history of any community whose civilization rises distinctly above
barbarism is not
complete unless there is contained within its pages a short
historical chapter written upon medicine and surgery.
The first physicians who came to O'Brien county to live came in the year 1873. They came into the hardships of pioneer life with two objects in view. The first was to acquire land by homesteading, and the second was to care for the sick while they were acquiring title to their lands.
The physicians who practiced medicine in the early seventies were not the first physicians on record, for the art of treating the sick as a distinct business has been followed for about twenty-three hundred years. But nowhere does the world record greater hardships upon the practitioner of medicine than those recorded of O'Brien county's early physicians. In 1873 there was not a post nor tree and only occasionally a faint trail to act as a guide to the physician as he made distant visits to the sick in storms of rain and snow by day and by night. Dr. C. Longshore, who now resides in Sheldon, hale and hearty, and who was one of the first two physicians in O'Brien county, had, many times, to get out of his buggy at night and get down on his hands and knees to see if he could feel with his hands some faint trail of a wagon or buggy wheel that he might make a better guess as to where he was or which way he was going when there was sickness in some far distant shack it required a brave heart to storm the weather or the darkness to go after the doctor and it required an equally brave heart upon the part of the doctor to make the professional visit. One of the greatest heroisms recorded in pioneer days was that of Dr. Edwin Hornibrook when, in the blockade of 1880, he made a visit to a patient in Sanborn from Cherokee and returned, a distance of nearly seventy miles, which he made afoot upon snow shoes, traveling over snow banks twice deeper than his own length. If those explorers who waged hazardous expeditions in quest for the North and South poles could have selected their parties from such men as the early pioneer doctors of northwestern Iowa they certainly would, not have lacked heroism for any possible undertaking. Those doctors were
O BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 303
brave and true. They fought bravely mainy battles and lost frequently to the enemy. In those dark days of O'Brien county, when diphtheria invaded so many homes and left the father and mother without a child out of large families, the pioneer physician stood by, doing all that could be done in those days, but absolutely helpless to cure the disease or stay its contagion. Every physician had "a treatment" and every treatment was ineffectual until science gave in 1894 another of its choice gems to the world in the form of antitoxin for diphtheria. Ask any pioneer doctor what days were the darkest to him as he looks backward upon those early times, and he will forget about his own hardship, about the blizzards and the rain storms and the nights of darkness, of wandering about the prairies unable to find the patient's house or his own way home; he will forget about all this and answer that his darkest days were those in which whole families were wiped out with diphtheria while he stood by unable to stay the hand of death. But there is a brighter side to the history of O'Brien county's pioneer physicians. If the mountains and the sea have their glories, their pre-eminence and their fascinations, so did the early prairie of O'Brien county. Prairie is a French word and means meadow. The word sounds harmoniously poetic and is filled with euphonious splendor. About all the physician was required to do to own one-fourth section or a section of this beautiful prairie was to look at it, admire it and say, "this is mine." Then he owned a "solemn mile of prairie, a four square block of God's out-of-doors with the height of the sky above it, and the depth of the world beneath it, and the radiancy of dawns and sunsets shed over it, and the dim dawn of dusks enfolding it like a blessed compassion—a mile east, a mile west, a mile north, a mile south—and all the time to be tramping on your own grass and breathing air brewed on your ground and lifting head into your own sky and gazing at your own firmament; bless me, this is plutocracy!" These prairies were ladened with abundance of wild game, which the enterprising doctor could supply his table with during the most of the year. In early spring the black-breasted wild pigeons in millions were here. The prairie plover and long billed snipe; ducks and geese in spring and fall almost darkened the sky. But the classic game was the prairie chicken. In mid-summer and early fall the prairie of O'Brien county contained carloads of prairie chicken. There was much in the land of the prairie to brighten the life of the pioneer physician of O'Brien county. But let us hasten on, for the prairie and the pioneer physician have disappeared; and while the prairie has been transfigured beyond recognition into domestic gardens and fields, so also has the practice of medicine in the same
304 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
period of time undergone a sublime transition. If the doctor of forty years
ago could awaken today to the technical advancement of medicine and surgery
he would feel much as a
Rip Van Winkle victimized by the slumbering of a
years. The science and art of obstetrics have kept pace in progress
with the other branches of medicine. No
longer do we look with mysterious
ignorance upon a parturient patient distressed with high fever and abdominal
bloating that was thought to be due to "taking cold" or something "mysteriously wrong within." But we know now that this is an infection from without, that has been introduced within by the patient, her attendants or her
physician. And if there is a man in O'Brien county today practicing medicine who does not know enough to prepare his hands clean enough
to use ill an appendix operation, he is a disgrace to the medical profession
and to the
age in which he is living and ought to be compelled to retire from
practice of obstetrics. Cleanliness, especially in obstetrics, is next to
godliness and the physician who lacks in this regard is an enemy to progress
happiness. The skilful handling of instrumental cases of parturition
together with modern management of profuse hemorrhage have
parturition of nearly all of its former horrors. The management of
patient during the ten days following is also a marked improvement
worthy as a part of the evolution of the times. Surgery, since 1873, has
made a marvelous advancement and to those who are wide awake to its
possibilities, it seems much in advance of other branches of medicine. Yet
internal medicine is
forging rapidly to the front. The methods of general
management of the sick, the attention given to the selection of proper diet,
and efficient nourishment and
assisting nature in the process of eliminating
the toxines of the body which are always present in the diseased system,
together with other hygienics are important phases of treating the sick that
physicians of today superior to those who have labored in the past.
