(by A. Byron Darby, M. D.)

(Re: History of DeKalb County, Indiana; B. F. Bowen & Company, Inc., Indianapolis, 1914; pages 234 to 242)

Some years ago the writer attended the family reunion, to which the public was invited, in honor of John Houlton, the first settler of DeKalb county. To an old lady who was among the earlier settlers, I asked the following question: "What were the greatest and most serious difficulties you had to contend with in you new home in DeKalb county in those early days?" This old lady very promptly replied: "The difficulties were most prominent in the order I mention them: The malarial fever, the doctors, the mosquitoes and the bears. But," she continued, "the bears are long since gone; our industrious and progressive men have ditched and drained our low and swamp lands, so the malaria is also gone, and the mosquitoes are so scarce that they appear lonesome. The doctor we still have with us, but in such an improved type that he is no longer a dread, but, on the other hand, we feel that he is a new being, and we need him for his usefulness and skill, in both preserving our health by his advice, and restoring our health. But those first doctors-----Oh my!"

We do not marvel that the doctor was, in those days, placed in the list of unwelcome pests, when we know that the principal remedies were: First, the lancet, to take from the patient all the blood he could spare and still live, hoping thereby to destroy the tenement of the demon disease, and force him to seek some other abode, thinking that, perhaps like of old, by some miracle, he would be submerged in the sea. Then, second, the doctor had another indispensable remedy. "The Spanish-Fly Blister," which was applies upon the same theory, indiscriminate upon adult and child. Calomel and blue-pill were the universal internal remedies for all diseases determined by the doctorís diagnosis, and as a placebo when the doctors were uncertain in their minds. On these three remedies the doctors anchored their hopes of success. To work out of the system the calomel and blue-pills, after they had done their savage work, gamboge, castor-oil and senna, one of all of them were freely administered. If the patient survived the first course, it was soon repeated until the patient, in the opinion of the doctor, was only suffering from the remedies, which he usually did. The surgeon in those early days of frontier life, ranked with the skilled carpenter and blacksmith. In fact the former made the doctorís splints and other appliances of wood, and the latter made his operative cutlery, forceps and other implements of steel. The writer has some of theirs relics in his possession. Is it any wonder that the old lady at the Houlton reunion referred to above associated the doctor with the afflictions of the early days, as practice has proved the doctors of that day in the frontier section were following traditions rather than scientific investigation, with independent thought, both in theory and practice. If the physician in those early days, with his multiplied trails to contend with, could be enthusiastic in his efforts and carry conviction with what seemed to him to be the overwhelming weight of truth, what might be his exulting joy now, since the light of intervening years of scientific progress and investigation has so changed the theory of disease and remedies since the opening of the last century? Both medicine and surgery have made greater progress in harmony with scientific truth in the last half century than during all previous history. Medicine, however, with its component sciences and surgery are not alone in the rapid and wonderful progress, which is world wide, but there has been a general awakening in the world of thought during this recent period, discovering and inventing the most wonderful aids to modern life. We can but marvel when we endeavor to tabulate the innumberable lists. This revolution has placed medicine, as a profession, along way on the road of science. As nature, with its most intricate vital forces, is the superior physician and first in charge of every case of human disability, the present doctor---"this new type, this new being"---is now on such friendly terms with nature that he lends rational assistance to his superior, and thereby gives most welcome aid to the afflicted.

The following year after John Houlton had settled in Franklin township in DeKalb county, on Fish creek, September 4th, 1833, several families immediately followed and settled in that township. This fact from a distant view made a rosy field for the first doctor, who was William Sheldon, who settled on section two and remained about one year without much history, and was soon followed by Dr. William Pink, a native of England. He had formerly, for a time, resided in the state of New York. He was unmarried, having had a wife and two children deceased. Doctor Pink made his home with John Fee, a brother-in-law of John Houlton. The doctor was a man of good manners and cultured intelligence, positive and tyrannical in his opinions. He was addicted to the use of intoxicating drinks, which to often rendered him incapable of serving his patients; but it is said that, during these periods of drinking, he had the discretion to positively refuse to give any attention to the sick. He frequently treated families with whom he would live until he had boarded out the professional claim. It the board suited him the claim was large, but if the family was not congenial, the claim was small. He died at the home of Adam Boyer, in Franklin township in 1846. Dr. Peter LaDue, of French descent, soon followed the arrival of Doctor William Pink and settled a little northeast of the center of Franklin township. He was a man of ill temper and impressed the people that he lacked sympathy. He was exacting and pedantic. In the early forties he moved to Enterprise, now Hamilton, just across the line of Franklin township, in Steuben county, and soon died from an accidental injury received when his horse fell through a bridge. In 1842 Dr. William Joice, a native of Pennsylvania, located near John Houlton on Fish creek. Doctor Joice was a man of culture, good habits and of sympathetic nature. He was conscientious in his professional duties and the pioneers all respected and even loved him. In 1848 he moved to Orland, in Steuben county, where there were additional advantages. The people of Franklin township and surrounding country regretted his departure. Doctor Joice reside in Orland until his decease.

