R. T. Eskridge, M. D., president of the State Board of Lunacy, ex-president of the Colorado State Medical Society, is one of Denver’s most prominent physicians. In the profession he is regarded as an authority on nervous and mental diseases and he has written one hundred and five articles upon this type of disease for medical journals in this country. A number of his contributions have been translated into other languages and copied in their medical journals. He has written for “Practical Therapeutics” by Foster, “American Textbook of Applied Therapeutics” by Wilson, “American System of Practical Medicine” by Loomis and Thompson, and “American System of Medical Jurisprudence” by Haynes and Peterson. Whatever subject he treats, within the realm of medical thought, is dealt with in a vigorous manner, so that it is made clear to the mind, and it is doubtless due to this vigor and terseness of style that his contributions to scientific literature are so valuable.
The Eskridge family was founded in America by Judge George Eskridge, a native of Scotland, who came to America in 1660 as judge of the king’s bench in Virginia and continued to preside over the court until his death. Among his descendants are numerous planters, physicians and attorneys. His son, who was a planter, participated in the Revolution. The latter’s son, John, was born in Virginia and took part in the war of 1812. Removing to Sussex County, Del., he carried on farming extensively there until his death.
Jeremiah, the son of John, and the father of the doctor, was born in Delaware and took part in the Seminole war from 1835 to 1838, and was wounded. By trade a sea-captain, he owned vessels and schooners in Chesapeake bay. Finally he retired from the sea and settled on a farm in Sussex County, where he still resides, quite sturdy in spite of his eighty-five years. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His wife, who died in 1865, was in maidenhood Mary Marvel and was born in Sussex County, member of a prominent family there. Her brother, Josiah Marvel, was recently the governor of Delaware and died during his term of office.
The subject of this sketch, the sixth among twelve children, was born in Sussex County, Del. After completing the public school studies he entered the classical institute at Laurel, Del., where he spent three years. The next three were devoted to teaching. He then studied medicine under Dr. Fowler, of Laurel, Del., and in the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, from which he graduated in 1875 with the degree of Doctor of Medicine. Afterward he practiced in Philadelphia until 1884. For a time he was assistant demonstrator of anatomy in Jefferson Medical College and physician to the Philadelphia Dispensary. In 1876 he was physician to the eye and ear department of the Philadelphia Dispensary and attending physician to the Catherine Street Dispensary. From 1875 to ’88, he was quiz-master on physiology and during these years gave lectures before the students of Jefferson Medical College. In 1879 he was a lecturer on physical diagnosis at the Philadelphia School of Anatomy and attending physician to St. Mary’s Hospital. In 1880 he was elected attending physician to Jefferson College Hospital; in 1882, neurologist of Howard Hospital, and in 1883 postgraduate instructor in mental and nervous diseases in Jefferson Medical College.
The duty of filling so many positions necessarily was a great strain upon Dr. Eskridge, and his health broke down in the winter of 1883-84. In August, 1884, he came west on account of tuberculosis of the lungs and located in Colorado Springs, where he spent four years in recuperating his health. In 1888 he removed to Denver, where he has his office in the Equitable building. In 1889 he was appointed neurologist and alienist to the Arapahoe County and St. Luke’s Hospitals, and the next year began giving a course of lectures on the diseases of the nervous system, in the University of Colorado. In 1892 he was appointed dean of the medical faculty of the same institution and professor of nervous and mental diseases and medical jurisprudence, but in 1859 he resigned, severing all connection with the college. Each year he has delivered a course of lectures at Colorado College, in Colorado Springs, on cerebral localization and physiology of the nervous system. In 1894 Governor Mclntire appointed him commissioner of the State Insane Asylum, and since that time he has been the president of the board, to which position he was elected shortly after he became a member.
In Philadelphia, in 1876, Dr. Eskridge married Miss Jane Gay, who was born in Ireland, but came to this country in childhood, her father, James Gay, becoming a real-estate owner and capitalist of Philadelphia. While a resident of the Quaker City Dr. Eskridge was president of the Philadelphia Northern Medical Society (now the Clinical Society of Philadelphia); was a member of the board of directors of Philadelphia County Medical Society; a member of the Philadelphia Pathological Society; the Philadelphia
Neurological Society and the American Neurological Society. Later he was elected a member of the American Climatological Society and the American Medical Association, with all of which he still retains his connection. He also belongs to the New York Medical-Legal Society, the Denver and Arapahoe County Medical Society and the Colorado State Medical Association (president of the last-mentioned) and also president of the El Paso County Medical Society. Dr. Eskridge has devoted the best years of his life to the noble work of alleviating the sufferings of his fellowmen and his scholarly research, indefatigable labors and invaluable experience make him an authority on subjects relating to his profession. His fame is far-reaching, and his carefully prepared articles for publication are always eagerly sought for and thenceforth quoted. Toward the young and aspiring physician he has proved a sincere friend and adviser.
Source: Portrait and biographical record of Denver and vicinity, Colorado : containing portraits and biographies of many well known citizens of the past and present : together with biographies and portraits of all the presidents of the United States.. Chicago: Chapman Pub. Co., 1898.