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

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page 1

pg 165, mention
At the second annual meeting of the Story County Medical Society in 1874, Dr. G.A. Meredith of Ontario was admitted to membership.
W.D. Middleton
pg 155 & 249, mention; pg 250-252, full text

In 1876 Dr. W.D. Middleton was president of the Scott County Medical Society (pg 155)

Closely associated with Dr. Peck was Dr. W.D. Middleton of Davenort, one of the most delightful physicians the state of Iowa has produced. It was the good fortune of the writer to first know Dr. Middleton at the meeting of the Iowa State Medical Society held in Marshalltown in May, 1873. Dr. Middleton was at that time professor of physiology in the but recently organized medical school of the State University. At the death of Dr. W.F. Peck, Dr. Middleton succeeded him as chief surgeon C.R.I. & P. Ry Co., which position he held to the time of his death in 1902. Dr. Middleton became a member of the Iowa State Medical Society in 1870 and was elected president in 1890. (pg 249)

W.D. Middleton
W.D. Middleton

Dr. William Drummond Middleton was born April 26, 1844 and died April 5, 1902.

William, son of John and Mary Gilchrist Middleton was born near Aberdeen, Scotland. He inherited from his Scotch ancestry a stalworth and perservering disposition, and a fearless independence characteristic of his race. He had a keen sense of humor and his ready wit and joyous ways gave increasing pleasure and inspiration to those about him.

He loved nature and from the highlands and lowlands of Scotland to the forests and plains of the Western world, every tree, shrub and flower was dear to him. He knew them all by name and when much fatigued, to lie under the trees and look up, was a favorite occupation.

He loved animals, from his favorite horses to his dogs and cats. He enjoyed fishing and sports.

His home stands a monument to his memory, not gained by investment, but by patient hard work. He said "It is a beautiful home and one would think you had been in it always, but I cannot feel entirely at home until the children have left their marks on the woodwork and furnishings."

Dr. Middleton came to America at the age of 12, the proud possessor of the parochial school medal for excellence in scholarship. He was well versed in Latin and could quote Homer by the page. He graduated from the Davenport High School and taught in the county schools, doing all he could in his spare time to prepare himself for the future. At the age ot twenty, he enlisted as a volunteer for the Civil War, Company I, Forty-fourth Regiment Iowa Volunteers, receiving at the close of the war, his certificate of thanks for honorable service, bearing the signature of Lincoln and Stanton. Deciding to study medicine, he entered Bellevue hospital Medical College in New York City. By working hard in vacation and by close economy and sacrifice during the school year, he completed the course, graduating in 1868, beginning practice in his home city, April 6, 1868, ending April 5, 1902, 34 years minus one day.

Dr. Middleton identified himself with an organization of young men called the "Associated Congress." It met in the library building. They had papers, discussions and debates. He was an active and faithful member and his young friends watched with interest as he forged his way, admiring his energy and ability.

In 1869 the medical department of the State University was organized and he was elected to the chair of physiology and microscopic anatomy, which position he fillled until 1886, when elected to the chair of theory and practice of medicine. In 1891 he took the chair of surgery. The same year he became dean of the college of medicine, a position he occupied the remainder of his life. The thirtieth anniversary of his connection with the college was celebrated by a banquet and the presentation of a beautiful library chair from his colleagues in the faculty. In 1898 the students organized a society called the "Middletonian" one of the best societies in the University.

In 1871, Dr. Middleton was married to Sue Y. Modeman and their married life was blessed with 6 children; Mary Louise, George McClelland, Jessie McKenzie, Edward Duncan, John Gilchrist and William Drumond.

Dr. Middleton was one of the first physicians to Mercy Hospital in Davenport and was devoted to its interests all his life, having the confidence and devotion of all with whom he came in contact. He was the founder of its training schoool for nurses and president of its board. (pg 250-252)

J. Millard
pg 135, mention
Of Keokuk. The physicians of Keokuk under the lead of Dr. John F. Sanford, met at Dr. Bond's office October 3, 1850, to form the first local medical society in Iowa. Dr. Millard was elected the President at this meeting. It was the beginning of the Lee County Medical Society.
J.F. Moberry
pg 105, mention
Of Fairfield, was a charter member of the Iowa State Medical Society, 1850.
George Mogridge
pg 326 & 330, mention
Dr. George Mogridge was elected superintendent of the Iowa Institution for Feeble-Minded Children at Glenwood in 1903. He provided much of the information for the section on the Glenwood Institution.
W.H. Molesworth
pg 202, mention
Dr. Molesworth was noted in the bio of A.G. Field to be practicing medicine in Des Moines in the mid-1860's
A.C. Moon
pg 121, mention
Attended the 18th annual session of the Iowa State Medical Society in Des Moines, he was on a committee appointed to draft a bill to restrain quackery.
R.A. Moore
pg 161, mention
At the April 27, 1887 meeting of the Council Bluffs Medical Society, Dr. R.A. Moore was fined 50 cents for failing to be present and read his paper.
M.J. Morseman
pg 105, mention
Of Iowa City, was a charter member of the Iowa State Medical Society, 1850.
P.S. Moser
pg 157, mention; and pg 235-236, full text