Previous to 1840 there were no roads cut out, only in a primitive manner, simply cutting a way the brush and saplings sufficiently to permit the passage of ox team and wagon. These roads were meandering on the highest ground, avoiding swamps as much as possible, crossing swashy beaver dams. These beaver dams were all named, like buoys for a sailor. These trails took a course in the direction of some distant fort or settlement, where could be secured food and other necessities, to sustain life. Fort Wayne, Fort Defiance and Jackson Prairie were the nearest. The St. Joseph river passing through the southeast part of the county, and emptying its waters into the Maumee at Fort Wayne, was an early channel which the settler could use for exporting and importing, by the use of pirogue or raft. From this fact, as early as 1834, settlement began along this river in DeKalb county.

Dr. John Tatman located in Vienna, now Newville, in 1834 or 1835, and made his home, a portion of the time, at Orangeville, a competing embryonic city, one mile by trail, down the river from Vienna. The doctor continued in practice a number of years. Doctor Tatman was noted for haste and bluster. He always rode a white horse and was invariably on the gallop where the conditions of the trail would permit. This hustle and haste and the white horse made the doctor quite noted. During these years Doctor Herrick engaged in practice at Orangeville. The writer can learn but little of him; however, we learned that he met with a fatal accident. Attempting to cross the river in a boat, he lost control of it and was carried over the dam at Orangeville and was drowned. From the benefit of the lovers of the mysterious, I will say that, one of this patrons, a devoted Christian lady, had a vision two weeks previously, and had stated that the doctor would lose his life in the manner he did.

From 1833 to 1842 was really the primeval age of the medical profession in DeKalb county. The doctors labored under the most trying circumstances, it being difficult to obtain their own supplies or those for the comfort of the sick, there were no roads and they were often scantily clothed and fed. One thing, however, they always had a bountiful supply of fresh air.

From 1837 to 1842 the emigration into the county was large, and homeseekers had located in all parts of the county. The county was organized, state roads laid out, and the leading ones partly opened. The first of these roads in the main followed the early trails. The settlers were rapidly cutting away the timber, letting the sun-rays directly upon the undrained soil, and its numerous sags holding water which disappeared only by evaporation. This increased the mosquitoes and malarial fevers, which made additional demands for doctors in various parts of the county. The following named doctors found a field for busy work over the entire county; Dr. Solomon Stough, a native of Tuscarawas county, Ohio, who located on Fish creek, in Troy township, in 1845, where he continued his extensive practice, accumulating means to secure two hundred acres of excellent land, while he highly improved until it was considered the best farm in Troy township. In the early sixties he moved to Waterloo. He enjoyed an extensive practice for nearly sixty years. His death was accidental, he having been struck by a Lake Shore train at a street crossing in the night.

Dr. Jonas Emanuel, a native of Ohio, located at Spencerville in 1843. The doctor had an extensive practice and for many years he was the only physician in that section of the county. He was a man of energy, and was attentive to business, and financially was a success.

Dr. William H. Madden, a native of Ohio, located at Norristown, in Wilmington township; the name was changed from Norristown to Jarvis and finally to Butler, its present name. The doctor enjoyed an extensive practice and had the confidence of all who knew him. He was kind and indulgent and never oppressed his patrons by his professional charges. He once said to the writer, "I have had much more joy out of my efforts, and their results, in relieving the sufferings of humanity than I ever have had from the money my profession has made for me." Age and infirmities compelled him to retire from practice, but he never lost his interest in the profession. He was especially unselfish and kind to his competitors, and his long and faithful friends mourn the decease of a good man.

