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History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania online

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188 HISTORY OF TIOGA COUNTY.



had never received it. A full statement of his account, including unpaid fees and
this receipt of the attorney general, was made out and shown to the auditor general.
It was laid before the legislature, and a law was passed ordering a re-settlement of
his account; and when it was so settled and all errors corrected and proper allow-
ances made, the amount found due was promptly paid.

Prom the foregoing statement it is very clear that Mr. Donaldson was not a very
good business man, as the world generally understands that term, however good an
officer he may have been; and it is pretty evident, too, that the course he pursued,
showing his lack of business qualifications, helped very much to keep him for so
long period in office.

Mr. Donaldson had at times been a very zealous temperance man. He was one
of the originators of the "Sheep Skin," an association that caused, for a time, a very
large falling off in the receipts of the liquor dealers. At that time the temperance
question was an important element in politics. He was an anti-Mason in Ritner's
time, always at heart an anti-slavery man, and at one time a strong anti-Wilmot
man, but when the wave was at its height, and he and Judge White in danger of
being washed out to sea, they both, like prudent men, deserted their own craft, went
aboard the Wilmot schooner and saved their political lives.

In those days it was generally conceded that Mr. Donaldson was the shrewdest
political manager in Tioga county. He seemed to know, by a kind of mental
mathematical calculation, just how each step would affect the final result. He
knew, too, exactly how the nomination of Mr. B or Mr. C or Mr. D — one or all —
would accord with his political obligations, having in view all the while the main
chance. This is not said of him disparagingly. His occupancy of a position on the
bench of Tioga county afterwards was a fit recognition of his services as the
recording officer of the court for so long a time. He continued to serve as associate
judge until his death, which occurred very unexpectedly, February 12, 1880, when
he had reached the advanced age of seventy-five years. Distinguished throughout
his long public career for his urbanity and generosity, his death was sincerely
mourned by hundreds of old friends not only in the county of Tioga, but throughout
northern Pennsylvania.



CHAPTEK XIII.

THE MEDICAL PEOFESSIOX.

Introductory— Pioneer Physicians— Their Courageous Devotion to Dltv—
Brief Sketches op Prominent Physicians— The First Drug Store— Sketch
OF Dr. Robert Roy, its Proprietor— "Brick" Pomeroy's Rpiminiscences-
The Tioga County Medical Association.



THE family physician, in the exercise of his duties as such, ounu's into closer
intimacy with his fellowmen than does the member of any other profession. There
is no condition of life in which his services are not required. He is present at the
natal coucli and at the bed of death. His mission is to cure disease, ease pain and
alleviate sufTering. Confiding no less in his honor than in his professional skill, we
freely admit him to the innermost sanctuaries of our homes, and make hira the cus-
todian of secrets and the repository of confidences sucii as we eommit to the keeping
of no one else outside the sacred precincts of the chunli. These lie must henceforth
keep locked within his own breast. The man worthy to receive such confidences
may fall short of being the most skillful of physicians, but he must not, even in the
slightest deforce, fall short of meeting every requirement of professional honor.
Whether admitted to the bedside of the young or the old, the jKior or the ricli, to the
hovel or the mansion, he must be a gentleman, first, last and all the time. To the
honor of the medical profession everywhere, be it said that the family physician, with
rare exceptions, is a gentleman with a high standard of [U'rsonal and professional
honor.

The pioneer physician, though less educated and, perhaps, less highly polished
than his brethren of to-day, was, nevertheless, unselfish, self-sacrificing and fearless
in his devotion to his professional duties. He rode at all hours of the day and night,
through summer's heat and winter's cold, over roads that were little more than path-
ways through the wilderness, willingly facing dangers and enduring personal
discomforts, sooner than fail in the discharge of duty or forfeit the confidence reposed
in him. In many instances, because of limited knowledge and a still more limited
supply of simple remedies, he was compelled, in waging an unequal war against
disease, to bring his common sense to the front, and make it do service in constantly
recurring emergencies. This self-reliance resulted in building up an individuality,
always marked, often peculiar, and occasionally eccentric. He learned to know the
people, their ailments and their idiosyncrasies, and this knowledge had not a little
to do with his success as a practitioner. As a rule, when he died he left behind him
an honorable name and a limited estate as the principal heritage of his descendants.
The physician of to-day begins practice with an equipment of medical and



190 HISTOBT OF TIOGA COUNTY.

surgical knowledge such as it was impossible to obtain three-quarters of a century
ago, or for that matter less than a decade ago. The wonderful discoveries of recent
years, as to the cause and cure of disease, are the world-wide property of the pro-
fession, and the latest graduate from a reputable medical college enters the field of
practical effort confident in his ability, so far as knowledge goes, to battle success-
fully with the most insidious and complicated ailments and diseases.

