Portrait Gallery

Elisha Cullen Dick

History of the Medical Society of the District of Columbia, 1817-1909 by Daniel Smith Lamb

25. ELISHA CULLEN DICK— Born in 1750 or 1752, Chester Co., Pa. M. B., 1782, Univ. Penna. Resided in Alexandria, D. C; was Mayor and Health Officer of Alexandria. Attended Gen. George Washington in his last illness. Colonel of Cavalry. Died Sept. 22, 1825. He came of a distinguished Colonial family of Pennsylvania. Studied medicine with Drs. Benj. Rush and Wm. Shippen, Philadelphia, Pa.; began practice in Alexandria in 1782. He seems to have adopted the name Cullen after graduation. One of the founders and for some years Worshipful Master of the first lodge of Masonry in Alexandria, chartered in 1783, and which became Alexandria Lodge in 1788, with Gen. George Washington as Worshipful Master. After the retirement of General Washington, in 1789, Dr. Dick was re-elected and served for some years. He conducted the Masonic ceremonies at the laying of the corner stone of the District of Columbia, April 15, 1791, at Jones Point, at the mouth of Hunting Creek, below Alexandria, and when the corner stone of the Capitol at Washington was laid, in 1793, he marched arm-in-arm with Washington and took part with the latter in the ceremonies. He also conducted the Masonic services at the funeral and burial of General Washington, and presided at the Lodge of Sorrow. He was one of the two consulting physicians and the first to arrive in the last sickness of General Washington, and remained with the illustrious patient during the last hours of his life, striving with his colleagues, Drs. Craik and Brown, to save the life of the "first citizen of the Republic." "The historic events with which he was so prominently associated directly connect the Medical Society of the District and the profession of medicine with several of the most noteworthy and conspicuous occurrences in the foundation and early history of the District. Before going from Alexandria to Jones' Point he invoked the blessing that the stone to be laid might 'remain an immovable monument of the wisdom and unanimity of North America,' and after the return of the Commissioners and others to Alexandria, he offered the following sentiment : 'Brethren and Gentlemen: May jealousy, that green-eyed monster, be buried deep beneath the work which we have this day completed, never to rise again within the Federal District.'" See Trans. Med. Society, Virginia, 1885, XVI, p. 267 ; Busey's Reminiscences, p. 144.