Fredrick E. Dillenbeck

FREDRICK E. DILLENBECK, M. D., of El Dorado, has attained as much prominence in the field of medicine and surgery as others of his family have gained in the breeding and raising of some of the finest trotting horses known in Kansas or anywhere in the country.

Doctor Dillenbeck, who has practiced medicine at El Dorado for twenty years, is local and dispensing surgeon for the Missouri Pacific and the Santa Fe Railway companies, is consulting surgeon for the Rock Island Railroad Company, is medical examiner for a number of old line life insurance companies, is a member of the County and State Medical societies, the American Medical Association, the Military Surgeons of the United States, the Clinical Congress of Surgeons of North America and the American Association of Railway Surgeons. He served two terms as coroner of Butler County, and has been county and city physician for several terms. He is not only a capable and painstaking physician with years of successful practice to his credit, but is a genial and courteous gentleman whose kindly manners have won for him a host of friends in this section of Kansas.

Doctor Dillenbeck was born near Gouverneur in St. Lawrence County, New York, April 4, 1867. He is a son of Charles B. and Helen (Visscher) Dillenbeck. Charles B. Dillenbeck is known far and wide as proprietor of the "City Dairy Farm" at El Dorado, and is one of Kansas men who have gained a national reputation as breeders of standard trotting horses.

Charles B. Dillenbeck was born in Jefferson County, New York, in 1842, a son of Jacob and Catherine (Ostrander) Dillenbeck, who were also natives of New York. He was one of eight children. The others who grew up were: John S., who died in New York; Mrs. Amanda Nellis, who died in New York; Menzo, who spent his life in New York State; Sophia, who married a Mr. Simmerman, who was killed in the Civil war, and she afterward became the wife of Luther Dillenbeck; and Jerome, now living retired at El Dorado.

Educated in the public schools of his native state, Charles B. Dillenbeck at the age of nineteen enlisted at Watertown, New York, in Company M, Tenth New York Heavy Artillery. He served three years. He was with the Army of the Potomac, was in some of the campaigns made familiar to every American school boy, was with Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley, and also participated at the siege of Petersburg He was mustered out at Sacketts Harbor, New York, in July, 1865.

After the war he engaged in farming in New York State until 1882, when he came out to Kansas, locating in Butler County September 19th of that year. Here he began farming, stock raising and dairying on a ranch of 640 acres west of El Dorado. This ranch had been previously acquired by his brother. Subsequently Charles Dillenbeck sold his interest in that farm to his brother and bought the Van Slyke place of 320 acres. This became the scene of his extensive farming and dairying business, though part of the time he lived in El Dorado. For this half section he paid $12.50 an acre in 1888, and ten years later sold it for $27.50 an acre. In the meantime he had bought another quarter section a half mile south, paying $900 for it, and sold out at the same time he disposed of his other farm for $2,000.

For the last sixteen years Charles B. Dillenbeck has had his home in El Dorado. He is engaged in buying and shipping horses and in managing his fine dairy business. His son W. E. is his business associate. They have bred and developed some very fine registered trotting horses, and Mr. Dillenbeck has the reputation of never yet having raised a thoroughbred which proved a failure. The better known of his horse} are: Julia D., 2:14 1/4; Harbor Master, 2:17 1/4; Daisy Dorff, 2:10 1/4; and Trimble Meath, 2:07 1/2. In March, 1916, Mr. Dillenbeck shipped three head of horses to Indianapolis, Trimble Meath, 2:O7 1/2; Daisy Dorff, 2:10 1/4, and Fair Margaret. While the Dillenbecks have been successful in developing thoroughbred horses they have not neglected the pure bred cattle department. He breeds Holstein cattle on his farm, and in 1916 he had a herd of thirty-seven high grade Jerseys. The City Dairy herd is headed by "Katismas Sultan," which is one of the best registered Jersey bulls in the State of Kansas.

In 1865 Charles B. Dillenbeck married Miss Helen R. Visscher, of Gouverneur, New York. Her father, William Visscher, came to Butler County with Mr. and Mrs. Dillenbeck and died here, his wife having passed away in New York State in 1863. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Dillenbeck have the following children: Dr Frederick E. and W. E., associated with his father in business, Mr. W. E. Dillenbeck married Marie Olin, of Eudora, Kansas, and their three children are Helen, Charles and Doris. Mrs. Charles Dillenbeck died March 19, 1915.

