John Gottlieb Seewir

JOHN GOTTLIEB SEEWIR was one of Kansas' pioneer physicians. He was prominent in the profession at Lawrence from the beginning of the Civil war until his death twenty years later, and his life was one of unceasing devotion to his profession and to the service to humanity which he rendered through it.

Doctor Seewir was born in Switzerland, March 4, 1828, a son of John G. and Elizabeth Seewir. In 1838 the family immigrated to America. They came on a sailing vessel and the vessel took fire and burned for two days before it was extinguished. The family located at Camden, Oneida County, New York. A singular fact in the family history is that for five successive generations there was just one son who reached maturity, and each became a physician. John G., Sr., was a member of the medical profession and practiced at Camden, New York, and afterwards at Syracuse.

The late John Gottlieb Seewir grew to manhood in New York State, and read medicine under his father. He afterwards returned to Switzerland and had the advantages of the best technical schools of that country. He attended the medical college at Berne. Coming back to the United States, he rejoined his father and was associated with him in practice for a number of years.

Doctor Seewir came to Kansas in 1859. Locating in Lawrence, he soon had a promising business as a physician, and in the early days his practice was extended over a wide stretch of territory surrounding Lawrence. In his later years his practice was confined to office consultation.

In New York State Doctor Seewir married Sarah Elizabeth Colton. They had two children, Charlie C. and Lizzie L. The daughter is now Mrs. Cyrus T. McDuffee, of Oneida, New York.

Doctor Seewir was a fine type of the early Kansan. He was a credit to the medical profession and also to the citizenship of the state. He is remembered as a man who loathed dishonesty and falsehood in every form. He was often heard to declare that he would rather a son of his might grow up to perform the duties of honorable citizenship rather than acquire great wealth. Doctor Seewir was a member of the Episcopal Church. In early life he was an ardent fisherman and hunter, but his later days were comparatively inactive, since be suffered greatly from inflammatory rheumatism. He died July 4, 1888.

His only son, Charlie C. Seewir, is the present post master of Lawrence and is also widely known as a printer and publisher of the Lawrence Advertiser. He was the first son to break the chain custom above noted by which the one son of each generation became a physician.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed by Andrea Hefley, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 12/16/98.

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