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History of Butler County Pennsylvania - 1883

Chapter 10 -- The Medical Profession

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Transcribed by Sherry Chestnutt. For an explanation and caution about this transcription, please read this page.



Illustrations And Biographies In Chapter X

p. 78a-- Isiah McJunkin
p. 80a-- A.M. Neyman
p. 80a-- A.M. Neyman Bio
p. 82a-- Sylvester D. Bell
p. 82a-- Sylvester D. Bell Bio
p. 84a-- N.M. Hoover
p. 84a-- William R. Cowden
p. 84b-- Wilson N. Clark
p. 84b-- Wilson N. Clark Bio



[p. 78]

The first physician who ministered to the mortal needs of poor, suffering humanity in Butler was Dr. George MILLER. He was born in Cannonsburg, Washington Co., Penn., in the year 1790, and was the son of Prof. Samuel MILLER, who filled the chair of Mathematics and Natural Sciences in Jefferson College for a period of thirty years. He was of Scotch-Irish descent. Dr. MILLER graduated from Jefferson College in the class of 1813, and immediately began the study of medicine under Dr. LETHERMAN, of Cannonsburg, a man of acknowledged ability in his profession. Having completed his studies, and being fully prepared to enter upon his professional career, he contracted marriage with Martha, daughter of William ANDERSON, who resided near Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio. After his marriage, he located in the village of Butler, where he successfully practiced his profession for about eight years. Considering the then new State of Ohio a better field, he was induced to leave Butler and settled in Marion. This change proved fatally unfortunate to him, for, after being there only about five years, he was attacked by a violent fever, which soon terminated in death. He left a widow and four children, who returned to Butler and lived here many years. Dr. MILLER, as a physician, gave promise. His education was greatly superior to that of most men of his time and his profession in the West. His work was always faithfully, conscientiously and intelligently done, and he was held in high esteem both in Butler and his Ohio home.

Before Dr. MILLER left Butler, Dr. H. C. De Wolf arrived here, the time being somewhere between 1816 and 1818. He was born August 3, 1781, in Hartford, Conn., and was a graduate of Yale College. Shortly after coming to Butler, he married Miss Jane MCQUISTION. It is said that Dr. DE WOLF built the first brick house in Butler. He was a physician of large ability, and secured an extensive practice, not only going to all parts of Butler County, but frequently being called to attend the sick in the adjoining counties of Beaver, Mercer and Armstrong. In his time, a physician invariably traveled on horseback, and, as the roads were few, usually followed paths through the woods. Dr. DE WOLF died July 24, 1854.

Dr. George LINN arrived here in 1823. He came from Georgetown, Mercer County, where he had practiced a short time, but he was originally from the eastern part of the State. In 1825, after being in Butler two years, he married Miss Elizabeth GIBSON. His death occurred in 1833, and he was thus known to the early residents of Butler for a period of only ten years. In that short time, however, he built up a large practice and became very popular. He seems to have been universally beloved as a man and respected as a physician. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and a pioneer in the temperance movement.

[p. 79]

Dr. James GRAHAM came here soon after Dr. LINN died, and shared the patronage of the people with Dr. DE WOLF until his death, which occurred in 1845 or he following year.

Drs. DONNELL & MCQUAIDE, partners, and both good physicians, were here a short time during Dr. GRAHAM's period of practice.

Dr. George W. GETTYS came to the borough before Dr. GRAHAM's death, and practiced for a number of years, finally removing to the eastern part of the State.

In 1841, Dr. Gotleib MILLER, of Marburg, Germany, a graduate of Marburg University, settled in Butler, and enjoyed a prosperous practice until his death, which occurred in 1849.

Prior to the advent of the last-named physician, Dr. H. C. LINN had begun practice in Butler. He was in Butler from 1833 to 1835, and in the latter year removed to Sunbury, in which village and its vicinity he practiced until 1878, when he returned to Butler and entered the drug business; which he still follows. He is a nephew of Dr. George LINN, under whome he studied, and was born in Crawford County April 13, 1812.

