Iowa History Project


History of Medicine in Iowa
by D.S. Fairchild, M.D., F.A.C.S.
reprinted from The Journal of the Iowa State Medical Society, 1927
transcribed from the original book for the Iowa History Project by S. Ferrall


T.B. Lacy
(Lacey *)
pg 160, 161 & 164, mention
At the March 9, 1887 meeting of the Council Bluffs Medical Society, Dr. Lacy read a paper entitled "Shall We Quarantine in Cases of Contagious Diseases?" It appears that the society generally approved of such quarantine. At the July 25, 1888 meeting, Dr. Lacy was fined 50 cents for not being present and reading his paper. A special meeting of the Council Bluffs Medical Society was held March 26, 1907, on the occasion of the death of Dr. T.B. Lacey.
J.W. LaForce
pg 151, mention
Of Ashland. An original member of the Wapello County Medical Society, organized in 1853.
Dr. Lane
pg 6, mention
Seeking among the names of the explorers, hunters and traders we find this brief notice -- "On August 11, 1817 Major Long and Dr. Lane ascended for some distance the De Moyen River then at a low stage." It is to be presumed that Dr. Lane was an army surgeon connected with an exploring expedition.
C.A. Lathrop
(Lothrop *)
pg 236, full text
Dr. C.A. Lathrop graduated from the University of New York in 1858 and located in Lyons, Iowa the same year. In 1861 he was appointed assistant surgeon of the 1st Iowa Cavalry and soon after full surgeon, in which position he served to the close of the war. His health failed and he retired from practice. Dr. Lothrop contributed several notable papers to medical literature. His most important contribution was a medical directory of Iowa which was issued in 1876. This was the first directory published of Iowa physicians.
J.B. Latta
pg 47, 48, 112 & 150, mention
Dr. Latta began practice in Louisa county prior to 1850. Dr. Latta was born in Ohio, November 26, 1823, graduated from the Ohio Medical College in 1849 and located in Grandview, Iowa, the same year. He later moved to San Diego, California, where he died November 26, 1896. He is not listed as a Charter member, but was present at the first meeting of the Iowa State Medical Society, May 1850. He was a Charter member of the Louisa County Medical Society, formed in 1852.
Dr. Lefler
pg 46, mention
Dr. Lefler came to Washington county about 1840. He died in Washington, Iowa in 1843.
W.L. Leonard
pg 164, mention
W.L. Leonard is listed as a member of the Madison County Medical Society when it organized in 1873.
Z. Leonard
pg 164, mention
Z. Leonard is listed as a member of the Madison County Medical Society when it organized in 1873.
Dr. Letcher
pg 137, mention
Of Keokuk. Listed as attending a meeting of the Lee Co. Medical Society held July 27, 1858.
Phillip W. Lewellen
pg 282-284, full text and pg 321, mention
P.W. Lewellen was born in Indiana in 1840 and died at Brookfield, Missouri, March 20, 1905, and was buried at Clarinda March 22.

Dr. Lewellen was graduated in medicine from the Medical College of Ohio, Cincinnati, March 1865, and practiced medicine in Iowa twenty-one years.

Dr. Lewellen at the time of his death was about 65 years old. He came to Clarinda in May 1865 to practice medicine and was married to Miss Alice Weidner within a short time after coming to Clarinda. The deceased was a man of extraordinary attainments. As a physician he was considered of great skill and his practice was enormous.

His fine education and lovable disposition were early recognized by his neighbors, as well as by the state. For many years he was a trustee of the insane hospitals at Mount Pleasand and Independence. He represented this senatorial district in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth General Assemblies. He was largely instrumental in locating the insane hospital at Clarinda, as by his state-wide acquaintance he aided the Hon. T.E. Clark, who was his successor in the state senate, and also Hon. William Butler, the representative in the house, in furthering the chances of Clarinda for the location of the state institiution of which he was the first superintendent for about six years.

Dr. Lewellen was elected the first superintendent of the Clarinda hospital which was opened December 15, 1888, and his wife was matron. He resigned his office and was succeeded by Dr. Hoyt in 1892.

The board of health was organized in 1880 and the board of medical examiners in accordance with an act of the Twenty-first General Assembly, held its first meeting on May 18, 1886 and was composed of seven physicians, namely, Dr. Robertson of Muscatine, Dr. Lewellen of Clarinda, Dr. Clark of McGregor, Dr. Reynolds of Centerville, Dr. George L. Roberts, Dr. Dickinson of Des Moines, who was the first Homeopath member and Dr. Justin M. Hull of Lake Mills, who was the eclectic member. At the temporary organization of the medical examiners, Dr. Lewellen served as chairman and Dr. Roberts as secretary. Dr. Robertson of Muscatine and Dr. Lewellen of Clarinda were appointed a special comittee on by-laws and rules. At this time according to law the seven men balloted in order to determine how long each one of them would have to serve the state in this capacity. Accordingly Dr. Lewellen's term of office was five years. At the May meeting in 1888, Dr. Lewellen was excused from attending but he continued to serve the state as a member of the board of health until 1892. (pg 282-284)

Phillip W. Lewellen, M.D., Clarinda was a member of the first State Board of Health in 1880. (pg 321)

