Pages 618-625, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.


618 HISTORY OF ALLEN AND  

The Medical Profession

By E. V. WHARTON, M. D.

The men who came to Kansas in the carly fifties were home builders and commonwealth architects—early eaglets fluttering out of the parent nest, whose leaving of the home crag indicated strong wings, determination and what is known in western parlance as grit. No weaklings, no "doubting Thomas's," none of faint heart led the van of civilization then, nor ever will. Possibly they were somewhat rough in character, or a bit indifferent to the strict observation of social rules, as provided by the dilletante of the East; yet, withal possessing a sense of honor which would have cheered the heart of the early cavalier. Warm-hearted and charitable as an Oglethorpe or an Austen, prompt and exacting as a John Winthrop, came they to build and fashion after their own notions a new commonwealth in the great American desert.

They were not all farmers seeking tillable land upon which to build homes, to plant orchards and to lay off fields; nor tradesmen seeking soft snaps and corner lots in newly erected cities; nor lawyers short on briefs and long on lore; nor preachers seeking locations for mission schools and invalid souls to be saved; nor incompetent and unemployed mechanics; nor promoters selling hot air and cerulian blue: but an army of men and women, and with them a few brave, big-hearted and zealous doctors, they came bearing the plans for a state to be, yet, the grandest and most progressive in the sisterhood of states.

The doctor of pioneer days was an unique character. Educated he was, and learned—as learning in the colleges of the days of short terms, meager curriculum and rapid process of making doctors meant learned. He knew little of bacteria, less of plas moedium materia and asepsis in traumatism, but possibly as much of the "ager," the necessity of cleanliness and the effect of quinine and corn whiskey on the human system as do our bright young men turned loose at the beginning of the twentieth century, schooled in Pasteurism and modern bacteriology, and licensed to maim and kill. His library was in his head, his stock of drugs in his capacious saddlebags, his wardrobe on his back and his office wherever he was found. He cared little for churches or church ceremonials, dabbled somewhat in politics, talked sketchily of scientific matters, eschewed the aestheticism of the Bostonian school; but would wager his spurs, stiletto, or six-shooter on his ability to cure the "shakes," extract

  WOODSON COUNTIES, KANSAS. 619

a tooth, or relieve intestinal spasm. He had heard that a Boston chemist a decade ago had discovered the wonderful ether agent-chloroform, but he knew little of general anesthesia and nothing at all of local anesthesia, cocaine and the ether spray; and the effects of the lighter ethers as local anesthetics were unknown to him. The anticeptic qualities of phenol he had not yet been introduced to. Yet he did his work patiently and well in the light which he possessed and contributed much of value to the generation which followed him. The doctor of 1858, dressed in homespun, broad-brimmed hat, and with trousers encased to his knees in jack-boots, and spurred like a knight of old, mounted on a bucking bronco, and with saddle-bags like paniers to a pack mule, would make a strange comparison with the well-dressed and well-barbered M. D. of the present era, seated in an easy carriage and accompanied by his driver. The appearances, though seemingly widely different, reveal the march of civilization and the development of a race of people who move rapidly and possess, to a wonderful degree, constructive ability.

The medics, in common with other professions have furnished men who could be trusted to place a hand upon the helm of state. Kansas' first governor was a pioneer doctor. Her first body of lawmakers was made up of a respectable number of doctors, and in the passing of the succeeding history-making years, the roster of her diplomats, statesmen, and law-givers shows the presence of a fair representation called from the field of her medical workers.

The oldest settler is somewhat in doubt as to when and where and as to who was the first doctor to locate in Woodson county. The weight of testimony leans toward Drs. John and L. Dunn, brothers, who established themselves at Belmont in 1857 or 1858. Hon. William Stockebrand, who vas wounded by an Indian in December, 1857, was treated by the Dunn brothers a few weeks later. The Dunns did not remain long at Belmont. One of them met summary vengeance at the hands of the "vigilantees" in southeast Kansas while the other removed to Texas, but resides now at some point in Oklahoma. In 1859 Dr. D. J. Williams located at Neosho Falls, remaining until the outbreak of the Civil war, when he returned to Illinois, enlisted in one of the regiments of that state, served as hospital steward during the entire struggle and returned to Nosho[sic] Falls in 1866. His daughter, now Mrs. Lucy Gorbett, was the first white child born at the Falls of the Neosho. The doctor was rather an opinionated character and believed in settling matters according to his own notion of things. He was kind-hearted, attentive to the suffering and delighted in relieving "the sting of the venomed fang" by extraction. He died of cancer late in the seventies.

