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

Part First - Extending from 1820-1840

pages 3-25

History of Medicine in Iowa; particularly in the early days of its settlement, and the influence of medical practitioners in developing the state, including the history of medical schools, medical societies, and medical journals.

In our endeavor to revive the memory of early practitioners of Iowa we have been obliged to seek information from many sources. In 1875 we succeeded in securing data from older physicians then practicing who had been acquainted with the first physicians who came to Iowa to practice their profession. We succeeded in securing quite satisfactory information from the greater number of the older counties, which we have later been able to supplement through the courtesy of physicians who have kindly examined county records, from Gue's and Brigham's Histories of Iowa, and from the publications of the State Historical Society.

In an earlier publication on the early medical history of Iowa we limited our work to recording the history of individual counties, medical organization, biographical sketches and other matters having chiefly a local interest. We shall now attempt to disregard county lines and consider medical facts in chronicological order pointing out the relation of medicine to the development of the state, the influences which led doctors to emigrate to Iowa and the influence the medical profession exercised on the welfare of the state and the part taken by individual physicians in local and state affairs. Our former efforts to preserve the early record of physicians and their doings has some merit in so far as individual county medical organizations are concerned, but does not constitute a medical history of the state, which should include the early pioneers and later the coordination of the influences which go to make up the educational factors that lead to internal development and which may give the profession of Iowa a place suited to the peculiarities of environment, and their ability to contribute to the general fund of medical knowledge, also to demonstrate their fittness for organization and independent development.

There will be many omissions, no doubt, growing out of the fact that there were but few records made in early days that have been preserved. The early volumes of the transactions of the State Medical Society contain some helpful information extending as far back as 1868. The first volume of the Iowa Medico-Chirurgical Journal published in Keokuk in 1850 and kindly loaned to me by Dr. Frank Fuller and four copies of the Iowa Medical Journa, which succeeded the Iowa Medico-Chirurgical Journal, procured for me by Dr. Moorhead from the library of Dr. J.C. Hughes of Keokuk, the first medical editor in Iowa, The Iowa Medical Reporter published by Dr. F.E. Cruttenden and the later Iowa Medical Journal have furnished much valuable information.

Many of the medical men who came to Iowa early were not only physicians but like other men, interested in adventure, and in what might happen and what opportunities might present themselves. Opportunities for the practice of medicine could only come with settlement, and communities more or less populous, but it always happens that when new colonies are formed men of all classes more or less skillful for one reason or another become a part of the enterprise.

Iowa, like the Western country, generally was interesting at first on account of the fur trade with the Indians. Trading stations were established at various points, particularly at Prairie du Chiene and St. Louis. As the fur trade developed and as rivalries and disputes arose in which the Indians themselves came to be more or less involved, it was necessary to establish government agencies and temporary military posts to which surgeons were sometimes attached. We have endeavored as far as possible to find out who these men were but with small success, as in times gone by medical men in the service of the government received small consideration, and only incidentally are the army or post surgeons mentioned.

The country which was afterwards to be known as Iowa was marked only by its relation to the Mississippi River and the principle stream flowing into it (Des Moines River). It appears that in 1800, Jean Baptist Faribault established a trading post about two hundred miles above the mouth of the Des Moines River where he remained four years. In September, 1908 [sic], a fort was commenced at a point on the Mississippi and called Fort Madison. The fort was completed in 1809-10. In September of the same year it was abandoned. Eighty-one men were stationed here including the factor and employes under the command of Lieut. Kingsley who was relieved in 1809 by Captain Horatio Stark, who was in turn relieved by Lieut. Thomas Hamilton. The records assessible to us do not show that a surgeon was detailed to Fort Madison although among the provisions for the fort was a surgeon's office.

There seems to have been but little interest shown as to the country west of the Mississippi now known as Iowa prior to about 1820. Up to that time Indian hunters and white traders roamed the prairies, but as settlers began to look beyond the great river for prospective homes, the government began to seek a fuller knowledge of this relatively unknown country. The discovery of lead in the vicinity of the future city of Dubuque by the Indians attracted the attention of white adventurers and the large trading post near by, Prairie du Chiene, gave Dubuque a prominence as an objective point, second only to Fort Madison, an outlying post from St. Louis, probably the most important trading point on the river.