R.S. Lewis
pg 211, mention
Dr. R.S. Lewis, at that time [1854] a prominent physician of the city, recognizing his [Dr. Wm. Watson] worth both as a physician and a man, formed a partnership with the energetic young doctor and that partnership was dissolved only by the death of the white-haired Lewis on the tenth of September, 1859.
L.W. Littig
pg 132, mention
In 1907 the Iowa State Medical Society adopted a plan of legal protection against malpractice suits under the directon of a committee consisting of Dr. D.S. Fairchild, Dr. L.W. Littig and Dr. J.M. Emmert.
Hugh Livingston
pg 256-257, full text

Dr. Hugh Livingston
Dr. Hugh Livingston

Dr. Hugh Livingston of Hopkinton, Iowa, died at his home March 10, 1923. He was born at the old homestead near Hopkinton, October 5, 1846. Dr. Livingston's parents were born in Scotland and were members of the famous Selkirk Settlement in Canada. In 1835 the Livingstons moved south as far as Ft. Snelling, where the father engaged in building boats. Later members of the Settlement, including the Livingston family, came down the Mississippi in boats to Dubuque. In 1837 the Livingstons took up a claim and were the first family to locate in Delaware county. The claim remains a part of the large farm holdings of the doctor, who was the last of the pioneers among them. He attended Knox College and later he was employed for a few years in the quartermaster's department in the building of the Union Pacific Railroad through the mountain states. Returning to Hopkinton on the completion of the railroad, he engaged in the drug business. In 1890 Dr. Livingston graduated from Rush Medical College and returned to Hopkinton, where he practiced medicine to the time of his death. On December 10 [no year was given] he married Miss Hattie Steward. Two children, Huberta and Harriet, who with his wife, survive him. Dr. Livingston was a member of Delaware county, Iowa State Medical Society and the American Medical Association, the Austin Flint-Cedar Valley and the Tri-State Medical Societies. Dr. Livingston was one of the men of the medical profession who became identified with the early history of Iowa, and devoted his energies to the building of the state, developing its resources and to public affairs, which has created the wealth and comfort of the generation.

Dr. Logan
pg 159, mention
Mentioned in the Council Bluffs Medical Society section, Dr. Logan was likely not a 'real' physician, as he is called an "itinerant quack"
Dr. Love
pg 155, mention
The Linn County Medical Society was organized in 1859 at Mt. Vernon by Drs. Love, Ely, Ristine, Carson and Lyon.
Enos Lowe
pg 18-20, full text and pg 103, 104 & 105, mention
Dr. Enos Lowe came to Burlington in 1837. Dr. Lowe was a man of marked ability and great energy; representing a type of physician not uncommon in that day. Physicians who not only practiced medicine successfully but were important agents in the welfare service of the commonwealth in which they cast their lot. Nearly every county in Iowa has had among its pioneers, men of this class, men whose title of doctor may have been forgotten, and only by painstaking inquiry have we been able to find that while serving in a public capacity they at the same time through their knowledge and skill as practitioners of medicine were rendering invaluable services to the settlers who, however hardy were not immune to distressing misfortunes, sickness and accident. Very few of these early physicians found time in the midst of public welfare service and professional duties to seek the fortunes sometimes secured by their better remembered associates whose activities were more distinctly personal. One of these public servants was Dr. Enos Lowe. Born in Guilford County, North Carolina, May 5, 1804. Graduated from the Ohio Medical College. Located in Greencastle, Indiana, later removed to the Black Hawk Purchase and located in Burlington, then a small frontier village, where he practiced medicine. He soon became identified with political and economic affairs, and was widely known and influential in various ways. Dr. Lowe was elected a member of the First Constitutional Convention (The constitution framed by this first convention was rejected.) In 1846 a second convention was held and a constitution framed which was adopted, under which Iowa became a state. Dr. Enos Lowe was a member of the convention and had the honor of being elected to preside over the deliberations of this body. Dr. Lowe was active in the organization of the Iowa State Medical Society in 1850 and was elected its first president. In 1853 he was appointed receiver of the United States Land Office at Council Bluffs. In 1854 he was one of a company that laid out and platted the future City of Omaha and became one of its first inhabitants. At the breaking out of the Civil War, Dr. Lowe returned to Iowa and was appointed surgeon to the Fifth Iowa Infantry with which he served to the end of the war. He died February 13, 1880. (pg 18-20)

On June 19, 1850, twenty-five physicians gathered at the court room in Burlington for the purpose of organizing the Iowa State Medical Society. A committee was appointed to prepare and present a constitution. The committee consisted of Dr. J.F. Henry and E. Lowe of Des Moines county .... with Dr. E. Lowe, Burlington, president...... Dr. Lowe, on being conducted to the chair, made a brief and appropriate address in which he returned thanks to the association for the honor which they conferred upon him. ..... listed as a charter member of the society.... Dr. E.W. Lowe in his opening address at the Fairfield meeting in 1851, called attention to an epidemic of cholera in Burlington during the summer of 1850 and offered some remarks on the death of Dr. Bruning, "a native of Germany, a reputable scholar and devoted student, a graduate of the medical department of the Missouri State University, who fell a victim to the disease." (pgs 103, 104, 105 & 109)

Dr. Lyon
pg 155, mention
The Linn County Medical Society was organized in 1859 at Mt. Vernon by Drs. Love, Ely, Ristine, Carson and Lyon.

*Transcribers note: throughout the book there were instances of a physician's name being given slightly differently from one mention to another; whenever I was positive they denoted the same man, I have included the alternate name or spelling, not knowing which is the 'correct' one.

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