About 1862 Dr. Logwood located in Belmont as the successor of the Dunn brothers. To him was charged the mistake of inoculating the entire

620 HISTORY OF ALLEN AND  

vicinity with smallpox virus instead of the milder form of vaccine. As a result a large portion of the pioneers of that portion of the county died of smallpox.

Dr. Allen McCartney came to Neosho Falls in 1858, about the time Dr. Williams located there. He remained there during the war, was Lincoln's first postmaster at "the Falls," left there in 1868 and established a trading post at the foot of the mound where "Little Bear" was buried, at the junction of the Neosho and Fall rivers. Later, he was interested in the founding of the town of Neodesha and still later represented his county (Wilson) in the state legislature. And now, in the glorious sunset of life, he looks back over the past with the consciousness that there was in his career a something which bettered those who followed him, as well as those who came into personal touch with him.

Dr. D. W. Maxson came to Woodson county in 1858 also, and located at Coy's store, now Coyville. For a more extended mention of his career see his biography elsewhere in this volume. He has seen much service in professional life, is a sound counsellor, a good clinician and a worthy member of the profession.

In 1869 and in 1870, Dr. R. B. Camfield and Dr. S. J. Carpenter, came to the county. Dr. Camfield located upon a claim on South Owl Creek and, for some years, looked after the health of that community. Later he removed to Buffalo, Kansas, where he died in 1889, from wounds received from a vicious horse. Dr. Carpenter located near Neosho Falls, did something of a general practice, but was inclined toward special work. He established sanitariums at Humboldt and at Eureka, where he sought to treat chronic diseases of the respiratory organs. Not meeting with the success he expected in such a field of labor he settled down, late in life, to general work in one of our live Kansas towns.

Dr. D. L. Rogers came to Toronto from Canada in 1871. He was a bright and earnest worker, became tired of Kansas life and returned to the Queen's Dominion where he died in 1891. The same year (1871) Dr. A. H. Mann came to Toronto. He was just from the regular army and only remained out of the service, and in the practice at Toronto, a few years. He returned to Toronto again in 1875 and remained many years. He performed the first amputation that was done in Woodson and was regarded as one of the able physicians and surgeons of his day and county. He resided in Illinois when the Spanish-American war broke out and was commissioned a surgeon in one of the regiments raised in that state and did duty at Tampa, Florida. Doctor R. B. Marr, a bright young man from one of the St. Louis colleges, located in Toronto in 1875 where he was an active and energetic man, wedded to his profession. He became inoculated with a loathsome disease while attending a patient and, as a price for his martyrdom, was incapacitated, for many years, for pro-

  WOODSON COUNTIES, KANSAS. 621

fessional work. He is now in south Missouri a physical wreck but a professional here.

Dr. J. L. Jones came to Kalida, a town which now lives only in history, in 1872. The doctor was a Kentuckian—in that Kentuckian means hospitable, jolly, and with an eye to business. He practiced there three years and the fifteen years following in Neosho Falls. In 1890 he removed to Leroy and in 1892 became a resident of Yates Center. In all his perigrinations he never lost sight "o' the silver." He amassed quite a competency and now resides on the Atlantic coast.

Dr. T. J. Means, another old-fashioned, "old school" Kentucky doctor, opened his practice in Neosho Falls in 1872. His office was afterward the dining room of Judge H. D. Dickson's residence. He believed in heroic doses of calomel and jalap, bled his patients profusely, and was a typical representative of the medical rennaissance. He could not endure Kansas Republicanism and, in 1874, removed to Texas.

