Alternate Spellings of Given Name: Brainard, Brainerd
Born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania on 28 March 1842 and raised in that county’s community of Blue Bell, Brainerd Leaman was the son of Martha (McClung) Leaman and the Rev. John Leaman (1815-1881), a medical practitioner, Presbyterian clergyman and professor at Lafayette College.
On 15 February 1866, Brainerd Leaman married Josephine E. Musselman. Born on 7 September 1841, she was the daughter of Henry and Anna Musselman.
Enlisting in the 47th Pennsylvania Militia, Emergency of 1863 on 9 July 1863, Brainerd Leaman, M.D. was commissioned as an officer at the rank of Assistant Surgeon at Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, Dauphin County.
Organized at Harrisburg in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, the 47th Pennsylvania Militia, Emergency of 1863 was a separate and distinct military unit from the 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (also known as the “47th Pennsylvania Volunteers). Authorized by Pennsylvania leaders as an emergency response to the Confederate Army’s invasion of Pennsylvania, the 47th Pennsylvania Militia and other militia units of 1863 generally performed duties not associated with front line actions – guarding Rebel prisoners or locations strategically important to the Union (government buildings, railroads, main thoroughfares, etc.). According to historian Samuel P. Bates, the 47th Pennsylvania Militia performed duties in Williamsport and Reading before being transported to Schuylkill County to head off potential violence among the miners there.
Commanded by Colonel James P. Wickersham, Dr. Leaman and his fellow 47th Pennsylvania Militiamen served only briefly with this unit – until the 47th Pennsylvania Militia’s disbandment on 14 August 1863. (As Confederates retreated following their defeat during the Battle of Gettysburg, the crisis ended.)
Described in a short obituary in the Journal of the American Medical Association as an 1864 graduate of Thomas Jefferson University’s Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and “a surgeon during the Civil War,” Leaman was also a past president of the Lancaster County Medical Society, a permanent member of the Medical Society of Pennsylvania and a member of the American Medical Association. In a Men of Lafayette vignette which memorialized his life, Leaman was also credited as having served, in 1864, as an Acting Assistant Surgeon with the federal government’s General Hospital in Haddington, Pennsylvania. In 1866, he also earned an A.M. degree from Lafayette College.
An Allopathic physician, Leaman lived and worked – quite literally – in Paradise. He made his home at Leaman Place, Paradise, Lancaster County, and operated a private medical practice there beginning in 1865. The Directory of Deceased American Physicians notes that he was licensed to practice medicine by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1881. His son, Walter J. Leaman, also went on to become a doctor.
An elder in the Presbyterian Church, Brainerd Leaman, M.D. was also a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He passed away at his home at Leaman Place on January 28, 1904, and was interred at the Leacock Presbyterian Cemetery of Lancaster County.
1. Bates, Samuel P. History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5. Harrisburg: 1869.
2. Brainerd Leaman, in Pennsylvania Medical Journal (7:447-448, 1903/04; 8:335, 1904/05). Harrisburg: Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania, 1903-1904.
3. Brainerd Leaman, in Semi-centennial Register of the Members of the Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Philadelphia: 1900.
4. Civil War Veterans’ Card File, 1861-1866. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania State Archives.
5. Coffin, Selden Jennings, et. al. Record of the Men of Lafayette: Brief Biographical Sketches of the Men of Lafayette College. Easton: Lafayette College, 1879.
6. Hafner, Arthur Wayne, ed. Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929: a genealogical guide to over 149,000 medical practitioners providing brief biographical sketches drawn from the American Medical Association’s Deceased Physician Masterfile. Chicago: American Medical Association, 1993.
7. U.S. Census. Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania: 1850, 1900.