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 state." It is to be presumed that Dr. Lane was an army surgeon connected with an exploring expedition. A little later 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.

Dr. Isaac Galland with his family settled on the west shore of the Mississippi in 1829 at a point called At-Wip-E-Tuck afterwards known as Nashville. Dr. Galland hoped to build a city here but Keokuk became too strong a competitor. It was here that the first white child was born (in Iowa) Eleanor Galland in 1830 and where the first school was held, taught by Gerryman Jennings. In 1836 Dr. Galland established the second newspaper published in Iowa called the "Western Adventurer". Two years later the paper was sold to James G. Edwards and the name changed to "Madison Patriot". Dr. Galland then moved to Fort Madison. While at Montrose, Dr. Galland wrote a book descriptive of Iowa published in Gue's history of Iowa, Vol. I, page 153:

"As we passed up the river we saw the ruins of old Fort Madison about ten miles above the rapids, near a sand bluff rising perpendicular from the water's edge. On the second day after, our keel boat reached Shoe-o-con or Flint Hills. An Indian village of the Foxes stood at the mouth of the Flint Creek; its chief was Ti-me-a. In 1825 I took a trip with an ox team and an Indian guide up the river. We passed Wapello's village and crossed the Des Moines River on a raft. We ascended the high lands above Grave Yard Bluff (now Buena Vista). We followed the divide, passing a lone tree standing on the bluff, which was a land mark for the Indians. In the fall of 1825 I settled at Quash-qua-me village, where my father-in-law, Captain James White, had purchased the old trading house and a tract of land adjacent, which was an old Spanish grant made to Monsieur Julian, on which he lived in 1805. Captain White made his fist trip to this point on the steamer Mandan, which was the first that came to the foot of the Rapids."

Through the courtesy of Dr. C.F. Wahrer we have been able to secure the following additional history of Dr. Galland:

"Dr. Galland was born in 1790 while his parents were on the way from Virginia to Marietta, Ohio. After he was of age he studied at Fulton County, Illinois, where afterward he began practice. In 1827 he moved to Lee County, Iowa, where he practiced at different times as well as in Hancock County, Illinois, where he lived a while just across the river from Montrose."

"It was said of him that he was a brilliant physician and that he was especially successful in the treatment of cholera which in his day often visited his field of practice, and in the prevention of the epidemic."

"Far and wide over a large field in almost every cabin he placed a chest or box about a foot cubic on which in red letters was printed the legion 'Dr. Isaac Galland's family medicines'.

"The box contained the usual and ordinary remedies ordinarily used by the doctors in those days, but were very helpful when physicians and drugs were scarce. The main time of his services as a physician in and about Montrose and Nashville, now Galland, a few miles below Montrose, was from 1833-39. He did not practice all the time but was employed in many pursuits. Among them was, while he lived across the river in Illinois, his activity as a Mormon Elder, and the Prophet Joseph Smith's private secretary. When Smith lost prestige and his glory waned in Nauvoo, Dr. Galland left the church. He was one of the organizers of the New York company that promoted some land scheme near Nauvoo, also wrote a history of Iowa, made a map of Iowa and in 1840 wrote a book 'The Iowa Emigrant' now almost extinct but for which a large price is paid when it can be obtained.

"He was a patron of schools and under his influence the first school in Lee county was taught, and its teacher, fuel and a room were all provided for by this indefatigable worker.

"He and Dr. Samuel C. Muir of Keokuk were great friends and worked together in all that pertained to their professional interests. The latter died in Keokuk in 1832. Between them they laid out the City of Keokuk and maned most of its principal streets.

"His daughter Eleanor was the first white child born in Lee county.

"In a paper he edited for some time he described the prairies and waters of Iowa, its animals, serpents, birds, plants, the Indians, their lives and habits, and showed himself an able writer and historian.

"Not much is to be obtained of his early medical life. He was much esteemed by his patients as an able man, and enjoyed the confidence of all that came in contact with him. He died in 1858 and was buried in Fort Madison."

