Gorries parents came from Scotland. He spent his childhood in South Carolina and later received his medical education at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Fairfield, New York. In 1833 he went to the port city of Apalachicola, Florida, where he worked as a physician at two hospitals and partly engaged in various offices, for example, as postmaster and bank president.
He studied tropical diseases. His time was Miasma (toxic fumes ) is a common hypothesis. At the outbreak of yellow fever epidemic, he urged, to drain the swamps and cool the hospital room. Therefore, he used initially on the ceiling suspended ice. Since ice had to be brought by ship from the northern lakes but, he experimented with artificial ice. In 1845 he gave up his medical practice in order to focus on his cooling project. On May 6, 1851, he received U.S. Patent 8080 on its ice cream maker. He developed the system of the refrigerator ( Jacob Perkins ) weiter.Verarmt he tried to raise money to produce the machine, the company failed, however, when his partner died. Critics derided, financially ruined and attacked various health Gorrie on 29 June 1855 in seclusion.
In the town of Apalachicola we find today the John Gorrie Museum State Park. In addition, a statue of him is located in the Capitol in Washington.