real service the regiment saw under this great commander was at the battle of the Wilderness, on the 5th of May, 1864, when it suffered almost total annihilation of the 600 who entered the engagement there was lost nearly 400 in killed, wounded and prisoners, Captain Jones being among the wounded, having received a severe gun shot wound-in the right leg.

Being disabled for service he was granted forty days leave of absence, which was afterward extended to sixty days. He was ordered to the officer’s hospital at Annapolis, Maryland, where he remained one month, when he was ordered on the recruiting service and sent to Hart’s Island, New York Harbor. While engaged in this service he took 1,000 recruits to the Army of the Potomac, at City Point, Virginia, made two trips to Fort Federal Hill, Baltimore, Maryland, with 1,400 recruits, and had charge of 200 recruits while transporting them to the Army of the James. From November 1, 1864, to June 30, 1865, he had command of Company A, permanent party at Hart’s Island, after which he rejoined his old regiment in Virginia, where he was entrusted with conducting one hundred men who had been discharged from the United States service, July 15, 1865, to Hart’s Island, where they were mustered out in August, 1856.

Captain Jones was a brave and efficient soldier, and in recognition of his faithful and meritorious services was commissioned by the President of the United States Brevet-Major of United States Volunteers. He took a genuine pride and interest in the service; thoroughly equipped himself for every duty, and on all occasions proved himself a true soldier and a capable officer. His interest in a military life awakened amid the throes of war and stimulated by the excitement and dangers of many battlefields, still abides with him, and he continues to take a lively interest in military matters and is unusually well informed as to the methods and plans of modern warfare.

The three years he had spent in the service of his country seriously interfered with his plans for acquiring an education, but he had no sooner abandoned the life of a soldier than we find him in August, 1865, equipping himself for an honorable profession by reading medicine in the office of Dr. C. C. Reed, of Oneida county, New York. At the end of a few months he went to New York City to continue his study under the direction of the. celebrated surgeon, Dr. Stephen Smith, and to attend Bellevue Hospital Medical College. After completing two courses of lectures at this institution he was appointed Acting Assisting Surgeon in the United States Army, and ordered to the Department of the Gulf, at New Orleans, where he served with great success through the yellow fever epidemic of that year. He remained in the

Department of the Gulf until October, 1868, most of the time serving as post surgeon of Troop M, 4th U. S. Cavalry, at different times being stationed at New Orleans, jealousies and Monroe, Louisiana. At the latter place, in addition to his duties as post surgeon, he had charge of the Freedman’s Dispensary for four months, where he had an extensive practice and gained a valuable experience.

From the Department of the Gulf he was transferred to New York, where he attended another course of lectures at Bellevue, graduating from this college in February, 1869. He remained in New York City, practicing his profession, until March, 1871. In the meantime, besides having charge of a class in Orthopedic Surgery in the 26th Street Dispensary, conducted by the Bellevue College faculty, he made two trips with United States troops as acting assistant surgeon -one to Fort McKavitt, Texas, and the other to San Francisco, California. In March, 1871, he was ordered to the Department of the Columbia, his first duty being to accompany, as surgeon, recruits to Camp Warner, and to return with two companies of the 23d U. S. Infantry from Camps Warner and Harney to Fort Vancouver. On the completion of this duty he was stationed at Fort Stevens as post surgeon. In October, 1872, he accompanied the 2d U. S. Cavalry to Raleigh, North Carolina, after which he returned to New York, and while awaiting orders, took special courses of instruction in the throat, ear and general pathology. In 1873 he again accompanied a detachment of troops to San Francisco, when he was ordered to the Department of the Columbia, and put on duty at Fort Stevens, where he remained until September, 1873, when he resigned from the service and began the practice of his profession in Portland.

His course from that time to the present is well known to the citizens of Portland. Thoroughly prepared for his work by painstaking, careful study, and an extended experience, he at once took high rank in his profession. His success from the first was marked, and his reputation, both in and out of the profession, has grown from year to year, until at the present time it is not too much to say that he holds a conspicuous place among the most successful medical men of Oregon. His practice has been general in character, but has largely pertained to surgery, in which his success has been particularly noteworthy, having successfully performed nearly all of the capital operations. He is a bold operator, but it is the boldness which comes from conscious skill, trained knowledge and experience. Never rash, he aims to leave nothing in the simplest surgical operations to chance or accident, still he has that faith and confidence in himself so essential to the highest success in surgery, and has never shirked an operation, however difficult or hazardous, which he believed it was his duty to perform. While he is a positive character, he is not dogmatic in his views. He is willing to learn from those even many years his junior; is wedded to no out-grown theories, and has ever been ready to adopt new methods which have been found superior to the old. He is not self-assertive, has little self-appreciation, is noted for extreme simplicity and modesty of character, and few physicians are so free from personal jealousies or so just in estimating the attainments of their brother practitioners. Dr. Jones assisted in the organization of St. Vincent’s Hospital, and his best energies were directed to its establishment on a firm and permanent basis. From 1877 until 1885 he was surgeon in charge, and the claims of this institution received at his hands all that his time and talents could do for it, counting even the claims of his large and important private practice as secondary to those of the hospital. Those familiar with the history of the hospital during the period named bear willing testimony to the self sacrificing spirit he at all times evinced to make it a worthy institution for the alleviation of human suffering. He is still connected with the hospital as consulting surgeon and cheerfully and readily meets all the drains it makes upon his time and energies. He has also held for several years the chair of clinical and operative surgery in the medical department of the Oregon State University.

In 1879, Dr. Jones made an extended tour of Europe for the purpose of relaxation from professional cares, and largely that he might add to his knowledge of his profession. With the prestige of having studied under Dr. Stephen Smith and the friendship of Dr. Marion Sims and Dr. Addis Emmet, he was treated with great cordiality and shown much attention by Sir Spencer Wells, Sir Morrell Mackenzie and Dr. Thornton, of England, Dr. Schwartze, of Halle, Germany, and other distinguished physicians of the Old World.

Personally Dr. Jones is a man of kindly feeling and of strongly sympathetic nature. Familiarity and constant contact with physical pain has rather intensified than dulled his feelings, and as a physician he is as gentle and tender as a woman, while a certain magnetism of manner and genuine solicitation for his patients beget in return a degree of confidence and love such as is gained by few physicians. Out-side of his profession he has been a great reader, and despite the onerous duties of a large practice, has managed to keep unusually well informed as to the wonderful progress made in recent years in every branch of knowledge. His knowledge of men, the rebuffs of fortune and the asperities of life have not soured his nature, but have broadened his views and sympathies and made more enthusiastic his faith in finding some good in everyone. He takes a philosophical view of things and is the broadest and most cheerful of optimists. His nature is mirthful and he believes in getting and giving good as he goes along. For his friends and intimates he has a frank, warm and loyal attachment–as warmly and loyally reciprocated. Such, in brief, are some of the prominent characteristics of this earnest, skillful physician, whose career has been one of constant and unflagging devotion to duty, of many generous deeds and of active usefulness.

He was married in February, 1879, to Mrs. Mary H. Savier, of Portland, a lady of culture and refinement, and their union from mutual tastes and devotion has been one of singular congeniality and happiness.


Biography, History,

Harvey Whitefield Scott. History of Portland, Oregon: with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Prominent Citizens and Pioneers. Portland, Oregon. D. Mason & Company, 1890.

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