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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Yesterday's Professionals Lived In A Different World

Contributor:
Dallas Bogan on 14 September 2004
Source:
original article by Dallas Bogan
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

Education in the early formation of the State was not so important in the lives of the early pioneers as was the livelihood of their family. There was little education, even amongst the so-called learned.
Grades of society, in the early days, were nurtured by the education standard. A feeling of mental superiority was naturally exhibited by one's ability to read, write and speak "formally."
If one were to excel in the ranks of education, a whole community would act as a family, and the whole town would claim a feeling of pride.
Books of that time were rare, but they were thoroughly read by interested parties. A craving for learning by the many who succeeded as lawyers, preachers, physicians and other professionals of the time, was an attitude exhibited by many in the newly founded county of Warren.
These men of profession were looked upon as men of influence. The lawyer was considered a proper person for official position. Status of this sort meant a man of education.
The county courthouse was a popular gathering place, and when a lawyer was about to plead his case, great crowds would gather to hear the speech.
The Warren County Bar was one of the most famous in the early formation of the State. Although some lawyers were not as qualified as others, most were judged, as a rule, by the quality and quantity of the speeches they made. Plain people heard the lawyers. Also heard were the judges that followed their circuit.
Associate Judges were chosen from the unprofessional class, which ultimately formed a link between the people and the profession. A sort of kinship was kindled between the court system and the common person.
Masses of people came to seek information and they generally received it. Those early citizens were always impressed with the greatness of the lawyers. They were regarded, both personally and professionally, with great respect.
The early lawyers of Lebanon were dedicated to ethics in their profession. They were real qualified men. No charge can be made against them that they were improper in their undertakings.
Public speakers were much sought after, the speaker generally being a man of education. This profession had a great effect on the public. Talent was generally exhibited by one's ability to make a speech.
The politicians who sought public office used stump speaking as a rule. He who was able to deliver such speeches was considered a very influential member of society.

Churches were somewhat more filled in the days of the pioneer than today. In earlier times the preacher was regarded as a teacher and guide. The household looked his pastoral visits forward to with delight. He went from house to house in the capacity of one who was in touch with God, his education being exhibited in this approach.
Preachers were in the habit of executing long sermons. In many instances they would begin as early as 10 o'clock in the morning, and, after a dinner break, would be resumed and last well into the afternoon. The sermon was the highlight of the service. Certainly most of the time was consumed with preaching. Faith of the people of that day was simpler, and their means of obtaining knowledge was simplified by the preacher.
Salaries for the ministry consisted of small mean, some churches believing that a minister's pay was wrong. He never suffered. A form of aid to him was in the arrangement of a "donation party." Many pastors of today might find this humiliating, but in the old days it was considered a part of a social function. Home training was a substitute for today's Sunday school. Prayer meeting services were held in private residences. It was a home affair, fulfilling many elements of family worship.
No musical instruments were allowed in the church of yesteryear. The same policy was extended in the home. Even if one were to have a fiddle in his residence, this act was considered to be in fellowship with the Devil.

Doctors

Doctors were not considered wise in their profession in the early days of the Miami Valley. Development of this profession of today far out-weighs the progression of yesteryear. Many a patient went to his or her end without knowing what was wrong with them.
His knowledge of the medical trade was very limited, but it was far greater than the ordinary folks. Reliance on his medical knowledge by the family stood foremost in the community. The doctor occupied a space of great leadership. His intelligence was far greater than his pioneer friends, and his learning was sought after to the utmost. He made an impression upon the unlearned and unskilled people in time of distress. He ministered to the family; he came in and out of the home and the family welcomed him beside their fireside. He exhibited great education, and became the confidential advisor in the family circle.
Newspapers and magazines were not found in the common home in this era. The doctor supplied this form of social information in his visits.
Saddlebags, which were always carried on his trusty horse, were used mainly for his pay, which consisted mostly of produce that was exchanged for his services. Wealth was not sought after, and the doctor generally lived a somewhat comfortable life.
The old gentleman doctor of the past, if we should meet him today, would undoubtedly be a disappointment to us as far as education goes. But, we shall allow these experiences to be a major step toward the evolution of our society, as we know it today.


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This page created 14 September 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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