Benjamin Leon Wyman (1856 – )


DR. BENJAMIN LEON WYMAN, A. M., of Birmingham, Ala., was born Aug. L 1, 1856, at Tuscaloosa, Ala. …Dr. B. L. Wyman obtained his early education at Tuscaloosa, Ala. His father taught him at home for two years. When about nine years of age he entered a school taught by Mrs. Little, where he spent two years; later a select school taught by Miss Mary Irving, where he first began the study of Latin. Miss Irving was a most thorough and painstaking teacher, remarkably gifted as a teacher of young children. He spent one session at Mrs. Stafford’s school and from that date until he entered the University of Alabama he attended a high school taught by Prof. W. C. Richardson. He entered the University of Alabama in October, 1871, in the sub-freshman class, as he was under the required age, being at that time only fifteen years of age. He remained at the University of Alabama five sessions, graduating with the degree of master of arts in 1876; won the gold medal in oratory in his junior year, in 1875; was selected by the Philomathic literary society as one of the debaters in annual celebration in 1875 delivered the annual oration at the annual celebration of the Philomathic literary society; was senior captain Alabama corps of cadets, 1875 and 1876; valedictorian of his class at commencement, 1876.

He entered the medical department of the University of Virginia in October, 1877, graduating with the degree of doctor of medicine in one year, in June, 1878; then entered the medical department of the University of the City of New York, in October, 1878, graduating with the degree of doctor of medicine in 1879; was assistant physician in New York Lunatic asylum, Blackwell’s Island, New York, 1879; resident house physician Randall’s Island hospital, New York, 1880, a position secured by a competitive examination.

After leaving New York, two years after graduation, he began practice in Tuscaloosa, where he accepted the position of assistant physician of the Alabama Insane hospital, tendered him by the late Dr. Peter Bryce, superintendent; served in that capacity until October, 1885, when he went to New York and spent four months in post-graduate study at the New York Polyclinic; located in Birmingham, Ala., Jan. 31, 1886, where he has since resided and practiced his profession. He was visiting surgeon of the Hospital of United Charities from 1887 to 1893; consulting physician of the Hillman hospital, 1899; visiting physician to St. Vincent’s hospital, 1900-02; visiting physician to the Hillman hospital at the present time; professor of nervous and mental diseases in Birmingham Medical college, 1894 ; member of the American Medical association, and also of the American Academy of Medicine; member of the committee of public health of Jefferson county, Ala., 1888-94; member of the board of censors and board of medical examiners of Jefferson county, 1888-94; president of Jefferson County Medical society, 1888; senior counselor Medical Association of the State of Alabama ; captain of the Warrior Guards, Tuscaloosa, Ala., 1883-85; captain of Birmingham Rifles, 1886-88 ; surgeon of the Warrior Guards, 1882, during Wesley Posey riot in Birmingham; commanded the local troops at Birmingham during disturbances following Hawes riot there in December, 1888; surgeon of Second regiment Alabama State troops in 189-93. He is a Democrat, but has held no official positions; he has had neither the time nor inclination for politics. He is a Protestant Episcopalian and belongs to the Church of the Advent at Birmingham, Ala, He is a member of the Knights of Honor, Golden Rule lodge 963; Birmingham lodge medical examiner from 1899 to the present time; Woodman of the World; National Union local lodge medical examiner; local medical examiner Catholic Knights of America. He has frequently contributed articles to medical journals, chiefly upon subjects relating to nervous and mental diseases.

He married Mrs. James A. Ware Nov. 7, 1894, in Birmingham, Ala., who was before marriage Elizabeth Alabama Brown, whose first husband (James A. Ware) died in 1888. She was the daughter of Thomas Boiling and Elizabeth Alabama (Whiting) Brown, who lived at Montgomery, Ala. …

Dr. B. L. Wyman is chief medical examiner for the Equitable Assurance society of New York; State medical examiner for the New England Life Insurance company of Boston, Mass.; local medical examiner and district referee for the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance company, of Newark, N. J.; local medical examiner for the Germania Life Insurance company of New York; for the National Life Insurance company, of Montpelier, Vt. ; for the Provident Savings Life Assurance society of New York, and for the Mutual Life Insurance company of New York.

His life since graduation has been devoted exclusively to the practice of medicine and, since 1894, to teaching in the Birmingham Medical college, devoting several hours each week to college work. He has devoted special attention to the department of nervous and mental diseases, and besides treating this class of diseases and teaching the same he has been frequently called to testify as an expert upon insanity in cases of legal investigation; has served as an expert for the past fifteen years in all the most important cases which have come up in the courts where the question of insanity was involved. He was one of the founders and an original stockholder in the Birmingham Medical college, and has been dean of this institution since 1898, succeeding the late Dr. William H. Johnston, who was the first dean of the institution. He was elected the annual orator for the State Medical association and delivered the address at Montgomery at the annual meeting in April, 1889.

Dr. and Mrs. Wyman have the following children: Elizabeth Alabama, aged seven years, and Benjamin Leon, Jr., aged four years.”

Source:  Notable Men of Alabama, Vol. 2, by Joel Campbell Dubose, Southern Historical Association, Atlanta, Ga., 1904, pages 43-6

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