Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri • ca. 1914

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens

Chapter 14
The Practice of Medicine in Greene County
by Drs. William M. and Wilbur Smith

Part 1

In all ages and among all peoples the ailments of the body have been one chief concerns of humanity. Until within the last century or two the mechanism and functions of the different parts of the body were so little known that their disorders and the means of relieving them have, in great measure, been matters of uncertainty and experiment. This fact, in connection with the tendency of the human mind to invest all things little understood in a shroud of mystery, and to seek some power beyond its ken in which to blindly trust for the healing of all ills, has given rise to all sorts of medical theories and practices, from the grossness of heathen rites to the so-called refinements of Christian Science.

The history of medicine is full of accounts of wonderful "cures" which deluded their victims with false hopes for a season, only to leave their last state worse than the first. Bitter controversies, born of mistaken zeal, as well as of greed, have raged between the adherents of these different delusions, retarding materially, the growth of scientific knowledge among even intelligent people. Greene county has not entirely escaped the infection of these fads and superstitions. The fads have flourished somewhat among the visionary, and the superstitious among the very ignorant, but inasmuch as the bulk of our people have sprung from a sturdy, level-headed, self-respecting stock and has frankly and faithfully given to the public its best service and in consequence has been a potent factor in molding public sentiment. Another element of strength in the influence of the profession has been the strong fraternity of feeling which has bound its members together. They have worked and counseled together as a band of brothers and comrades. When they can agree it is done heartily, when they must disagree it is without impairment of mutual esteem. [485]

A chapter in the medical history of this region would he sadly deficient without reference to the improvement in the conditions under which the doctor does his work. In the early days many of the highways were trails or bridle paths over the hills and following the beds of dry runs, so that often the only means of travel was on horseback, fording or swimming, or at best ferrying rivers and creeks. Now graded roads are extending in every direction and bridges span the streams, so that the physician in his motor car may make a trip in a few hours that once would require two days. In the matter also of the facilities for caring for the sick and injured a complete revolution has taken place. Twenty-five years ago there was not the semblance of a hospital in all this region. Now Springfield has five, all equipped with modern appliances and conveniences, and her skilled physicians and surgeons are able to care for any case that may come before them. Springfield has long been the metropolis of a great territory and among the men of note in the early days in town and country the pioneer doctors deserve honorable mention. It is impossible to give anything like a complete list of those who have done good work in this region, and even of many whose names are remembered, the record is so meager that any attempt to even scant justice to their memory must be a failure. Those who were blessed by their ministrations and loved them most are gone with them, we are glad to believe, into that new life whose activities are not hampered by the weakness and disorders of a mortal body.


In the following list we have tried to give as many of the names of the physicians and surgeons as we could collect, and such items of interest concerning them as we have learned and are suitable for a chapter in this history. Among the names of the earlier pioneer physicians and surgeons in Springfield we find that of Doctor Perum. As in all new settlements, wives were somewhat scarce in those days, and Doctor Perum lived and died a bachelor. He boarded at the Smith Tavern, at the northeast corner of the public square and Boonville street. The annals record that he was a hard rider and tremendous eater. Doctor Shackleford was another honored healer in the olden days. Some of his descendants still live in this vicinity. Doctors Goodall and Wooten came here from St. Louis at an early day, and just before the Civil war went to Texas with their slaves. The older inhabitants will remember Dr. T. J. Bailey whose old farm is now one of the thickly-settled portions of Springfield. He came here from Lincoln county Kentucky; he was an admirer of Henry Clay, and besides being an active practitioner, was a Whig politician and, of course, was on the Union side during the Civil war. Perhaps his most valuable service to this community was his rearing to womanhood his niece, who afterward became the wife Dr. E. T. Robberson. [486]


Contemporary with Doctor Bailey were old Doctors John and Henry Chenoworth, who, the chronicler avers, took Dr. E. T. Robberson into partnership with them that he might do their hard riding! If that be true, they verily could not have found one more capable of doing it. He graduated in 1854 at Jefferson Medical College, and for many years he traversed the hills and valleys of the Ozarks riding as far as Granby, Mt. Vernon, Buffalo, Forsyth,—wherever or whatever the call, his best service was ready. He was not only physician and surgeon, he was advisor and benefactor. The writer attended his funeral, which was at his home, and while waiting for services to begin he circulated among the multitude that was assembled on the lawn, from far and near. There, listening to the subdued conversation of the different groups, he heard more than one story of how Doctor Robberson helped this one and that, not only in their sicknesses, but in their poverty and misfortunes, sometimes sending receipted bill when nothing had been paid, and even enclosing a donation to tide over the hard times that often follow a siege of sickness. Dr. B. A. Barrett was another pillar of the profession who practiced in Springfield before and during the war. He was more of a general practitioner than surgeon, but did not turn his back when he could be of help. The writer once heard him say, "I have cut more than a hatful of bullets out of people."