It is interesting to know of the friendly relations of these two men trained as practitioners of medicine yet from environment having other interests. It will be seen in this and in numerous other instances that men educated as physicians had much to do with the development of the state. The educated doctor was peculiarly fitted to aid in the best way in pioneer work. HIs cultivated powers of observations, his freedom from prejudice and superstition, and his knowledge of the dangers surrounding the early settler made the doctor unquestionably the most valuable help to the settlement.

In the early and rather unsettled ownership of the Dubuque lead mines the name of a Dr. Jarrote appears in connection with a local organization for the government of the miners on the west side of the Mississippi River. It appears that Dr. Jarrote was elected the first governor and James L. Langworthy clerk of this organization which adopted a code to govern a rather unruly body of men. Dr. Jarrote was probably a man of executive ability as the laws framed by this organization are said to have been obeyed, and as rigidly enforced as have been the laws of later days.

Probably the first physician to locate in Iowa to practice medicine was Dr. Frederick Andros who came to Dubuque in 1833. At that time Iowa was a part of Michigan territory. (Four years before Michigan was admitted into the Union as a state.) Michigan territory included Wisconsin, Iowa, a part of Minnesota and the Dakotas. At the session of the Michigan territorial legislature held in 1829 a bill was introduced which provided that all of the territory lying south of the Wisconsin River, west of Lake Michigan and east of the Mississippi River and north of Illinois be formed into a new county to be known as Iowa county and the county seat be located at Mineral Point. Dr. William Brown of Wayne county (Michigan) presented the petition on September 14, 1829, which was referred to the committee on territorial affairs, praying for the new county, and a bill was reported to organize the county of Iowa, which became a law (Iowa County, Wisconsin with Mineral Point as county seat is now a part of the original Iowa county).

It is not known who drafted the bill but it is supposed to have been the work of Dr. William Brown or Henry Schoolcraft or of both and one of them suggested the name Iowa. The reason for the name is unknown (perhaps frm the Ioway tribe of Indians). It is therefore quite probable that the name Iowa came from a doctor.

In October, 1835, George W. Jones was elected delegate to Congress to represent Michigan territory. He secured the passage of a bill creating the territory of Wisconsin which included Iowa, Minnesota and Dakota. Previous to this time, in 1834 at the Sixth Territorial Legislative Assembly of Michigan a bill was passed to divide the Iowa district into two counties, Dubuque county and Des Moines county, by running a line due west from the lower end of Rock Island. This was one year after Dr. Andros located in Dubuque. Two years later, or in 1836, when Dr. Andros had enjoyed practically the entire practice of medicine in Iowa for three years the population was 10,531.

Dr. Frederick Andros was a native of Massachusetts, a graduate from the literary department of Brown University, 1822 and from the medical department in 1826, came to Dubuque in 1833. In 1837 he removed to Clayton county and engaged in farming. In 1845 he resumed practice having received the appointment of surgeon at Fort Atkinson and the Winnebago agency where he remained until the Indians were removed to Long Prairie, Minnesota in 1848. Dr. Andros went with the Indians and remained with them until 1854 when he returned to Garnavillo, Clayton county and resumed practice. When the North Iowa Medical Society was organized on June 22, 1859, Dr. Andros was elected president. In 1861 he removed to McGregor.

Dr. Henry H. Clark of McGregor in an address before the Iowa State Medical Society relates some personally reminiscences of this interesting man who had the courage to be the first to offer his professional services to the settlers of Iowa even before it became the Iowa territory. Dr. Clark came to McGregor in 1870 as a young graduate from the Chicago Medical College (Northwestern University) and became a close personal friend of Dr. Andros. We cannot do better than to present Dr. Clark's tribute to Dr. Andros in his own words.

