Iowa History Project
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 Seventh -
Local Medical Societies
pg 133 - 166
In almost every instance the earlier records of local medical societies have been lost but it was our good fortune in 1875 to secure from the recollections of early physicians then living and from records still preserved, sufficient data to form a rather complete record of many of the earlier local medical societies.
The first organizations were in most instances short lived because of the character of their membership, nearly one-half of the physicians practicing in Iowa in 1850 were not medical graduates, some of them had never attended a regular medical college, their equipment was a service in a hospital as a hospital steward or as an assistant to a surgeon during the Civil War. The men of the latter class were not familiar with any code of ethics save a code that would bring practice and were disturbing elements, nevertheless a liberal spirit on the part of the better class of physicians led to the belief that society fellowship would inspire better feeling and to possible higher qualifications. This was true in many instances for some uneducated practitioners sought to improve themselves by following the example of the qualified members and not infrequently attending medical schools which were willing to receive them.
After the failure of this first medical society organization reorganization followed ina few years with a more carefully selected membership and in some instances several reorganizations followed with progressively better results.
When the twenty-five Iowa pioneer practitioners of medicine gathered in Burlington, Iowa, June 19, 1850, for the purpose of organizing a state medical society, it was in response to a firm belief in the minds of a few broadminded physicians with a view to the future, that organized medicine was the only means of progress and to higher educational standards on the part of the profession and greater benefits to the state and the people generally. Money standards were not altogether the standard of success in that day and to the great credit of the profession, it has never been so even in these latter days of money insanity.
It son became apparent that formal annual meetings of state societies would not keep alive the spirit of organization, and that informal meetings of nearby physicians at frequent intervals was essential to maintain the larger interest in the state medical society. Another feature of importance was the social influence of the gathering of neighboring physicians, establishing more friendly and more sympathetic relations, which would not only advance the interests of the physicians themselves, but the interests of the people of the communities, which were so dependent on the medical profession in time of need.
It was this feeling of common welfare that the physicians of Keokuk under the lead of Dr. John F. Sanford met at Dr. Bond's office in October, 1850, to form the first local medical society in Iowa. The first record of this Society appears in the first volume of the Iowa Medico-Chirurgical Journal of 1850, which reads as follows: "For the purpose of organizing a city medical society the profession met at the office of Dr. Bond, October 3, 1850; Dr. J.F. Sanford in the chair." It appears that a previous meeting had been held and had adjourned to meet on the aforesaid October 3. The association was called "The Medical Society of the City of Keokuk"; to hold its regular meetings quarterly. Membership was limited to members of the regular prefession , of good character, and practicing in the City of Keokuk.
The officers elected were Dr. Millard, president; Dr. J. Haines, vice-president; Dr. E.R. Ford, secretary and treasurer; Dr. M.F. Collins, librarian, and Drs. J.L. McGugin, J.F. Sanford and B.H. Bond, censors. This was the beginning of the Lee County Medical Society.
The leading position occupied by Keokuk in the medical history of Iowa in the earlier years, required of the writer a careful search of available sources of information touching the activities of the profession in the city which promised so much before the extension of railways into Iowa.
Through the preservation of the first volume of the "Western Medico-Chirurgical Journal by Dr. Frank Fuller, a few copies of its successor the "Iowa Medical Journal" from Dr. J.C. Hughes' library, and the researches of Dr. F.B. Dorsey, we have been able to place before the profession much of interest regarding medical Keokuk. Dr. Dorsey has prepared for htis record the following outline of the history of the Keokuk Medical Society and Lee County Medical Society, including an account of the activities of the Keokuk profession during the Civil War.
The Early History of the Keokuk Medical Society
The first meeting of Keokuk physicians for the purpose of organizing a medical society, was held at the office of Dr. Bond September 26, 1850. There were present at this meeting Drs. Millard, Bond, Collins, McGugin, Sanford, Heminway, Galland, Haines and Ford.
Dr. J.F. Sanford was chosen president and Dr. E.R. Ford secretary and treasurer. The constitution was drafted and adopted October 3, 1850, and signed by the following physicians: Drs. J. Millard, D.L. McGugin, M.F. Collins, Heminway, B.N. Bond, E.R. Ford, J. Haines, J.F. Sanford, Samuel G. Armor, Isaac Galland and A.S. Hudson.
The first regularly elected officers were Dr. Millard, president; Dr. J. Haines, vice-president; Dr. E.R. Ford, secretary and treasurer; Dr. M.F. Collins, librarian, and Drs. J.L. McGugin, J.F. Sanford and B.H. Bond, censors.