Among the seventies probably Dr. J. W. Driscoll was a character the most unique. He dropped into Neosho Falls as though he had fallen from the planet Mars, and to strengthen the supposition. some of the characteristics of the fighting god are herewith attributed to him: He was stubborn, unyielding, imperious, yet withal tender, compassionate and charitable, doing his duty as he saw it. Possibly the most learned of his compeers, yet not "stuck up," he looked upon matters with only the eye of a scientist. "If you are worthy and can do the work"—for he was a worker—"you are one of us; otherwise you must learn," said he to the neophyte as to "the elect," until he knew them. For some years he had filled the chair of mathematics in an eastern academy, taught the young man his first lessons in quadratics, discussed geometry from a straight line all the way through to conic sections—not even forgetting the pons asinorum, taught trigonometry and talked of the value of angles, spoke of sines, tangents, chords, secants, et omnia gens, in fact was an "all-round man" in mathematical science. When he located among us the good people recognized his worth and made him a member of our board of examiners to pass upon the qualifications of the teachers of the county, and also made him county surveyor. Be it said to his memory, his records are the only ones in the county which show surveys made by "latitude and departure." His notes, like his work, to a class of students are as exact as the science he loved. More of a surveyor and engineer than a doctor, he left Kansas after a few years sojourn, returned to Indiana and, in 1882, died in the harness as a teacher. Excentric he might have been, but bright, brainy and brilliant, he was one of the needed men of his time.

Dr. Parker was one of the birds of passage who came in about 1870. He and his family aspired to be social leaders in a pioneer town but his experience proved only a labor of love and after a few months "he folded

622 HISTORY OF ALLEN AND  

his tent and quietly stole away" to a more appreciative community.

Dr. B. D. Williams was the first homeopathist to locate in the country. His learning professionally was not of the highest order, nor did he have must respect for the English language, as taught from Kirkham to the latest edition of grammer. It was he who, on July 4, 1874, when the fantastic paraders removed their masks, remarked, "they ought to have gone to some obscure place to do that." In 1875 he went west and was lost in the flood of emigration to the Rockies during the decade which followed.

Dr. John T. Warner was probably the most active and enjoyed the most extensive practice of any of his colleagues at the Falls. He was a pleasant and agreeable gentleman, competent and well liked by the people, but was too timid for a good physician. He died in 1875 from opium poisoning. He suffered from some ailment and had taken a large dose of opium. Not getting better he summoned another doctor who, without knowing his patient had already taken the drug, administered another large dose, and with fatal results.

Dr. Will E. Turner, who married a daughter of Major Snow, was a competent man in his profession, but paid more attention to holding down a homestead, and other outside matters, than medicine. He moved to Montana, made money there, but was accidentally drowned in the Missouri river about 1880.

Dr. J. W. Turner came to the county in 1872 and located northeast of Yates Center on a homestead. The doctor was a true scion of the Blue Grass state; was a Kentuckian in all that "a son of Kentucky" means. He did in his day, probably, more surgical work than any of the profession of the county. He was somewhat irascible in temper, slightly inclined to haughtiness, yet a gentleman of the old school, one of the type which is too rapidly disappearing in this age of rush and "every fellow for himself." The first laparotomy ever attempted in the county was conducted by him. He had a busy practice for some years, served as county treasurer one term, was a director in the First National Bank of Yates Center and died from hemorrhage of the stomach in 1885.

Dr. O. J. Skinner came to this county in 1872 and located on a claim adjoining Dr. Turner's. He was a Vermonter by birth and a Kentuckian by adoption and instinct. Among all the workers of the profession none were or will be more studious and observing than he. He loved books and a late light; was possibly the best clinician of his fellows and the safest counsellor of all the coterie of workers of his time. None more patient and none more desirous of knowing all of a case than he. After years of hard work and kindly admonition to the younger brood of doctors he fell asleep, with his sack for a pillow. Among the old, fellows who

  WOODSON COUNTIES, KANSAS. 623

came here in early days few were his peer as a careful, painstaking watcher and observer at the bedside of the sick, and none his superior.

About 1873 Dr. W. F. Girdener came to Kalida and, in conjunction with Dr. Jones, composed the medical staff of that village for a time. In 1877 he removed to Yates Center where he died a year or two following, a victim of tuberculosis.

The writer, Dr. E. V. Wharton, came to Yates Center, August 20, 1876, and was the first medical man to fan the breezes of the county seat with his shingle. July 1901 finds him here still. In 1877 his other colleagues in the practice were Doctors Skinner, Turner and Girdener, at the county seat.