Microscopical examinations of the tissues and bodily excretions and secretions and more improved chemical analysis of the same agents, the great
value of the X-ray and modern instruments of precision were not known by
physicians of O'Brien county. Neither had they learned of the
value of antitoxic serums that are used with
great success today in the treatment of
many of the infectious diseases.
The idea of hospitals for the treatment of the sick has been growing in O'Brien county, but not so rapidly as it should grow. Four enterprising and ambitious physicians of O'Brien county have ventured each with a hospital. Hence there are five hospitals in O'Brien county at the present time. One
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 305
in Calumet, two in Sheldon and two in Hartley. However, they are small
institutions, not of general or public significance, but merely of individual
personal moment. It is a reflection upon civil government, local, county,
state and national, that any physician should feel compelled to construct or
prepare a building for hospital purposes, for this is a burden of large proportions that should be shouldered by the proper agency, and that agency
general public. It would be pitiably dramatic to see an educator constructing a school building in which to educate the young, a minister of the
gospel to build his own church in which to deliver his own sermons, or the
attorney erecting a court house in which to try his own jury cases. And
yet this is about the procedure that has been undertaken by the physician.
But if the
private hospital is excusable or defensible just to that extent will
it point the public to its duty in housing and attending the sick and defenseless
and those in need of charitable
protection. O'Brien county at the present time
is the garden spot of the world and is fairly teeming with wealth and prosperity and there is no good reason why O'Brien county should not erect and
equip a suitable hospital in Sheldon, one in Sanborn, one in Hartley, one in
Primghar, one in Sutherland and one in Paullina, where all the sick and helpless of the
county could lie housed and attended under the most favorable conditions and where
every physician would have equal opportunities in attending
the sick and not
being either vexed mentally or financially by the management
hospital or deprived of she advantages that a public hospital affords. A
great many operations in the past and many operations at present are done in
patient's home. Some of these operations are decidedly major and of a
serious nature and in fact
they were beyond surgical skill and knowledge of a
quarter century ago, and yet the results of these operations at home are equally
as good as those obtained in many of the hospitals of the country.
During 1914 the following physicians and surgeons at Sheldon united in establishing a second hospital at Sheldon and have already procured a suitable hospital building, which was opened for service September 1, 1914: Dr. W. R. Brock, Dr. W. H. Myers, Dr. Frank Myers, Dr. Roy Myers and Dr. H. J. Brackney. They have placed the same under the management of the Seventh-Day Adventists or Battle Creek system of hospital service. The new hospital at Primghar donated by George Ward has likewise been taken over by the same management. O'Brien county now has five hospitals, namely: Dr. Cram's hospital at Sheldon; Dr. Hand's hospital at Hartley;; Dr. C. L. Seiver's hospital at Calumet and the two hospitals already named. (20)
306 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA
The first successful attempt to organize a medical association in O'Brien county was in the year 1903 at Primghar. This society is known as The O'Brien County Medical Society. This society, because of the conditions upon which it was formed, became a component part of the Iowa State Medical Association and the American Medical Association. Without becoming first a member of the county society a physician cannot become a member of either the Iowa State Medical Association or the American Medical Association. The charter members of the O'Brien County Medical Society numbered twelve and one half of these are practicing now in the county. The charter members of this society are as follows: Dr. A.L. Bushby, Dr. F.E. Brown, Dr. W.R. Brock, Dr. F.W. Cram, Dr. E. Dudley, Dr. Little, Dr. B.S. Louthan, Dr. W. H. Meyers, Dr. C. B. Rentz, Dr. H. C. Rogers, Dr. H. Scott and Dr. Stewart. This society meets three or four times a year and has developed into a very good organization and is very active in its society work.