In 1844, Dr. Isaiah MCJUNKIN began practice in Butler. He was a native of the county, a son of David MCJUNKIN, of Center Township, and was born in 1817. He graduated from Jefferson College, Washington, Penn., in September, 1841, an subsequently read medicine with Dr. PALMER, of Zelienople. His medical education was completed, as far as schools was concerned, at the Louisville (Ky.) College, and it was immediately after his graduation from that institution that he located here. In 1849, he married Miss Kate M. SPANG, the daughter of a prominent iron manufacturer of Pittsburgh. He had a large practice in Butler and its vicinity, and was highly regarded, both professionally and socially. He chose, however, a wider field, and in 1860 removed to Chicago, where he died a few years later.

Dr. AGNEW, who was quite an old man when he came to Butler, was for a short time a partner of Dr. MCJUNKIN's. He was a superior physician, and had a remunerative practice, but only remained in the borough a few years.

Dr. T. R. DE WOLF, son of H. C. DE WOLF, was in partnership with his father during a few years preceding the death of the latter, which occurred in 1854, and afterward practice alone until shortly prior to his own death, which occurred in 1858. He was born in 1824, and was a graduate of Jefferson College at Cannonsburg, and of the Cleveland (Ohio) Medical College.

From 1850 to 1870, Dr. Charles STEIN, brother of the merchant, Louis STEIN, was in active practice either in Butler or Sunbury. He was a graduate of the University of Bonn, Prussia. In 1870, he removed to Wheatland, where he died in 1876, at the age of seventy-one years.

Dr. W.J. RANDOLPH was here from 1850 to 1853, and was quite successful. He was afterward in the army, and, when the war closed, engaged in cotton-raising in North Carolina, where he resided until his death.

One of the ablest members of the profession ever in the borough was De. Charles EMMERLING, who came about 1854 and remained until about 1865. He attained a large practice, but has been even more successful in Pittsburgh, whither he went from Butler, and where he is now located.

Dr. Theodore FRACKENSTEIN, now in Brooklyn, N.Y., was a practitioner from 1864 to 1868.

Dr. Stephen BREDIN, second son of Judge John BREDIN, was born in Butler in February, 1834. His literary education was received at Union College, Schenectady, N. Y. He read medicine with an uncle, Dr. SNOWDEN, in Franklin, and graduated from the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, in 1856. After spending several years in the West, he began the practice of his profession in Butler in 1861. His practice quickly became an extensive one, and has been, since the first three or four years, all that he could attend to. Dr. BREDIN's wife was a Miss Catharine SLOAN, of Columbiana County, Ohio. They were married in 1859.

Dr. George M. ZIMMERMAN is the son of John Michael and Mary Barbara ZIMMERMAN, and was born in Butler November 18, 1842. His father, a native of Germany, after almost world-wide traveling, came to America in 1828, and to Butler in 1832. He was for many years the proprietor of the hotel which is now known as the Willard House. The subject of our sketch graduated from Jefferson College (then at Cannonsburg, now in Washington, Penn.) in 1867, and, after preparatory reading with Dr. Stephen BREDIN, attended, during the winter of 1867-68, the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. He then read until the fall of 1869, when he entered the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, from which he graduated in the spring of 1870. He went to Winona, Minn., where he remained a short time, and, after spending the greater part of 1871 and 1872 in Hubbard, Trumbull Co., Ohio, located in this, the town of his nativity, where he has since practiced, and also, for a number of years, in company with Joseph WULLER, carried on the drug business. Dr. ZIMMERMAN was married, in August, 1876, to Mrs. Jennie E. RALSTON.

Dr. J. E. BYERS was born in Summit Township June 15, 1848. He began his medical education under the tutelage of Dr. NEYMAN in 1875. In 1877, [p. 80] he graduated from the Medical University of New York City, and located here the same year.

Dr. PILLOW has followed the profession here for a short period.

The only homoeopathic physician in the borough is Dr. E. N. LEAKE. He is a son of Rev. R. N. LEAKE, and was born in Buffalo, N.Y., November 9, 1855. He graduated from the Syracuse (N.Y.) University in 1877, and at the New York Homoeopathic College in 1880. He first located in Blossburg, Penn., and from there came to Butler in the spring of 1881.


Dr. Nicholas M. HOOVER, now a prominent resident of the village of North Washington, in Butler County, Penn., was born in the township of North Buffalo, Armstrong Co., Penn., March 4, 1836. John HOOVER, his grandfather, was of German origin, and removed from Dauphin to Armstrong County at an early day. He was the father of a large family of children, of whom David was the oldest.

