Dr. JOHN B. ELWOOD
From Minden, NY to Rochester, NY
Contributed by Lisa Slaski
Transcribed by Joanne Murray
Dr. John B. Elwood was born in the township of Minden, Montgomery county, N. Y., March 3d, 1792.
He became a pupil of Dr. Palmer in Richfield Springs, but afterward pursued his studies both in
New York and in Philadelphia. He commenced practice in Rochester in the year 1817, forming a
co-partnership with Dr. Coleman, which relation was continued for many years. In analyzing the
mental qualities of the men who have made their mark in the communities they live in, we find that
the most enduring success falls to the lot of those who possess the much-vaunted and rarely-possessed quality
of common sense. This allusion may contain the germ of Dr. Elwood's relation to his fellows during
a long life. His culture was moderate in any direction, but by common consent his position in the
profession was the one that commanded the highest confidence. He sought wealth in other than
professional lines. He became the postmaster at a time when it added largely to his income.
During the fierce speculations of 1836 we find him almost the only man in his town who was unmoved
by its fascinating delusion, selling his property and not buying. The end of the crash found him
richer than at the beginning. In the year 1839 he visited Europe. On his return, in 1840, he became
the owner of an orange plantation in Florida, where he had gone for the restoration of impaired health.
While there he received a fall which so injured his spine that he was brought home on a bed and
only recovered after several years of suffering. In 1849 he was elected mayor of the city, by a
sort of common consent, the opposition of his party opponents being of a perfunctory character.
It will be seen that Dr. Elwood had desired to withdraw from the profession, but he was sought out
by those who knew him, in spite of his efforts. He was never married and died May 23rd, 1877, in his eighty-fifth year.
Source: "Semicentennial History of the City of Rochester," by William F. Peck. Syracuse, N.Y.: D. Mason & Co. 1884. Page 335.