Formerly the physician contented himself with dealing with diseases, whether
individual, epidemic or contagious, after they had manifested themselves. In
the meantime his field has widened, and his infiuence grown more potent. He has
become the conservator of public health; keeping cholera and yellow fever from our
seaports; preventing the spread of epidemic and contagious diseases and confining
them to the locality of their origin. To his efforts we owe our boards of health,
sanitary laws and ordinances, and those hygenie rules, that, by their observance,
tend to prevent disease, and thus dispense with his services. He has, in his medical
societies and organizations, by rules of ethics, adopted for his own guidance, and
by the passage of laws enacted at his solicitation, raised the standard of his pro-
fession, and shut out, from an opportunity to impose upon and deceive the public,
the unprofessional charlatan and quack.

In all civilizations the physician holds a leading place. Even among barbaric
and savage peoples he is a most important personage. The secrets of physical man
are his and the ills of the community his care. His warning voice is constantly
raised against excesses and his mind directed toward the alleviation of suffering in
every form. His profession is, indeed, a saving one, and his life generally one of
good works.

So far as known. Dr. William Kent Lathy is believed to have been the first
regular physician to visit the territory of Tioga county. He was a young English-
man, a graduate of the College of Surgeons, London, and came to Muncy valley
about the time of the formation of Lycoming county, through the recommendation
of the celebrated Dr. Eush, of Philadelphia. Colonel Williamson, after founding
Bath, made an effort to secure him as a resident physician, and invited him to visit
the place. Dr. Lathy made the journey, traveling over the Williamson road. There
were a few settlers at what are now the boroughs of Tioga and Lawrenceville. He
did not remain long at Bath, but returned and settled at Williamsport in 1798, and
became the first resident physician in that place. Dr. Lathy was acquainted with
the Morris and Ellis families, and afterwards married a daughter of Samuel Wallis,
a near neighbor of the latter.

When the English colony settled on the First fork of Pine creek, in Lycoming
county, about 1805, their nearest physician was Dr. James Davidson, who lived at
the mouth of Pine creek. He was a distinguished surgeon in the Eevolutionaxy
army, and was mustered out in 1783. He soon afterwards located at the mouth of
the creek. His field of practice extended for many miles up and down the river, and
far into the southern regions of what became Tioga county, until the settling of Dr.
William Willard at Tioga in 1798. It is also likely that Dr. Samuel Coleman, who
succeeded Dr. Lathy at Williamsport, about 1803, and remained there until 1808,
made professional visits to the infant settlements in Delmar and at Wellsboro. His
route would be by the State road from ISTawberry. In those days physicians made



THE MEDICAL PB0FE8SI0N. 191



long journeys on horseback, with saddle-bags in which their medicines were carried,
the roads not being in a condition for wheeled vehicles.

The first physician to locate in the county was Dr. William Willard. He was
born in Lenox, Massachusetts, February 5, 1762; married ilary Eathbone, at Troy,
New York, October 13, 1791; moved thence to Middleton, Eutland county, Ver-
mont, in the winter of 1793, and finally to Tioga, in February, 1T98. Here he built
a square log house, which he opened as a tavern. He also opened a store, erected
saw-mills and became the principal citizen and business man of the village which
grew up about him, and which, until after his death, October 28, 1836, bore the
name of "Willardsburg." During the later years of his life he gave his attention
principally to his business affairs. He was the first postmaster at Tioga, serving
from July 1, 1809, to April 1, 1815.

Ralph Kilbum, a brother of Judge Ira Kilburn, and a bachelor, settled at
Lawrencevillo in 1802, and practieed medieine there until 1810. He then went to
live with his sister near liochester, New York, and made his home with her until his
death.

Eddy Howland, who settled in Deerileld township in 1803, though not an
educated physician, practiced medicine among the early settlers for a number of
years with rare skill and success.

Dr. Simeon Power came into the county in 1805, and made a short stay at
Lawrenceville. He then went to Knoxville, where he resided until 180S, when he
removed to Tioga, then the principal village in the county. In 1815 he was elected
sherifl' of Tioga county and served three years. He was also eleeted an associate
judge in 1851, and served on the bench five years. About IS'^l he returned to
Lawrenceville, where he continued to reside and practice his profession until his
death, December 19, 1863. His practice extended over a wide area and he was one
of the best known of the early physicians.

