WILLIAM F. FEE, M. D. Identified with the practice of medicine over the country around Meade since 1898, Doctor Fee is the oldest in point of continuous service among the medical practitioners in this section of the state. His career is one of experience and service and has brought him that degree of community esteem which is seldom given to any other business or vocation. This esteem Doctor Fee counts not least among the riches and rewards he has gained during his lifetime. Another distinction that means much in these days is a selective service badge, presented by the Government, and indicating the fact that three of his sons are now with the military establishment of his country.
When Doctor Fee came to this section of Kansas he was the only doctor between Bucklin and Liberal and between Cimarron on the north and the Panhandle of Texas on the south. In the course of his duty he often made calls beyond Beaver, Oklahoma, West to Arkalon, north into southern Gray County, While he did all the work in Fowler, Minneola, Bloom and Plains.
About 1906 Doctor Fee organized the Medical Society for Meade, Seward and Stevens counties, the organization being effected at Liberal. The society has continued to live and flourish, having for its object the promotion of good fellowship among the profession and the interchange and advancement of knowledge. Doctor Fee has for nineteen years been Rock Island surgeon for this division and is also a member of the Railroad Surgeons Association. He is also county coroner and county health officer. He has held the former office twelve years and the latter sixteen years. For three years he was a director of the schools of Meade. Since the war came on he has done his part on the selective service draft board for Meade County, and has also been active in Red Cross work.
Doctor Fee has an interesting family history. He was born at Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, July 28, 1863. His paternal grandparents were Irish people and spent their last years near Ottawa, Canada, and are buried near Richmond. Among their children were John and William Fee. The latter died at Munster, Canada, leaving a large family. John Fee, father of Doctor Fee, was born near New York City but spent most of his life near Ottawa, Canada. He was a shoemaker by trade, and for forty years he sat on a shoemaker's bench. He followed his trade closely until late in life, and such was his diligence that he was in his shop busy from early morn until late at night. He finally gave much of his time to the farm. His chief characteristic was his conservative and quiet disposition. He said little about himself or his family, and community matters constituted his principal theme of conversation. He was a Methodist, and outside his business and family the church furnished almost his only active interest.
John Fee married Mary Ann Graham. Her father, Professor William Graham, was born in Scotland, married there, and his first wife died of cholera while they were crossing the ocean to the United States. Professor Graham died at Ashton, Canada. He spent his life teaching school and was in that occupation long enough to receive a pension from the Canadian Government. He had the Scotch characteristic of fondness for fiery and rebellious liquors, and occasionally when he overindulged in intoxicants would spend the rest of the night arguing religion. He was an ardent Scotch Covenanter, was a man of college education, a great student of history and the Bible. He married a second wife after reaching middle years and reared children by her. The children of his first wife were: William, Archibald, Robert, Mary A. and Ellen, the latter becoming the mother of the noted Colorado metallurgist, Professor Brownlee.
Mrs. Mary A. Fee died in October, 1908, and her husband followed a year later. They reared seven children: Robert, a merchant at Manotick, Canada; Henry, a retired business man at Duluth, Minnesota; John W., a lumber broker at Duluth; Dr. William F.; Sarah J., unmarried and living on the old Canada homestead; A. G. Fee, a dentist at West Superior, Wisconsin; and Harrison, a farmer on the old Canada home.
Doctor Fee acquired a liberal literary education, graduating from common schools, attending the Adventist College at Healdsburg, California, later the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and in 1893 graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Chicago. After graduating in medicine he gained his first practical experience in the profession at Chicago, locating at the 57th Street entrance to the World's Columbian Exposition, which was being held in that city the year of his graduation. From Chicago Doctor Fee came to Kansas and for six years practiced to a growing clientele in Franklin County, with home at Williamsburg. From there he moved to Meade County in 1898.
Doctor Fee is a democratic voter but is hardly what would be called a regular or enthusiastic party man. He took his first degrees in Masonry at Williamsburg and is a member of the Lodge and Royal Arch Chapter of Meade, the Council at Hutchinson, Knight Templar Commandery at Liberal and the Mystic Shrine at Wichita. He is also past chancellor of the Knights of Pythias, and an Odd Fellow and has been a delegate to the Masonic Grand Lodge. Other fraternities are the Eastern Star, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Royal Neighbors. He is one of the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Meade.
At Kansas City, Missouri, May 22, 1892, Doctor Fee married Miss Anna E. Gibbs, daughter of John and Elsie A. Walker Gibbs, formerly of Melvern, Kansas. Mrs. Gibbs died at the home of Doctor Fee in January, 1918. John Gibbs served in the Union army with an Illinois Regiment, but otherwise spent his life as a farmer. He came to Kansas soon after the war, locating in Osage County, and helped develop that region. For a number of years he was also active in the ministry, representing the Seventh Day Adventist Church. He finally removed to Woodland Park, Colorado, where he died. At the battle of Lookout Mountain he lost a portion of one foot, and that wound was the ultimate cause of his death. His children were: Thomas, William, John, Mary, Anna, Frank and Charles.
Mrs. Fee graduated from the Battle Creek Sanitarium as a trained nurse and was following her profession when she met and married Doctor Fee. The children of Doctor and Mrs. Fee are: Archie G., Charles J., Frank, Ruth, a graduate of the Meade High School, Helen and Harry, Helen being a junior and Harry a freshman in the high school. Archie G., after graduating from the Meade High School entered the Western Dental College at Kansas City, practiced his profession three years at Liberal, Kansas, and in 1917 enlisted in the Dental Reserve and is now a first lieutenant, stationed at Camp Bowie, Fort Worth, Texas. The second son, Charles, graduated A. B. from the University of Kansas. He took the officers training course at Camp Funston early in 1917, and then after a brief period as manager of a lumber yard at Eureka, Kansas, enlisted in the army as a private and is now in the Ordnance Department with an army camp in Maryland. The son Frank in his eagerness to get into the army ran away from home, enlisting at the age of nineteen and is now with the Coast Artillery, training at Fort Barrie, San Francisco. Doctor Fee has made himself the servant of the people for twenty years in Western Kansas, and the same quality of loyalty that made him such a true follower of his profession has undoubtedly animated his sons in seeking to do what they could in making the world safe for democracy.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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