Thursday, July 25, 2013

Obituary of John DeForest, Class of 1826, in 1885 Yale College Obituary Record

Obituary of John DeForest, Class of 1826, in the June 1885 issue of the Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale College.  

He was a physician at Watertown, Connecticut for the early part of his adult life, but suffered ill health in 1845 that forced him to give up his practice, and later extreme deafness that cut him off from society.  His wife died in 1855 after a protracted illness.  They had lost their first child, John Lyman DeForest, in infancy in 1832.  And three years after Dr. DeForest's death in 1885, his surviving son, Erastus Lyman DeForest, died, unmarried.  

Such a grim obituary - I hope there were some rays of sunshine in their lives.  

Despite these challenges, Dr. DeForest was a philanthropist and a donor to the medical department at Yale.   He endowed the DeForest Mathematics Prize at Yale upon the graduation of his son there with a degree in mathematics in 1854.

The last few pages of this booklet are a Summary of the deceased graduates and an index, all pages of which appear at the end of this post.


John DeForest, the eldest child of Benjamin and Alma (Southmayd) DeForest, was born in Watertown, Conn., March 31, 1806.  After graduating, he studied medicine with Dr. Samuel W. Gold, of Goshen, Conn., for three years, and meantime attended two courses of lectures in the Medical Institution of Yale College, where he received the degree of M.D. in 1829.  He practiced his profession for about a year with Dr. Gold, and then availed himself of a favorable opening in his native town, where he continued in practice until 1845, when in consequence of ill health he was obliged to relinquish his profession.  For the rest of his life he was not engaged in any active business, and for many years before his death he was cut off from society of his friends by extreme deafness.  During his long residence in Watertown, he distributed his large wealth freely and wisely for the furtherance off objects of benevolence and public utility.  He was the founder of the Senior Mathematical Prizes in this College, and a generous donor, especially to the medical department.

He died of heart disease, in Watertown, March 11, 1885, at the age of 79.

He married, May 16, 1831, Lucy S., eldest daughter of Erastus Lyman, of Goshen, who died August 3, 1855, after twenty-one years of protracted suffering.  Their elder son died in infancy; the younger (Y.C. 1854) survives them.

From online research, hopefully correct: [corrections and additions welcome!]

John DeForest was born 31 March 1806 at Watertown, Connecticut, or at Litchfield, Connecticut, the son of Benjamin DeForest III and Alma (Southmayd) DeForest.  

On 17 May 1831, Dr. John DeForest married Lucy Starr Lyman, daughter of Erastus and Abigail (Starr) Lyman.  Their children, mentioned above, were John Lyman DeForest, who died in infancy in 1832, and Erastus Lyman DeForest, born 27 June 1834.

Lucy Starr (Lyman) DeForest died in 1855, Dr. John DeForest in 1885, and Erastus in 1888.

If you have corrections and/or information to share, please leave a comment for the benefit of other seekers.

List of deceased Yale College graduates in this issue

Augustus H. Abernethy, Class of 1864
Adolph Asher, Class of 1872
Robert M. Baker, Class of 1856
T. Jefferson Bassett, Class of 1853
Henry C. Beardslee, Class of 1826
Lewis S. Benedict, Class of 1834
Michael D. Benedict, Class of 1836
Theodore H. Benedict, Class of 1840
Frederick N. Bennett, Class of 1841
James Berdan, Class of 1824
George W. Blagden, Class of 1823
David Booth, Class of 1819
Marius Brandegee, Class of 1843
C. Lewis Brent, Class of 1849
Daniel Chadwick, Class of 1845
Henry Childs, Class of 1846
James H. Clendenin, Class of 1872
George H. Coffey, Class of 1859
Thomas Cowles, Class of 1829
S. Sherwood Day, Class of 1827
Sherman Day, Class of 1826
John DeForest, Class of 1826
James T. Dickinson, Class of 1826
Richard V. Dodge, Class of 1840
George B. Dusinberre, Class of 1855
Aaron R. Dutton, Class of 1837
Barnabas M. Fay, Class of 1833
George W. Fisher, Class of 1859
Samuel A. Fisk, Class of 1844
Samuel H. Fletcher, Class of 1824
Thomas E. Franklin, Class of 1828
William Frazier, Class of 1832
Theodore Gilbert, Class of 1825
George Goodyear, Class of 1824
John M. Gordon, Class of 1830
George M. Hanners, Class of 1823
Winthrop B. Hawks, Class of 1882
Thomas R. Hubbard, Class of 1829
William Hutchison, Class of 1854
Joseph H. Isham, Class of 1865
Thomas H. Jackson, Class of 1850
Barclay Johnson, Class of 1882
Ross Johnston, Class of 1870
Francis E. Kernochan, Class of 1861
Alfred Lambert, Class of 1843
Frank A. Langworthy, Class of 1872
Cortland L. Latimer, Class of 1832
Edward A. Lawrence, Class of 1884
James N. Lea, Class of 1834
Charles A. Lewis, Class of 1829
Allyn C. Loomis, Class of 1883
Oliver E. Lyman, Class of 1876
Darius Mead, Class of 1828
Timothy T. Merwin, Class of 1827
Charles L. Mills, Class of 1835
Hiram Moses, Class of 1825
George C. Murray, Class of 1845
William Norton, Class of 1829
John J. Orton, Class of 1842
Lewis R. Packard, Class of 1856
Francis H. Palmer, Class of 1847
David C. Perry, Class of 1833
Stephen T. Robinson, Class of 1827
Charles M. Runk, Class of 1845
William H. Russell, Class of 1833
Murray C. Shoemaker, Class of 1864
Benjamin Silliman, Class of 1837
Jonathan Silliman, Class of 1817
Elbert J. Smith, Class of 1847
Charles G. Southmayd, Class of 1856
John B. Staples, Class of 1827
Hezekiah Sturges, Class of 1841
Frank H. Taylor, Class of 1878
John L. Taylor, Class of 1835
Chauncey M. Thompson, Class of 1854
Albert Todd, Class of 1836
Charles Tracy, Class of 1832
Alexander C. Twining, Class of 1820
David A. Tyler, Class of 1844
Leonidas C. Vinal, Class of 1880
Jonathan Wales, Class of 1871
Jacob K. Warner, Class of 1850
D. Ellis Willes, Class of 1850
William L. Williamson, Class of 1853
Leonard Withington, Class of 1814
Dexter Witter, Class of 1824
J. Hampden Wood, Class of 1866
Robert W. Wright, Class of 1842
Edward Wurts, Class of 1832

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