Dr. J. E. Tefft came to Springfield as an army surgeon in the Union army and when the war was over made his home here. For many years he did most of the surgery in this region and, though fearless when prompt action was necessary, he always refused to use the knife when it could be avoided. While sometimes abrupt in manner, he was at heart kind, and many younger professional brethren recall with pleasure his courtesies, toward them when they needed a counsellor.

Ebenezer, one of the older settlements in the county was fortunate in being the seat of an excellent school, and in the quality of her medical men. Among the older ones we find the names of Dr. George Barrett and Doctor Gray, both of whom are gratefully remembered by many old citizens. The Ebenezer field was later occupied by Dr. J. P. Cox, who is now practicing in Springfield. The work at Ebenezer is now mainly in the efficient hands of Doctor Potter. Dr. Thomas Cottrane was one of the older physicians at Cave Spring. After serving in the Union army he began his life work there which ended only at his death, a few years ago. His son is one of our own well-known attorneys. Doctor Wadlow is also remembered as a faithful worker at Cave Spring. Dr. H. G. Frame is the present standby in that field. In the Fair Grove list of doctors we find some notable men. Among the earlier ones we find Doctors Cole, Colwell, Webster, Ellis and Brooks. Doctor Webster is said to have done some good surgical work. Later, Dr. W. H. Cowden carried the chief burden of that community's ills for many years, assisted during brief periods by Doctors Mayfield and Burton. Doctors W. D. Elwell and M. L. Edmondson now practice there. [487]

The field at Willard is a good one and has been cared for by some able men, several of whom later located in Springfield. The battle against the germs is now being successfully fought by Dr. Columbus J. Pike. He is an ex-president of the Southwest Medical Society. The physicians in Walnut Grove, L. E. McClure, J. K. Perry and S. B. Smith, are wide-awake men, but, possibly owing to their distance from the place of meeting have not united with the Greene County Medical Society, and so are missing much that comes from social and professional association.

Dr. Thomas Doolin, of Ash Grove, has been in the harness since 1879, and has long been a member of the Greene County and Missouri State Medical Societies. The sympathy of all his brethren goes out to him on account of the recent death of his son, Dr. Carl Doolin, who lost his life while attempting to board a moving railway train. Though but recently admitted to practice, he had won the esteem and confidence of his community to an unusual degree. Dr. Thomas C. Miller is another standby of Ash Grove, who is growing gray in the service of his fellows. He graduated in 1874, and is a member of the Southwest Missouri Medical Society. Dr. Onas Smith, also of Ash Grove, is one of the younger members of the team, but well known. He has been spoken of as a future medical missionary.


Republic is the home of the Missouri strawberry, and for twenty-seven years Dr. Edward L. Beal has repaired to his strawberry field for relaxation, and comfort when professional cares became too harassing. He was a pupil of Dr. E. Tefft, and has made good both as a doctor and as a horticulturist. Dr. O. N. Carter, also at Republic, is one of our most earnest and active young practitioners. He has found the field (not the strawberry field) so laborious that an older brother, Dr. W. C. Carter, has recently joined him in working it.

Returning to Springfield, we find, just at the close of the war, Dr. F. E. Ross, who for many years, until his death, was a prominent figure in medical circles. His father was a noted pioneer preacher of the Gospel, and the doctor evidently inherited a valuable "gift of gab" which he was wont to in our society meetings for the edification of his brethren. He was one of our best read physicians and many of his prescriptions are still refilled for his old patients. A younger brother, Dr. L. C. Ross, after several years of practice in other localities, finally settled in Springfield, where he is sustaining the family reputation for industry and faithfulness. A son of Dr. F. E. Ross, Dr. Justin Ross, after winning a reputation as one of the best students in his college, graduated in medicine and settled in Springfield, but the "cares of this world" or "the deceitfulness of riches" have apparently prevented his taking up active professional work, and he is rarely seen in the councils of the local doctors. [488]

Other medical men who are remembered by our older citizens are Doctor Means, Doctor Van Hoose, Doctor Flanner and Doctor Ullman. Most of these have relatives now living in this community. They were all among the first members of the Springfield Medical Society.


Dr. W. A. Camp is probably the pioneer specialist in eye, ear, nose and throat diseases. He is known far and wide, both for the good work he has done and for his geniality and good fellowship. Dr. J. R Bartlett has worked and grown fat. His health has compelled him to go south several times, but he is still in the harness. Dr. C. C. Clements, who died several years ago, was prized for his straightforward sincerity as well as for his ability. He had little use for new fads, and was slow to accept the germ theory of disease. Doctor Dunklin practiced in Springfield for a short time in the early nineties. He was a man of ability, but of unhappy disposition. Doctor Herbert S. Hill came here from Minnesota about 1884. He has, for several years, been the efficient secretary of the Southwest Missouri Medical Society. Hard work and exposure, have so impaired his health that he is at present, April, 1915, confined to his bed, with little hope of returning to duty. Dr. W. C. James was another of our hard workers who has passed away. His services were so freely given and payment for them so little urged that probably he was loved more, and, in proportion to the work he did, paid less than any other doctor in the community. After his death his brother, Dr. Edwin F. James, came from Marshfield and assumed his practice. As a member of the legislative committee of the Greene County Society and as city health commissioner, he is a terror to quacks and to all unsanitary things.

To Dr. Dexter B. Farnsworth, on account of his uniform courtesy and fairness, belongs the title, "The Beloved Physician." After ten years of general practice he took up the special treatment of eye,, ear, nose and throat. Close confinement to his office for twenty-five years so impaired his health that he was compelled to give up work for several months.. At the present time he is able to come down town for a short time each day. Dr. John Nixon came here about 1890 from the East. His professional ability won the respect of his brethren; his refined manners and elegant dress won the admiration of the fair sex and his "spit curls" were the joy of all beholders, but after a few years he departed as he came—a bachelor. [489]

Dr. W. P. Camp was a prominent figure in medical circles in the nineties, but infirmities have compelled his retirement and he is rarely seen on the streets. About the same time Dr. J. E. Warden began practice in Springfield and for several years one of our promising young surgeons. His untimely death brought sadness to hundreds who had hoped much from his early promise. Dr. J. W. Weir was a diamond in the rough—a true Southern gentleman. He was faithful and sincere. He called whiskey "Old Line Democracy." Dr. George W. Barnes is a "Son of Consolation." He originated somewhere about Pleasant Hope and has dwelt ever since in the "Land of Good Will." His cheery way has been a powerful aid to his pills and powders. Long may he smile! Dr. H. P. Mellinger was another young man whose early promise of great usefulness was destroyed by influences for which, the community is responsible. He became the victim of a form of dementia and was taken east by friends. Dr. W. P. Patterson is "one whom his fellow citizens delight to honor. About twenty-five years ago he came from his father's home, near Chattanooga, Tennessee, and practiced about three years in Brookline, then removed to Springfield, where he has won the confidence of the community. He is doing good work as medical member of the school board. Dr. C. S. McLain has been one of our active practitioners, and at the same time his rural tastes have at times taken him to the country. He is now enjoying the delights of suburban life near Springfield.


Dr. I. R. Lane was at the same time an orchardist at Mountain Grove and a practitioner in Springfield, but after a few years' active work here his interests at Mountain Grove compelled his return to that place, where he died a few years ago. Dr. E. H. McBride gave the people of this community several year as of good service, even while he himself was fighting the grim destroyer. When he finally yielded he left many warm friends to mourn his loss.

Dr. Lee Cox, was a student under Doctor Barrett, and is now one of the pillars of the profession. His companion passed away a few years ago, leaving a young daughter, who is to her father as the apple of his eye. Dr. J. L. Ormsbee, while keeping abreast with the times in his medical studies, has given the most of his time to the management of his drug store. His recent marriage to "That old sweetheart of mine" has fulfilled the good wishes of a host of friends, and doubtless ended the fond dream of more than one fair maiden. Dr. R. A. Delzell was one of the early physicians of Bois D'Arc. He afterward removed to St. Louis, where he died some years ago. His brother, Dr. W. D. Delzell, began practice in Greene and Webster counties in 1874 and continued until about 1900. His son, Dr. W. A. Delzell, is one of our most energetic and studious young doctors. [490]


Dr. William M. Smith says he came to Springfield from Sterling, Illinois, by way of South Dakota. He helped settle that territory (as it then was) in 1882, and stayed long enough to teach his boys to hold a plow and oxen, and at the same time in trying to support a farm, he lost about all the worldly goods he had previously accumulated. He began practice in Springfield in 1888, and apparently has had enough to eat. He has given up the heavier professional work, and his chief ambition is to see the brethren dwell (and work) together in unity. His oldest son, Dr. W. F. Smith, after graduating at Drury College and Beaumont Hospital Medical College, spent several years in the hospitals of St. Louis and the Frisco hospital at Springfield. He is now division surgeon of all the Iron Mountain Railway lines in Arkansas and Oklahoma, with headquarters at Little Rock. He has lately been elected a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. His brother, Dr. Wilbur Smith, also graduated at Drury College and Beaumont Hospital Medical School, and after leaving the hospitals began his career as a surgeon in a large mining camp in Macon county, Missouri. After eight years of work there he settled in Springfield, where he served for a time as deputy food inspector, and later as city health commissioner. He is engaged in general practice and surgery, and is doing good work.

Dr. G. B. Dorrell was a pupil of Doctor Ross and after graduating practiced several years in Republic. Since coming to Springfield many of his old Republic patients seem inclined to follow him. He has become one of the standbys. Dr. James Spohn appeared in Springfield about 1893. He was a of some means, and while not engaging very actively in practice he did much for the interests of the community. He later removed to St. Louis. William Reinhoff graduated in medicine in his native land, Germany, but he has never ceased his studies. He has achieved an enviable position in social and professional circles, and those who meet him soon learn that he is conscious of and proud of the fact that he was "made in Germany." Dr. Charles E. Woody is a product of Dade county, Missouri, where he began his public career as county surveyor. He came to Springfield about 1893, and, in addition to his professional work, has taken an active interest in politics, having held several county offices and served as pension examiner for sixteen years.

Dr. C. E. Fulton, since 1893, has been one of our most prominent physicians and surgeons. He has lately invested in a suburban farm and became an "agriculturist," inasmuch as he says his farm so far costs more than it yields. On the other hand, Dr. R. L. Pipkin, who came to Springfield from Brookline, is a "farmer," as he raises potatoes and pumpkins on his little suburban tract and makes it pay. [491]


We have Doctors Williams galore! Dr. J. W. Williams, before landing in Springfield, spent some time in New Mexico, in a successful attempt to dry up and blow away a flock of bacilli which had invaded his physical domain. The hard work he has done here in the past twenty years attests the success of his fight. Then comes Dr. N. C. Williams, "Old King Cole was a jolly old soul," almost as broad as Dr. J. W. is long, and that is "right smart." He is sincere and outspoken, a good friend. And where is our brother, Dr. William J. Williams? "Fatty," as we affectionately called him. He came here from Strafford about 1890, and after several years of good work disappeared. The last the writer saw of him he was sitting at ease reading a book under an apple tree about four miles northwest of town. His good wife was in a hammock under another apple tree. Requiesat in Pace! The youngest and liveliest of the quartette of Williamses is Dr. Robert F., lately city physician till a cruel twist of politics put the other fellow in; but Robert is not dependent upon anybody's office for his livelihood.

Dr. N. F. Terry came here in 1894 from Lyons, Kansas, with a reputation as a surgeon already established, and at once took high rank in the profession. He, no doubt, shortened his life by hard work. He died suddenly in his office after a brief but successful career.

Dr. H. D. Baker, one of our eye and ear specialists, has for many years pursued the even tenor of his way, doing much good work, but mingling rarely with his professional brethren. In 1895 the name of Dr. Robert M. Boyd was added to the roll of the medical society. We hoped much from his talents and his manly character, but for only two years does his name appear. His frail body was laid to rest, and we have left only the brief memory of a bright young life. Dr. W. L. Pursselley is another of our young, active men who has overworked the willing machine and been compelled to lay up for repairs. Rest has improved his condition and we hope he has learned his lesson in time. About 1899 Dr. John H. Fulbright came to Springfield from Ozark, Missouri. After a few years of work tuberculosis attacked and he went to California, where he soon died. In 1903 the ranks of the medical society were further reinforced against the powers of disease and darkness by the entrance of a medico-clerical member, Dr. Theodore A. Coffelt, who presents the rare combinations successful preacher-doctor. In his work as eye specialist, he strives to give his patients a clear view of the material world; as a religious teacher he corrects their spiritual squints. All the same—"He's a jolly good fellow." In the same year Dr. J. Harve Fulbright, brother of Dr. John, located in Springfield and has made a large place for himself as physician and surgeon. In 1904 Dr. J. D. Oldham appeared among us. He had also been a minister of the gospel, and his kindly way won him many friends. Failing health compelled him to go South, and he now is successfully practicing at El Campo, Texas. Dr. R. M. Cowan entered the ranks in 1904. He would be better known by his brethren if he would mingle more with them. There are indications that he is a man of excellent judgment. Dr. Enoch Knabb came to Springfield from Stoutland, Missouri, in 1904. He has been a success himself and contributed two fine sons to the profession—Drs. Henry and Arthur Knabb. The former is located in Foyil, Oklahoma, the latter is with his father. N. B.—Girls! He is still unmarried. [492]

