Blacks@Dartmouth 1775 to 1960

Benjamin Antony Boseman, Jr.

Physician, Civil War surgeon, South Carolina Reconstruction-era politician, and federal postmaster

alumnus image

Dartmouth Medical School

Class of 1863

1864 Bowdoin Col (M.D.)

Born  1840  Troy NY

Died 1881 Charleston SC

Quotes from Biographical Sources

Benjamin Antony Boseman Jr. was an African-American physician born in Troy, New York, son of Benjamin and Annaretta Boseman, the oldest of five children. In the 1860 U.S. Census he is described as mulatto. His father was a steward on a steamboat, and then sutler. He studied in the Preparatory (high school) Division of New York Central College from 1854 to 1856. After a lengthy apprenticeship with prominent Dr. Thomas C. Brinsmade in Troy, Boseman completed his medical studies at Dartmouth Medical School in 1863 and Bowdoin College's Maine Medical College in 1864.

He then served the Union as an assistant surgeon in the U.S. Colored Troops. Stationed at Hilton Head, South Carolina, where he treated sick and wounded soldiers and medically examined prospective recruits. At the end of the war he opened a medical practice in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1869 he was appointed physician to the Charleston City Jail. He married Virginia Montgomery and they had two children. Another source says that he had a son Christopher and a daughter Ana, and that Virginia was mulatto.

Boseman served in the South Carolina House of Representatives for three consecutive terms, from 1868 until 1873, representing Charleston County. As a legislator, he introduced in 1870 South Carolina's first comprehensive Civil Rights bill. In 1869, the South Carolina Legislature appointed him and Francis L. Cardozo trustees of South Carolina College, the predecessor of the University of South Carolina. He was also appointed to the Board of Regents of the South Carolina Lunatic Asylum.

In 1872, he was nominated for Comptroller General of South Carolina, but he declined the nomination. In 1873, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Boseman the first Black postmaster of Charleston. His salary was $4,000 (equivalent to $86,411 in 2020). He invested in railroad and phosphate mining. Boseman served as postmaster until his death in 1881, at the age of 40. (edited)

Benjamin A. Boseman. DBpedia.

Other source(s)

  1. Slawson, Robert. African Americans in Medicine in the Civil War Era. Retrieved from
  2. Hine, William C. (1982). Dr. Benjamin A. Boseman, Jr.: Charleston’s Black Physician-Politician. In H. N. Rabinowitz (Ed.), Southern Black leaders of the Reconstruction era (pp. 335-352). Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Profile image source: Public Domain. Radical Members of the South Carolina Legislature Smithsonian Record ID: edanmdm:nmaahc_2016.49.4