The latter married Mary MYERS, who was also a descendant of a German family, and to them were born three sons, viz: George F., now a resident of Clarion County; Nicholas M., the subject of this article, and Dr. A. M. HOOVER, of Parker City. In 1842, David HOOVER and his family located in Buffalo Township, Butler Co., Penn., where the boyhood days of Nicholas M. HOOVER were passed.

After availing himself of such educational advantages as the public schools and the Freeport Academy afforded, the latter began the study of medicine with Dr. Thomas MCGILL, of Freeport, and in the winter of 1860-61, attended lectures at the Cleveland (Ohio) Medical College. The summer of 1861 found him still in that State, but a gigantic civil war was then in progress; hence, fired with youthful ardor and patriotism, he abandoned his studies, enlisted in his country's defense and donned the uniform worn by the private soldiers of the Sixty-first Regiment of Ohio Volunteer Infantry. With that regiment, as a private, Hospital Stewart, Orderly Sergeant and in other capacities, he served with much credit until the expiration of his time in July, 1864, having with his regiment participated in various campaigns and battles in the States of Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. During the battle of Wauhatchie, Ga., fought at night between Gen. HOOKER's troops and those under the command of the rebel Gen. BRAGG, he was slightly wounded.

With the close of his first term of military service, he again turned his whole attention to the perusal of medical works, etc., and after attending a course of lectures at the Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Penn., he graduated from that institution in March, 1865. But the great conflict in which he had already actively participated was not over. The troops composing the northern armies were in need of the services of active, intelligent and skillful physicians, and quite as soon as the degree of doctor of medicine was conferred upon him, Dr. HOOVER was commissioned Assistant Surgeon of the Eighty-seventh Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. He at once assumed his duties, and remained in the field until the close of the war.

The war ended, he located in the fall of 1865, where he is still to be found, i. e., in the village of North Washington. On the 24th of April, 1866, he married Mrs. BATES, of Philadelphia, Penn., and in the autumn of 1879, after attending a third series of lectures, he became a post graduate of the Jefferson Medical College. Mr. HOOVER is a gentleman possessing a splendid physique and pleasing address, and by reason of his social worth, as well as the eminent professional abilities possessed by him, he occupies a prominent position in this and adjoining counties. We close the sketch by adding that he is a stanch Republican and a consistent member of the Lutheran Church.


Dr. AGNEW father of the Judge AGNEW, practiced in Harmony after the Rapp community left, and afterward removed to Zelienople and remained a few years.

Dr. MCHENRY practiced in Zelienople and Harmony very successfully from about 1815 to 1823. He was a man of literary taste, and wrote several books, mostly novels and poetry. He moved to Philadelphia. He was the father of MCHENRY, the well-known railroad magnate.

Dr. LINNENBRUCK, a German physician, settled in Zelienople and practiced successfully a number of years. He left this place in 1849 to become the physician of the Economites at Economy.

Dr. Orrin D. PALMER, a worthy representative of the medical profession, skilled both in theory and in practice, resided in Zelienople from about 1836 until 1860. He was esteemed both in his professional capacity and as a citizen.

Dr. Loring LUSK was born in Ontario County, N. Y., in 1799. He was brought up in Hudson, Summit Co., Ohio, in which place his father was one of the first settlers. He studied medicine in Mercer, Penn., with his brother-in-law, Dr. COSSETT, and married, in that town, Miss SMITH, daughter of Joseph SMITH, Esq., an early settler. Dr. LUSK practiced in Harmony from 1823 to 1829, then went to Beaver County, where he remained a few years. He next became an extensive contractor on the State works from the Ohio River to Lake Erie, and was thus engaged [p. 81] until 1844, when he returned to Harmony and resumed practice. He went West in 1854, and settled at Canton, Lewis Co., Mo., where he practiced until 1861. At that date, he was elected Surgeon of the Twenty-first Regiment of Missouri Volunteers, and remained one year in the service. He then came to Zelienople and engaged in the drug business. He died in 1878. Dr. LUSK was an energetic business man and a very good physician. Two of his sons are living -- Dr. J. S. LUSK, of Harmony, and Dr. Amos LUSK, of Zelienople, both well educated men and skilled physicians.