A code of medical ethics, constitution and by-laws were arranged for to come up at the next meeting, and that an arrangement be made to publish the proceedings of the society in the city papers and Western Medical Journal.
The first delegates elected to the State Medical Society were Drs. A.A. Heminway, J. Haines, Samuel G. Armor and M.F. Collins.
The first paper read before the Society was by Dr. Samuel G. Armor, on the subject of "The Therapeutical Effects of Blood Letting."
There were problems and other things similar to those of the present day, annoying the Society, and one of them was the collection of bills. An endeavor was made by the Society to have one person selected as collector, that settlement should be made semi-annually. If not paid promptly, 20 per cent interest was to be added, and that the members of the Society pledge themselves to refuse all fellowship and intercourse with physicians not complying with the regulations.
Dr. J.C. Hughes became a member of the Society on September 28, 1851. The bill question seemed to be the great disturbing element, and disrupted the meetings for some years, and then pursuant to a call by Dr. McGugin, the next meeting was held on July 27, 1858, at the office of Drs. Allen & Stotts, with the following doctors present: McGugin, Sanford, Letcher, Hughes, Martin, Seyffarth, Parker, Dewey, Rowe, Smith, Potts, Carpenter, and Bond; Dr. McGugin, president; Dr. Bond, secretary.
The object of the meeting was that they might consult upon the best means for protection against imposition by such of the community who habitually neglect or refuse to compensate their medical attendant, and the necessity for united action.
Dr. J.C. Hughes was the first physician to propose the drafting of a fee bill. Drs. McGugin, Carpenter, Wyman and Bond were named as the committee.
The board of education rooms were selected as the place of meeting thereafter. The fee bill was adopted, the charge for ordinary bleeding from the arm fixed at one dollar. Cupping, wet or dry, two to five dollars. Introduction of a seton, two to five dollars.
The advisability of establishing a city dispensary was brought up. The laying of the Atlantic cable was commented upon in able manner by Dr. McGugin, August, 1858. In October, 1858, the Society began to hold its meetings in the faculty room of the Iowa State University and continued to do so until 1859. The Society then again lapsed until 1864, when it was organized for the third time, February 15, at Dr. R.H. Wyman's office, for the protection and defense of the profession and a revision of the fee bill.
At this meeting were Drs. McGugin, Hughes, Wyman, Carpenter and by invitation, Drs. Jones, Davis and McDonald. Dr. McGugin, president, Dr. Carpenter, secretary. Drs. Jones, Davis and McDonald were admitted as members. The fee bill was revised. The subject of practice of druggists, examining and prescribing for patients was then discussed and condemned, and notices were served on them to discontinue the same or suffer a boycott. The qustion of druggists retailing spirituous liquors by the drink was discussed, condemned, and efforts made to abate the practice. On February 22, Dr. H.T. Cleaver and Dr. J.A. Webster were admitted as members of the Society.
During March, 1864, small-pox was prevalent in the city and efforts were made to have the city establish a pest-house. Drs. McGugin, Wyman, McDonald, Cleaver and Carpenter were named as the committee to confer with the city council.
The last meeting during 1864 was held at Dr. Winslow's office on June 21 There were present, Drs. McGugin, Hughes, Davis, McDonald, Carpenter, Winslow and Webster. Dr. A. Weismann was proposed as a member.
The interests of the physicians again lagged, and no meetings were held for the next 10 years. Then August 1, 1874, the physicians were called together by Dr. Carpenter on account of the death of Dr. John F. Sanford. At this meeting Drs. G.A. Kuchen and H.A. Olsten were admitted as members.
Up to 1874, diphtheria was prevalent, and was treated by emetics, aconite, vapors of lime, and by liq. potasse locally. The swab was used with carbolic acid and glycerine. Nitrate of silver, carbolic acid and ferro subsulphate in glycerine, with the idea of the early destruction of the exudate. The practice of tearing off the membrane was also prevalent, but even then it was noticed by the best informed and most observant physicians that the attempted destructio of the membrane by these means was useless and harmful, and there was marked oposition to this harsh treatment, local or otherwise. Dr. Collins thus early recognized and mentioned cases of diphtheria where no membrane or exudate could be discovered.
In noticing the proceedings of these old time physicians, we hazard nothing in the modest utterance that they would compare very favorably with that of any body of physicians of equal numbers anywhere. They were certainly remarkable and competent men.
