Alexis St. Martin collection  1879
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Alexis St. Martin received an accidental gunshot wound in his stomach on June 6, 1822, while he was employed at Fort Mackinac by the American Fur Company. Dr. William Beaumont (1785-1853), a United States Army surgeon, treated the wound, and temporarily cared for St. Martin in his home. The hole in St. Martin's stomach never closed completely, which allowed Dr. Beaumont to perform experiments and make observations about digestion and other processes of the stomach. The results of his research were published as Experiments and Observations on the Gastric Juice, and the Physiology of Digestion (Plattsburgh, 1833).

Alexis St. Martin fathered 17 children and later lived in Oakdale, Massachusetts, and St. Thomas, Québec. He died in Canada in 1880.