Dr. Moses Thompson

First Doctor in the Western Reserve

“Over blazed trails and across unbridged streams on horse-back, carrying his instruments and drugs in saddle bags, Dr. Thompson rode a circuit from one settlement to the next, sometimes being away from home for a week. He was reputed by both laity and the profession to be a good physician. On one occasion, in later years, a prominent physician of Cleveland was asked to take a case in Hudson. He sent back the laconic reply, ‘Why call me when you have Dr. Moses Thompson in your own town.’”

DR. MOSES THOMPSON (1776-1858) was the first doctor in the Western Reserve. Born in Goshen, Connecticut, at age 17, he began a four-year apprenticeship under several prominent New England physicians, a common practice at the time to achieving medical certification as very few medical schools existed. In 1800, Dr. Thompson, along with other early pioneers traveled with town founder David Hudson to Range 10, Town 4, what would later be known as Hudson, Ohio. Dr. Thompson purchased 750 acres of land for himself, his father and brothers, and later returned with his family, settling on a farm two miles southwest of the center of Hudson.

For ten years, Dr. Thompson was the only physician in the Western Reserve. Traveling on horseback, Thompson’s ride extended from Lake Erie south as far as fifty miles. During the War of 1812, he served as a surgeon in the Ohio Militia under Major George Darrow.

Dr. Thompson contributed widely to the developing field of medicine in the area serving as a preceptor for many medical students and was an early member of the first medical society in the Western Reserve, later helping to organize the Summit County Medical Society.

After the War, Thompson retired from medicine and turned his attention to agriculture and livestock. He was said to be a precursor to the area’s later booming cheese and butter industry. Dr. Thompson once traveled to Pittsburgh to sell a wagonload of cheese, the proceeds of which he used to purchase the town’s very first church bell.

Dr. Thompson died at the age of 82 in 1858. He is buried in the Old Hudson Township Burying Ground on Chapel Street.

Dr. Thompson's Saddlebags


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