Dr. James Milligan, a native of Pennsylvania, located at Butler in 1853, where he followed his profession for five years. The doctor was firm in his convictions and energetic, but lacked devotion to his profession. He bought a fine farm in Troy township, to which he retired, where he enjoyed a happy life to a good old age. The doctor had frequent periods of disgust with the practice; and at one time said to the writer while living on his farm: "When I plant and sow for a crop of grain, I expect to reap a bountiful harvest, but in medicine a doctor is always sowing to the wind, and he is fortunate if he does not reap a whirlwind." I replied: "Doctor, you no doubt love agriculture, and you study nature, and the laws governing it. You perfectly prepare the soil, you carefully select the seed, you sow and plant in the season, you skilfully till and cultivate the crops and you are blessed with a bountiful harvest. Wound not a like study of nature in dealing with the human body, becoming familiar with the normal and abnormal condition, and the functions of the organs, making yourself equally as familiar with the chemistry and specific action of remedies, and administered with like care you exercise in planting and sowing your seeds, would you not obtain fully as satisfactory results?" He replied: "That is all bosh." The doctor had an extensive practice through the country of that region, notwithstanding his dislike for this profession. He was never known to ride his hoarse off a walk. He would say to anyone, asking him to hurry: "If the patient is going to die, they will die anyway; and there is no use of killing a horse."

Dr. Noyce Coats, a native of Pennsylvania, matured his boyhood days in Wilmington township, near Butler. He took a course of lectures in Michigan University, and was appointed surgeon in the federal army during the war of the Rebellion. He was a man of fine culture, companionable and sympathetic. He died in 1877, mourned by all who knew him.

Dr. Hiram Jones located in Uniontown, now the first ward of Waterloo, in 1850. He was noted for his tall and angular physique, the colonial cut of his clothing, and he always wore a high silk hat. He was social and congenial and was fond of society; was fond of anecdotes and stories, and his were made rich by his nasal voice. He was an old bachelor and especially fond of the company of young ladies. He frequently boasted that no tricks could be successfully perpetrated on him. One winterís evening, after a drifting snow, he invited two jolly and very popular young ladies to accompany him to a spelling school at a distant school house. The roads were badly drifted with snow. While at the spelling contest the boys removed the bolts which held the box of his sleigh to the running gear, and the sleigh was dumped into the snow, and old "John," the horse, went home with the sleigh. The doctor never heard the last of this trip, and he deeply felt the humiliation, but said: "It was the most chilling and perplexing case in all my professional career." He retired from practice during the early sixties, married a Miss Johnson, of Steuben county, Indiana, who had inherited her fatherís estate, and they migrated to Missouri, where snow drifts were seldom known.

Dr. Isaac John Hornberger, a contemporary with Dr. Hiram Jones at Waterloo, was retiring in his manner, but had the confidence of the people. He was conservatively liberal in his views and sympathetic. In the early sixties his health failed, and he retired from practice, dying about the time of the close of the war of the Rebellion.

Dr. William Benier, a native of Ohio, located as a young physician in Salem Center, Steuben county, in 1848. Having had a very large patronage from the northern half of DeKalb county, in 1862 he located in Waterloo, DeKalb county. He made the treatment of chronic diseases a specialty. The doctor had a wide and deserving reputation; he had a superior knowledge of therapeutics, had an analytical mind, was quick of perception, and seldom was in error in any detail of his diagnosis. He had the gift of memory to the extent that he could relate in detail every remedy he had used and its effect in every case in his fifty yearsí practice. He died in Waterloo at the age of eighty years.

The physicians at Auburn during the primitive period of DeKalb county were Doctors Ross, Haynes, Cooper, Prichard, Oliver and Roe; in addition to these, prior to 1856, were Doctors J. H. Ford, W. B. Dancer, Hendricks and J. N. Chamberlain; all of these four men had more than ordinary ability; they were energetic, quick, of perception and exercised superior judgment in their profession. Their everyday lives were convincing proof of their unselfish interest in humanity. Each one of them was always ready to lend unselfish counsel and aid to the younger members of the profession. They have passed to their reward, but they sill live in history as deserving noblemen.

From 1842 to 1856 closes what might be termed the middle age of the settling of DeKalb county and its development. In 1856 the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Air Line railroad was completed through the center of the county, causing the building of the thriving towns of Butler, Waterloo and Corunna. The Fort Wayne branch of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern, through the center north and south, which passes through Summit, Waterloo, Auburn, Auburn Junction, St. Johns and New Era, quickly followed these railroads. The Eel River, now Vandalia railroad, was built from Butler to Logansport, passing through the city of Auburn, running from northeast to southwest through the county. The Baltimore & Ohio, built through the southern tier of townships, and which caused the building of the town of St. Joe on the east in Concord township, and the village of Concord, Auburn Junction, and the city of Garrett, where are located the division and shops of the Baltimore & Ohio. The Wabash enters the county in Troy township, near the village of Artic, passing through the cities of Butler, St. Joe and Spencerville, The construction of these railroads caused the building of new towns and rapidly increased the growth of the older ones. From this wonderful development and increase of population, we can readily see that from 1856 to the present constitutes the modern age of DeKalb county in every respect. In this period the doctors have located in every inviting field. They have been mostly young men fresh from colleges and universities, energetic and intelligent.


