Copyright notice

This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Printer-friendly page

Winslow, Caleb

by Eliza L. W. Jones, 1996

24 Jan. 1824–13 June 1895

Caleb Winslow, physician, was the son of Nathan (1795–1873) and Margaret Fitz-Randolph Winslow (ca. 1781–1848), of Piney Woods Plantation near Belvidere, Perquimans County. After attending local schools, he entered Haverford School in Pennsylvania from which he was graduated in 1842. For a brief period he taught school and engaged in surveying. An accident in which he fractured his clavicle directed his attention to medicine, and he entered the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, from which he was graduated in 1849. For part of the time he had paid for his tuition by working as a pharmacist.

Settling in Hertford, Winslow soon enjoyed a large practice. During a smallpox epidemic he treated patients with considerable success and thereby enhanced his reputation. He also was known for his skill in gall bladder operations and amputations, and he anticipated the modern operation of trephining the skull for traumatic epilepsy. Because of his specialities patients were brought to him from a considerable distance.

Winslow became a member of the Medical Society of North Carolina at the session held in Edenton in 1857. He was a contributor to the pages of the Medical Journal of North Carolina and was elected a member of the first Board of Medical Examiners of North Carolina, on which his special assignments dealt with surgery.

A Quaker, he was a pacifist and opposed slavery as well as secession on the eve of the Civil War. After Federal forces overran Hertford, however, he was accused by a soldier of having participated in the fight, was arrested, and taken to Roanoke Island, where he was held a prisoner for some weeks. At the end of the war, disheartened by the destruction around him, Winslow moved to Baltimore in 1866. There he found a number of surgeons with established practices, so he turned to general practice. He came to be appreciated as a family physician, and his services were in great demand. In one year he delivered an average of more than one baby a day. North Carolinians frequently went to Baltimore to consult with and be treated by him, and he sometimes returned to North Carolina to perform gallstone operations.

Winslow was offered the chair of materia medica in the Maryland College of Pharmacy, previously held by his brother, Dr. John Randolph Winslow, but teaching did not appeal to him and he declined the post. As a Quaker he served for many years as clerk of the Baltimore Monthly Meeting of Friends and frequently delivered papers before the Essay Meeting of the Society of Friends.

On 14 Jan. 1852, in Philadelphia, he married Jane Paxson Parry (1829–1910), the daughter of Oliver and Rachel Randolph Parry of Philadelphia and New Hope, Pa. Their children, all but the last born in Hertford, were Randolph (1852–1937), Olive Parry (1855–60), John Randolph (1856–60), Nathan (1857–58), Edward Randolph Parry (1859–62), Julianna Randolph (1861–1928), Margaret FitzRandolph (1 Apr.–8 May 1863), and John Randolph (1866–1937).


Bulletin of the School of Medicine, University of Maryland, 17 (January 1933).

E. F. Cordell, Medical Annals of Maryland (1903).

North Carolina Medical Journal 30 (August 1892).

Additional Resources:

Finding Aid of the Caleb Winslow Family Papers, 1712-1941. State Archives of North Carolina. (accessed January 7, 2014).

Jackson & Bell. North Carolina medical journal, 30(1).  Wilmington: [North Carolina Medical Journal], 1878, 15. (accessed January 7, 2014).


Origin - location: