ACT TO INCORPORATE THE KANSAS MEDICAL SOCIETY - THE STATE ORGANIZATION - FIRST ANNUAL MEETING - THEN CAME THE CIVIL WAR - REORGANIZATION - THE SOCIETY'S INFLUENCE - THE WYANDOTTE COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY.
Those pioneer physicians and surgeons who came to Kansas in the territorial days were a progressive set of men. They had been educated in the noble art of healing in the schools of the east and by practice, as their fellow pioneers had been schooled in religion, law and states-craft. And it was these grand pioneers of the fifties who laid the foundation for the profession of medicine in the state that, through all the years of her history, has taken leadership, not merely in practice, but in the discovery and research that has placed Kansas in the front rank of forces contributing to medical science and education.
And, very naturally, the movement which gave Kansas a medical society even before it was a state, like many other great movements, had its start in old Wyandotte: for it was in a little conference of a handful of early-day medical men, held in Dr. Joseph P. Root's little "Pill Box," that the first steps were taken toward the organization of the Kansas Medical Society. The application for the charter was prepared and on its presentation to the territorial legislature the act of incorporation was passed, signed and approved February 10, 1859. Herewith is presented the act as it was printed in the legislation records of that session:
Be it enacted by the Governor and Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Kansas:
Section 1. Amory Hunting, S. B. Prentiss, J. P. Root, A. Fuller, C. F. Kobb, J. W. Robinson, J. B. Wheeler, L. C. Tolles, S. C. Harrington, A. Danford, C. E. Minor, J. B. Woodward, W. Madison, J. H. Phelps, O. Brown, Charles Robinson, M. F. Holladay, H. J. Canniff, A. J. Ritchie, M. Baily, J. M. Pelot, H. H. Beals, J. G. Blunt, T. Linsey, G. W. Beaumont, J. Leigh, A. Newman, H. Hartmann, William Graham, and their associates and successors, who shall be elected to membership as hereinafter provided, are hereby constituted a body corporate and politic by the name of the Kansas Medical Society, and shall have perpetual succession forever. Said Society may have a common seal, and change or altar the same at pleasure.
Section 2. That members of said Society, in their corporate capacity, may elect such officers as they shall judge necessary for its government and the management of its affairs, determine the name, power, duty and term of office of each; also the time and manner of said elections.
Section 3. Said Society, by and in their corporate name, may have all the rights, privileges and powers of a natural person in law and equity.
Section 4. Said Society may elect such persons to membership as they shall judge proper, and shall have power to expel, suspend or disfranchise the same, as members, from all the rights and privileges of the Society; but such expulsion, suspension or disfranchisement shall be by a vote of two-thirds of all the members present at a regular meeting of said Society, of which due notice shall have been given.
Section 5. Said Society shall have full power to make and enforce by-laws, and impose and collect at law any reasonable fines, not exceeding fifty dollars, as may be provided in said by-laws, for any and every violation or infraction thereof.
Section 6. Said Society shall issue certificates of membership to all its members, under such regulations as its by-laws may prescribe, and may also grant licenses to all respectable physicians, non-graduates, who shall, on examination, be found qualified for the practice of medicine and surgery, or either to practice those branches for which they are found qualified.
Section 7. Any three members of said Society may organize county or auxiliary societies in any county of this Territory; and said auxiliary society, when so organized, shall have all the powers and privileges, in the corporate name, which they may adopt, that are conferred by this act upon the Kansas Medical Society; and the officers of said auxiliary societies shall be honorary members of the Kansas Medical Society.
Section 8. A meeting of the corporators, or a part thereof, shall be hold in Lawrence, on February 10th, A. D. 1859, for the purpose of electing the first officers and completing the organization.
Section 9. This act to take effect and be in force from and after its passage.
A. LARZELERE,C. W. BABCOCK, President of the Council. Approved February 10, 1859. S. MEDARY, Governor.
Speakerof the House of Representatives.
The corporators of the Kansas Medical Society assembled in accordance with the provisions of the charter granted by the legislative assembly of 1859, to elect its first board of officers, and to transact all necessary business. Dr. Alonzo Fuller was called to the chair and Dr. S. C. Harrington chosen secretary pro tern. The following by law was adopted: "The officers of this society shall consist of a president, six vice presidents, corresponding secretary, recording secretary, treasurer and librarian, to be chosen by ballot and to hold their offices for one year and until their successors are elected." The first officers chosen were: President, Dr. S. B. Prentiss; vice presidents, Drs. A. Hunting, J. P. Root, J. P. Robinson, A. J. Ritchie, C. F. Kobb, M. F. Holliday; corresponding secretary, Dr. Albert Newman; recording secretary, Dr. J. B. Woodward; treasurer, Dr. A. Fuller; librarian, Dr. A. Hartman.
Dr. Alonzo Fuller, Dr. M. Hartman and Dr. Albert Newman were appointed a committee to draft by-laws to be reported at the annual meeting, and Dr. J. B. Wheeler was delegated to prepare and report a code of ethics.
At the first annual meeting of the society, held in the Eldridge House at Lawrence, February 23, 1860, these proceedings were had:
Drs. A. Fuller, A. Newman and M. Hartmann, committee on rules for the government and regulation of the society, presented a report.
On motion of Dr. Tolles; the rules for the government and regulation of the society were adopted.