In the Sixties
The geographic location of Keokuk made of it a point of strategic importance at the very beginning of the Civil War, and here was established the first military camp in the state, Camp Ellsworth, in May, 1861. In the same month, the first medical hospital was opened in the Seventh street medical college building, and from this time, until in the year 1865, our city was a busy scene of military activity. Hundreds of soldiers, sick and wounded, were brought from southern camps, and battlefields, and most of the time five large buildings were occupied for hospital purposes. Of the loyal citizens of Keokuk - and nearly all were loyal - none were more so than the medical porfession, particularly those composing the faculty of the medical college. The senior of these was D.L. McGugin, M.D., professor of physiology, pathology and clinical medicine, in October, 1861, went to the front as surgeon of the Third Iowa Cavalry, and remained in active service until 1863, when he resigned on account of ill health. It is said of him, that a "kinder heart never ministered to sick and weary soldier's needs." He had served as a surgeon in the Mexican War, and hence was fitted by experience for the position he filled so well. On his resignation from the service of his country, he resumed his position as a teacher in the college, and, although in greatly impaired health, continued, until shortly before his death, which occurred in 1865. Possessed of an accurate scientific mind, his fifteen years of medical teaching, leaves a memory undimmed as time goes on.
J.C. Hughes, A.M., M.D., was at the outbreak of the Civil War, already the most noted surgeon in the state; his connection with the medical college dating from 1850. The great war governor, Kirkwood, early in 1861, appointed him surgeon general of the state, and he organized the army hospitals here, and had charge of them until they passed under the control of the general government. The opportunity was here afforded Dr. Hughes to add to his already vast experience as a surgeon, and he became widely known as a careful, rapid and successful operator, and one who always conserved first, the best interests of his patients. Following the war, he devoted his time to the college and his constantly increasing surgical practice until within a few months of his death, which occurred in 1881. Many of the practitioners of the Middle West today are ready to attest the skill in operation and the earnest, incisive method of teaching of Dr. Hughes.
Dr. H.T. Cleaver, M.D. came to Keokuk in 1862 to take charge of the Estes House Hospital for the U.S. Government and remained in this position until the close of the war. The Estes House was the largest of the five, and most of the time ten assistants were required to properly care for the patients. The same year, the Doctor was elected to the chair of obstetrics and diseases of women in the college and this connection he maintained until 1883, when he resigned on account of failing health. In the administration of the affairs of the hospital entrusted to his care, Dr. Cleaver was unswerving in his fidelity to the trust, and the kindly interest manifested to patients in his invariable daily bedside visits, endeared him to every one that was an inmate of the Estes House in those terrible years. As a medical teacher, he was very popular with the students, dignified and courtly, yet always genial, and easily approached/ clear and incisive in his method of imparting instruction; outspoken in his abhorence of pretense; the impersonation of ethics in the broadest sense of the word, he easily became the ideal of every student. He continued in practice after the war, until his death in 1888, a prince among men, a physician of the old school.
Col. Morse K. Taylor, a surgeon of the regular army, was sent to take general charge of the hospitals in Keokuk, in the autumn of 1861, when they passed from the control of the State of Iowa, to that of the United States. At this time Dr. McGugin had gone with his regiment to the "front" and Dr. Taylor very acceptably filled the chair of physiology and pathology in his absence; this he continued to do until Dr. McGugin's return in 1863. Dr. Taylor was noted for his strict observance of army regulations, and his painstaking efforts to interest. Of somewhat haughty demeanor, his relations with his associates were never very cordial.
He continued in the army medical service at various army posts, until his death, which occurred about 1885. At one time after leaving Keokuk, he was connected with the medical department of Lind University, Chicago, now the Northwestern University Medical School, as professor of physiology.
Edward F. Clapman, M.D., came to Keokuk in 1861, to fill the chair of anatomy, made vacant by its previous occupant going to the military field. Dr Clapman was a notable teacher, and aroused the greatest enthusiasm in his classes. He continued in the faculty for 7 or 8 years and acquired a large general practice, and held the confidence of his clientele. He was exceedingly popular, socially and was a man of high educational attainment. An accomplished performer upon the piano; a musical composer of merit; genial and prepossessiong in manner, he was possessed of hosts of friends and warmly welcomed everywhere. He died in New York City about 1894.
Abel C. Roberts, M.D., came to Keokuk from Ft. Madison, in 1862, as a contract surgeon, and took charge of one of the government hospitals. His reputation as a thorough going practitioner of medicine had preceded him, and he was at once elcted to the chair of principles and practice of medicine in the medical college. In this position he displayed remarkable ability, delivering two courses of lectures that were considered models of completeness and scientific accuracy. Commissioned as a surgeon of the 21st Missouri, he went to the field of action, and remained with his regiment until mustered out in 1866.