Dr. D. U. Sherman began his work in Elmwood, Missouri, in 1898 and settled in Springfield in 1905. He is a man of weight in more ways than one. Dr. Garrett Hogg, after an experience of two years in the mining cmaps of Macon county, came to Springfield in 1906, and at once entered upon active work, but, soon an attractive field called him to Edna, Texas, where he is winning laurels and other things more substantial. Dr. S. W. Tickle entered the Greene County Medical Society in 1907. By steady faithfulness he has won a large circle of friends and patrons., Dr. John C. Mathews graduated from the Missouri Medical College in 1890 and soon after settled in Springfield. He is serious as a deacon and steadfast as the hills, and many there be that trust him.

Dr. T. V. B. Crane came into the medical society in 1907 and is one of those who have made good, as will be seen elsewhere in this history. The same favorable report may be made of Dr. A. F. Willier, who is one of our most active young members. Dr. E. L. Evans graduated in 1895 and since 1907 has been a useful member of the professional and social circles. He is more fitly mentioned elsewhere in this work. Dr. F. B. Fuson's creditable career is also given in another chapter. As a special student of state medical affairs, he is a valuable member of the community. Dr. A. Armstrong has been one of our wheel-horses since his admission into the medical society, in 1907.

Dr. C. B. Elkins came to Springfield after having served a term on the State Board of Health and continues in active work. Dr. W. A. Coy joined us from Dallas county in 1907, and is a desirable citizen. Dr. James E. Dewey is among the most accomplished of our young physicians. A fuller sketch is given elsewhere. The entire community is saddened by the recent of Dr. H. J. Ruyle by suicide during a temporary mental derangement. [493]

Dr. R. P. Ralston has been one of the leading general practitioners here for the past twenty years or more.


Dr. G. B. Lemmon is another of our younger men who has won high regard, as shown by his election at about the same time to the presidency of both the Medical Society and the Young Men's Business Club. He first joined the society in 1909. In the same year appeared among us Dr. Thomas O. Klingner, "eye, ear, throat and nose." Almost ever since he has been our valued and efficient secretary. Dr. William McF. Brown is a member of a family of doctors in this and adjoining counties. He graduated in 1885 and after practicing for many years in Strafford removed to Springfield about 1910. Dr. J. P. Ferguson graduated in 1895 and, after a period of service in the Frisco Hospital, entered into general practice in Springfield. He had the good fortune to win one of our fairest maidens, Miss Birdie Anderson, who has just presented him with a fine son, John Porter Ferguson, Jr.

The record of Dr. U. F. Kerr is given in another chapter. This chronicle is glad to add his testimony as to his value as a physician and citizen. Dr. C. C. Hankins, besides his work as a busy physician, is a partner in the Dental and Surgical Supply Company, which is one of Springfield's live enterprises. Dr. E. C. Roseberry is a "rushlight of many candle-power. He graduated at Rush in 1895, began practice at Cambridge, Illinois, later came to Mount Vernon, Missouri, and came to Springfield in 1912. He confines his work mainly to surgery and gynecology. Dr. J. P. Wright is one of the oldest and most respected physicians. He graduated at the University of Louisville in 1874, and has been in Springfield ever since 1894. Dr. J. B. Neff joined us in 1909, and his untimely death, a year or two later, cut short a career that was unusually full of promise. Dr. B. Fortner, who was with us during several past years, will be remembered as an accomplished surgeon and courteous gentleman. He has retired to his farm in Oklahoma and is raising blooded stock.