"A few days after my arrival (McGregor) I called on the Doctor (Andros) then nearly seventy years old, and presented my credentials. He gave me the 'glad hand' and we became firm friends.
"Some months before, he had met with an accident which had seriously impaired the strength and usefullness of his right hand. My association with him was therefore fortunate, for, while he was the surgeon and received the credit if any were due and emoluments, if any such were forthcoming, I did the work and gained the experience.
"Our association continued in this manner for about ten years, when the Doctor decided Iowa was getting too civilized and tame, and went West to grow up with the country. He was then eighty years old. After practicing in Dakota for ten years, he changed his residence to Minneapolis, where he died at the age of ninety-one years.
"Dr. Andros was far superior in intelligence and ability to the average physician of his day, but he was a typical frontiersman and something of a character. I remember a country drive I took a short time after I came to McGregor. He drove a good horse but he interfered so badly that either his right or his left hind leg seemed to be in the air all the time. As we were jolting over a rough road back in the Mississippi hills, the Doctor suddenly stopped his horse and remarked, 'There's the damndest nicest spring over there you ever saw'. We got out and walked over to where a fine stream of water gushed from the rocks and formed a pool about three feet in diameter and eighteen inches deep. The Doctor took off his high silk hat which he always wore and in which he carried his letters, red bandanna, cigars, stethoscope and always either a clean or dirty collar, pulled off his coat, rolled his sleeve to his elbow and thrust his hand to the bottom of the spring. After lifting aside a few stones he pulled out a flask of whiskey. He uncorked it, took a generous drink and then returned the bottle to the bottom of the spring for future use."

It is easy to understand that the practice of medicine in Iowa was anything but attractive in the early days. The first settlers did not come to Iowa to build towns or to establish centers of trade but to find farms and build homes often without a difinite location in view, traveling along in small companies until a desirable spot was found, and then a "settlement" was made.

The accidental selection of a location is illustrated by the tradition attached to the foundation of the village of Lost Nation in Clinton county. It is said that a family traveling with a company of pioneers accidentally wandered away from their companions and were lost. In endeavoring to find the main comapany they came to a desirable spot and "settled". It was not until several months later that the lost family was found. This circumstance led to the naming the place "Lost Nation". Many years passed before a physician felt a call to locate there.

With 1833, when Dr. Andros came to Dubuque, the history of the practice of medicine in Iowa may be said to have had its beginning. As we have already shown, the practice of medicine in Iowa in the early days of its settlement was neither attractive nor remunerative. The settlers were widely scattered and the towns were but little more than a closer aggregation of settlers with some facilities for trade and to supply families covering a wide extent of country with certain necessities of life. Widely scattered as the settlers were one necessity was perhaps greater than any other, and that was the need of relief in sickness and accident. It is true that the pioneers were a hardy people but sickness, suffering and accident did go with them and more than lay help was needed to meet certain exigencies of life, and there was withall a spirit of adventure that frequently led physicians of no mean skill of ability to adventure into a new country to become pioneers in the building of homes, a civilization and a commonwealth.

We have endeavored to find the names of physicians who came to Iowa and the part they played in developing the territory and state from the earliest actual settlement. It is to be presumed frm the character and the courage of these men that they were not content to limit their activities to the relief of the sick and injured alone, but must needs take a part in common with all pioneers in community welfare, and we shall not be mistaken in our estimate of Iowa pioneer physicians. From the very nature of their profession and its traditions the seeking of wealth and political advantage was the least of their ambition, and for that reason few names of physicians who gained wealth or political distinction will be found in the annals of history but their usefulness in very many ways will be held in the memory of men and on the pages of history, and the writer who shall undertake to say that the medical profession was only incidental to the development of the country is not entitled to serious consideration.

In June, 1834, Congress passed an act providing that; "All that part of the territory of the United States bounded on the east by the Mississippi River, on the south by the State of Missouri and a line drawn due west from the northwest corner of said state to the Missouri River on the southwest, and west by the Missouri River and the White Earth River falling into the same; and on the north by the northern boundary of the United States shall be attached to Michigan territory."

In October, 1835, George W. Jones, delegate to Congress from Michigan territory secured the passage of a bill creating the territory of Wisconsin which included Iowa, part of Minnesota and Dakota.

In July, 1838, Congress passed a bill establishing the territory of Iowa including that part of the territory of Wisconsin lying west of the Mississippi River.

At an extra session of the Sixth Legislative Assembly of the Michigan territory held in September, 1834 the Iowa district was divided into two counties, Dubuque county and Des Moines county by a line running due west from the lower end of Rock Island. At the second session of the Wisconsin territorial legislature held in Burlington in 1837, Dubuque county, and Des Moines county, were divided into sixteen counties.