Dr. Wheeler, from committee on code of ethics, recommended the adoption of the national code, which was agreed to.
On motion of Dr. Wheeler, the society proceeded to the election of officers for the ensuing year, with the following results: President, Dr. J. P. Root; vice presidents, Drs. J. B. Wheeler and J. H. Phelps; recording secretary, Dr. J. B. Woodward; corresponding secretary, Dr. A. Newman; treasurer, Dr. S. B. Prentiss; librarian, Dr. M. Hart. mann; censors, Drs. A. Fuller, L. C. Tolles, S. B. Prentiss, J. B. Wood. ward, C. F. Kobb, T. Lindsey, A. J. Ritchie, J. W. Robinson and J. G. Blunt.
On motion of Dr. Newman the vote by which the by-laws were adopted was reconsidered, and the following persons were elected members of the society: Drs. J. A. Benjamin, Herriford, Kerr, Nelson and J. W. Scott.
On motion of Dr. Newman, the by-laws adopted at the last meeting was repealed, and those reported by the committee were then adopted.
Dr. S. B. Prentiss was appointed orator for the next annual meeting and Dr. J. B. Wheeler, substitute.
Drs. S. B. Prentiss, L. C. Tolles and J. B. Woodward were appointed executive committee for the ensuing year.
Voted to hold the next annual meeting of the society at Lawrence on the last Thursday in February, 1861. The society then adjourned.
The next annual meeting of the society, held in the Eldridge House in Lawrence February 27, 1861, was presided over by Doctor Root and from the minutes of that meeting, written in seventy-nine words, little business was transacted. The Civil war was imminent and the men of the society sat with grave faces thinking of the duties that that conflict were to bring them. There was something prophetic in the last item of the minutes which read: "On motion of Dr. Newman the society voted to meet on the last Wednesday in January at such place as may be designated by the president."
The war came and nearly every member of the Kansas Medical Society went forth to fight or to give treatment to the sick and wounded. Doctor Root remained president of the society and the other officers held over all that time.
A call of the president for a meeting in Topeka, January 31, 1866, brought a quorum of the officers of the society, but there were so few members present an adjournment was taken to the first Thursday in April, 1866, at Lawrence. At that April meeting, the president and vice president being absent, Dr. A. Fuller was elected president pro tem, a quorum being present. The war was at an end and many of those who had been members of the society when first organized were scattered and gone. Not a few of them had lost their lives in the service. But there were new faces to be seen in the meeting and among those admitted to membership were the following: Drs. T. Sinks, G. W. Hogeboom, A. Campbell, J. W. Brock, G. C. Crook, O. P. Barbour, C. A. Logan, H. Buckmaster, C. C. Shoyer, S. B. Davis, W. B. Carpenter, L. Houston, George Bolling, M. S. Thomas, I. O'Brien, A. C. Van Duyn, G. E. Buddington, G. W. Walgamott, O. F. Searl, Charles Newman, J. L. Prentiss, S. C. Brown, H. P. Woodward, R. Aikman and D. W. Stormont.
At that meeting steps were at once taken to revise the by-laws, adopt a code of ethics and start anew. A movement also was there started by the appointment of a committee to confer with the regents of the University of Kansas looking to the establishment of a medical department therein. The committee was composed of Drs. Sink, Newman and Stormont. How successful were these ambitious physicians and surgeons of those days may be judged by the fact that it has not been until the last five years that the teaching of medicine and surgery in the university has been seriously considered by the state officials, although the chancellors and the regents have long favored that important step in the direction of professional education.
Before adjournment the society elected the following officers for the ensuing year: President, Dr. C. A. Logan; vice presidents, Drs. A. Newman, and Bailey; recording and corresponding secretary; Dr. D. W. Stormont; treasurer, Dr. J. L. Prentiss; librarian, Dr. O. F. Searl; censors, Drs. Woodward, Hartmann and Fuller of Lawrence, Drs. Sinks, Brock and Buckmaster of Leavenworth, and Drs. Bailey, Stormont and Brown of Topeka.
Thus, in the foregoing proceedings in which a few energetic, high-minded, self-sacrificing men of science participated in the early days, was laid the foundation for the Kansas State Medical Society. Through all the years of its existence the society and its members have exerted an influence that not only is to be observed in the state but throughout the United States and that has had marked effect in elevating the profession in the state. It has fostered great hospitals in the cities of Kansas, encouraged a high standard of education in medicine and surgery, and has brought about the enactment of those laws that have brought recognition to the state as having most advanced ideas in the regulation of public health and sanitation.
Although many of the leading men of the profession resided in Wyandotte county from the time the white settlers began to come, it was not until early in the eighties that a county organization was formed. The society has been in existence since then and, although at times inactive, it has wielded a wholesome influence in the county and state for not only the benefit of the profession, but for that of the people at large, in the enforcement of proper sanitary regulations and laws for the protection of public health. During all these years many of the physicians of the city have been identified with the county organization and have given it their support. Among the physicians who were residents of the county at the time of the formation of the society may be mentioned the following: Dr. George M. Gray, Dr. P. D. Hughes, Dr. J. L. B. Eager, Dr. P. A. Eager, Dr. C. A. Foulkes, Dr. Samuel F. Mather, Dr. N. B. Richards, Dr. J. C. Martin and Dr. A. P. Tenney. The society has maintained an organization for more than twenty-five years.
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