Thomas Young – Physician


Dr. Thomas Young (1731–1777) was an American patriot during the American Revolutionary War who advocated independence from Britain. He was a member of the Boston Committee of Correspondence and a participant in the Boston Tea Party. Young was the only participant in the Boston Tea Party not to wear an Indian disguise, and the British singled him out for punishment for the deed, almost killing him. Young was a mentor for Ethan Allen and was mentored politically by Samuel Adams, with whom he had a number of public correspondences. He also suggested the name of Vermont for the new state north of Massachusetts, which was originally called New Connecticut. The reasoning in his letter to the Vermont Constitutional Convention in 1777 was that most of Vermont was in the Green Mountains, and he chose to combine “vert” (green) with “mont” (mountain) to honor the Green Mountain Boys. Young named several cities in New York state, including New Windsor and Amenia.

Young lived at various points in New York state, Boston, Connecticut, and Philadelphia. Young, like Thomas Paine, advocated a strongly democratic Pennsylvania constitution. Young favored the working class and western farmers, and he supported a redistribution of wealth clause in the proposed constitution that was later removed by more conservative influences. Still, Young supported the final result and suggested to Vermont’s constitutional convention that Vermont’s constitution be modeled on the Pennsylvania one, which it was.

The medical profession in revolutionary America was in flux, and there was a lack of licensing. Young supported creating a licensing regime run by state legislatures, and published his defense of the medical profession in a Boston newspaper.