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Fayette County, Iowa  

 Biography Directory


Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa

Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of

Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County

Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago

March 1891


~Page 379~


Joseph H. Stafford, M.D.

Joseph H. Stafford, M.D., a pioneer physician of Fayette County, was the first of his profession to settle in West Union. Since 1850 he has engaged in the practice of medicine at that place, and in both business and social circles has gained a front rank amid the county's best and most honored citizens. He is a native of New York. On the 30th of August, 1810, in Palmyra, Wayne County, he was born, his parents being Tyle and Damarias (Vaughan) Stafford. His father was born in Rhode Island and was of English descent, while his mother, a native of Chenango County, was descended from Welsh ancestry.


The early life of Dr. Stafford was unmarked by any event of special importance. Having determined to make the medical profession his life work he attended several different schools of medicine, the last being the Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincinnati, after which he entered upon practice in Auburn, Geauga County, Ohio, in 1845. He was married in Wayne County, N. Y. in the autumn of 1833, to Miss Susan A. Smith, daughter of Jerry and Ruth Smith, and a native of Milton, Saratoga County, N. Y., born in 1814. They became parents of three children, a son and two daughters, but the former is now the only survivor. Sarah was the wife of Myron Peck and is now deceased; DeWitt married Martha McMasters, is a farmer and resides in West Union; and Emily became the wife of Charles Z. Crane, and is also deceased.


The Doctor removed with his family to Ohio in 1845 and after five years spent in the Buckeye State continued his westward journey. Crossing the Mississippi, he took up his residence in West Union, Fayette County, in 1850. The town had been but just laid out and the Doctor built and kept the first public house at this place - West Union House. He at once entered upon the practice of his profession, being the first physician in the county. His early practice involved much hardship and hard work as he was often required to make long rides over a sparsely settled country, frequently devoid of roads and bridges. He continued in active practice until about 1878, since which time he has practically lived a retired life. His skill and ability have won for him a liberal patronage and thereby acquiring a comfortable competence he is now enabled to spend his declining years in rest from business cares. He lost his wife July 27, 1888, after a companionship of fifty-five years, in which they had faithfully shared with each other the joys and sorrows, adversity and prosperity which checker the lives of all. The Doctor is liberal in his religious views and does not affiliate with any church or creed. In politics he is a Republican.


His son, DeWitt C. Stafford follows farming as a means of livelihood and has a good farm near the city of West Union, also owning land in Minnesota. By his marriage with Miss McMasters, he has two children, a son and daughter - Harry and Gertie.




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