Returning home, the doctor resumed his practice in civil life with success, but in consequence of exposure during his army life, he was incapacitated for very active duties and he assumed the editorialship of a daily newspaper, which he filled very creditably. A few years ago he passed over to the great beyond, full of honors, possessed of "troops of friends" and his mantle worthily carried by his son, Dr. F.C. Roberts of Ft. Madison.
A.M. Carpenter, M.D., began the practice of his profession in Keokuk in 1855. Ten years later, 1865, he was elected professor of the theory and practice of medicine in the medical college. This place he held until 1882, when he resigned to assist in the organization of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Chicago, delivering one course of lectures there, then removing to St. Louis, Missouri, where he was identified with the organization of the Marion Sims Medical College and latterly with the Barnes Medical College, retaining the last until his death, which occurred in December, 1907. Fifty-two years a practitioner, and forty-two years a teacher of medicine, a record unparalleled probably in the entire Middle West. As a physician, Dr. Carpenter, was possessed of the entire confidence of his patients, merited because of his great skill as a diagnostician. Dignified in manner, genial and handsome of face, gentle and musical of voice, original in illustration, and eloquent to a great degree in expression, his class rooms were crowded, and he was by far the most popular medical lecturer of his day.
Polk County Medical Society
The first local society to be designated a county medical society was organized in Des Moines and called the Polk County Medical Society.
The records of this organizaton have apparently been lost but through the courtesy of Johnson Brigham, state librarian, we have been able to use certain newspaper accounts of this early society which apperas in volume one of Brigham's History of Polk County. Polk County Medical Society was organized October 24, 1851. The Keokuk Society was organized October 3, 1850, but the society was limited to Keokuk City and apparently did not include Lee county. It is fair, however, to assume that this society was the nucleus of a county society.
Among the early Des Moines physicians was Dr. Pierce B. Fagan who came to Des Moines with P.M. Cassidy and for two years these pioneers were room-mates and occupied the same office. In 1848, Dr. Fagan was a candidate for state senator on the Whig ticket and Mr. Cassidy a candidate on the Democratic ticket. It appears to have been a friendly contest, for the issue according to tradition was based on the claim that Mr. Cassady being a lawyer could be spared, but Dr. Fagan as a physician was needed at home to preserve the health and welfare of the people and as the majority of the voters held to this view, Dr. Fagan remained at home.
Notwithstanding the rather flippant remarks of the reporter, it is certain that Polk County Medical Society did not die for it appears that Dr. Henry Courtney of Des Moines, was elected president in 1859, and remained an active member until his death in June, 1861. It appears also that Dr. H.L. Whitman was president of the Polk County Medical Society in 1868 (when the State Medical Society held its first meeting in Des Moines), "welcomed the members from abroad in an appropriate and well received address."
The call for a meeting of the medical profession of Polk County brought together at the county seat the widely scattered physicians and surgeons of the county and organized them for conference and future harmonious action. Dr. A.Y. Hull of Lafayette, Camp twp., was called to the chair and Dr. A.L. Gray was made secretary. Drs. D.V. Cole, Murdock and Plumley were appointed a committee to report a constitution. Drs. Huntsman, Gray and Collet were named a committee to report a code of ethics by which the society should be governed in practice.
The constitution named the association "Polk County Medical Society" and fixed upon quarterly meetings at the county seat. Any regular graduate in good standing could become a member "on presentation of a diploma from any respectable medical college, or a license from any respectable medical society, or upon the recommendation of the board of censors, and the payment of the initiation fee of one dollar."
Any member who should "procure a patent for a remedy or instrument of surgery," or who should prescribe "a medicine without knowing its composition" or who should thereafter give "a certificate in favor of a patent remedy, or be guilty of any dishonorable conduct" was subject to expulsion by a majority vote of members present.
A.Y Hull was elected president, D.V. Cole vice-president, Dr. Huntsman of Lafayette, secretary and treasurer. The code of the National Medical Society was adopted until the committee should report on code. Dr. Cole, Murdock and Collet were appointed a committee to report, at the next meeting, on "the causes that depress the profession in Polk County."
Following is a list of charter members: Drs. Hull of Lafayette, Cole and Huntsman of Fort Des Moines, and Collet, Gray and Plumley of Hartford.
In the Star of October 16, an irreverent pen gives an exaggerated suggestion of the difficulty of agreeing upon a code of ethics at that early date. The anonymous writer has seen, during the past summer, enough of the lack of "dignity" to blast the reputation of any set of physicians! He refers to the consultations generally ending in a "row", with the use of choice epithets! He hopes the association will perservere in its purpose to elevate the practice.