Dr. H. A. Lowe joined the society in 1911 and has already established a reputation as a surgeon. Dr. J. M. Potts began his work about four years ago, after working his way through college. The energy and faithfulness which earned his education have given him an excellent start in his profession. As city physician he is just now busy attending to the drug victims who were left stranded by the Harrison law. Dr. C. H. McHaffie is one of our recent arrivals, but has already made many friends. He graduated in medicine in 1906, and came into our society something over a year ago. A fuller sketch is given in another chapter. [494]

The Medical Society is proud to own Dr. A. L. Anderson as its present head. He is in general practice, but is devoting, much attention to bacteriology and kindred studies. Dr. W. R. Beattie has long been identified with medical affairs in southwest Missouri. He began his work in Sparta, later removed to Marshfield, and settled in Springfield in 1913, where he is engaged in general practice, and, with his son, is proprietor of a drug store. Dr. W. S. Hopkins first hung out his shingle at Fair Play, Missouri, and has dealt out fair play with his powders ever since. He came to Springfield in 1911 and has made good. Dr. J. T. Morgan has for many years been a specialist on Commercial street. He was bereft by death of his wife and only child a few years since. He lately removed to Kansas City. Dr. W. C. Sumner came to Strafford about 1912. In 1914 he located in Oklahoma.

Dr. W. E. Allbright came into the Medical Society in 1912. He is now a leading physician of La Russell, Missouri. Dr. S. A. Johnson was for some years a member of the medical staff of the State Hospital for the Insane at Nevada. He came to Springfield about 1911 and established a sanitarium for the treatment of mental diseases. It has, from the first, been at benefit to the community. Dr. W. L. Turner is caring for the health of the people of Galloway and vicinity. He came into the society in 1912.


Dr. R. W. Hogeboom has for many years been surgeon in charge at the Frisco Hospital. He is among our leading surgeons. Dr. A. W. Thomas is also on the staff of the Frisco Hospital, which is a guaranty of his worthiness. Dr. O. C. Horst is one of our most scientific young practitioners. He is also a member of the Friso staff.

Dr. C. W. Russell, "The Tall Sycamore of the Ozarks," came here from Colorado in 1912, and at once took high rank as a surgeon. A sketch of Dr. M. C. Stone is given in another chapter. His laboratory has become indispensable aid in our professional work. Dr. E. M. Box began his work in 1898, at Lawrenceburg, Missouri. Two years ago he joined thc ranks in Springfield, and has become one of our successful specialists. Dr. J. D. James came here from Sparta about two years ago and took the office of Dr. W. L. Smith, to whom be has been a worthy successor. Dr. E. N. Walker began practice at Excelsior Springs, in 1898 and came to Springfield in 1913. His ability and courtesy have won many warm friends.

The history and accomplishments of Dr. J. L. Atherton are set forth in another section of this volume. It only remains for me to protest against the unfair advantage he is taking of the rest of us in taking as a business partner his fairer and better, half, Dr. M. J. Atherson, who is also an accomplished graduate in medicine. However, for the sake of good company, we are glad to concede the fairness of the arrangement. Dr. J. W. Love a specialist on eye, ear, nose and throat, is mentioned elsewhere in this work. [495]


There are no doubt some belonging in this list whose names we have inadvertently omitted, and there are many others, more or less engaged in the treatment of disease, many of whom deserve honorable mention for the good they are doing, but who cannot properly be classed as fully educated physicians. To them we extend the left hand of fellowship, with the reminder that true medicine includes all means of healing-material, mental, and spiritual, and cannot rightly be practiced according to any one set of dogmas or processes.


The people of Springfield and Greene county have always had the best representatives of the science of dentistry, as good as could be secured anywhere. The first settlers here, as everywhere, had to depend on the geneeral medical practitioners to pull their teeth, but they knew nothing of dentistry as was later practiced. There were no real dentists here prior to the Civil war, but about that period came Doctor Natress, who was doubtless the first advocate of his profession in Greene county. Not long thereafter, or about fifty years ago, Charles Wright was graduated from a Philadelphia dental school and began practicing here, and he continued successfully in the practice until his death fifteen years ago. His brother, S. A. Wright, is still practicing dentistry in Springfield, after thirty-four years of continuous work in this field, he being the oldest dentist in the county at this time. Among other well remembered pioneers in this vocation here were Doctors Smith, Aus Eversoll, White and Young. White is now living in California. Young was an eccentric character, and slept in a glass cage to "keep off the spirits," which, however, finally invaded his retreat and bore him to the unknown beyond many years ago. Doctor Clyde, who was one of the efficient dentists here in the early days, met with an unfortunate accident to his hand, which incapacitated him for work and he has been living at the Masonic home in St. Louis for a number of years. Dr. W. E. Tucker is one of the oldest dentists here, having been in the harness continuously in Springfield for a period of twenty-four years, twenty-three of which were spent in one office. Dr. C. A. Badgley is also one of the oldest in point of service, having been located here over twenty years. J. B. McBride and R. E. Darby have also been here at least two decades or more.