Dr. riiny Power, a brother of Dr. Simeon Power, came into the county soon
after the latter, with whom he lived for a time. About 18."2 he located at Canoe
Camp, and a few years later at Tioga, remaining as a resident physician d the latter
place until 1835, when he removed to Detroit, llichipm, where he passed the re-
mainder of his life.

The wife of Eeuben Cook, the pioneer of Cowanosque valley, and an early
settler at Osceola, was for many years the accoucheuse of that section of the county,
and OS late as IHv'.'i had a larf::er obstetrical practice than any physician in the valley.
Siie was known far and wide as "Granny Cook," and her fee was invariably one
pound of tea.

Jonathan llonney, a one-lepu'ed man, was in DeerfieM township about isll.
He came from Horscheads, New York, and was a practicing physician. Although
he made several removals lie never got beyond the reach of his Deerfield patrons.
The name of Jonathan "Barney" appears in a printed copy of the census list of
Tioga county for 1800. If, as it is reasonable to suppose, 'Tiamey" should be
"Bonney," this pioneer physician was in the county before 1800. He is desig-
nated 08 a "farmer" on the census list of that year.

Dr. Adolphus .Mhii. wlio came in 1813, was the first regular physician to locate
at Osceola. He remained until 1816. About this time or, perhaps, earlier, a Dr.



\Q2 HISTOBT OF TIOGA COUNTY.



Beard located in Tioga, but remained only a short time. Dr. Stillman Cannon
located in Mansfield in 1813 and practiced there two years. The name of "Hyram
Cannon, physician," appears on the assessment list of Covington township for 1816,
but is not found afterward. In 1816, also, Peter Paulkner's name appears on
the assessment list of Delmar township. He practiced a year or two in Wellsboro,
and then remoyed to one of the western states.

The first physician to locate permanently in Wellsboro was Dr. Jeremiah
Brown. He was born in Vermont, March 10, 1750, studied medicine with an older
brother, and for several years practiced his profession in his native State. His
first wife having died, he married Miss Sarah Ann Porter. About 1816 he came to
"Wellsboro, then a mere hamlet. The surrounding country was sparsely settled and
physicians frequently had to make long journeys. He traveled up and down Pine
creek, oftentimes answering calls as far away as Jersey Shore. Fevers were then the
prevailing diseases and he had the reputation of treating them very successfully.
Dr. Brown was a leading man in those days. He was elected a member of the first
board of trustees of the academy in April, 1818, and re-elected in 1819 and 1830.
He was also the first secretary of the board, serving one year. He built a good house
in Wellsboro, but being overtaken by adversity he failed and his property was sold on
judgments placed in the hands of Ellis Lewis, then a rising young lawyer of the place.
He was a very careful physician, was much esteemed, and gave very general satisfaction
to those who employed him. Mr. Emery, in his reminiscenses of early times in
Wellsboro, says: "I knew him, and can, with all others who were acquainted with
him, bear testimony to his worth."

After his misfortune he retired to Pine Creek, now Ansonia, much broken down
in health, where he died of consumption March 13, 1831, aged eighty-one years.
He left one son, Dehaller, born in Wellsboro in 1817, and now residing in Kansas;
also three daughters, viz: Priseilla, born in Wellsboro in 1819, who married Matthew .
Carpenter, and resides at Horseheads, ISTew York; Henrietta, bom in 1821, who
married Col. Lewis G. Huling*, and lives in Williamsport, and Sarah Ann, bom in
1833, who married Philo Catlin, of Cameron county, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Curtis Parkhurst, who was born in Marlborough in 1794, located in Law-
renceville in 1818 and built up a large and lucrative practice. He was elected to the
legislature in 1837, and re-elected in 1838. In 1840 he was elected sheriff of Tioga
county, and appointed an associate judge in 1847.

Dr. John B. Murphey, another early physician of Wellsboro, was bom May 1,
1791. Upon attaining manhood he studied medicine with an elder brother, then
residing in one of the West India islands. He soon afterward came to the United
States. On December 9, 1819, he married Cynthia Taylor, of Troy, and came to
Wellsboro about 1833. Dr. Murphey evidently was an active and progressive man.
He opened a store and sold dmgs, and the court records show that on May 19, 1838.
he was granted a license to keep a public house. It stood on the site of the present
Coles House. While conducting these different branches of business he did not
neglect his profession, but was always busy attending to the wants of the sick. He

* The dates and facts relating to Dr. Brown were obtained from his daughter, Mrs. Huling, of Williamsport.
She is quite confident her father was the first resident physician in Wellsboro.



