Tuesday, February 5, 2013

America's First Meterologist Was A Loyalist?

National Weatherman's Day by Kristian Bjornard

February 5

Weatherman's Day

Happy Weatherman's Day! Forecasting the weather can be a tricky job for meteorologists. Despite all the technological advances we have made in the field Mother Nature doesn't like to give up all her secrets. Much of Americans lives depend on the forecast. We look to the skies to determine how to dress, when to plant and much more. Today we honor the men and women who work in the field of meteorology. Meteorology is the study of the Earth's atmosphere. The science of meteorology was studied in the past but did not make significant advancements until the 18th century. National Weatherman's Day is celebrated on the same day each year to honor the birthday of America's first meteorologist, Doctor John Jeffries. 

The Loyalist Meteorologist - John Jeffries
John Jeffries was born to David Jeffries (1714-1784) and Sarah Jaffrey on February 5, 1745 in Boston, Massachusetts. His parents were first cousins. David Jeffries was the Boston town treasurer during and after the American Revolutionary War. He also served as a deacon at the Old South Church. 

John Jeffries lost his mother when he was 8 years old. Two years later, his father remarried to the widow of Isreal Walker, Deborah Lyde Walker. Deborah had been the mother figure for the remainder of John's childhood. During the early 1760's John left his home to study at Harvard University where he earned his MA in 1766. He lost his stepmother a year later. John left the colonies and pursued a medical degree at Aberdeen University in Scotland. After achieving his medical degree in 1769 he returned to Boston where he practiced medicine under Doctor James Llyod. Doctor James Llyod was a good friend of the British general and politician Sir William Howe. 

John Jeffries had been in Boston during the Boston Massacre of  March 5, 1770. On that tragic day when five British soldiers killed five civilians and injured many after shooting into a crowd, John and Dr. James Llyod attended to the wounds of Irish sailor Patrick Carr. Patrick had told the doctors the British had been more lenient with the Boston then they ever would be in his native Ireland by ending their shooting sooner than they could have. John and Dr. Llyod took the dying man's words and testified for the defense in the trial against the British soliders. It is quite surprising that John was a loyalists since his family were patriots. Nevertheless, John remained loyal to the British crown. 

John never participated in the political protests that were common in the early 1770's.  In 1771, Admiral Montague, the commander in chief of the British North American Squadron, offered John the position of assistant surgeon to his sailors while the Royal Navy was docked in Boston Harbor. John gladly accepted the offer. Two years later, John married Sarah Rhoads. The couple had four children, one of whom died at an early age. After John left his service to the Royal Navy in 1774, he began to keep a record of daily weather patterns. He kept his recording the weather until March 4, 1776, when the war halted his research. He pick his research back up in 1816. 

You can learn more about this interesting man and his research in this three part series in his life. http://boston1775.blogspot.com/2006/07/dr-john-jeffries-physician-loyalist.html

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