Those who have
registered at the county seat to practice medicine in
O'Brien county are as follows:
Avery, Milo, graduate Rush Medical, registered in 1887.
Avery, Harold. College of Physicians and Surgeons, Chicago, registered 1910.
Brackney, H. J., Iowa University, registered 1905.
Beebe, A.J., school not given, registered 1889.
Bonham, John, school not given, registered 1886.
Brewer, L.S., school not given, registered 1896.
Brock, W.R., Iowa College of Physicians and Surgeons, registered 1895.
Briggs, F.J., school not given, registered 1880.
Burstien, Louis L., Iowa College of Physicians and Surgeons, registered 1908.
Barnhizer, J.G., college not given, registered 1898.
Bushby, A.L., college not given, registered 1899.
Conway, John W., Iowa College of Physicians and Surgeons, 1886.
Cushman, R.A., Dartmouth College, registered 1888.
Childs, Mary E., college not given, registered 1891.
Canter, S.J., college not given, registered 1892.
Cram, F.W., Rush Medical, registered 1888.
Crider, J.J., college not given, registered 1897.
Coleman, F.J., Sioux City College of Medicine, registered 1910
Collet, C.C, college not given, registered 1902.
Dudley, E., college not given, registered 1886.
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 307
Dougherty, Wm., college not given, registered 1887.
Daily Milton, Hammond University, registered 1896.
Elliott, Thos. B., college not given, registered 1894.
Engle, Carl, school not given, registered 1889.
Eddy, A.H., college not given, registered 1897.
English, Belle, school not given, registered 1890.
Eger, Christian, college not given, registered 1901.
Ehlers, F.S.. Northwestern University, registered 1905.
Esser, Wm., school not given, registered 1891.
Egent, Philip M., school not given, registered 1887.
Field, L.S., school not given, registered 1901.
Fletcher, D.A., school not given, registered 1902.
Gannon, W.T., school not given, registered 1890.
Gleystein, R.J., Rush Medical, registered 1907.
Gilliland, C.E., LJniversity of Kansas, 1913.
Horton, W.H.. school not given, registered 1893.
Harrison, Geo. E., school not given, registered 1891.
Horton, F.W. Iowa University, registered 1891.
Harrison, J C., school not given, registered 1891.
Hume, J.H., school not given, registered 1887.
Hamilton, W.A., school not given, registered 1899.
Hand, W.C. college not given, registered 1906.
Hollenbeck, Frank R.. Rush Medical, registered 1899.
Hollenheck, F.D.. Rush Medical, registered 1906.
Howard, W.A. Northwestern University, registered 1908.
Hopkins, A.G., school not given, registered 1894.
Knepper, John, school not given, registered 1907.
Kuffman, Frank E,, school not given, registered 1897.
Knox, Thos. C., Iowa University, registered 1908.
Kass, Thos. D., Wisconsin University, registered 1909.
Keily, M.D., non-graduate, registered 1900.
Louthan, B.S., University of Iowa, registered 1886.
Longshore, C, school not given, registered 1880.
Louthan, J.M., University of Iowa, registered 1886.
Lanning, H.J., school not given, registered 1880.
Leary, J.S., University of Michigan, registered 1887.
Longshore, Anna Mary, college not given, registered 1891.
Long, J.M., school not given, registered 1887.
308 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
Lewis, W.H., school not given, registered 1887.
Landis, H.F., school not given, registered 1907.
Little, W.G., Rush Medical, registered 1902.
Myers, C.H., school not given, registered 1887.
McCormick, Chas., college not given, registered 1888.
McDonald, John, school not given, registered 1890.
Mueller, C.P., school not given, registered 1892.
Masters, school not given, registered 1892.
Murphy, T.W., University of Iowa, registered 1903.
Miller, G E., College of Physicians and Surgeons, registered 1905.
Myers, W.H., Rush Medical, registered 1889.
Myers, Frank L., Physicians and Surgeons, Chicago, registered 1888.
Nichols, Frank L.. school not given, registered 1901.
