The adventures and fortunes of William Charles Wells, who was born at Charleston, SC, and rose to fame in London as a natural scientist and an acute clinical observer, are notable and diverse. His parents were born near Glasgow, Scotland; his father was a mediocre bookbinder, newspaper man, and an uncompromising colonial Tory.1 After the family emigrated to America, their son completed his grammar school training in Dumfries, Scotland, and spent one year in the lower classes at the University of Edinburgh. Returning to Charleston, Wells pursued a three-year apprenticeship with Dr. Alexander Garden, the community's prominent physician, who retained a scholarly interest in zoology and botany.
In 1775, shortly after the Revolution broke out in New England, Tory sympathies drew father and son back to Great Britain; there William Charles devoted three years to formal medical studies at Edinburgh. He passed the preparatory trials for the MD degree