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Dr James W La Force


Posted By: Deb Barker (email)
Date: 5/13/2006 at 16:00:16


I want space in the Republican to refer the boys of today to the life of the late Dr J W La Force, for his life is worthy of imitation. I first knew him when he was employed to teach a term of school in the log school house north east of Floris, about the winter of the 1848. At any rate it was the winter of the deep snow. I went to school to him wading in snow sometimes three feet deep and I had to go two miles for it was that far from our home. That was the only school house I knew of at that time in the county. Dr La Force was there then working for money to enable him to attend a medical school. He later returned to Floris and commenced the practice of medicine, and his kindly disposition soon introduced him to the people and enabled him to get some calls for there was much more bilious and malarial troubles than now. He was
Very successful in his practice and soon made an enviable reputation as a physician. A man from his old neighborhood once asked me how he was liked as a physician. I said he was a fine practice, has been successful and is well liked as a physician and citizen. He replied, “Somehow I can’t think he knows much, for when I think of him I can only think of the whiteheaded boy that used to drop corn for me.” Self made men always have that kind of fool prejudice to contend with.
Dr La Force was kind, sympathetic and generous, to administer to the sick and suffering without any assurance of pay for his services. He was energetic and industrious. He was moral, strictly temperate and was a member of the church from the time I first knew him, but in his religious life as in his professional life, he was not loud, but let his works show. While I knew him for more than sixty-five years I never saw him out of humor. He had his own views and allowed others every privilege he asked for himself. Once a neighbor had a very sick child. A local physician was called, but day after day the child grew worse. The parents became alarmed and while the father had to go ten miles for La Force, he went. When La Force arrived he asked to go for the attending physician as he felt it a duty to consult with him. Instead the other doctor sent back a very insulting message. Dr La Force only smiled and said ‘I hope I will be more successful with the case than he has been,” and he was, for the patient began to recover under his treatment and recovered.
When the south rebelled Dr La Force entered the army as a surgeon. After the war he engaged in farming and stock raising. He was a man of good judgement and invested in lands and stock. In these pursuits he made money rapidly and I am informed was quite wealthy. He had given up the practice of medicine for years, but always retained a good deal of knowledge on the subject. Several times he went with me last fall and winter to see a sick friend- not as a physician but as a friend, and while I had hope, and in fact all the friends had, he encouraged us with his opinion that she would get well and she did.
J M Duffield, Davis County Republican 1914


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