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John Shecut

John Linnaeus Edward Whitridge Shecut
(Dec.4, 1770-June 1, 1836)

John Shecut, physician, author and botanist, was born in Beaufort, S.C. His father, Abraham Shecut, and his mother, Marie (Barbary) Shecut, were French Huguenots who were refugees first to Switzerland and later to America. Shecut began the study of medicine in 1786 which he later continued at the College of Philadelphia under Benjamin Rush, author of A Syllabus of a Course of Lectures on Chemistry (1770), and Medical Inquiries and Observations upon the Diseases of the Mind (1812). At the age of 21 he returned to Charleston and began the practice of medicine although he had not obtained the M.D. degree.

As a physician he was known for his early experiments in which he used an electric machine to treat cases of withered or paralyzed limbs; these were fully described in Shecut's Medical and Philosophical Essays (1819). Shecut was also the proprietor of drug and medicine stores at 83 King and 130 Queen Streets where he offered patent medicines.

As a botanist Shecut published a number of books and pamphlets. His Flora Carolinaeenis (see plates below) (1806) was the most extensive work on the botany of South Carolina. He organized the Antiquarian Society of Charleston in 1813. It was incorporated as the Literary and Philosophical Society of South Carolina a year later, its main purpose being the collection and preservation of natural history specimens.

Shecut was the author of two novels, Ish-noo-ju-lut-sche or The Eagle of the Mohawks (2 vols., 1841) and The Scout; or the Fast of St. Nicholas (1844).

Plate IV, Flora Carolinaeenis

Plate I, Flora Carolinaeenis

Plate V, Flora Carolinaeenis