At the next meeting of the doctors, January 30, 1852, Drs. H.C. Grimmel and J.J. Sanders were elected members of the society. Secretary Huntsman's report denied the public all information as to the causes of depression in the practice, as to the code of ethics reported, and as to fee bill. The fee bill reported was adopted with some revisions. The report on the causes of depression apparently did not satisfy, for the subject was referred to a new committee who were instructed to revise and report.
Dr. Hull, president of the society, read a paper on "The Wants of the Medical Profession." It is interesting to follow this pioneer physician and publicist through his brief presentment.
The preeminent want of the medical world Dr. Hull found to be a "corps of competent physicians, men for whom nature had done much, and who possessed a liberal preparatory and thorough medical education."
Another deficiency noted was "the lack of healthy discriminating tone in public sentiment, to the end that the ability of the competent physician may be fully appreciated." Too loose reign was given to "medicasters" who were virtually authorized by las "to go forth on their errand of death." Iowa was declared to be one of the states in which the practice was not regulated by law. In his view judicious laws would tend to relieve their crippled profession and save communities from incalculable mischief. Another want was harmony among the members of the profession. "Jars, schisms, strifes, anomosities and bickerings" stood as "imperishable monuments of their shame and deep degradation."
"Physicians, of all men, should earnestly cultivate intimate and confidential relations with each other, and the only rivalry that they should countenance should be to see who could become best acquainted with the true science of medicine, and to strive to occupy the highest and most extended sphere of usefulness, in their respective circles." He saw lasting benefits shadowed forth in the new organization.
In the "Journal" of March 4, 1852 appears the long debated "Code of Medical Ethics" adopted by the Polk Co. Medical Society.
The paper was signed by A.L. Gray, committee on publication. Whether this pioneer medical society died of too much code and rate-bill or the subsequent proceedings ceased to interest the press, the fact remains that no further reports of its meetings are to be found in the Star, the Times or the Journal.
Dubuque County Medical Society
The first district medical society to be organized in Iowa was November 4, 1852 at Dubuque, the organization was finally perfected January 11, 1853. This society was known as the Northwestern Medical Society and included northwestern Iowa, southwestern Wisconsin and northwestern Illinois. Dr. George W. Richards was elected president, meetings were held monthly. In 1875 there were 18 members.
Louisa County Medical Society
The Louisa County Medical Society was
organized April 24, 1852, at Wapello. At this the first
meeting of the society, the following officers were
elected: Dr. J.M. Robertson of Columbus City, president;
Dr. T.G. Taylor of Wapello, secretary; Dr. J.B. Latta of
Grandview, treasurer; Dr. H.T. Cleaver, Dr. John Bell of
Wapello and Dr. J.H. Graham, of Morning Sun, censors. At
this meeting a constitution, by-laws and a code of ethics
were adopted. It appears that the above named physicians
constituted all that were present.
Wapello County Medical Society
The Wapello County Medical Society was organized in 1853 by Dr. C.C. Warden; J. Williamson; W.L. Orr and A.D. Wood of Ottumwa; Dr. J.W. LaForce of Ashland, and Dr. Weir of Agency. President, Dr. Warden; vice-president, Dr. Wood and secretary, Dr. Williamson.
During the Civil War the society did not meet, and not until 1870 was the Wapello County Medical Society again reorganized with Dr. W.L. Orr, president; T.J. Douglass, vice-president and J. Williamson, secretary.
Since this reorganization in 1870 the
Wapello County Medical Society has met uninterruptedly.
Johnson County Medical Society
At the meeting of the physicians of Iowa City to attend the funeral of Dr. John A. Morse in August, 1855, the first steps were taken to form a medical society in Johnson county. It was soon after organized and flourished for many years; unti in 1869 dissentions occurred and a division followed which resulted in the incorporation of the society by a respectable part of the membership which formed the dissenting minority. The incorporated society continued its organization while the other finally ceased to exist.
Clinton County Medical Society
No records of the earlier meetings of the Clinton County Medical Society can be found. Some records in our possessions show that in 1859 a medical society was organized and that in 1869 it was reorganized and the membership restricted.
Muscatine County Medical Society
Muscatine County Medical Society was organized on the 16th day of June, 1866, with Dr. A. Ady of West Liberty as president. For a time everything passed off pleasantly but soon interest began to die out and the meetings ceased for lack of attendance. It was revived form time to time until the 12th of June, 1874, when a reorganization was accomplished under the title of Muscatine Medical Society. Dr. J. W. Robertson was elected president and Dr. H.M. Dean, secretary. The meetings have been held monthly.
Marshall County Medical Society
The first attempt to form a medical society in Marshall county was in September, 1856 at Marietta. Then the county seat, and known as the Iowa Central Medical Society with 8 members holding quarterly meetings at Marietta. Dr. Elias Fisher was elected the first president and Dr. R. Howe Taylor secretary.
