Doctor Laughlin is one of the pioneer physicians of Kansas. His advent in Cloud county in 1869 brought with it a blessing to suffering humanity. He is a conscientious practitioner, and in the quiet hours of the night dips deeply into the researches of science that he may devise a better or more speedy plan of restoring to health the life of some patient he has been implored to save. In the year 1859, Doctor Laughlin came to Leavenworth, Kansas, from Washington, Ohio, where he had taken a collegiate course. The parents of Doctor Laughlin had planned a ministerial career for their son, but the young student had views of his own, coupled with a strong will to bear him out in the choice of his chosen profession, that of a physician. To carry out his intentions he studied medicine clandestinely under Doctor Patterson, of Washington. Doctor Laughlin is a Latin and Greek scholar a classmate for three sessions, of J. Allen, D.D., of St. Louis, and James Maxwell, D.D., of Boston; also William Kirkwood, D.D., formerly president of Emporia College, was a fellow student. During his residence in Leavenworth, Dr. Laughlin taught those classics in the basement of the Christain Church in that city, as a branch of Professor Reeser's school. Mrs. Fred Herman and the late Mrs. Ed Kennedy of Clyde were among his pupils there. Doctor Laughlin did not graduate from a medical college but gained his knowledge in connection with his collegiate course, and when convinced he was proficient, began the practice of medicine in Uniontown, Iowa. For a year prior to locating in Iowa, he was principal of the Parochial School in Sumner, Illinois. Upon the discovery by his parents that their son would not comply with their wishes in regard to the ministry, Doctor Laughlin left home, thereby avoiding dissension and bitterness of feeling, as his father positively refused any assistance, although a man of wealth. The parents' ambition for his son to become a member of the clergy was too deeply rooted to be given over to the desires of his offspring, and thus, unless implicit obedience was adhered to, he resolved to retard the furtherance of his medical studies by withholding financial assistance, thus curtailing his dearest hope and ambition. But "like father, like son," he never swerved his chosen path and unaided financially, reached the goal of his ambition. In the year 1869, Doctor Laughlin removed to Cloud county, homesteaded a claim where he lived one year, and then went to Clyde and established himself in his profession; built up a practice on a foundation of stone and during this time thirty-seven physicians have come and gone like the tide of the sea, but his anchor is dropped in deep water.
The Wilson family, Doctor Laughlin's paternal ancestors, were of rugged mould. Judge Wilson, late of Concordia, is a branch of the same family. There were nine children in his paternal grandmother's family. When not only very aged, but blind, Thomas Wilson edited a newspaper in the State of Pennsylvania; and at a time when the sum total of his family's ages - nine in number - aggregated nine hundred years. The Wilsons are a family of remarkable longevity. judge Wilson, well known to Cloud county people, is also of that rugged physique. Doctor Laughlin's father lived to see four score years and six. In religious persuasion they were staunch old school Presbyterian. Our subject's grandfather and his sister Ann, were attending school together, and fancying their master imposed too strict a discipline upon his sister, declared to his mother, if it occurred again he would "thrash" the teacher. Directly afterward he had occasion to make his obligation good, which he did by inflicting upon the offender the promised flogging. Fearing severe rebuke and punishment at home he boarded a vessel, leaving his native land, the "Emerald Isle," his home and his associates, and sailed for America. The Reverend Laughlin, for several years pastor of the Presbyterian church of Belleville, was of this same lineage.
Doctor Laughlin was married in 1858, to Esther Morrow, a sister of Senator Morrow, of Kansas. She was deceased in 1878. By this union three children were born. The eldest is Mrs. Frank Fessenden, whose home is Colorado; she is the mother of three children. The second daughter is Mrs. Lillie Cavenaugh, of Lane county, Kansas. The youngest daughter is a professional nurse in Honolulu, and has had an interesting career. She received a business education and went to Portland, Oregon, to fill the position of stenographer; but deciding upon the occupation of nurse, entered a hospital where she underwent a thorough training and became very proficient. There was a demand for nurses in Honolulu and Miss Laughlin was sent a passport by Queen "Lill" during her reign to take charge of the Queen's Hospital. Doctor Laughlin was married in 1879, to Agnes Sexsmith, a New York woman of culture and refinement. They are the parents of one child, a daughter, who bears her mother's name, Agnes; she graduated from the Clyde High School in 1900, and is now a student of the Emporia College.
Doctor Laughlin is a man of considerable literary talent and an individual who has delved deeply into the mysteries of science and possesses a mind well trained along those lines. He is an original, independent thinker, fearless in his oppositions to many conceded theories and is capable of demonstrating them with scientific principles. He is a lover of science and his ability is far above the average; many of his hours have been profitably spent in deep studies, both ancient and modern. Doctor Laughlin in professional and natural endowments is the peer of any man in the county. Mrs. Laughlin is a very estimable and cultured woman, a congenial companion who contributes to a perfect home life.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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