Samuel Stringer was born in 1734. He was the son of Samuel and Lydia Warfield Stringer of Annapolis, Maryland. His father was a prominent physician and young Samuel was groomed to follow in his footsteps. the elder Samuel also was mayor of Annapolis but died in 1747. His brick house in Annaoplis was bequeathed to young Samuel.
Trained for the medical profession in Philadelphia under Dr. Thomas Bond, in 1755 he was contracted to perform surgical services for the colonial army by General/Governor William Shirley. That initiative brought him to Albany during the last of the French and Indian Wars.
Stringer married Albany native Rachel Vanderheyden in November 1758. The marriage produced but three children who were baptized at St. Peters Anglican church where Stringer was a prominent member. Marriage to the daughter of a successful Albany businessman, jurist, and official provided Stringer with access to the patients, political opportunities, and land.
An Albany resident throughout the remainder of his life, Stringer petitioned for and received a number of land patents during the 1760s and early 70s. His holdings were in the Mohawk, Schoharie, and upper Hudson valleys. In 1779, his Saratoga Property was listed on an assessment roll.
This politically active physician early on, answered the call in support of American liberties.
In July 1775, Maj Gen Philip Schuyler approached Stringer about applying his medical services to the support of the Northern Department, a position confirmed by the Continental Congress on September 14th of that year:
- Resolved, That Samuel Stringer, esq; be appointed director of the hospital and chief physician and surgeon for the army in the Northern Department.
- That the pay of the said Samuel Stringer, as director, physician and surgeon, be four dollars per day.
- That he be authorized and have power to appoint a number of surgeons’ mates under him not exceeding four.
- That the pay of said mates be two thirds of a dollar per day.
- That the number be not kept in constant pay, unless the sick and wounded be so numerous as to require the constant attendance of four, and to be diminished as circumstances will admit, for which reason the pay is fixed by the day, that they may only receive pay for actual service.
- That the deputy commissary general be directed to pay Dr. Stringer for the medicines he has purchased for the use of the army, and that he purchases and forward such other medicines as General Schuyler shall, by his warrant, direct, for the use of the said army.
He was appointed head of the Continental medical corps in the north - with headquarters at the Albany hospital. One of the most pressing concerns was acquiring the actual medicine needed to care for the sick and wounded soldiers of the army. In the Summer of 1775, the future availability of medicine was uncertain. Stocks were high in cities like Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, but shortages loomed ever larger as the war progressed and regular shipments from England slowed to a trickle. Even before his official appointment, Stringer had been purchasing drugs for the army; purchases for which he was to be compensated by order of the Congress. While medicine is an obvious concern to a medical officer, Stringer was also tasked with establishing the infrastructure and bureaucratic systems needed to keep the Northern Department Hospital corps effective. This included sourcing and acquiring the supplies needed to feed, clothe, and house the sick and injured.
After the war, he built a large town house on North Market Street. It was shared with his son-in-law, Stephen Lush. In 1800, it was served by three slaves. Living in an adjoining building next to Lush was another daughter and her husband, attorney and jurist Richard S. Treat.
In 1793, Stringer was appointed as one of two commissioners to examine physicians and surgeons in the city of Albany by the State legislature.
Samuel Stringer died at home on July 11, 1817. He was eighty-three-years-old and Albany's first professional physician.