There is no profession, no trade, no enterprise, which did not have a beginning darkness; there is no effort to which the forces and energies of mankind have been directed which did not combat the obscurity of ignorance.

In this enlightened age of medical science one regards the early doctor as a person with little knowledge of the profession, one who applied the home remedies of calomel, castor oil and blue pills with the abandon of a solicitous grandmother and one who wielded the lancet with artistic indiscrimination. However one regards the early physician, there must be taken into account the time in which he worked, in other words, the knowledge of medicine and surgery which then existed in the world. Secondly, there are the physical conditions under which the first man of medicine endured. Thirdly, there was distinct character to the diseases among the early settlers. Lastly, the remedies with which the doctor had to work were few and many times not the best antidote for the illness.

In the matter of world knowledge of medicine at that time it can safely be said that little or nothing was known in comparison with the present status of the science. In fact medical science and its kindred occupations have made more progress in the last two decades than in the last century. In the early days of Iowa County and the State of Iowa, the doctors had great faith in the use of the lancet, believing that be letting a copious amount of blood from the patient, the object of which was to destroy the tenement of the disease, a cure could be effected. Then there was the Spanish fly blister, which was supplied for all sorts of ills; there were blue pills and calomel as the universal internal remedies. During the convalescent period of the patient, if such a period were ever reached, gamboge, castor oil and senna were administered in generous portions to work out of the system the effects of the first course of treatment.

It would be difficult to describe in our limited space just how far the step has been taken from those early theories to the present day conclusions. A glance at the daily newspapers and magazines will invariably prove by concrete incident the wonderful cures being accomplished today. Operations upon the heart, upon the brain, and upon the other delicate and vital organs of the body are becoming of common occurrence, whereas a quarter century ago they would have been ridiculed. The day of the serums has arrived and the disease is thus throttled in its inception. The doctor of the twentieth century assists nature to repair the break; he is a man of resource, thought and initiative, and, better than all, courage.

The physical conditions under which the early doctor labored is another point in his favor. There were no roads nor bridges and in many places there was not even a marked avenue of travel. His trips were made on horseback or afoot, through intense blizzards, soaking rains, bitter cold and in the face of the high


winds which swept across the prairie. Many times his only sleep was taken while in the saddle. In reward for this service he received a very meager fee and the fact is known today that in the majority of cases he received nothing, for the settlers as a class were poor men. Then again, he would receive his pay in potatoes, flour, apples or whatever commodity the settler could best give him.

The diseases common to the pioneers were distinctive. The rough life and the exposures they endured did not permit entrance to the many ills and pains attendant to life in the city and other crowded communities. Fevers and ague, seven year itch, with an occasional stomach ache comprised the list of ailments. In case of accident the doctor needed his knowledge of simple surgery and naturally, had to be familiar with obstetrics. However, the latter wisdom was not always called into use, for the hardy pioneer mother many times endured the birth of her child without assistance. When sickness broke within the home the doctor was called if he were within calling distance, but if not, the stock of simple remedies in every cabin was put to use. If it were nothing more than a cold among the children the application of hot lard or bacon rind and the internal use of quinine and onion juice completed the treatment.


A list of Marengo physicians as near as can be found by inquiry and research is as follows, in the order of their arrival: Drs. Edward C. Hendershott, Wallace, James Grant, Erastus Wort, J. T. Bartlett, Worth, L. Alverson, W. H. McFall, Acton, Walker, John Bricker, W. L. Huston, J. S. Garns, William M. Eddy, Ney, William C. Schultz, Archibald, D. C. Brockman, L.C. Dewey, H. G. Griffith, W. H. Martindale, L. F. Sullivan, E. N. Brown, E. B. Henderson, Ira Crow, F. P. Schultz, Moershel and Polmateer.

Doctor Hendershott came to Marengo in 1847 and began the practice of medicine, continuing until June 2, 1865, when he died. He was a man of education and ability and dignified bearing. He was also a useful man in the young community and new state in other ways from his professional capacity. He served two full terms as treasurer and recorder of Iowa County and was well and favorably known throughout the county and in diverse parts of the state as well. He was married to Mary Bishop, the eldest daughter of a highly respected pioneer family. He built the large residence on the Eddy Block and lived there until he died.

But little can be said of Doctor Wallace, as he did not long reside in Marengo. It is known, however, that he was a well-educated physician.