Dr. Joseph S. LUSK has been practicing in Harmony over thirty years, and enjoys the esteem and confidence of an extensive circle. He was born in Harmony in 1826; educated at Mercer Academy, and studied medicine under his father's tuition. He graduated from the Medical Department of the Western Reserve College, Cleveland, Ohio, in 1850, and soon after entered upon the practice of his profession in Harmony. Besides pursuing a successful professional career, the Doctor has found time for extended reading, and has mingled some in politics. He was a member of the State Legislature three terms-- the sessions of 1872, 1875 and 1876-- and has held various local offices. Dr. LUSK is an enthusiastic student of geology and mineralogy, and, as the result of his scientific researches, he is the owner of a collection of fossils and minerals, gathered from nearly all parts of the United States, which is both interesting and valuable. His library is extensive, and represents the best in the classics and modern literature, as well as historical and scientific works.

Dr. Amos LUSK was born in Harmony in 1828, and was educated with his brother. He began his practice in his native place in 1849, and removed to Zelienople in 1851. In 1854, he graduated in medicine at Cleveland. In 1853, he went to Pittsburgh to take charge of the United States Marine Hospital, and in 1857 removed thence to Canton, Mo. In 1861, he returned to Zelienople, where he has since practiced continuously. Besides being a thoroughly educated physician, Dr. LUSK is a man of fine classical tastes, and has devoted years to the study of ancient and modern languages. He is perhaps the ablest linguist in the State of Pennsylvania. His study has comprised at least twenty-five languages, and of many of them he may be called master. His library is a large and valuable one. His oldest son, N. H. LUSK, is an attorney in Butler, and his second son, James L., a graduate of West Point, is now a Lieutenant of Engineers at the United Military Academy.

We have chosen to place the history of Zelienople and Harmony physicians in the same sketch, inasmuch as their professional labors have been early co-extensive in both towns. The physician of the Harmony community was Dr. MILLER. Dr. Loring LUSK was succeeded by Dr. Buriah MAGOFFIN about 1829, an intelligent, skillful physician, who remained until about 1844, when he removed to Mercer. Dr. Francis R. MOORE came next, and remained until 1849. Both places have been fortunate in having good doctors to attend to the wants of the afflicted.


The first medical practitioner in Evansburg was Dr. SAMPLE, a young graduate who came about 1843 and remained a little over a year. There was then no physician in the place until 1848, when Dr. William STERRETT, a native of Lawrence County, settled here. He was educated at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, and was a successful and trusted physician. He remained in Evansburg until 1855, and died in 1856, at Talley Cavey, Allegheny County.

Dr. William IRVINE, son of Samuel IRVINE, an early settler, was born in Adams Township, Butler County, in 1828. He studied medicine under the preceptorship of Dr. STERRETT; attended medical lectures at the Medical Department of the Western Reserve College, Cleveland, Ohio, in 1852-53, and at the Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, in 1854-55, graduating from the last-named institution in the spring of 1855. He at once located in Evansburg, and succeeded Dr. STERRETT in practice. He was the only physician in the village until about 1868. Dr. IRVINE was Examining Surgeon in 1862. In 1867-68, he was a member of the State Legislature.

The following gentlemen are also practicing medicine in Evansburg at the present time:

Dr. Theodore KERSTING, Dr. J. M. LIST and Dr. F. V. BROOKS.


The first practicing physician who located in Middle Lancaster was Dr. BROTHERS. He came in 1853, and returned to Ohio some four years later. He was succeeded by Dr. WHITE, who now practices in Harlansburg. Dr. ACHER came about the same time.

Dr. WHITE was in partnership with him for a time. None of these remained more than five years.

Dr. A. H. METZ, a native of this place, studied with Dr. COBB, of Portersville, and graduated from the Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia. He practiced here about three years, beginning in 1871. He removed to Springdale, Alleghany County, and thence to East Liverpool, Ohio, where he is engaged in the drug business.

Dr. George A. MCCANDLESS was the next physician, and is still here with a good practice. He is a son of A. M. MCCANDLESS and was born in Center Town- [p. 82] ship, Butler County, in 1852. He was educated at the Witherspoon Institute, Butler, and at the Saltsburg Normal School, Indiana County, Penn. He graduated in medicine at the Louisville, Ky., Medical College in 1877, and the same year settled in Middle Lancaster and began practicing.


