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Surgeon Joseph James Kelson

Waterloo 200
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Submitted by: Deborah Adams

Date added: 27 Apr 2015

Joseph James Kelson was born in 1792 in Bristol, Gloucestershire. He followed his father, an apothecary, and entered the medical field becoming a surgeon. He was very highly regarded in his profession, being called upon to perform autopsies and to give evidence in court cases. Joseph and his wife, Elizabeth, had twelve children. Three of the children migrated to Australia in the 1850s.

Joseph was a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons. The British Medical Directory 1854 lists Joseph James Kelson as Junior Assistant-Surgeon in the Army at Waterloo. The medical journal Lancet, in 1845, states “J.J. Kelson (1814) of the Waterloo Medical Staff”. Joseph’s son Horatio Kelson (my great-grandfather) was Shire President in the suburb of Coburg, in Melbourne, Australia, in the late 1880s. Horatio is listed in the book ‘Victoria and Its Metropolis: Past & Present’. In this reference it states that Horatio is “the son of Dr. Joseph James Kelson, who was assistant-surgeon in Picton’s division at the Battle of Waterloo”. Joseph’s monumental inscription at St George, Bristol, reads he was an “MRCS, Assistant Surgeon, Army at Waterloo”.

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