Happy Birthday Dr. Westcott!
June 16, 1807 – December 31, 1888
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His obituary, as written in the St. Augustine Weekly News in January 1889, says it best.
“Full of years and honors, Dr. John Westcott, one of Florida’s patriarchs, passes serenely to his final rest. For more than half a century he has been a conspicuous citizen of the State, of which his brother, during the territorial period, was a distinguished delegate in Congress. Dr. john Westcott, during a busy and eventful life, made interesting and valuable contributions to the literature of science and was esteemed in professional independent thinkers of the age. He was one of the inaugurators of the St. Augustine and St. Johns Railway and of other important enterprises, including the Atlantic Coast Line Canal of which company he was present. Indeed, he was prominently identified with Florida’s interests everywhere and held many positions of trust, political, scientific, and industrial. He was a thorough and laborious investigator of yellow fever, its case and cure, and was at work on a volume embracing that important subject at the time of his death.”
“Unlike most students, there was nothing morose or selfish in his nature, but with a heart full of sunshine for all who knew and admired him, he pursued those ends which he believed would conduce to the happiness of his fellow men. All Florida joins St. Augustine in deploring the loss of her distinguished citizen”.
John was born in New Jersey, the son of James D. Diament Westcott and Amy Harris Hampton. He entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in the late 1820s. Because of his health, he did not graduate and left to pursue a career in medicine. In March 1829, he married Catharine Paullin (daughter of Lewis Paullin of Bridgeton, New Jersey). Together they had a daughter, Rachel. Catharine died on November 4, 1845. Dr. Westcott, Rachel, and his sister Emma moved to St. Augustine in 1858. It was in 1886 that he built the house at 146 Avenida Menendez where he resided until his death.
“A man of culture, his library, apart from his plantation, seems to have been his chief recreation. Several of our older residents, when as children, remember him as a man of medium height and build, with fair hair, much bleached by the sun. He was always dressed in a white calico suit and wore a mustache and neat goatee beard.” [Source Unknown]
Dr. Westcott is buried at St. Augustine's Evergreen Cemetery. If you would like add virtual flowers (at no cost) to his memorial, CLICK HERE.