During the past half century, perhaps two score of dentists, some good, some bad, have located in Springfield, but remained only a short time, departing to other fields. R. J. Winn was one of the most recent of this number, having come here six years ago from Bolivar, Missouri, and practiced until 1915, when failing health compelled him to give up his large practice, return to Bolivar, where he is practicing part of the time.

The following dentists are engaged in the active practice in Springfield June, 1915: E. F. Musgrave, R. H. McCrum, A. O. McCutcheon, J. B. McBride, I. N. Spalding, J. H. Coffman, H. C. Kitchell, R. E. Darby, W. R. Anderson, J. V. Boswell, H. Boatner, J. L. Wetzel, S. A. Wright, T. T. Umbarger, W. E. Tucker, Ed. Tucker, E. G. Schmitt, W. S. Sweet, W. Skidmore, T. G. Plummer, J. A. James, V. O. Pranter, J. H. Crone, C. A. Badgley, M. L. Leekinzy and Ike Wiener. They are all practicing on the south side with the exception of B. McBride, R. E. Darby and M. L. Leekinzy, who have offices on Commercial street.

The profession has very creditable representatives in other towns in Greene county. G. W. Musgrave and Lester N. Griggs are at Ash Grove; H. B. Peebles is at Republic, and B. I. Cantrell is located at Walnut Grove.

The Springfield Dental Society was organized in 1906, with Dr. W. E. Tucker president. Three years ago it was changed to the Springfield District Dental Society, the "district" embracing the following counties: Greene, Polk, Dallas, Hickory, Camden, Laclede, Pulaski, Texas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Douglas, Taney, Stone, Christian, Wright, Webster and a part of Lawrence. There are over fifty members of the society, which meets in December each year in Springfield. The present officers are: W. Ed. Tucker, president; J. L. Wetzel, vice president, T. G. Plummer, secretary; E. G. Schmitt, treasurer.

The members of this society are also members of the Missouri State Dental Association and the National Dental Association.


Springfield has had many veterinarians, or more properly, horse doctors, but few graduates of accredited schools. The crude methods of the pioneer horse doctor are well known, and it was only some two decades ago that this branch of medicine became much of a science. Today excellent work is being done all over the country. The pioneer veterinarian of Springfield and Greene county was H. E. Nearing, who established himself here after the Civil war, and he remained in the practice, along the methods of the old school, until his death about ten years ago. Doctor Immel was also one of the well-known earlier veterinarians. He left this city in 1900,locating in the West. Doctor Young was another of the older members of this profession. He has been practicing in Oklahoma City for a number of years. William Garrett, who practiced here many years, died in the spring of 1914. Sam McClure, one of the older advocates of science, removed to New Orleans, Louisiana, where his death occurred a few years ago. [497]

Of those who are at present practicing here, R. B. Love is the oldest in point of practice, having begun practicing here about 1896, and he was graduated from the Western Veterinary College of Kansas City in 1898, and was immediately appointed a deputy state veterinarian, which position he has held to the present time, having been the first one to hold this position in Missouri. He is assisted in the practice by his son, Robert W. Love, who is a student of the college mentioned above during the winter months. A complete sketch of Doctor Love will be found in the biographical department of this work. William Harrison came here about twelve years ago W. N. Waugh established himself in the practice here in 1900, and W. T. Duncan came the following year. They are all three graduates of the Western Veterinary College. W. R. Piersol, also a graduate in this science, has been practicing here several years. All these men have their offices on the south side. Doctor Fry and others have established themselves on north side from time to time, but have not remained long. David B. Morgan, now of Neosho, was formerly located here. There are no regular veterinarians in the county outside of Springfield, although James Blades, of Republic, and John Morrison, of Ash Grove, are engaged in the practice also with other lines of endeavor.