THE MEDICAL PBOFESSIOX. 193

died about 1833 or 183-i. Some of his descendants, of whom Mrs. Williston is one,
reside in Wellsboro.

Dr. Oliver Treat Bundy was bom January 31, 1801, in Fairfield, Connecticut, the
eldest of ten children. About 1807 the family removed to Oxford, Chenango county.
New York, and settled. At the age of twenty-one he commenced studying medi-
cine, and on January 30, 1826, he was licensed to practice, and settled in Wellsboro,
where he followed his profession four years. During his residence here he married
Lydia Smith. About 1830 Dr. Bundy removed to Windsor, Broome county. New
York, where he attained prominence in his profession. He became the chief founder
of Windsor Academy, and died at Deposit, Broome county, January 9, 1874, having
almost reached the mature age of seventy-three years.

Dr. Ezra Wood was the pioneer physician of Rutland township, where he settled
about 1833 and practiced his profession until his death in 1829. His practice ex-
tended also into Jackson and Sullivan townships. Dr. Dexter Parkhurst, a brother
of the late Joel I'arkhurst, of Elkland, located in Mansfield in 1821, remaining until
1830, when he removed to Mainesburg, where he continued to practice until his death
in 1866.

Dr. Allen Frazer, Jr., the son of a pioneer of Chatham township, was born in
Westernville, New York, in 1798. He graduated at Utica, New York, January 13,
1823, from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, of the University of New York.
In 1825 he began the practice of medicine in Dn rfield township, continuing until
his death in 1872.. He was the first one to su,::r^L'st, and the chief promoter of, the
movement resulting in the establishment of I'lnon Acaduniy, at .Viiulimy Comers.
In 1834 he was commissioned surgeon of the Ono Hundred and Twenty-ninth Uv/i-
ment Pennsylvania llilitia. He was also one of the early justices of the peace of
Deerfield township.

Dr. Hibbard Bonney settled in Brookfield township in 1825 and practiced several
years. Dr. Ethan B. Baoon was another early physician of this township. Dr. John
Stineliofer practiced in Liberty from 1825 to 1828. Dr. D. H. Roberts was engaged
in practice in Tioga in 182G. He appears to have remained but a short time. Dr.
Riciinrd B. Hughes practiced in Liberty from 1828 to 1842.

Dr. Lewis Darling, Sr., a native of ^'e^mont, a graduate of Woodstock Acad-
emy and of the classical and medical department of Dartmouth University, came
from his native State to Wellsboro in 1829 and practiced there until 1831, when he
removed to Lawronceville. Here he continued in practice imtil his death, .July
15, 1882. Dr. Harvey Lyman located in ilainesburg about 1830, making a
brief stay. About 1829 or 1830 Dr. Hiram B. Roberts settled at Daggett's Mills
and pnutieed mi-dieine, in connection with other business, for a number of years.
Ephraim Fuller located in Knoxville in 1830 and practiced one year. It was about
1830 that Scth John Porter, a jiliysician and a Congregational ist minister, located in
Elklnnd, where lie organized a church. He remained until 1833 and combined the
practice of medicine with preaching. .About 1830, also. Dr. Burton Strecter began
tlie practice of medicine at Westficld, continuing for a number of years.

Dr. Otis L. Cilisoii was a native of Croydon, New Hampshire, where he was bom
in 1807. He graduated from the \'crmont Si liool of Medicine in 1831 and came

