William Cranch Bond Fifield, 1828-1896.
From American Series of Popular Biographies. Massachusetts Edition. This Volume Contains Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Boston: Graves & Steinbarger, 1891.
WILLIAM CRANCH BOND FIFIELD, M.D., late one of the best-known physicians of Boston, was born in Weymouth, Mass., August 27, 1828, and died in Dorchester, September 10, 1896. He was the son of Dr. Noah and Hannah Cranch (Bond) Fifield, and grandson of Ebenezer and Mary (Sanborn) Fifield, of East Kingston, N.H. His father was for sixty years a practising physician of Weymouth. His family traced its ancestry beyond the Colonial days, to England, where it gave the name to the town of Fifield. His mother, Hannah Cranch Bond, was of English parentage, a daughter of William Bond, of Bond & Son, watch and chronometer makers, Boston, and sister of William Cranch Bond, the early director of the observatory at Cambridge. She was a prominent figure in anti-slavery days, and was a warm friend of William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips.
Dr. Fifield received his early education at Phillips Exeter Academy, and in 1851 was graduated from the Harvard Medical School. He then went to England, and took the full course in the Royal College of Surgeons, graduating with honors. He was also a licentiate of the Royal Ophthalmic Hospital in London, and he studied several years in Paris.
After his return from abroad, he practised a few years with his father, Dr. Noah Fifield, of Weymouth, and moved to Dorchester, in 1861. For fifteen years he was a visiting surgeon in the Boston City Hospital, and was a member of the consulting staff at the time of his death. He was also an honorary member of the Boston Medical Improvement Society, a Fellow of the Massachusetts Medical Society, member of the Obstetric Society and of the Dorchester Medical Club and of the American Chirurgical Society. Dr. Fifield was of exceptional skill in his profession, and was a recognized authority throughout the State. As medical expert, he was many years well known to the Norfolk and Suffolk bars. His professional attainments, his unbounded generosity and kindness to the poor, his help in all movements for the public good, his keen wit and brilliant powers as a raconteur, made his name beloved and respected. For more than a quarter of a century he was the trusted friend and family physician in hundreds of homes. His anti-slavery training made him a believer in equal rights for women, and it was largely due to his efforts that they were admitted to equal fellowship in the Massachusetts Medical Society.
Dr. Fifield married Emily A. Porter, daughter of Thomas Brastow and Emily (Vining) Porter, of Weymouth, and had three children. Of these the only survivor is Mary Sanborn, wife of Sylvanus F. Freeman. Mrs. Fifield's father, who was always prominent in town affairs, was of the seventh generation in descent from Richard Porter, who settled at Weymouth in 1635. The line was: Richard, John, Samuel, Samuel, Joseph, Lebbeus, Thomas B. Joseph Porter married Elizabeth Burrill, a school teacher, said to have been a woman of remarkable personal beauty. Lebbeus Porter's first wife, Polly, the mother of Thomas B. Porter, was a daughter of Thomas and Susanna (Fisher) Brastow, of Wrentham. Both the Brastow and Vining families were of historic Huguenot descent.
Mrs. Fifield is an active member of the Boston School Committee, where she is now serving for the sixteenth year. She has been prominent for many years in philanthropic, religious, and educational work, and a valued force on several state and municipal boards. She has made a special study of school conditions in all parts of the country. In religion a Unitarian, she is the recording secretary of the National Alliance, which is the leading women's organization of the Unitarian churches in America.
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Created: October 31, 2004 Modified: October 31, 2004