Caruthers was born on December 23, 1802, in Lexington and was the son of William Caruthers, a prosperous merchant and landowner, and Phebe Alexander Caruthers, a sister of Archibald Alexander, president of Hampden-Sydney College from 1797 to 1806. Caruthers attended Washington College (later Washington and Lee University) from 1817 to 1820 before entering the medical college of the University of Pennsylvania, from which he received a degree in 1823. On June 30 of that year Caruthers applied for a marriage license and early in July married Louisa Catherine Gibson, a wealthy heiress from Whitemarsh Island, Chatham County, Georgia. They had three sons and two daughters who survived childhood. The couple took up residence in Lexington, where Caruthers practiced medicine and enthusiastically engaged in various civic activities, including serving as president of a local debating society. Financial difficulties led him in 1829 to move his family to New York City, where he established a medical practice and assisted in treating victims of the 1832 cholera epidemic.
Caruthers contracted tuberculosis in the spring of 1846 and died on August 29 of that year at a health resort at Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia. He was buried most likely in an unmarked grave in the cemetery of Saint James Episcopal Church, in Marietta, Georgia.
- The Kentuckian in New-York; or, The Adventures of Three Southerns, by a Virginian (1834)
- Cavaliers of Virginia; or, The Recluse of Jamestown. An Historical Romance of the Old Dominion (1834–1835)
- The Knights of the Golden Horse-Shoe, a Traditionary Tale of the Cocked Hat Gentry in the Old Dominion (1845)
December 23, 1802 - William Alexander Caruthers is born in Lexington, the son of William Caruthers and Phebe Alexander.
1817–1820 - William Alexander Caruthers attends Washington College in Lexington.
1823 - William Alexander Caruthers receives a degree from the medical college of the University of Pennsylvania.
June 30, 1823 - William Alexander Caruthers applies for a marriage license.
July 1823 - Early in the month, William Alexander Caruthers marries Louisa Catherine Gibson, a wealthy heiress from Whitemarsh Island, Chatham County, Georgia.
1829 - In financial trouble, William Alexander Caruthers moves himself and his family from Lexington to New York City, where he establishes a medical practice.
1832 - William Alexander Caruthers, a doctor in New York City, assists in treating victims of a cholera epidemic.
1834 - William Alexander Caruthers publishes his first work, The Kentuckian in New-York; or, The Adventures of Three Southerns, by a Virginian.
1834–1835 - William Alexander Caruthers publishes his second book, Cavaliers of Virginia; or, The Recluse of Jamestown. An Historical Romance of the Old Dominion, in two volumes.
1835 - William Alexander Caruthers returns from New York City to Lexington, where he works on his third and final novel, The Knights of the Golden Horse-Shoe, a Traditionary Tale of the Cocked Hat Gentry in the Old Dominion.
1837 - On the eve of his move to Savannah, Georgia, a fire destroys the papers of William Alexander Caruthers.
Spring 1846 - William Alexander Caruthers contracts tuberculosis.
August 29, 1846 - William Alexander Caruthers dies at a health resort at Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia.
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
Hurt, M., & the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. William Alexander Caruthers (1802–1846). (2019, February 18). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Caruthers_William_Alexander_1802-1846.
- MLA Citation:
Hurt, Matthew and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. "William Alexander Caruthers (1802–1846)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 18 Feb. 2019. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: August 1, 2011 | Last modified: February 18, 2019
Contributed by Matthew Hurt and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography.