Thomas A. Stevens of Caney, is the son and the grandson of a physician, his father and his maternal grandfather both having been successful practitioners of medicine, and it is therefore probable that Dr. Stevens inherited his predilection for the profession he chose as his life work. He is a native of Indiana, having been born at Corydon March 14, 1856. His father, Dr. J. D. Stevens, who now resides at Peru, Kan., was also born at Corydon and is of Scoth-Irish and French parentage. Dr. J. D. Stevens married Margaret A. Johnson, who was born at Vincennes, Ind., of Scotch and French parentage, the daughter of Dr. William Johnson, who was a medical practitioner in Vincennes, for forty years, and died there at the age of seventy years. Dr. Stevens, Sr., was prepared for his profession in the Miami Medical College, Cincinnati, Ohio, where he graduated with the class of 1867. In 1860 he removed his family to Vincennes, Ind., where Thomas was reared and received his early education. The latter began teaching school when sixteen years of age and was thus engaged six consecutive years after which he was employed in a drug store two years and during that time began the study of medicine. In 1880 he matriculated in the Missouri Medical College but did not remain the whole year as smallpox in a malignant form was then prevalent at St. Louis and the prospect of both suffering the disease and detention in an improvised pest house, consisting of an old boat on the Mississippi river, was not alluring. He therefore returned to his parental home in Kansas, his parents having removed to that state in the meantime, but the next year, 1881-2, he attended a full course of lectures in the Kansas City Medical College. He did not complete the course that year, however, but began the practice of medicine at Cedar Vale, Kan., where he remained three years and then located on Jan. 1, 1885, at Caney, Kan., where he remained seven years. Being an undergraduate, his reputation and business depended wholly upon his work, but so earnestly did he apply himself to the thorough study of every case that he was called upon to treat, that he won success. In 1891 he returned to the Kansas City Medical College and was graduated on March 15, 1892. He then returned to Caney where he has since resided and has attained a merited distinction, which his years of successful medical practice have brought him. In 1899 he took post-graduate work in the New York City Polyclinic and in 1902 he returned to New York City where he spent a few weeks in the clinics of the various hospitals of that city. In 1900 and in 1905 he made a like study in the hospitals of Chicago. He was appointed United States pension examining surgeon by President Cleveland in 1893 and retained that position four years during which time over 1,200 veterans of the Civil war appeared before him for examination. He was appointed medical examiner for all the old-line insurance companies doing business in the state of Kansas, in the work of which office his attention was called to the need of an organization of medical examiners in the United States. He addressed one hundred letters to as many prominent physicians over the country, calling their attention to the propriety of such an organization, with the result that on June 2, 1900, at Vincennes, Ind., there was completed the organization of the American Association of Life Insurance Examining Surgeons, which is now the American Medical Examiners' Association, and, in point of numbers, ranks second only to the American Medical Association. Dr. Stevens was secretary of the organization three years. He is also a member of the Caney City Medical Society; the Montgomery Medical Society; the Southeastern Kansas Medical Society; the Kansas State Medical Society; the American Medical Association; Santa Fe Railroad Medical and Surgical Society; and is an ex-member of the International Association of Railway Surgeons. He is local surgeon for the Missouri-Pacific and the Santa Fe railways and throughout all of his practice has been successful both professionally and financially. A great deal of his practice has extended to Oklahoma and the Indian Territory, where he has had among his clientele representatives of the Osage, Cherokees, Delawares, Choctaw, Munsee, and Cheyenne Indians. In 1900 he built and equipped the Caney Sanitarium and Hospital which, measured by the good it has done, has been a success.
On May 16, 1880, occurred the marriage of Dr. Stevens and Miss Luella Sams, and to their union have been born seven childrentwo sons and five daughters: Ortho V., a very capable young business man, who is now manager of a lumber company at Caney; Nora K., wife of W. G. Langtoft; Mable C., wife of G. W. Connelly; Frances C., wife of J. H. Wilson; Litta V., wife of C. A. Gause; Maud A. and Thomas A., Jr. Dr. Stevens first came to Kansas in 1876 and since that time has been a resident of southeastern Kansas and has witnessed the marvelous development of that section of the state. During his residence in Caney he has taken a prominent part in public affairs and an active interest in the growth and development of the town, a rapidly growing manufacturing city due to its being in the center of one of the most extensive gas and oil fields in the world. He has served as a member of the board of education sixteen years and as its president nine years, and as mayor of Caney one term during which he gave most efficient service in the management of the city's finances. He has also held other minor offices. Politically, he is a Democrat and fraternally, he is a Royal Arch Mason and a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.Pages 956-957 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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