A Dunscomb Family Tradition
There was an Edward Dunscomb who flourished around 1700 who studied medicine. As a young doctor he was appointed ship's surgeon on a British man-of-war. In the Mediterranean the vessel was captured by Turkish pirates and all the crew were sold into slavery in Constantinople. Edward Dunscomb became a slave in the household of the Grand Vizier. For his own satisfaction he gave medical attention to his fellow slaves whne they were ill, and met with success in the treatment of their ailments. Presently it became his duty to care for the members of his Master's family they were ill.
Then came the young doctor's great opportunity. A favorite in the Sultan's harem was very sick. The Turkish doctors could find no cure. In spite of their attentions she was sinking fast. Finally the Vizier urged the Sultan to try the skill of his English slave.
Dr. Dunscomb was not happy over this turn in his fortune, for he felt sure that failure on his part wold be as fatal to him as to his royal patient. He knew that he could not enter the harem to see the lady. Indeed, it was only after strong urging that he was permitted to talk with her through a curtain and to go so far as to feel her pulse.
However, the doctor was either very skillfull or very lucky. The lady in the harem regaine dher health and as a reward the doctor regained his freedom. The Sultan rewarded him and gave him safe conduct to London.
As a result of his experience Dr. Edward Dunscomb made a vow and laid its observance upon his descendents: the oldest son should forever be named Edward and study medicine.
Grandfather's father was John but that John's older brother, Edward, a doctor had died childless and John continued the "tradition" by naming his son Edward. My mother always introduced her father as "Dr. Dunscomb." She believed that he had at some time studied medicine, in residence with an older physician.
Grandfather's oldest son, Edward, was a physician. He died without issue.
(Note: This story was told to Joseph Darling Ibbotson, son of Joseph Darling Ibbotson and Ann Mary Seon (Alabama) Dunscomb, by his grandfather, Edward Dunscomb, during a visit Edward paid to his grandsons during the summer of 1885. Joseph wrote his recollection of the story).