This society maintained a useful existence for three years. Some of its members left for other localities and the society disbanded. After a period of nearly two years another medical society was organized in Marshalltown to which place the county seat had been removed in 1861. "This organization was known as the Marshall County Medical Society and was brought into existence by the convention and organization of the medical gentlemen of the county. It consisted of twelve members who convened together in quarterly meetings until the following year, 1862, when the excitement incident to the call for troops for the Civil War, together with the appointment of some of its members to their respective regiment, caused suspension and disorganization of the society.
During the entire war and until January, 1867, no medical society appears to have existed in the county, but on the 12th day of January a convention ws held by the physicians of the county and the Marshall County Medical Society was reorganized. Its meetings were monthly, its membership seventeen, "but its organization was premature." Dr. Kierulff says: "That in looking over his records he is reminded of the mountain in 'Aesop's Fables', which was in travail for several months and finally brought forth a mouse." It was composed of regulars, irregulars, graduates and non-graduates, gentlemen and pugilists and finally after prefering charges upon each and every member for gross violations of medical ethics and etiquette, it adjourned to meet again to re-organize, making graduation from some regular school as a basis of membership. This last clause is the last but best expression of the seven month's existence of that society, and like the last straw, it 'broke the camel's back,' and the medical profession of Marshall county did not come together until March 31, 1873, when they organized in regular form, a society called the Iowa Central Medical Association, to be composed of such physicians and surgeons as would be admitted to membership in the Iowa State Medical Society.
Scott County Medical Society
Scott County Medical Society was organized in Davenport, October 18, 1856, nine physicians met for that purpose at the office of Drs. Witherwax and Carter and on October 28, thirteen physicians met at the same place and adopted a constitution and by-laws and the code of ethics of the American Medical Association.
The following officers were elected: President, Dr. Edgbert S. Barnes; vice-president, Dr. Lyman Carpenter; secretary, Dr. J.J. Thomson; treasurer, Dr. James Thistle.
At the first quarterly meeting Drs. Barnes and Sanders were elected delegates to the American Medical Association. At the second meeting April 28, 1857, the members of the Rock Island Medical Society were made honorary members. January 26, 1858, the constitution and by-laws were revised and were again revised in 1855 under the direction of a committee consisting of Dr. W.F. Peck, J.W.H. Baker and J.W. Witherwax.
In 1876 Dr. W.D. Middleton was president, Dr. W.W. Grant, vice-president; Dr. C.H. Preston, secretary and Dr. L. French, treasurer. At this time the membership was forty-three.
Mahaska County Medical Society
The first medical society in Mahaska county was organized in 1856. Dr. S.E. Rienhart, president and Dr. J.T. Hopkins, sectetary. When the Civil War broke out, the meetings were discontinued. In 1872, a second organization was effected with a constitution and by-laws and subordinate to the state and national axxociations. This society seems to have maintained a continuous existence. So many of the earlier societies had more or less serious interruptions due in some measure perhaps to a heterogenous mixture of graduates and non-graduates.
Linn County Medical Society
This society was organized in 1859 at Mt. Vernon by Drs. Love, Ely, Ristine, Carson and Lyon. The meetings were suspended during the war but were revived in 1866. In 1873 its name was changed to the Iowa Union Medical Society which continues as an influential organization and meets twice a year. The present Linn County Medical Society was organized in 1903 as a part of the state and national organization and meets twice a year. The enterprising town of Mt. Vernon has a medical organization known as the Practitioners Club which meets once a month.
North Iowa Medical Society
In the early years of medical organization in Iowa when the country was thinly settled and physicians few in number, it was the custom for the medical profession to organize by several adjoining societies meeting togehter for professional fellowship. On June 22, 1859, the counties of Fayette, Allamakee, Clayton, Howard and Winneshiek joined in forming a society known as the North Iowa Medical Society; the meeting was held at McGregor. Dr. Frederick Andros was elected president and Dr. H.C. Martin, secretary.
Boone County Medical Society
A medical society existed in Boone county in 1866 called the Boone County Medical Society. A few meetings were held but owing to a lack of interest on the part of its members it was soon abandoned.
April 21, 1871 a new society was orgainized called the Boone County Medical Society with fourteen members, Dr. L.J. Allerman was elected president and Dr. A.A. Deering, secretary. Four or five meetings were held, then this society followed its predecessors.