We shall now follow as nearly as possible the appearance of physicians in these several counties and the work participated in by them in the developing the territory and later the State of Iowa.

We shall for convenience endeavor as far as the data at hand will permit consider first the pioneer physicians who settled in Iowa prior to 1840. We have seen that Dr. Andros came first and has the distinction of being the first real pioneer physician to locate in the state for the distinct purpose of practicing medicine.

Through the cooperation of Dr. H.B. Young of Burlington who kindly examined the early records of Des Moines county we have been able to secure some valuable data in relation to early physician-settlers, which we have been able to supplement from other sources in several instances.

In 1832 Morton M. McCarver and Simpson S. White established a ferry across the Mississippi River at Burlington and were the first settlers. In the fall of the same year (1832) Dr. William R. Ross with Benjamin Tucker laid out and platted the City of Burlington. Dr. Ross brought a stock of goods & it is probable that his time was more occupied with trade than with the practice of medicine. A few settlers only had crossed the Mississippi and they were not of the kind who needed medical services.

Dr. Crawford from Brook County, Virginia, came to Burlington in 1833. Later he moved to Texas. We have been unable to secure further information in relation to this pioneer physician. Dr. Schiff came to Burlington from Kentucky in 1834 and Dr. Cutler from Indiana the same year. These two gentlemen formed a partnership. Dr. Cutler died soon after (within the year) and Dr. Schiff returned to Kentucky.

Dr. Teas located in Burlington in 1835 and Dr. D.W. Hitchcock came the same year from New York.

Dr. S.S. Ransome came to Burlington in 1835 where he remained until his death in 1872.

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.

The influence of these early physicians in the social and economic advancement of the territory and state cannot be over estimated. 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.

Two other physicians came to Des Moines county prior to 1840. One, Dr. Jeremiah Hall located in Danville, twelve miles west of Burlington in 1837 and the other, Dr. Leal Fullenwider located in Rorsak in the same year (1837).

One of the eight counties formed from the division of Des Moines county by the act of the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature at its second session in Burlington in 1837 was Johnson county. It may be observed in this connection that at this session delegates from the two original counties, dubuque and Des Moines were elected to Memorialize Congress to organize a separate territorial government of the part of Wisconsin territory lying west of the Mississippi River, and in June, 1838, a bill was passed by Congress establishing the territory of Iowa, which included a part of Minnesota and Dakota. In 1839 the capital of the territory of Iowa was located at Iowa City and on August 18th a sale of lots was held and two hundred and six lots disposed of for $28,854.75. That a stranger might find his way to the capital of Iowa Lyman Dillon was "employed to plow a furrow from Iowa City to the Mississippi River using a strong breaking plow and five yoke of oxen." This furrow of one hundred miles is said to be the longest furrow on record.

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.

The second physician to locate in Johnson county was Dr. Ezra Bliss. Dr. Bliss was of New England birth and a graduate from Castleton Medical College, Vermont in 1837. He came to Iowa City in 1839, a few months after Dr. Murry. After a few years of successful practice he moved to New York City, spending much of his time in Europe.

In examining the records of the Iowa State Medical Society and other documents pertaining to Iowa history the name of Dr. J.M. Robertson not infrequently appeared but was unable to gather data enough to frame a biographical sketch.

I regretted the loss from our records of so valuable a man and eminent physician and publicist, when one day it occurred to me to appeal to Dr. Charles A. Robertson of Chicago a grandson of Dr. J.M. Robertson for help and it so chanced that on this very day and moment Dr. Charles appeared and in his bluff and friendly way assured me I should have what I desired.