The local veterinarians belong to the Missouri State Veterinarian Association and to the Missouri Valley Veterinarian Association. There is a Greene County Veterinarian Medical Association, of which W. N. Waugh is president, W. T. Duncan is vice-president, and R. B. Love is secretary and treasurer.

by Graham Young

Osteopathy has had a rapid growth in Springfield during the decade and is now well represented here, since the science has become universally known. During the past nineteen years, or since the first representatives of this profession located here there have been about thirty osteopaths located in Springfield, many of them remaining but a short time, however. The first to come was Dr. William Smith, about 1896, followed not long thereafter by a Doctor Hatton. They both maintained offices in the Metropolitan Hotel, but neither remained long. They were followed by Dr. T. M. King, who located here in February, 1899, soon after his graduation from the American School of Osteopathy, the original school of Dr. A. T. Still, the founder of this science, at Kirksville, Missouri. He first located in the Baldwin Theater Building, then moved to the, Merchants National Bank Building, where he remained about eleven years, or until he removed to the Woodruff Building, and in 1915 he moved to the Landers Building. He is of the oldest osteopaths in point of practice in Southwestern Missouri. He was the first president of the Ozark Osteopathic Association, which was organized in October, 1913, and he is at this writing vice-president of the Missouri State Osteopathic Association.. He was president of the latter association in 1905. He has served in these capacities in an able manner and done much for the profession in this state. He is well known to his professional brethren throughout Missouri. [498]

Dr. G. L. Nolan and his wife, Dr. Lou Nolan, a complete sketch of whom will be found in the biographical section of this work, are also well and favorably known in this part of the state. They located in Springfield fourteen years ago, soon after Doctor King came, and here they have remained, having built up a large practice the meantime. Dr. B. L. Dunnington, who located for the practice of his profession in Springfield eight years is also well known. Dr. G. E. Covey has been here about six years and has a good practice. I. L. James came in 1913 and so far has held his share of the local practice. J. S. Conner has not been here long, but is said to be doing very creditable work.

Believing that "in union there is strength," the Osteopaths of Springfield have always worked in harmony. At present there are no representatives of this profession in any of the smaller towns of Greene county.

The present officers of the Ozark Osteopathic Association are: Dr. B. L. Dunnington, president; Dr. Lou Nolan, secretary. The association meets once a month at the various offices of the local osteopaths. Representatives of this profession anywhere in this Ozark region are eligible to membership in this association. The Missouri State Osteopathic Association has twice been entertained in Springfield—in 1905 and 1914.

by Graham Young

The science of chiropractic (spinal adjustments) is not as yet extensively known in Greene county, but has enjoyed a rapid growth during the few years, and those who practice this profession in Springfield are a good business. Like the medical profession, chiropractic has its "quacks" and impostors, who are no credit to the science, but such, as a rule, are "floaters" and do not spend much time in any one place. The science is at present represented in Springfield by graduates of accredited schools.

The first chiropractor to locate here was James W. Fenter, who was graduated from the Universal Chiropractic College, of Davenport, Iowa, in 1910. He first located in Enid, Oklahoma, where he remained until December, 1911, when he located in Springfield, where he has since remained. His wife, Mamie L. Fenter, who was graduated from the Universal Chiropractic College in 1910, has assisted her husband in his profession. They maintained their office in the old Merchants National Bank Building until it was torn down. They are at this writing located in the Landers Building. They have made many friends since locating in Springfield, who have found them people of education and culture. They are members of the Missouri State Association of Chiropractors, in which Mr. Fenter has long been an officer, and he is a director of the International Association of Chiropractors; he is also a member of the board of the Universal Chiropractic College at Davenport, and has been vice-president of the same since his graduation.

Tracey McCarty and his wife, Nina McCarty, originally of Indiana, were both graduated from the Universal Chiropractic College in the spring of 1915, and immediately thereafter came to Springfield and opened offices in the old Bank of Commerce Building, southeast corner of Walnut and South streets, where they are engaged in practice. They were led to take up the science of drugless healing from an unusual incident. Mr. McCarty's' neck was dislocated while making a high dive in one of the streams near Springfield, some two years ago. He consulted James W. Fenter, who adjusted the dislocated vertebra, thus restoring the normal use of his neck. Mr. McCarty at once began to make preparations for a career chiropractor.

L. H. Hunter, who is a graduate of a chiropractic college in Denver, Colorado, came to Springfield in 1913, but has not been here continuously since then. He is at present located over the State Savings Trust Company on the north side of the Public Square.

The way of the chiropractors in Springfield has been hard. The Fenters have been tried five times in the local criminal court and Hunter once, on charges of practicing medicine without proper license. Each time the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. The charges were brought by the Greene County Medical Society. [500]

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