In 1874 at a conference between Dr. L.J. Allerman, Dr. W.S. Schermerhorn and Dr. D.S. Fairchild of Ames, a meeting was arranged of the physicians of Green, Boone and Story counties for the purpose of forming a district society, in view of the difficulty of maintaining county societies with the small number of physicians then practicing in these counties. Subsequently Carroll, Calhoun and Hamilton were added. At the first meeting held in Boone, Dr. P.S. Moser of Boone was elected president; Dr. W.S. Schermerhorn, Jefferson, vice-president; Dr. Charles Enfield, secretary. This society met semi-annually and remained in active existence until the great reorganization of the medical state and national associations, when its place was taken by the various county medical societies.
Council Bluffs Medical Society
The preliminary meeting for the purpose of organizing a medical society in Council Bluffs, was held at Dr. P.B. MacKay's office July 26, 1869. The meeting was called to order by Dr. Donald Macrae who moved the election of Dr. P.J. MacMahon, chairman. On motion, Dr. Macrae was elected secretary.
A committee consisting of Drs. McKay, Macrae, Malcolm, Stein and Osborne, was appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws. The preliminary organization adjourned, to meet in Council Bluffs August 2, 1869. When the constitution was presented and adopted by the society, eleven gentlemen, graduates of regular medical colleges, were present. The following officers were elected: Dr. P.J. McMahon, president; Dr. A.B. Malcolm, vice-president; Dr. D. Macrae, secretary; Dr. P.B. MacKay, treasurer; Drs. H.W. Hart, H. Osborne, C.C. McGovern, board of censors.
At the August 16, 1869 meeting, a fee bill was adopted. It will be interesting to note that the fee bill adopted August 16, 1869 was in most respects higher than the one in force in 1917.
The constitution provided that this society should be known as the Council Bluffs Medical Society and that its meetings should be held on the evening of the first Monday in each month. The high character of the original membership of the Council Bluffs Medical Society is indicated by the names which we take pleasure in inserting at this point.
Dr. H.W. Hart, Geneva Medical College,
At the meeting of the Council Bluffs Medical Society, February, 7, 1870, three members were elected delegates to the State Medical Society, Des Moines; Drs. McGovern, Osborne and Hart. On May 2, 1870, it was moved "that the members present resolve themselves into a vigilance committee for the purpose of securing a better attendance," which was adopted, indicating that even in the earlier days it was difficult to secure a satisfactory attendance of members.
At the October 3, 1870 meeting Dr. Osborne was fined $1 for non-attendance and for neglect to ring forward his essay of that evening. Dr. Macrae at the same meeting, gave notice that Dr. Scott was about to enter into matrimony and leave the society and the city, and moved resolutions, etc. That the Council Bluffs Medical Society exercised a watchful care over the welfare of itinerant quacks is shown by the resolutions moved by Dr. Macrae at the August 7, 1871 meeting, endorsing the acction of the "Daily Times" in exposing a certain itinerant quack by the name of Dr. Logan. At the same meeting Dr. H.B. Goff discussed the propriety of the Council Bluffs Medical Society purchasing a microscope, and instructed that a committee correspond with instrument makers with a view of taking definite action on the purchase of a microscope.
The meeting of September 4, 1871 appears to have been devoted to a consideration of what to do with numerous quack doctors that seemed to be infesting Council Bluffs at this time. At the same meeting, a committee was appointed to confer with the druggists with reference to establishing a more friendly relation with them. At the February 5, 1872 meeting, the committee on the relation of the druggist, made a somewhat lenghly report, closing with two resolutions; one to the effect that the doctors should be trained to their profession, and second, that it was unprofessional for a physician to accept a percentage on prescriptions. This committee consisted of Dr. S.W. Baker, Dr. A.B. McKune and Dr. H.B. Goff.
Dr. Donald Macrae whose term of office as president expired with the August 5, 1872 meeting, proved to be an efficient and active presiding officer. During this year the recods show numerous cases of discipline for non-attendance, and suspension of members for non-payment of dues.
At the August 5, 1872 meeting Dr. S.W.
Baker was elected president.
The reading of the minutes of the Council Bluffs Medical Society presents the ordinary work of a healthy and vigorous organization. Certain names, Dr. Macrae, Dr. Lacy, Dr. Baker, Dr. Osborne, and Dr. Barstow, were mostly present, and were active in all the work.
At the October 25, 1885, meeting, the board of censors examined the credentials of Dr. H.B. Jennings, and finding them satisfactory, reported in favor of his election, whereupon the society elected him to membership.
It appears that the meetings of the society were generally held at the doctors' offices. Dr. J.F. White appears to have been secretary of the society for some years and on account of his skill with the pen and on account of his interest in the profession, made rather interesting reports of the meetings.
At the March 9, 1887 meeting Dr. Lacy read a paper titled "Shall We Quarantine in Cases of Contagious Diseases?" It appears that the society generally approved of such quarantine.