Dr. Andrew SPEAR, son of William Spear, an early settler of Franklin Township, lived in Whitestown many years and was considered a very successful doctor. He was the first physician in the neighborhood. He taught school successfully when a young man. He died in Whitestown. One of his brothers, Dr. Matthew W. SPEAR, practiced in Prospect.

After Dr. SPEAR died, there was no settled physician who remained long in the place until Dr. CLARK.


Dr. George WELSH was the first settled physician in the place. He came in 1853, remained a few years, then went to Saxonburg. He returned to Petersville and died here in 1862. During his absence from this place, Dr. RICHARDSON and Dr. COVERT each practiced here a short time. Dr. PORTER succeeded Dr. WELSH and remained three or four years. He removed to Prospect, and the village was without a physician for a time. Dr. C. A. MCCASKEY next came, and practiced two or three years. Dr. CHRISTIE is his successor.

Dr. J. L. CHRISTIE, son of William A. CHRISTIE, was born in Concord township, Butler County. He was educated at the Witherspoon Institute and at the Pine Grove Academy. After studying under the tuition of Dr. NEYMAN, of Butler, he attended medical lectures in Cleveland and Cincinnati, and graduated from the Miami Medical College, Cincinnati, in 1877. The same year, he located at Petersville, where he now has a good practice.


The first practitioners of medicine in Saxonburg were all Germans, who had received a thorough education in their own country and were consequently successful and esteemed in their profession. The first who came here was Dr. F. SCHMIDT; he remained five or six years. Next, Dr. August KOCH practiced ten years or more, removed to Missouri and died there. He was succeeded in practice here by Dr. Paul HELD, who died here. Dr. SWEET and Dr. BLEIHOLDER also practiced here. Saxonburg has now three physicians, each of whom enjoy a good practice and worthily represent the profession.

Dr. J. H. KING located here in 1872; he is a graduate of the Medical Department of the University of Wooster, Ohio.

Dr. Ed N. B. MERSHON, a graduate of the medical department of the University of Buffalo, N. Y.; has practiced here since 1877. His brother, Dr. H.L. MERSHON, a graduate of the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, located here in 1880. Both had previously practiced in Youngstown, Westmoreland County.


Dr. Andrew SPEAR, who was brought up in Franklin township, was the first who practiced in this neighborhood. He lived in Whitestown; his brother, Matthew W., born in 1897, studied medicine with him and with Dr. DE WOLF, of Butler, and began his practicing in Prospect about 1830. He was the first resident physician, and lived and died in the place. He was moderately successful in his professional career.

Dr. B. H. B. BROWER, a man of fine literary and scholarly tales, settled in Prospect in 1838, and practiced for eleven years with good success. He was Burgess of the borough, Captain of a military company and orator of the day on numerous public occasions. He took a prominent part in building the Cumberland Presbyterian Church; he was elected a member of the Legislature in 1849, and re-elected in 1850. He published the Prospect Record six months, then moved the paper to New Brighton. Dr. BROWER has since established twelve newspapers. He now resides in Danville, Penn.

Dr. James P. ALCHORN came from Indiana County and practiced five or six years. He removed hence to Ohio, and died in Allegheny City.

Dr. William LOWMAN, a skilled physician and a good citizen, practiced here a short time before the war, then went to Butler and thence to the army, where he contracted disease, from the effects of which he died.

Dr. DE WOLF and Dr. MARKS came about 1860; each practiced a short time only, then moved away. Dr. REDMOND located here in the spring of 1882.

Dr. N. M. RICHARDSON began his professional career in Prospect in 1859. He was born in Connoquenessing Township, this county, in 1830; studied medicine with Dr. O. D. PALMER, of Zelienople; attended medical lectures at Cleveland and Philadelphia, and graduated from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, in 1863. He has been very successful in his labors.


[For biography and portrait of Dr. Josiah MCCANDLESS, see chapter on Center Township.]


Dr. William C. MCCANDLESS, eldest son of Dr. Josiah MCCANDLESS, late of Unionville, was born in [p. 83] Center Township October 6, 1857. He first studied medicine with Dr. A. M. NEYMAN, in Butler Borough, and then pursued a course in the Jefferson Medical College, graduating in 1879. The following winter he returned and attended a course of lectures, thus doubly preparing himself for his profession. He is now practicing in Glade Mills, where he established himself in the spring of 1881.


