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Shrewsbury, Pa. bottle leads to medical/political family

J. Gerry medicine bottle.  (Photo courtesy of Jeff Rohrbaugh)
J. Gerry medicine bottle.
(Photo courtesy of Jeff Rohrbaugh)

Jeff Rohrbaugh of Shrewsbury shared this recently acquired bottle on Facebook. The drug business noted on the bottle is attributed to Dr. James Gerry, Jr. (1839-1903).

I’m always happy to have an opportunity to learn more about the people and events of the past from all over our area, so I did a little searching:

Gibson’s 1886 History of York County, Pennsylvania includes this biography of the younger Dr. Gerry:

JAMES GERRY, M.D., a physician of Shrewsbury, York County, was born February 4, 1839, and is the second son of James and Salome (Hoffman) Gerry, natives of Maryland, and of Scotch-Irish and German descent. James Gerry, the grandfather, came from Scotland in the eighteenth century, and located in Maryland, where at one time he was a member of the Maryland General Assembly from Cecil County. He followed farming, and was also a kind of local lawyer. The subject of this sketch was brought up in Shrewsbury, where he learned the drug business with his father. His earlier education he received at the public schools and at the Shrewsbury Academy. Being induced by his father to study the practice of medicine, he entered Dickinson College, at Carlisle, Penn., when twenty years old, but at the breaking out of the late war he left that college as a junior, and entered Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia, graduating in the spring of 1863 as M.D. He also took a course of operative surgery under Dr. Agnew. After finishing his studies, he came to Shrewsbury, where he at once commenced to practice medicine in connection with the drug business. In January, 1876, he was married, at Weisburg, Md., to Miss Hunter, daughter of Pleasant Hunter of Maryland; they have one child—Carroll. Dr. Gerry is a prominent Mason of the Knight Templar degree, and is also a member of Consistory S.P.R.S., Thirty-second degree, as well as a Past Master of Shrewsbury Lodge. For six years he has held the position of president of the school board. He is quite a successful physician, especially in the treatment of Bright’s Disease, and is surgeon for the Northern Central Railroad Company.

Medicine, politics and business were common in the Shrewsbury Gerry family. Father James Gerry (1796-1873) served two terms (1839-43) in the United States Congress as a representative of the 11th district of Pennsylvania. Brother Elbridge Hoffman Gerry (1836-c.1928) was also a physician in Shrewsbury, along with father James and brother James. James, Jr.’s son, Carroll H. Gerry, M.D. (1876-1946) is buried at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery at Shrewsbury, as are many of the York County Gerrys.

Signer of the Declaration of Independence, and later U.S. Vice President, Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, does not seem to be a relative, even though James the congressman named one of his sons Elbridge.

York County Heritage Trust has quite a few of the Gerry business ledgers and other papers Gerry business ledgers and other papers in the Library/Archives collections. See library staff to access them.