William Henderson ~ Medical Doctor

Dr. William Henderson MD – Born 25th January 1784 at Kinclaven, William Henderson was physician based in Perth who gained some minor fame as a medical pioneer and inventor of a stomach elixir. William Henderson attended the Royal College of Physicians (Edinburgh) from 1806 to 1809 and then the University of St. Andrews, where he gained his doctorate in 1810. Thereafter he set up a practice in Perth.

Henderson married a Margaret Morison (of Perthshire) at Perth Middle Church on 31st August 1812. Amongst his achievements is the creation of “Henderson’s Stomachic Vegetable Elixir” – as an alleged cure for chronic indigestion. The success of this elixir, both in Britain and the US allowed Henderson to amass some wealth.

As one of only a handful of doctors in Perth, William Henderson took a key role during the 1832 Cholera (Asiatic) Epidemic in Perth as a member of the Medical Board for Perth; 147 people died during this epidemic.

In 1820, Henderson carried out a successful Caesarean operation – the 24th such procedure in Scotland. The baby girl survived (Caesarean survival rates were low in the early 19th Century) and was named Caesar Anna. The case was written up by William Henderson and published in the Edinburgh Medical Journal – listed below.

During his medical career Henderson wrote on several medical matters. His writing include:

Reported Cases of Small-Pox, Being the First Appearance of a Disease Epidemic After Discovery of a Vaccine. (1819)

A Case of Caesarean Section Where the Child was Saved. (1821)

Plain Rules for Improving the health of the Delicate, Preserving the Health of the Strong and Prolonging the Life of All. (1856)

As well as his medical life, Henderson was active in his church – he was an Elder of the East Parish Church of Perth. As well as living in Rose Crescent, William Henderson owned several other houses in this street. His wife died in 1858 and is buried in Greyfriars Cemetery.

William Henderson died on October 13, 1870 at 17 Rose Crescent. He left some £20,000 – over a million pounds at current levels.