It appears that at the April 13, 1887
meeting, Dr. Jennings was fined 50 cents for failing to
read his paper, he being absent.
At the February 8, 1888 meeting, a
resolution was adopted in favor of admitting foreign
medicines and foreign instruments free of duty.
At the meeting of the Council Bluffs Medical Society held August 12, 1891, it was moved "that the State Board of Medical Examiners be requested to grant no further permits to practice in this county without first communicating with this society and granting sufficient time to make an investigation and report upon the character and fitness of the applicant." The motion prevailed. At this same meeting Dr. H.B. Jennings was elected secretary in place of Dr. J.F. White who had been secretary of the society since August 1885. It was principally because of the excellent penmansip of Dr. White that we were able to go over the transactions of six years. The Council Bluffs Medical Society was fortunate in its secretaries in that Dr. Jennings wrote nearly as well as Dr. White. It is interesting to note here and there through all these years, that the member who failed to present a paper was able and willing to pay his fine of 50 cents. As time goes on, Dr. Jennings appears to have gained courage and purchased a courser pen, that made the reading more easy.
At the August 9, 1893 meeting, Dr. V.L. Treynor was elected secretary. The moneys collected at this meeting amounted to $24.50 and the balance in the hands of the secretary August 8, 1893 was $42.05. There seems to be some deterioration in penmanship; Dr. White having reached the highest degree of development, Dr. Jennings fell close behind and Dr. Treynor rather excelled in brevity of his reports, but not in his handwriting.
At the May 9, 1894 meeting, a
communication was received from the Merchants and
Manufacturers Association, tendering their support to the
society in securing the meeting of the Iowa State Medical
Society in Council Bluffs in 1895.
The Council Bluffs Medical Society is to be congratulated on having a complete record from its organization July 26, 1869 to December 21, 1915, bound in heavy Russia leather and deposited in the public library of Council Bluffs.
Dallas County Medical Society
Dallas County Medical Society was organized in November, 1868. Dr. M.B. Manesby, president, who began practice in Dallas county in 1854.
Warren County Medical Society
Warren County Medical Society was organized in July, 1869 with seven members.
Madison County Medical Society
Madison County Medical Society was organized in 1873. Members, Drs. L.M. Turner, L.M. Fidreck, J.G. Scott, D.D. Allen, W.L. Leonard, S.B. Cherry, M.W. Crider, Jas. Sloan, H.A. Russell, John Green, W.H. Anderson, Z. Leonard and J.H. Nelson.
Story County Medical Society
The preliminary meeting for the organization of the Story County Medical Society was held at Dr. Fairchild's office in Ames, June 19, 1873. There were present, Drs. Starr & Fairchild, Ames; Dr. B.F. Allen, Story City; and Dr. J.S. Gillett, Iowa Center.
On July 17, 1873, the Story County Medical Society was formally organized by electing Dr. D.S. Fairchild president; Dr. J.S. Gillett, vice-president, and Dr. S.J. Starr secretary, and adopting the code of ethics of the American Medical Association. The membership consisted of Drs. J.S. Starr, James Bradley, J.S. Gillett, B.F. Allen and D.S. Fairchild. . At that time there were but seven graduate physicians in the county, and three were not engaged in active practice. Those holding diplomas were as follows: Dr. Sheldon, Iowa Center; Dr. Gillett, Iowa Center; Dr. Stitzel, Nevada; Dr. Grafton, Cambridge; Dr. Bradley, Ames; Dr. D.S. Fairchild, Ames; Dr. Favre, near Ontario. Drs. Sheldon, Favre and Grafton, were not in active practice.
The meetings of the Story County Medical Society were held quarterly. At the second annual meeting (1874), Dr. G.A. Meredith of Ontario was admitted to membership. The old officers were re-elected. For several years after the organization of the society the number of graduates in medicine were so small that all engaged in active practice who did not profess to belong to some special sect of medicine were admitted to membership.
At the time Story County Medical Society organized, the only towns having physicians were Ames, Nevada, Story City, Iowa Center, Colo and Cambridge. Most of the physicians were practicing on one course of medical lectures. Only a few roads were fenced and were so bad that for a part of the year on hoseback was the only practical way of visitn g patients in the country, and it was sometimes a good day's work to visit two patients.
The Story County Medical Society for the first 10 years of its existence met regularly every three months, but with a rather fluctuating membership. About 1884 or 1885 there were enough graduated physicians in the county to reorganize on the basis of a full medical course with a degree as a requisite for membership. The one course practitioners who remained had in the meantime attended a second course and obtained a degree.
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