Dr. S. J. Bacon came to Yates Center in 1880 and purchased the Wolfer drug store. He has been in the drug business continuously since. The doctor is not a Kentuckian nor does he endorse the theories of the total abstainers. He did much work in the professional field, was a horse fancier for some years, a sport and an all round good fellow.

Dr. H. W. West came to the county as a protege of Dr. Turner in 1880. He has had a lucrative practice, married a most estimable woman, reared a splendid family and is going down to a glorious sunset of old age. He is one of the Board of Pension Examiners of the McKinley administration.

In 1882 Dr. George H. Phillips emigrated from Jacksonville, Illinois, to Yates Center, entered the practice of medicine, bought an interest in a drug store and assisted in conducting the Sunday school. He is a man of brilliant parts, a hard worker and careful observer, and left Kansas to assume the position of physician to the Indian school at Chilocco, I. T. He is now a resident of Pawnee, Oklahoma, and has been appointed, recently, as teacher and medical advisor at Chilocco.

Dr. George Rutlege, a playmate and boy chum of Dr. Phillips, came to Yates Center in 1881, remained a few brief months and removed to Missouri. The politics of that state, his practice and the climate, were not congenial and he returned to Kansas for a short period and finally took up his residence in Illinois.

Dr. G. W. Lee another of the good man from the "Old Sucker State" spawned on Kansas, came in 1889, and practiced a short time in Yates Center. He then took up his residence in Toronto where he has an enviable business.

Dr. T. A. Jones became a resident of Toronto about 1888, did an active practice, was generally loved by the public, dabbled somewhat in politics and social studies and died in 1894 or 1895. His work was thorough and bore the ear-marks of a plodding, painstaking student.

Dr. Otes Orendorff came to Yates Center in 1893 fresh from medical college, was associated some years with Dr. Kellenberger, moved then to southern Missouri where he did some work. Tiring of Missouri practice

624 HISTORY OF ALLEN AND  

and Missouri hospitality he returned to his first love, metaphorically speaking, and re-entered the practice alone. He bears the impress of the seal of work which is the characteristic of a Kansan and in the years to come will materially aid in completing the structure, planned by the early argonauts. He is one of the Board of Pension Examiners of the McKinley administration.

Dr. B. F. Browning, after trying several locations in Kansas, in 1893 concluded that Yates Center would suit and he located here. He rushed into a lucrative practice and, notwithstanding his Virginian idiosyncrasies, has become completely westernized and does things according to the Kansas rule. Bright affable young and energetic he has the elements necessary to continue pushing the profession in Kansas to the front rank with the best of the other states.

Dr. A. J. Lieurance came to Neosho Falls in 1886 and has done some practice but pays more attention to the legitimate drug trade. He has dabbled some in politics as a Democratic leader, is financially independent and takes the world easy.

Dr. O. S. Spaulding who came to Toronto in the late eighties or early nineties is the only homeopathic in the county. He has the distinction of enjoying the confidence of the people, was a member of the Board of Pension Examiners, is closely intouch with the more advanced thinkers of sociology, is a student and all that a thinker in Kansas parlance means.

During the years of developing the territory known as Woodson county a number of doctors, like the wild duck, have come and gone. Their stay was too short and their work too ephemeral to notice as a part of the hive of workers. Some were adventurers, some simply "doing the country," and some of the "make-fat" variety. Probably this county has had, as the years go by to make decades, a class of medical men as bright, as worthy, and who, in their humble way, have contributed as much toward commonwealth building as the average county of the state. While peans of praise are sung to the memory of the child of politics and occasionally a tablet is reared to commemorate the work of some special scientific discoverer, the country and pioneer doctor patiently plods his weary way, doing his best to relieve suffering and to bring back the flush of health. Nowhere is there a hall of fame for the humble medical worker.

"To cure their ills, to guard the people's health      Brings little fame and scarcely more of wealth.  'Tis rare indeed upon the roll of fame      To find inscribed the busy doctor's name;  Nor is it wrought in gold or carved in stone,      Few poets have writ the things by doctors done.
  WOODSON COUNTIES, KANSAS. 625
 To worship heroes and to sing their praise,
     To tell of love in many different ways,
 Of human happiness and human grief,
     All this has been of poetry the chief;
 And yet, methinks the greatest theme of all
     Has been neglected, or scarce sung at all."
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Pages 618-625, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.


Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS

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