Oldag, Geo. C, University of Iowa, registered 1912.
Paul, C.S., school not given, registered 1886.
Parker, E.W. school not given, registered 1886.
Perley, Geo. P., school not given, registered 1893.
Page, C.V., University of Iowa, registered 1904.
Phelps, C.E., University of Iowa, registered 1910.
Peck, N.L.F., school not given, registered 1883.
Roepke G.S., school not given, registered 1898.
Rogers, H.C, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Chicago, registered 1898.
Relihan, H.G.. Northwestern Medical, registered 1911.
Richardson, E E., University of Iowa, registered 1898.
Rentz, C.B., Rush Medical, registered 1901.
Searles, F.L., school not given, registered 1887.
Smith, Chas., school not given, registered 1887.
Stewart, D.T., Rush Medical, registered 1887.
Seeley W.A., school not given, registered 1890.
Smith, E.E., school not given, registered 1892.
Sigworth, D.L., school not given, registered 1893.
Scott, H., University of Edinburgh, registered 1894.
Star, O.F., University of Iowa, registered 1897.
Struble, Andrew, school not given, registered 1897.
Sheafer, E W., school not given, registered 1883.
Strong, E.J., school not given, registered 1881.
Smith, N.S., school not given, registered 1893.
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Steele, J.F., school not given, registered 1898.
Schwabland, W.T., school not given, registered 1904.
Sievers, C.L., Sioux City Medical College, registered 1904.
Shellensenherger, E.S., Chicago College of Medicine, registered 1907.
Stewart, C.E., Sioux City College of Medicine, registered 1908.
Sherlock, J.H., Indiana Medical College, registered 1910.
Simon, John, Chicago College of Physicians and Surgeons, registered 1911.
Sherbon, J.B., Iowa University, registered 1912.
Stoner, A.P., school not given, registered 1891.
Trover, U.U., school not given, registered 1894.
Twining, E.T., Chicago Medical, registered 1896.
Viers, S.M., school not given, registered 1886.
VanDun, E.K., school not given, registered 1897.
Warren, C.T., school not given, registered 1887.
Woodcock, W.P., school not given, registered 1887.
Werick, H.A., school not given, registered 1889.
Wilcox, C, school not given, registered 1889.
Womeldorf, J.M.. school not given, registered 1897.
Wheeler, Fred, school not given, registered 1901.
Wight, W.G., University of Iowa, registered 1901.
West, C.C, school not given, registered 1880.
I cannot close this chapter without congratulating the laity upon its intellectual improvement relative to things medical. Fads and fancies, ignorance and superstition are rapidly being replaced by a decent sort of common sense and this adds aid and pleasure to the work of honest and intelligent physicians. Harder and harder will it become for charlatans, quacks and half educated doctors to thrive parasitically upon the ignorance of the people, for this too "shall pass away." It was not many years ago that physicians were graduated in two or three years and this short course resulted in one physician to every five hundred and twenty population in United States. Through a demand by the physicians, which extended throughout the entire country, for a longer and a higher plan of training and education for the physician, the matriculation in medical colleges has been suddenly and greatly reduced. Not only this, but a great many medical colleges have been unable to meet this great demand and have merged with other medical institutions or gone completely out of business. Dartmouth, the fourth oldest medical school in America, could not meet the demands and no longer teaches medi-
310 O BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
cine and surgery. It is calculated that in 1827 there will be only one physician to every two thousand two hundred population, where now there is one physician to every five hundred and twenty people in the country. This scarcity of physicians will be due to medical colleges discontinuing their work and a marked decrease in medical matriculates, and to many of the medical students becoming weary of the long college grind and giving up their medical studies and turning their attention to other work. In these circumstances there will be without doubt a hardship worked upon both the physicians and the public in the future. Hence this age is crying out for young men to enter the medical profession. Young men of noble character and moral worth; men with large mental capacity, strong, brave and true. This class of young men are the ones who are to solve the mighty problems and carry the great responsibility of medicine and surgery in the future. Their work, problems, and responsibilities will be much mightier than ours, the same as ours of today are much greater than those of the past. But let us fear not that these young men will meet the future problems of medicine and surgery, bravely and effectually. And now upon the graves of those physicians who have practiced medicine in O'Brien county and have joined the "great beyond," let us drop a tear and place a flower. To those physicians who in O'Brien county are now "carrying the cross" and "going about doing good," let us extend our gratitude and crown them with our benediction.