Doctor Dillenbeck was fifteen years of age when he came to Kansas with his parents. In the meantime he had attended public school in his native state, and after coming to Kansas the family lived on the Dillenbeck ranch five miles west of El Dorado during the summer seasons and in El Dorado during the winter months. In those years Doctor Dillenbeck had plenty of good wholesome work on the farm and continued his education in El Dorado. At the age of seventeen he began working in Doctor Bassett's drug store at El Dorado. He spent eleven years in that store, though its ownership changed four times. At the beginning he was paid $6 a month. At the end of eleven years, when he resigned, his services were valued at $150 a month. He made a study of pharmacy, passed the state board, and was a competent pharmacist before he took up the study of medicine.

Doctor Dillenbeck had a notable experience as a homesteader when the Cherokee strip was opened in Oklahoma in 1893, Buying a pony, which he shipped to the territory, he took part in the race at the opening in the fall of that year. He lined up with the thousands of others and at the signal he started out over the prairies to select a location. He was among the more fortunate ones, securing a lot just half a block distant from the court house square at Perry. It was a valuable piece of property even at the time, and while at Perry he traded and bought and sold considerable real estate. This experience netted him a profit of $1,800. He had a use for the money as soon as it was earned. It was the capital invested in his medical education.

Entering the University Medical College at Kansas City, Kansas, Doctor Dillenbeck was graduated M. D. with the class of 1896. He at once returned to El Dorado and entered the practice which has brought so many of the more substantial rewards and honors of professional life. From the start he had a large clientage, and for twenty years has been successful. He is now the oldest physician in point of active service in the city. Doctor Dillenbeck besides general practice is a recognized specialist in ex-ray work, electro-therapeutics and diseases of women. He is a student and hard worker, and has accepted every opportunity to improve and broaden his ability. He has taken post-graduate courses in Chicago and Kansas City, and is a graduate of the College of Electro-Therapeutics of Indianapolis, Indiana. For twenty years Doctor Dillenbeck has had his offices in one place, the second floor of 107 1/2, 1O9 1/2 South Main Street. It is the largest and best equipped office used by any physician in the state. His suite consists of five rooms. His ex-ray outfit has one of the largest coils made, and it is a machine of the highest possible efficiency. He has thousands of dollars represented in other equipment, and is owner of one of the best private libraries in Butler County.

Doctor Dillenbeck while working in the drug store at El Dorado received the appointment of hospital steward in the Second Regiment of the Kansas National Guard, under Major-Surgeon Frank C. Armstrong. He held that position in the National Guard until he graduated from medical college in 1896. He was then promoted to lieutenant-surgeon of the Kansas National Guard by Governor Morrill, and in September, 1899, Governor W. E. Stanley made him captain-surgeon and in 1900 the same governor advanced him to major-surgeon. He continued in the latter office until 1910, when he resigned. His resignation was due to the fact that he could not do justice both to his large private practice and his duties with the National Guard, and had to give up one or the other.

Doctor Dillenbeck in addition to his medical practice has been among the fortunate and farsighted people who have profited largely by the development of the oil industry in this section. He is president of the Oil & Gas Company of El Dorado, which bought the lease on the southeast 1/4 of section 35, township 25 south, range 4 east, sixth P. M., Butler County, containing 160 acres. This company sold a half interest to the Sinclair Oil & Gas Company for $200,000, and after that declared a $1 per share dividend, doubling the money of those who went in for 50 cents and paying back all of the original investment to the remainder of the stockholders who paid $1 per share. The company is regarded as one of the strongest and best in Kansas. This company has developed the west eighty acres of the tract and has at this writing three producing oil wells, two gas wells and is engaged in drilling the fourth oil well. Doctor Dillenbeck is the owner of one-sixth of all the stock.

Doctor Dillenbeck is a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason, a member of Wichita Consistory, belongs to El Dorado Lodge No. 79, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and Midian Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Wichita. He is also affiliated with the Knights of Pythias, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and a number of fraternal insurance companies. Among other interests he is a director in the Kansas Central Indemnity Company of Hutchinson and is president of the El Dorado Oil & Gas Company. Politically he has always been a strong supporter of the policies and principles of the democratic party. He has served as a member of the El Dorado School Board and has always made the best interests of his home town his own.

On June 4, 1890, Doctor Dillenbeck married Miss Grace Scott, a native of Keokuk, Iowa. Her parents were James and Jennie M. (Best) Scott. Mrs. Dillenbeck was a young girl when her parents came to El Dorado and she was reared and educated in this city. Her mother is now deceased, and her father resides with Doctor and Mrs. Dillenbeck. There are two children: Robert and Eloyd, both of whom reside at home with their parents. Robert is an automobile salesman in El Dorado, while Floyd is connected with and is city salesman for the Conway Springs Water Company.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed by Charla Logan, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, November, 1997.
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