Pages 240 to 242

The question of a medical society had for along time been suggested and urged during personal interviews and professional councils of the doctors as they chanced to meet throughout the county.

In 1882 the doctors most interested in the advancement of the profession met in Auburn to organize a medical society. There was but one question which arose touching upon the laws and rules that should govern the society which called our discussion. This was whether a woman who had the accomplishment of M. D. should be received into the society. During the discussion one grave and influential doctor arose somewhat agitated and said: "Mr. President: I think no one of us would be injured by the civilizing influence of women; unless you have lost all love for your mother and your wife. If you have one, I can see no earthly reason why women should not be allowed to become medical men in this society." This created an outburst of laughter, and there were no further objections. By unanimous consent women who were medical doctors were admitted.

Upon the completion of the organization of the Medical Society of DeKalb County, as an auxiliary of the Indiana State Medical Society, fifteen doctors were present and signed the constitution and by-laws. This meeting convened at the office of Dr. W. P. Carpenter in the city of Butler on July 27, 1882, following a meeting at the office of Dr. J. A. Cowen in the city of Auburn a few days before for making temporary arrangements for the organization. Out of the fifteen who signed the by-laws at the meeting, there are only two living at this date. There have been, since the organization of this society, in 1882, many doctors located in DeKalb county, who for some reason, best known to themselves, have not affiliated with the medical society.

As a rule these doctors not affiliating have been transient or have failed to recognize the educational features of the society for the advancement of professional knowledge.

The following named doctors have affiliated with the organization of the medical society since its beginning, and the society keenly feels the loss by death of many of these benefactors and their wise counsel: J. S. Barnett, J. J. Littlefield, J. B. Bennett, W. H. Madden, B. S. Sheffer, A. A. Ward, J. S. Kenstrick, C. E. Nusbaum, J. S. Yount, D. M. Hines, S. M. Sherman, J. V. Lewis, V. Anderson, L. A. Hines, U. G. Souger, M. E. Clingler, A. A. Kramer, W. P. Carpenter, W. K. Mitchell, J. B. Casebeer, S. H. Snyder, T. C. Sargent, James N. Chamberlain, Mrs. L. A. P. Leasure, W. F. Shumaker, P. S. Kaadt, Frank Bevier, J. H. Ford, G. E. Emanuel, F. M. Hines, J. C. Baxter, W. W. Swartz, Frank Brown, W. K. Schlusser, J. A. Cowan, D. J. Swartz, F. W. Fanning, Mrs. Vesta M. Swartz, V. A. Humphrey, U. J. Ward, M. M. Bowen, N. J. Shook, J. O. Buchtel, J. A. Stough, A. Byron Darby, Frank Broughton, N. L. Hines, J. A. Clevenger, A. V. Hines, J. C. Emma, E. L. Fosdick, D. A. Sebring, A. S. Farrington, J. J. Wilkinson, R. Elson, H. W. Bowman, Charles S. Swartz, Z. H. Stamets, L. U. Geisinger, G. T. Mathena, J. T. Dunn, J. b. Adams, J. E. Showalter, W. H. Nausbaum, F. A. King, J. W. Thomas.

The number of physicians now in practice in DeKalb county totals thirty-nine and are located as follows: In the city of Butler, five; Newville, one; St. Joe, three; Spencerville, two; Waterloo, five; Auburn, twelve; Garrett, seven; Corunna, two; Ashley, two.

These men now engaged in practice have the confidence of the communities in which they live, are intelligent and aspiring, keeping in the front rank with the most skillful in the state.

In conclusion, I am sure it will gladden the heart of every reader, whether doctor or layman, when I tell you that a more glorious epoch is at hand. Its dawning light will guide the medical profession into the unerring paths of scientific sanitation; and the doctor will be employed to prevent disease instead of being employed to cure disease; which , at best, with all the profoundest skill that is, or will be, leaves the sufferer with physical loss which cannot be regained. When the doctor succeeds in preventing disease the millennium of the medical profession has come. It is in sight. The light will soon disperse all doubt. Then the doctorís regrets and sorrows from sympathies for the afflicted, blasted hopes through failures, and tears of sympathy shed when alone in his sanctum for the bereaved, will all disappear; and, instead he will realize the pleasure of triumph, joy instead of sadness, hopes realized instead of failure, and smiles in place of tears. I know I voice the hopes of the profession, here and elsewhere, that unfailing science may direct us, and lead us into the light of truth, that we may more bountifully bless mankind, and restore man from his dwarfed and weakened condition, to the strong and beautiful creature that God created as the crowning glory of his omnipotent power.