Dr. James W. Grant came from Indiana and located in Marengo in 1851. He was not especially scholarly and was not a medical graduate. He studied long and hard under the tutelage of his father, a very learned and able doctor. He also attended lectures at Logansport, Ind. He was a man of good practical sense and became successful as a practitioner. He married Mary Wilkinson and remained in Marengo until 1881, then moved to Cypres, Tex., where he died.

Dr. Erastus W. Wort came from Jackson County, Ind., the same as Doctor Grant. He located in Marengo in 1855. He was well educated and talented in his chosen profession. His father was a great student of the science, a wide traveler, and a medical authority. Under his careful training and schooling in


Cincinnati, his son, Erastus, entered upon the duties of his profession well equipped. However, he did not meet with the success attained by Doctor Grant. He served during the Civil war and when he returned he was so reduced in health that he very soon died. Doctor Worth was an eclectic practitioner, well-educated and popular. He came to Marengo from the vicinity of Belle Plaine in the late ´50s. In later years he abandoned medicine and entered the law practice with John Miller.

Dr. J. T. Bartlett came to Marengo about 1854. He was an alopathic physician and had a very good practice here. He was a lover of horticulture and opened up a fine fruit farm in Washington Township, due north of Marengo. After a few years his health became poor and he died of tubercular trouble.

Drs. L. Alverson and W. H. McFall came about 1856. The former conducted a drug store in conjunction with his practice. McFall was not so well educated as Alverson, but had a good fair practice. On September 11, 1862, he enlisted as a private in the Thirty-seventh Iowa Infantry. Shortly after his return from the war he engaged in the drug business and also compounded and sold a number of his own remedies. He died in Marengo at a ripe old age.

Doctor Acton came about 1859, but did not stay long. Doctor Walker came in the late ´50s from Michigan. For a number of years before he died he engaged in the restaurant business.

Dr. John Bricker came from Ohio in 1854 and located in Hartford township. He graduated as a physician in New York. He was respected and much sought in Iowa County and, although living eight miles from Marengo, was frequently called to the latter place. He died at his farm home near Ladora.

Dr. W. L. Huston came to Marengo shortly after the close of the war of 1861 and formed a partnership with Dr. James W. Grant. He was a native of Ohio and had experience as an army surgeon. The firm of Grant and Huston was a successful one in every way. Doctor Huston died in Marengo.

Dr. J. S. Garns came from Ohio, first to Millersburg, and about 1874 to Marengo. He was a good doctor, but discarded his practice after a few years and entered the mercantile business.

Dr. William M. Eddy and Doctor Nye came to Marengo about 1875. They were homeopathic physicians and for some time were in partnership. They were graduate doctors and earned a well merited reputation. Doctor Nye married Rhoda Gardner, of Marengo; Doctor Eddy was twice married; first to Mary Wilson and after her death to Edith K. Bosley. In a few years Doctor Nye left Marengo and located in Western Iowa. Doctor Eddy continued to reside in Marengo until his death on December 28, 1914.

Dr. William C. Schultz came to Marengo about 1875 from the East. He was a graduate physician. He remained here for many years and built up a fine practice and a beautiful home. His son, Frederick P., also graduated as a physician and formed a partnership with his father at Marengo. Later, the father moved to Portland, Ore., and the son left Marengo and established himself at Winterset, Ia.

About 1885-7 Doctors Humrickhousen and Humrickhousen, German physicians and brothers, located in Marengo, fresh from college. They did not remain long here, but moved elsewhere and made good.

Dr. D. C. Brockman came in the ‘80s. he was a graduate from the State


University at Iowa City. He was highly successful and soon built up a large practice. In a few years he left Marengo and located at Ottumwa, Ia.

Dr. H. G. Griffith, a homeopath, located in Marengo in the ‘90s, but soon removed to Burlington, Ia.

Dr. L. C. Dewey came to Marengo from Chicago about 1895. He was a graduate from some eastern college and a fine physician. He returned to Chicago after a few years and there continued his success.

Dr. Bruce H. Stover, a product of Marengo, graduated in both the collegiate and medical departments of the State University of Iowa and afterwards elsewhere; also obtained much hospital experience. He began practice in Marengo in 1901-2. He left in a short time and located at Carrol, Ia., where he is now enjoying a lucrative practice.