At the first meeting of the Boone County Medical Society held in Boone, Dr. P.S. Moser of Boone was elected president. (pg 157)

In 1854, or eight years after the first real settlement of the county [Boone co.], came Dr. P.S. Moser to practice medicine. Dr. Moser, the only son of Dr. Phillip Moser had the spirit and courage of the typical in Charleston, July, 1829. [sic] He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1852, commenced practice in Muscatine, the same year, and moved to Boonesboro in March, 1854, where he continued in the practice of his profession until his death, September 26, 1894.

Dr. Moser was a dignified professional gentleman of the old school, and in his customary dress of black broadcloth clothes, Prince Albert coat, silk hat and polished boots, was an apparently incongruous figure in a settlement eight years old, and more than 200 miles from a railroad, with a radius in which to practice of 25 to 50 miles over roads difficult to imagine. If any commmented on Dr. Moser's dress or manners such comments were carefully guarded for woe unto him who took liberties with Dr. Moser. For many years he was called far and near in difficult and dangerous cases, so great was his reputation as a physician and surgeon. We have a record of 105 capital operations to his credit. Dr. Moser of Charleston, South Carolina, was born South Carolinian, indifferent and careless as to business or money, courteous, loyal and true, and a failure as measured by the money standards of a Northerner.

Dr. Moser was the first president of the Central District Medical Society organized at Boone in June 1874. He was a member of Iowa State Medical Society in 1883 but on account of his disregard of money and of business affairs his membership was irregular, he only paid his dues when he attended the meetings and his membership lapsed in the interval. (pg 235-236)

Samuel C. Muir
pg 6-7, full text
We learn from an account written by Stephen Watts Kearny and Henry Schoolcraft of a military expedition across northern Iowa in 1820; that on visiting Dubuque mines on the morning of August 5th Kearny stopped his six oared keel-boat at a settlement of traders, found Dr. Muir, late of the Army, with his squaw and two children, and that he and his men were treated politely by Dr. Muir and the traders. This was at a time when the Fox Indians owned the Dubuque lead mines discovered by Julian Dubuque, previously worked, however, by the Indians, and over which there was much controversy between the miners, traders and Indians. The Indians were repeatedly driven away by whites and reinstated by the government until after the close of the Blackhawk War in 1833, when by treaty with the Sacs and Foxes the government came into possession of eastern and northern Iowa.

Dr. Samuel Muir was a graduate of the University of Edinburg and a surgeon in the United States Army. Sometime before 1820 he married a girl of the Sac Nation and about the date above mentioned he was stationed with a command at Fort Edwards now Warsaw, Illinois. Some years later an order was issued requiring officers of the Army to abandon their Indian wives. Dr. Muir refused to comply with this order and resigned his commission. After leaving the Army, he settled on his farm at the mouth of the Des Moines River where Keokuk now stands and where he died in 1832 of cholera leaving his family, wife and 5 children, in destitute circumstances, the greater part of his property being involved in litigation. Keokuk was then known as Pinch-e-chut-tech and Dr. Muir was the first white settler.

John Muldoon
pg 151, mention
Dr. John Muldoon of Wapello was admitted to membership in the Louisa County Medical Society on April 18, 1857.
Dr. Murdock
pg 146, mention
Dr. Murdock was a very early member of the Polk Co. Medical Soc., but is not listed among the charter members. He was on a committee to report a constitution for the society, and on another committee to report on "the causes that depress the profession in Polk County."
Henry Murry
pg 21, full text
In 1838 the year following the organization of Iowa territory, Dr. Henry Murry came to Johnson county and located in Iowa City. Dr. Murry was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1816, graduated from the medical department of the University of Louisville, Kentucky. He was the first physician to settle within the present limits of Johnson county. Dr. Murry was a successful physician and surgeon and performed many capital surgical operations. He was at one time coroner and county physician. He died May 9, 1880.
Merrill M. Myers
pg 287, mention
A grandson of Dr. Merrill Otis, Dr. Merrill M. Myers is in the practice of medicine in Des Moines, Iowa.

*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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