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Thursday, 23 July 2015

BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRO-SIERRA LEONEAN " DR JOHN FARRELL EASMON MRCS, LM, LKQCP, MD, CMO, : WAS A PROMINENT CREOLE DOCTOR WHO SERVED AS CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER DURING THE 189-'s : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK GENIUS "

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John Farrell Easmon


John Farrell Easmon
John Farrell Easmon.jpg
John Farrell Easmon (seated) and his brother Albert Whiggs Easmon
BornJohn Farrell Easmon
30 June 1856
Freetown, Sierra Leone
DiedJune 9, 1900
Cape Coast, Ghana
NicknameJohnnie or Johnie
OccupationChief Medical Officer
LanguageEnglish
NationalityBritish Subject,
EthnicityCreole
EducationCMS Grammar School,University College London
SpouseAnnette Kathleen Smith Easmon
John Farrell EasmonMRCSLMLKQCPMDCMO (30 June 1856-9 June 1900), was a prominent Sierra Leonean Creole doctor in the British Gold Coast who served as Chief Medical Officer during the 1890s. Easmon was the only West African to be promoted toChief Medical Officer and served in this role with distinction during the last decade of the 19th century. Easmon was botanist and a noted expert on the study and treatment of tropical diseases. In 1884, Dr. Easmon wrote a pamphlet entitled The Nature and Treatment of Blackwater Fever, which noted for the first time the relationship between Blackwater fever and malaria. Easmon coined the term "Blackwater fever" in his pamphlet on the malarial disease.

Background[edit]

John Farrell Easmon (or "Johnnie") was born in the Settler Town area of Freetown, Sierra Leone on 30 June 1856 to Walter Richard Easmon (1824–1883) and his second wife Mary Ann MacCormac (1830–1865). On both his paternal and maternal lineages, John Easmon was a descendant of Freetown's Founding Families, the Nova Scotian settlers who were originally from the United States. Easmon's paternal grandparents were William and Jane Easmon and they arrived in Sierra Leone from Nova Scotia in 1792. John Easmon's mother, Mary Ann MacCormac was part Irish and part Settler, and was the daughter of John MacCormac, a successful Irish trader who was the uncle of Dr. William MacCormac.

Education

J. F. Easmon grew up on Little East Street and attended a Roman Catholic primary school at Howe Street, Freetown, before being enrolled alongside Isaac Easmon in the Church Missionary Society Grammar School in 1869. After serving as an apprentice to Dr.Robert Smith at the Colonial Hospital, in 1875 Easmon received his inheritance from the estate of his maternal grandfather and immediately registered at University College London in order to gain Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS). While at University College London, Easmon won six gold and silver medals (three gold medals and three silver medals), including the Liston Gold Medal for Clinical Surgery, and his academic achievements were lauded by newspapers in Sierra Leone. After graduating in 1879 with a distinguished academic career, Easmon gained the L.M. and L.K.Q.C.P. from the King and Queen's College of Physicians in Ireland (now the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland) and the MD with distinction from the Universit√© libre de Bruxelles.

Return to Sierra Leone

Easmon's distinguished academic career received attention from his uncle, Sir William MacCormac, who offered him a position as an assistant house surgeon. Easmon turned the offer down and returned to Freetown where he opened a practice on No. 2 East Street in Settler Town, Sierra Leone. Many elderly Settlers sought the attention of Johnnie and perhaps due to the amount of attention he received or to further his ambitions, Easmon moved to the Gold Coast in 1880. It was there that Easmon would establish himself as an eminent West African doctor.

Medical career in the Gold Coast

Easmon moved to the Gold Coast in 1880 and accepted a position as an Assistant Colonial Surgeon in addition to opening a private practice in Accra. His popularity increased among native and European residents and when he applied as a colonial medical officer in Sierra Leone, the governor of the Gold Coast recommended to the colonial government that Easmon remain on the Gold Coast where he was needed.

Career as Chief Medical Officer

Easmon served as Chief Medical Officer (CMO) before officially being appointed CMO of the Gold Coast in 1893.

Family

In 1889 John Easmon married Annette Kathleen Smith (daughter of William Smith and the sister of Dr. Robert Smith and Adelaide Casely-Hayford). The couple had two children: Macormack Charles Farrell Easmon and Kathleen Easmon Simango. Macormack Easmon was also a prominent Creole doctor. John Easmon's grandson in the Gold Coast,Charles Odamtten Easmon, became Chief Medical Officer in newly independent Ghana in 1964 and was Dean of the Medical School. John Easmon's half-brother Albert Whiggs Easmon was a successful Creole doctor whose son, Raymond Sarif Easmon, was a doctor and poet.