Drs. L. F. Sullivan and W. H. Martindale, both graduates from the State University of Iowa, formed a partnership and located in Marengo in 1904. They established a good patronage from the first, but in about a year dissolved their partnership, Doctor Martindale continuing in regular practice until the present time. Sullivan went into special office practice in Marengo, but later moved his office to Donahue, Ia.

Drs. Ira Crow, W. H. Martindale, E. N. Brown and E. B. Henderson are all regular practicing physicians and surgeons in Marengo at this time. All are regulars, graduates of the S. U. I. medical department. Dr. Ray Moershel is an osteopathic doctor, as was Doctor Polmateer. Both are graduates of the State School of Osteopathy at Kirksville, Mo. Doctor Polmateer recently moved to this latter place and located.


The following is a list of the doctors on the rolls of the Iowa County Medical Society: Drs. J. T. Augustine, of Ladora; G. F. Schug, A. C. Moon, A. R. Moon, E. C. Long, of Williamsburg; William Moershel, of Homestead; C. F. Noe, C. H. Hermann, of Amana; L. B. Amick, of Millersburg; B. Herrington, H. J. Jones, of North English; W. H. Martindale, I. N. Crow, E. N. Brown, E. B. Henderson, of Marengo; Thomas McMahon, of Victor; T. J. Shuell, of Parnell.

Doctor Spurrier was the first doctor in Williamsburg. He was not a graduate of any school. Dr. J. E. Jones was the first regular doctor. Others who have practiced and are practicing here are: Drs. A. C. Moon, E. C. Long, G. F. Schug, and H. D. Hinkley and H. E. Gardner, dentists. These are all living with the exception of Spurrier.

At Victor the doctors have been: Seneca Townsend, 1865; W. W. Orris, 1866-90; Douglass, 1866-75; T. Reynolds, 1884-8, now in Horton, Kan.; D. W. Phillips, 1885, and still in Victor; M. Ingraham, 1888-1904, now in Oklahoma; A. F. Randolph, 1890-2, now in Koszta; H. S. Detchon, 1892, and still practicing; T. McMahon and G. F. Bott, 1906-7, and still located here. Doctor Willson, dentist, 1880-90, is now deceased. Doctors Anger and McSwigin are now practicing dentistry here.

John Bricker was Ladora’s first doctor. He located on a farm near Ladora in 1854 and practiced until within a few years of his death in 1895. D. E. Darr located in Ladora in 1871 and continued in practice until his death in 1886.


H. F. Tillottson came in 1886 and in 1890 went to Chicago. He was followed by C. F. Elrod and E. N. Brown, now of Marengo. Brown remained in Ladora about two years. J. L. Augustine located here in 1893. At present there is one doctor and one dentist, S. K. Seydel, in Ladora. He began practice in 1905.

The doctors who have practiced in Amana are: Henry Fehr, 1857-77; Phillip Griess, ‘70s and ‘80s; C. J. Winzenried, 1866-1915; G. A. Weber, 1864-78; C. H. Herman, 1881-1915; William Moerschel, 1888-1915; C. F. Noe, 1898-1915; C. H. Herman, Jr., 1915. The dentists have been: Andrews, ‘70s; Henry Clemens, 1882-94.

The physicians in Koszta have been: Drs. E. P. Miller; C. S. Dodd and A. F. Randolph. The latter is now the resident physician.

The physicians in Millersburg have been: Drs. H. B. Lynch, Jones & Hardin, Watts, and Watts Bates, Hugh Conroy, Walker, H. W. Vinson, J. M. Cadwallader and at present L. B. Amick.

Some of the early physicians of North English were: Drs. James Campbell, A. T. Doll and P. N. Hardman. Dr. John Coxe and his wife, Dr. Etta Coxe, have practiced here for many years.


The following list is of the dentists now practicing in Iowa County:

Earl M. Addington, S. R. Swain and Ada Swain, W. A. Reed, Marengo; W. H. Anger and McSwigin, Victor; Gardner and Hinkley, Williamsburg; Kirk and Seydel, Ladora. Doctors Wells, 1859, and E. B. Green, 1872, were once in Marengo.


The following men are veterinarians in Iowa County: S. H. Gwinn, Ray Schuchert, Lawrence Haggerty, D. Hanchet, James Eastman, W. H. Shanks, Eli Eastman, F. E. Humphreys, A. N. Tyler, and James E. Wilson. Doctor Gwinn is at present state veterinarian, having been appointed by Governor Clarke some time ago. Will Schultz and John Hale once practiced in the county. Schultz left and Hale is now deceased.