Biography of Ephraim McDowell
Prominent Persons in Virginia, Biographies

McDowell, Ephraim, was born in Rockbridge county, Virginia, November 11, 1771, son of Samuel and Mary (McClung) McDowell, and grandson of Ephraim McDowell who with his brothers, James and John, emigrated from Ireland to Pennsylvania. Ephraim and John settled in Rockbridge county. in 1737. He removed with his parents to Danville in 1783; attended a classical school at Georgetown, and studied medicine under Dr. Humphreys of Staunton, and at the University of Edinburgh, 1793 He practiced medicine and surgery in Danville. 1785-1830. He was married, in 1802, to Sallie, daughter of Gov. Isaac Shelby of Kentucky. He was elected a member of the Medical Society of Philadelphia in 1817. The honorary degree of M. D. was conferred upon him by the University of Maryland in 182S. He was the first surgeon successfully to perform the operation known as ovariotomy. and a description of his first cases was published in the Eclectic Repertory and Analytic Review, Philadelphia, 1817. His successful operations appeared incredible at the time, and he became known among the profession as the "father of ovariotomy." He was one of the founders of Center College at Danville. and an original trustee, 1819-23. In 1879 a monument to his memory was erected in McDowell Park by the State Medical Society. He died in Danville. Kentucky, June 20, 1830.

Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography
Volume II
By: Lyon Gardiner Tyler, LL. D.
Lewis Historical Publishing Company
New York 1915

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