The following are a few notes on the medical background of John Thomas, taken from The Christadelphian, volume 134, page 89, written by Peter Hemingray:
Doctor Thomas was independent in all he turned his hand to. A nineteenth century medical historian, Alexander Wilder, comments: “In all his opinions, medical and philosophic, he was eclectic.” His early articles in The Lancet, the premier English medical journal, show him presenting new methods, and as a crusader for fairness in the distribution of anatomical parts for dissection. He became president of two medical colleges, the first being the Franklin Medical College, St. Charles, Illinois (the earliest in the state) in 1843. However, as a doctor, he did not always follow the conventional medical wisdom, but became a part of the “Eclectic” movement, which held that natural medicines are to be preferred over “mineral poisons.” He received his American MD degree from such a college, the Scientific and Eclectic Medical Institute in Petersburg, Virginia. He became President of this college, at least for the term 1848–49: an old flyer exists that advertises him as president and lecturer in two different fields for a term that would start early November, 1848. The soirée held in Glasgow on October 12, 1848 persuaded him to stay in Britain, and write Elpis Israel. Consequently he sacrificed the presidency, as well as his lecturing fees in this college by remaining at his brother Henry’s house in London to create the first Christadelphian work. Doctor Thomas left copious medical records behind in Illinois and Virginia, which confirm the medical status he had, and which he forsook to proclaim the Truth. It is possible he actually received his MD on March 1, 1847, only a few days before his “Confession and Abjuration.” The certificate, which still exists, gives both years 1847 and 1848, but it has usually been reported as 1848.