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California Genealogy and History Archives

Biographies
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San Bernardino County and Riverside County

 

GEORGE B. ROWELL, M. D., was one of the oldest practicing physicians and surgeons at San Bernardino. That community for thirty-four years appreciated his great professional ability and service, while a great following of devoted friends acknowledged him as one of the most generous and kindly of men. His death in January, 1922, marked the passing of one of the best loved and most popular physicians San Bernardino has ever known.

Doctor Rowell was known as a brilliant student and investigator in the field of medicine and surgery even while in college. He was a native of Canada, born July 19, 1859. His parents, Spaulding and Martha (Ball) Rowell, were both born in Vermont and of old American families. The ancestors of Spaulding Rowell came from England to America in the early sixteen hundreds. His grandfather was an officer in the Colonial army in the Revolution. Spaulding Rowell was a farmer and moved to Canada to operate a lumber mill in the province of Quebec, this mill being owned by himself and father in partnership. Martha Ball's father had two uncles who made names for themselves in Vermont. One of them came to California across the Isthmus in 1849, became wealthy in the mines and returned to Vermont and rose to be a financial power and extensive land holder.

Dr. Rowell was educated in the public schools of Canada and in 1884 graduated from McGill University at Montreal with the degrees A. B., M. D. and C. M. Then followed a year of post graduate study in London, where the degree M. R. C. S. was conferred upon him. On returning to Montreal he practiced for two years and at the age of twenty-six was appointed professor of anatomy in the Bishops College of Montreal, holding that chair two years.

Dr. Rowell came to California in 1887, joining friends at Riverside where he practiced a few months, and then located permanently in San Bernardino. He was one of the organizers in 1904 of the present College of Physicians and Surgeons at Los Angeles, was one of the original trustees of the school, and for four years held the chair of medicine in the faculty. From 1888 to 1894 he was surgeon at San Bernardino for the Santa Fe Railroad.

Amid the busy duties of a general practitioner he for several years, was best known as a specialist in gynecology and surgery. He devoted years of research to the subject of cancer, and has done something to advance the knowledge of that malignant disease and make some progress toward the problem of its cure. Dr. Rowell owned the Sugar Pine Sanitarium, located at Sugar Pine Springs amid the huge pines and giant oaks on the north slope of the San Bernardino mountains. This is an ideal location for a sanitarium, the air being bracing and balsamic, and has an even temperature night and day, while the nearby springs furnish water of healing power. At present the sanitarium has an equipment of between twelve and fifteen buildings, with accommodations for fifty people, but the facilities are greatly overtaxed and plans had been made for enlarged accommodations.

Dr. Rowell was for two years health officer of San Bernardino. He was a republican, a member of the American Medical Association and the British Medical Association, and in 1883 was made a Mason, being a member of St. George Lodge No. 11 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. He was a member of the Zeta Psi college fraternity and for three years, 1881-84, was a member of the Prince of Wales Rifles. His religious affiliation was with the Episcopal Church.

At Riverside, June 14, 1888, Dr. Rowell married Miss Florence Wood, a native of Canada. At Los Angeles, September 11, 1913, he married Miss Louise Winkler, who was born in Vienna, Austria. One son, George B., Jr., born in 1917, was the issue of the second marriage.

 

Source:
History of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties 
By: John Brown, Jr., Editor for San Bernardino County 
And James Boyd, Editor for Riverside County 
With selected biography of actors and witnesses of the period 
of growth and achievement.
Volume III, the Western Historical Association, 1922, 
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, ILL

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011