James Moore Robertson, M.D. was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, October 14, 1804. Died in Muscatine, Iowa, December 31, 1878. Dr. Robertson was a son of Peter Robertson, a native of Scotland, who emigrated to Pennsylvania in his youth and who died when James was six years old. His mother was Jane Moore, a native of the United States of English ancestors. His mother died when he was sixteen years old and he was reared from that time by Dr. William Stephenson of Cannonsburg, Penn., who was a friend of his father. Dr. James M. Robertson received his literary education at Jefferson College, Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania, and his medical education from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, from which institution he graduated in 1827. He entered practice at Georgetown, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where he remained six years. In the spring of 1833 he removed to Franklin County, Ohio, where he practiced five years and then removed to Burlington, Iowa, or Iowa Territory in 1838. After a few years practice in Burlington he moved to Columbus City which he helped to plat and where he practiced his profession until 1870 when he removed to Muscatine where he continued practice up to his retirement in 1874, after forty-seven years of extremely arduous service in his profession. It was now given him four years of rest until the final close of a most useful life at the age of seventy-four years.

While in Burlington and Columbus City, Dr. Robertson did a practice extending from Cedar Rapids to Keokuk mostly on horseback with an expenditure of strength and energy and with an endurance that can scarcely be appreciated by the practitioner of today. Dr. Robertson did much to help organize a new country and make treaties with the Indians whose language and customs were well known to both himself and his son William. He was a member of the Iowa State Medical Society, later vice-president and treasurer. He was a member of the Ohio State Medical Society & the Louisa and Muscatine County Medical Societies. In 1865 he was elected state senator and served four years. He was married to Maria Armstrong of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and had one son, William Stephenson Robertson.

Dr. James Moore Robertson was a man with many friends but no enemies. In politics he was staunch Republican. In religion a devout Presbyterian and for many years an elder in the church.

In personal appearance Dr. Robertson was tall and erect, wore a tall hat and blue broadcloth clothes. In appearance and address he was the type of a medical gentleman. The stong ancestral Scotch-English blood of Dr. Robertson made itself manifest in the son, Dr. William S. Robertson and in the grandson, Dr. Charles A. Robertson all of whom were eminent physicians of whom Iowa may well be proud.

Dr. Silas C. Swan, a native of New York and a graduate of a Chicago medical school located in Iowa City in 1839 where he died in 1845.

Dr. S.H. Tyron came to Marion, Lynn county [now spelled Linn] about 1838. At that time few white settlers had arrived in Lynn county, which was not created and named until December, 1838. Marion was laid out and established as the county seat in 1839.

That part of Lynn county about Marion and Cedar Rapids became the center of varied interests between the organization of the county in 1838 and 1849.

It is recorded that a store, a mill and a court house were built before the close of 1840. A Methodist church and a gang of horse thieves were organized, the latter having Cedar Rapids as its headquarters in the first cabin built on the present site of the City of Cedar Rapids by one Shepard,a notorious outlaw.

We have no information as to the nature of Dr. Tyron's practice, only that he was a well known character. He was at one time acting county clerk and occupied many places of trust and honor.

The history of medicine in Iowa commences with the appearance of Dr. Samuel C. Muir, an Army surgeon in 1820 and the first section ends with 1840. During this period many changes occurred of a territorial and governmental nature.

In 1834 Congress passed an act attaching all that territory bounded on the east by the Mississippi River, also fixing the other boundaries, to Michigan territory. In October, 1835, a bill was passed by Congress creating Wisconsin territory including also the territory bounded on the east by the Mississippi River. In July, 1838, Congress passed a bill establishing the Iowa territory. In July, 1837, the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature sitting in Burlington began dividing what was soon to become Iowa territory in counties. The two first to be known as Dubuque county and Des Moines county.

In 1836 a census showed a population within the present limits of 10,531. In 1840, 43,112. During these territorial changes Dr. Frederick Andros located in Dubuque (1833). To Nashville came Dr. Galland (1829). To Burlington came Dr. William R. Ross (1832). Dr. Crawford (1833), Dr. Schiff and Dr. Cutter (1834), Dr. Teas, Dr. Hitchcock and Dr. S.S. Ransom (1835), Dr. Enos Lowe (1837), Dr. Jeremiah Hall, Danville (1837), Dr. Leal Fullenwider, Korsak (1837), Dr. James Moore Robertson, Burlington (1838). In 1839 there came to Iowa City, Dr. Henry Murry, Dr. Silas C. Swan, Dr. Ezra Bliss, and to Marion, Lynn county came Dr. S.H. Tyron.

We have in the foregoing account of the early medical arrivals in Iowa attempted to point out as far as the records permit the work and activities of these men.


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