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De Rosset, Moses John

by J. Marshall Bullock, 1986

4 July 1838–1 May 1881

Moses John De Rosset, physician, teacher, and editor, was born in Pittsboro but his parents made their home in Wilmington. His father, Dr. Armand John De Rosset (1807–1897), and grandfather, Dr. Armand John De Rosset (1767–1859), were distinguished physicians in Wilmington; his mother was Eliza Jane Lord. In 1854 he was sent to Geneva, Switzerland, to study at Diedrich's Academy. He returned to the United States in 1857, and in the following year entered the medical department of the University of New York under the private tutelage of Dr. Gunning S. Bedford; he was graduated in 1860. The same year he was appointed a resident physician at Bellevue Hospital in New York City.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, De Rosset entered the Second Medical Division of the Confederate Army where he served as an assistant surgeon of artillery under General "Stonewall" Jackson's command. In 1863 he was made a full surgeon and was placed in charge of General Hospital Number 4, the officers' hospital in Richmond. He was later appointed inspector of hospitals for the Department of Henrico.

In 1865 De Rosset moved to Baltimore where he was appointed an adjunct professor of chemistry in the Medical Department and a professor of chemistry in the Dental College at the University of Maryland. He served as secretary of the Maryland Academy of Science in 1868. Leaving Baltimore in 1873, De Rosset moved his practice in diseases of the eye and ear to Wilmington. There he was instrumental in establishing the North Carolina Medical Journal, the publication of the North Carolina Medical Society, and served as an associate editor from 1878 until his death. In 1878 he moved to New York City where he was appointed consulting ophthalmic and aural surgeon at St. Elizabeth's Hospital. He left New York in 1879 to start a practice in San Antonio, Tex., but returned to New York within a few months. In October 1880 he suffered a paralytic stroke; he died in New York the following year at the age of forty-three.

De Rosset was known for his teaching ability and his success as a practitioner. He was the author of several papers on ophthalmology, otology, and physiology of vision and audition which were published in various medical journals. His most notable publication was a translation of Bouchardat's Annuaire, entitled Annual Abstract of Therapeutics, Materia Medica, Pharmacy and Toxicology for 1867 by A. Bouchardat. On 13 Oct. 1863 he married Adelaide Savage Meares of Wilmington; they had nine children: Kathryn Davis, Edward Meares, Armand John, John Lord, Eliza Jane, Adelaide Savage, Graham Daves, Addis Emmet, and May Ivie. He was buried in Oakdale Cemetery, Wilmington.


DAB, vol. 3 (1959).

De Rosset Family Papers (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill).

North Carolina Medical Journal 2 (1878), 4 (1879), 6 (1880), 7 (1881).

Leonidas L. Polk, Handbook of North Carolina (1879).

Ludlow P. Strong, List of Direct Descendants of the de Rosset Family (1948).

Additional Resources:

DeRosset Family Papers, 1671-1940 (bulk 1821-1877) (collection no. 00214). The Southern Historical Collection. Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed May 29, 2013).


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