18



194 HISTOHY or TIOGA COUNTY.

immediately to Wellsboro and began the practice of his profession. Just before
leaving New England he was married to Miss Emmeline B. Parsons, a daughter of
Capt. Luke Parsons, of Woodstock, Vermont, who afterwards removed to Wellsboro
and died there. Dr. Gibson was one of the men who exercised an influence for
good on society in Wellsboro and vicinity. He was one of the material promoters
of a higher tone of thought and action, and was rather a model man in those times.
He neither dranlc liquor, played cards, or used profane language, and had fewer bad
habits than most people of his age and station. Colonel Kimball, the hotel keeper,
once remarked that he thought the Doctor would add greatly to his popularity if he
would unbend a little, take a drink once in a while with the boys, and not be so "stiff
and particular." Mrs. Gibson was very much like her husband — a staid, matronly
and non-gossiping woman, whom everybody respected. They were both Episco-
palians while in Wellsboro, having been brought up in that faith in their native
State. When Dr. Gibson commenced the practice of medicine in Wellsboro he
belonged to what was called "the heroic school." He gave medicine in large doses,
dealt out calomel profusely, physicked, bled and puked his patients without any
compunctions of conscience. That was then the popular and approved system; and
although he used the heroic treatment, he was quite a successful practitioner. He was
careful, prudent and watchful, had a discerning mind and an excellent judgment,,
and generally knew exactly the moment to commence the building up process. Dr.
Gibson also added materially to the wealth of Wellsboro. He built a number of
houses on Covington street, which were just right for the purposes intended —
cheap residences for small families. He also built one or two other houses which
were larger and better. In all praiseworthy undertakings he did his part, and
was a liberal contributor to his church. Dr. Gibson had two sons and two
daughters. His eldest daughter became the wife of a Congregational minister
in Connecticut, and the other the wife of a business man in North Carolina. Lewis
W., his eldest son, became rector of Christ Church in Dover, Delaware; Otis, the
other son, studied medicine and settled in Minnesota. For nearly ten years before
his death Dr. Gibson was a confirmed invalid. He died July 31, 1863, and his wife
May 6, 1865.

Dr. Lewis Saynisch, a native of Switzerland, settled in Blossburg in 1831. In
addition to pursuing the practice of medicine, he engaged in the mercantile and
lumber business, and was one of the leading spirits in the movement that led to the
development of the Blossburg coal field and the building of the Coming and Bloss-
burg railroad. He was one of the organizers and an early president of the Arbon
Coal Company. He died in Blossburg about 1856.

Dr. Thomas T. Huston settled at Tioga, then known as Willardsburg, in 1831.
He was born in Carlisle in 1793, and was graduated from Dickinson College about
1820, among his classmates being Eobert J. Walker and Gen. James Irvin. After
leaving college he spent four years in the study of medicine and graduated from the
Pennsylvania Medical College, Philadelphia. He then spent a short time with his
parents in Williamsport, when he came to Tioga. He was attracted thither through
the influence of his elder brother (then twenty-three years his senior) who afterwards
became the celebrated Judge Charles Huston of the Supreme Court. Judge Huston
then owned large tracks of wild land in the vicinity of Tioga. Dr. Huston,
however, did not remain long here. He left in the fall of 1833 and located at Tioga



THE MEDICAL PB0FES8I0N. 195

Point (now Athens), because he married his wife there, and there he lived and prac-
ticed medicine over thirty years, dying iJay 14, 1865.

Allen Furman, a pioneer settler in Gaines, practiced medicine in that township
for a number of years. Elisha B. Benedict, a physician and minister, located in Elk-
land in 1831 and practiced medicine there until his death in 1872. Harmon White-
head practiced medicine in Covington during 1831 and 1832 and later in Mansfield.
Dr. Thaddeus Phelps practiced in Knoxville from 1832 to 1834. In 1832 Dr. Francis
H. White began the practice of medicine in Koseville. He afterwards practiced at
different times in Mansfield and other places, but returned again to Eoseville, where
he continued to practice until a few years before his death in 1885. He attained the
remarkable age of 106 years.

Dr. Jlilton P. Orton was born in Sharon, Connecticut, in 179.J. He grad-
uated from the classical and medical departments of Yale ('(iUchtc, and in 1834 came
to Tioga county, locating at Lawrenceville, where he practiced for nearly thirty
years. He died in 1864, while surgeon in charge at Hatteras Inlet. Dr. Cyrus Pratt,
editor of the Tioga Democrat, located in Tioga in ISIJ."). During the three years he
remained he paid more attention to his paper than to his profession. ]>r. Cieorfre
Spratt located in Covington in 1835 and continued in practice there for a number
of years.

In 1835 Dr. Joseph P. Morris located in Hlossburg, coming from Philadelphia,
where he was born in 1809. He appears to have devoted himself to business enter-
prises rather than the practice of medicine, until after his removal to Mansfield in
1842, where he remained until 1846, wlien he removed to Wellsboro. In 1854 he
returned to Mansfield, and durinj^ the remainder of his life devoted himself to his



Online LibraryEmanuel SwedenborgHistory of Tioga County, Pennsylvania → online text (page 25 of 163)