Biography of Dr. Alwyn H. Chessmore
Chittenden County, VT Biographies





CHESSMORE, ALWYN HARDING, M. D. Alwyn Harding Chessmore, son of Alvah and Harriet (Thorn) Chessmore, was born in Warren, Washington county, Vermont, on the 17th of October, 1837. His father died when he was eight years of age, and four years later his mother removed to Chelsea, Vt. In 1851 he went to live with an uncle in Johnson, Vt., where he fitted for college in the academy. He concluded to begin the study of his chosen profession, medicine, without any further delay than was necessary while obtaining the means. In 1856 he attended his first course of lectures at the Castleton Medical College, whence he repaired for a year to the office of a cousin, Dr. Goodwin, of Rockford, Illinois, and continued his studies. He next went to Royalton, Vt., and studied a few months in the office of Dr. H. H. Whitcomb, after which, in the winter of 1859-60, he taught school in Sharon, Vt., and in March, 1860, entered the medical department of the University of Vermont. So thorough had been his previous application that in the following June he received from that institution the degree of M. D. The first year of his practice was in company with Dr. George W. Bromley, then of Huntington, now of Richmond, whom he soon bought out.

In the fall of 1862, at the beginning of that war which deluged the country with fraternal blood, Dr. Chessmore entered the service of the Union army as assistant surgeon in the Fifth Regiment of Vermont Volunteers. In the spring of 1863 he was promoted to the position of surgeon of the Fifth Regiment, and by virtue of this rank soon became brigade surgeon. He shared from this time on in all the vicissitudes of the Army of the Potomac until the 25th of September, 1864, when he was mustered out in the Shenandoah Valley, and returned to Huntington. The war was not yet over, however, and he could not remain away from the field of activity. After only a month or two of peace he went to City Point, Virginia, where he served as contract surgeon until the spring of 1865. During that season he returned to the town of his adoption. From that time to the present he has been continuously in practice in Huntington and the neighboring towns, and has achieved a reputation for skill and efficiency which frequently calls him many miles from home. Indeed, but a few months ago he was obliged for the sake of his failing health, brought on by overwork, to relinquish a large portion of his practice and confine himself to the care of only the most urgent and important cases. His success, which it is not too much to say is phenomenal, may be attributed to the thoroughness of his preparation for practice, to his experience in the army, to the analytical character of his mind, and to the fact that his methods are hygienic, that is, that he depends on hygiene rather more than on medicine to effectuate his cures, excepting in cases beyond the reach of mere hygienic principles.

Being thus forced to the enjoyment of a certain amount of leisure, he determined to divert his energies to some other congenial and profitable employment, and in the fall of 1878 he purchased the milling property situated on the river in the north village of Huntington, consisting of a circular saw mill, clapboard mill, shingle mill, planing machine, cheesebox factory and custom grist mill. He immediately set about the improvement of this property, and has largely increased the capacity and business of the mills. He now manufactures about 200,000 feet of coarse lumber, 300,000 shingles, and 100,000 clapboards annually. Considering the fact that this volume of business has been added to his professional duties, it is a remarkable and highly commendatory commentary on Dr. Chessmore's abilities and energy of character. He has not attained this degree of success from the fact of large possessions as a basis; on the contrary, when he began practicing in Huntington he was in debt for the team that carried him, and by dint of industry and economy has accumulated a handsome property.

Dr. Chessmore is an unwavering Republican. He has always taken great interest in the potitical questions of the day, and has fearlessly advocated his opinions, regardless of opposition. The only political offices, however, which he has consented to hold was that of senator from Chittenden county in 1874-75, and that of town representative, to which latter office he was elected September 7, 1886.

In February. 1868, he married Minnie, daughter of Hon. Henry Gillett, of Richmond, a sketch of whose life appears in these pages. Mrs. Chessmore died in the month of August, 1874, leaving one son, born January I, 1872, who has passed the most of his time, since the death of his mother, with her parents in Richmond.

From:
History of Chittenden County, Vermont
Edited by: W. S. Rann
D. Mason & Co., Publishers
Syracuse, New York. 1886


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