Biography of Dr. William E. Wetmore
Oneida County, NY Biographies





Dr. William E. Wetmore, whose work in surgery has elicited the attention and wakened the admiration of the profession, and at the same time has proven of marked value as of service to his fellowmen, began practice in 1889, immediately following the completion of his course in the medical college. He was then a young man of about twenty two years, his birth having occurred in Yorkville, New York, November 4, 1867, his parents being Ezra F. and Rosanna (Walker) Wetmore. The Wetmores were among the earliest settlers of Oneida county, the family being founded here in 1784 by Amos Wetmore, who became a resident of Whitesboro. He was a soldier of the Revolutionary war and for meritorious service was presented a sword, which is now in possession of his grandson, Major Ezra F. Wetmore. On coming to Whitestown in 1786, Amos Wetmore purchased four hundred acres of land from Governor Trumbull, of Connecticut, and the following year established his family in their new home. He was a cooper by trade and his son Ezra, the grandfather of Dr. Wetmore, became identified with industrial interests in this county, where he conducted a sawmill and also engaged in farming. He was born in Middletown, Connecticut, about 1782, and was therefore only two years of age when the family came to Oneida county.

Major Ezra F. Wetmore, the doctor's father, was born in Whitestown, December 8, 1820, and after pursuing his education in the common schools and the Whitestown Academy, engaged in teaching during the winter months, while the summer seasons were devoted to farming. Hardly had the smoke from Fort Sumter's guns cleared away when, on the 20th of April, 1861, he volunteered for service in the Twenty sixth New York Infantry and was elected captain of Company F. A contemporary biographer has given his war record as follows: "He went to the front, where he was promoted major, afterwards lieutenant colonel, and colonel by brevet. The regiment arrived in Washington, June 21, 1861, and went to Alexandria, where they constructed Fort Lyon in the winter of 1861-62, and garrisoned it until May 4. when they went to Fredericksburg, Virginia. After various maneuvers covering the period May 4 to August 9, the regiment participated in the battle of Cedar Mountain, under Brigade General Tower and General John C. Ricketts, of McDowell's Corps, After the battle the regiment remained in the vicinity of the Rapidan four days, during which time they had been flanked by the enemy and were compelled to fall back to the Rappahannock, where they were engaged with the Confederates for three days, when the army fell back on the field of the second battle of Bull Run, and during this period they were in the battle of Thoroughfare Gap, and constituted the rear guard of McDowell's Corps. August 30 the regiment participated in the second battle of Bull Run, and September 1, the battle of Chantilly. During this period of nine days, the Twenty sixth Regiment was under constant fire from the enemy's guns, and lost heavily. In the second battle of Bull Run the regiment was thrown into the enemy's lines, and a hand to hand contest ensued, in which the regiment lost three captains. They fell back to Centreville, and on September 5, in a skirmish at Hall's Hill, the enemy was driven back September 14 they fought the battle of South Mountain, ascending an almost perpendicular height, driving the rebels from the position, and following them up met them at the battle of Antietam, September 17. The regiment was on the march from this time until the battle of Fredericksburg, in which it participated, December 13, 1862. May 3d the regiment arrived on the battlefield of Chancellorsville, in which fight they took part, and captured detachments from the enemy about equal to their own number. At night, hearing a noise, Major Wetmore called for officers to reconnoiter, and none volunteering, he took three men himself and they captured a prisoner, and while returning to camp, they came across four others whom the major marched into the Union lines. Major Wetmore was commanding officer in the battles of South Mountain, Antietam, Frederrieksburg and Chancellorsville, and although he was under constant fire and participated with his regiment in the hottest scenes of the war, he was never wounded, although struck by balls, when his equipments saved him from injury. At the roll call of Fredericksburg, there were only forty men and offi. cers to respond. May 29, 1863, the major was mustered out of service, his term having expired in April."

Major Wetmore wedded Rosanna Walker, of Whitestown, and they became the parents of a son and daughter, the latter being Elizabeth J. Wetmore. The son, Dr. William E. Wetmore, was educated in Whitestown Seminary and in the New York University Medical College, from which he received his professional degree in 1889. His first active service was in the mackwell Island Hospital and subsequently he joined the staff of St. Elizabeth's Hospital, at Utica, remaining in that position for several years and still acting as a visiting physician to the institution. In later years, however, his attention has been largely devoted to private practice, which has continually grown in volume and importance. He is engaged quite extensively in surgical practice and as both physician and surgeon has won high rank. He belongs to the American Medical Association, the New York State Medical Society, the Oneida County Medical Society, the Utica Medical Library Association and was a charter member of the Utica Medical Club.

Dr. Wetmore was married June 20, 1894, to Miss Harriet Elizabeth McGill, a daughter of James and Harriet McGill. of Yorkville, New York. To them was born one child that is deceased. In politics Dr. Wetmore is a republican and in all matters of citizenship manifests a public spirited devotion to the general good. He is prominent in Masonry, having taken the degrees of the Royal Arch chapter, the commandery and of sliriner. The doctor is also a member of the Utica Lodge, No. 33, B. P. O. E. He spends his vacations in hunting and fishing, finding therein needed rest and recreation from arduous professional duties. He represents one of the old historic families of the county, of which he, his mother and sister are now the only representatives in this section of the state. He is prominent both professionally and otherwise and it is therefore meet that he be mentioned among the leading residents of Utica and Oneida county.

From:
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1912


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