John Lining, physician, pioneer physiologist and experimenter in electricity, came to Charleston from Scotland about 1728.
Educated at Leyden University, Lining found the warm weather of South Carolina a sharp contrast to that of Scotland, and helpful in his study of the effects of climatic conditions on bodily functions and disease, especially recurrent epidemics of yellow fever and other infections.
Lining, like his friend Benjamin Franklin, sought to establish a connection between weather conditions and disease through his studies. His experiment, which extended over the year 1737, was published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (vols. XLII and XLIII) in 1743 and 1745. Lining started observations on weather in April, 1737, noting atmospheric conditions with a barometer, Fahrenheit's newly devised thermometer, and a hydroscope. He recorded the humidity, the extent of cloudiness, the amount of rainfall, and the force of the wind.
In 1753 Lining wrote and published "A Description of the American Yellow Fever". In 1756 he presented his paper at a meeting of the Society of Physicians in Edinburgh. This became the first American account of the disease.
Lining experimented with kites like Franklin and did attract electricity from lightning. Lining's contributions played a prominent part in the early development of science and medicine in America.