Dr. William C. Gorgas, 22nd Surgeon General of the U.S. Army

Is your surname Gorgas?

Research the Gorgas family

Dr. William C. Gorgas, 22nd Surgeon General of the U.S. Army's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


William Crawford Gorgas

Birthplace: Toulminville, Mobile, AL, USA
Death: Died in Millbank, London, England
Place of Burial: Arlington National Cemetery,Washington D.C.,,,,
Immediate Family:

Son of Brig. General Josiah Gorgas (CSA) and Ameila Ross Gorgas
Husband of Marie Cook Gorgas
Father of Aileen Lyster GORGAS
Brother of Christine Amelia Palfrey and Richard Haynesworth Gorgas

Occupation: Surgeon General US -irradicated the mosquito panama
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Dr. William C. Gorgas, 22nd Surgeon General of the U.S. Army


William Crawford Gorgas KCMG (October 3, 1854 – July 3, 1920) was a United States physician and 22nd Surgeon General of the U.S. Army (1914-18). He is best known for his work in abating the transmission of yellow fever and malaria by controlling the mosquitoes that carry them at a time when there was considerable skepticism and opposition to such measures. Born at Toulminville, Alabama, Gorgas was the first of six children of Josiah Gorgas and Amelia Gayle Gorgas.

After studying at The University of the South and Bellevue Hospital Medical College, Doctor Gorgas was appointed to the US Army Medical Corps in June 1880. Gorgas was assigned to three posts -- Fort Clark, Fort Duncan, and Fort Brown -- in Texas. While at Fort Brown (1882-84), he survived yellow fever and met Marie Cook Doughty, whom he married in 1885. In 1898 after the end of the Spanish-American War Gorgas was appointed Chief Sanitary Officer in Havana, working to eradicate yellow fever and malaria.[1]


Gorgas was made Surgeon General of the Army in 1914, in which position he was able to capitalize on the momentous work of another Army doctor, Major Walter Reed, who had himself capitalized on insights of a Cuban doctor, Carlos Finlay, to prove the mosquito transmission of yellow fever. As such, Gorgas won international fame battling the illness—then the scourge of tropical and sub-tropical climates—first in Florida, later in Havana, Cuba and finally at the Panama Canal.

As chief sanitary officer on the canal project, Gorgas implemented far-reaching sanitary programs including the draining of ponds and swamps, fumigation, mosquito netting, and public water systems. These measures were instrumental in permitting the construction of the Panama Canal, as they significantly prevented illness due to yellow fever and malaria (which had also been shown to be transmitted by mosquitoes in 1898) among the thousands of workers involved in the building project.[2]

   Main article: Health measures during the construction of the Panama Canal

Gorgas received an honorary knighthood (KCMG) from King George V at the Queen Alexandra Military Hospital in the United Kingdom shortly before his death there on July 3, 1920. He was given a special funeral in St. Paul's Cathedral.

Other References

view all

Dr. William C. Gorgas, 22nd Surgeon General of the U.S. Army's Timeline

March 17, 1854
Toulminville, Mobile, AL, USA
September 10, 1889
Age 35
July 4, 1920
Age 66
Millbank, London, England
Arlington National Cemetery,Washington D.C.,,,,