Dr. Eli G. DE WOLF, who had a long and successful practice in Centerville and vicinity, where he was widely esteemed, came from Ohio and settled in Centerville about 1825. He was married in this county to Miss Sarah A. HARRIS. He died in 1847.

Dr. Lyman HOWARD, who afterward settled at Harrisville, practiced in this place several years, beginning in 1836. Dr. VAN HORN practiced here about four years, then went to Allegheny County. Dr. CRANE came a few years before Dr. DE WOLF died and practiced a number of years.

Dr. Samuel MARKS, a graduate of Allegheny College, and a highly esteemed physician, practiced about seven years, commencing in 1847. He died soon after his removal from the place.

Dr. DODDS, the next physician, went West after several years' practice here. He was followed by Dr. GAMEL, Dr. GETTIS and Dr. James B. LIVINGSTON. The latter remained here until 1872, then went to Middlesex, Mercer County, his present location. Dr. SMITH was in practice with Dr. COULTER for a time, as was also Dr. LIVINGSTON.

Dr. G. W. COULTER was born in New Lisbon, Ohio, in 1830. He was educated at Meadville, Penn., studied medicine with Dr. GREER at Harmonsburg and graduated from the Ohio Medical College, Cleveland, in 1856. He practiced in Eastbrook, Lawrence Co., Penn., several years. In 1862, he settled at Centerville, where he had eleven years of successful practice. He died in this place in 1873. He was Secretary of the County Medical Society at the time of his death.

Dr. Benjamin PEARSON, whose extensive practice renders his name familiar in this county, was born in Mercer, Penn., in 1838. He was educated at Mercer Academy and studied medicine with Dr. S.S. MEHARD. He settled at Centerville in 1862, where he has since practiced continuously, with the exception of two years in Forest County. Dr. PEARSON is a graduate of the Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia.

Dr. A. M. PATTERSON, the successor of Dr. COULTER, was born in Somerset County, Penn., in 1833. He was educated in Butler and Sunbury, and graduated from the Medical Department of the University of Wooster, Ohio, in 1873, and since that date has been practicing in Centerville.


Dr. James OWENS was the first resident physician in Harrisville. He came from New York State, and after about ten years' practice here, went West.

Dr. Lyman L. HOWARD, from Ithaca, N. Y., an educated and skilled physician, practiced from 1836 until 1854. Dr. HOWARD is now practicing in Illinois.

Dr. James MCCONNELL practiced in Harrisville eight or ten years. He sold out to Dr. ELRICK, went to California and died.

Dr. Jackson MCMILLEN, a very competent physician, now a resident of Kansas, practiced about fifteen years in this place. He left about 1860.

Dr. J. H. ELRICK was born in Indiana County, Penn., in 1830. He graduated from the Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, and entered upon his professional career at Harrisville in 1856. He has been abundantly successful.

Since 1856, ten or more physicians have practiced in Harrisville, but none remained more than two or three years. The present doctors are Dr. ELRICK, Dr. S. L. STRAIN and Dr. D. W. WEBSTER. Drs. STRAIN and WEBSTER have each been here about five years.


Dr. Albert A. KELTY, the first settled physician at West Liberty, was born in Lawrence County, Penn., in 1849. He was educated at the Poland (Ohio) Seminary, and attended medical lectures in Detroit and Cleveland, graduating from the Cleveland Medical School in 1873. He then settled at Rose point, Lawrence County. In 1876, he removed to West Liberty, where he still continues, having a good practice.


The first physician here was Dr. George KIRKPATRICK. He removed to Harlansburg, where he kept a general store for about six years. He died at North Liberty in 1841. He was succeeded by one STEEN, a "water doctor."

The present physicians are Drs. William COWDEN and -- ABERNETHY. The latter came here in 1872. He is a graduate of Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, and also of a school of medicine in New York City. He was born in St. Louis and obtained his general education in Pittsburgh. Previous to his graduation, he served in the Union army in the war of the rebellion, going out as a private and returning as First Lieutenant.

Dr. John COWDEN was the first physician of the western part of Butler County. He was born in [p. 84] Washington County, Penn., in 1797, and was of Scotch descent. About the year 1800, he went with his parents to Poland, Trumbull County (now Mahoning County, Ohio, where he studied medicine with his uncle, Dr. Isaac P. COWDEN.* In 1818, he began the practice of medicine at Portersville, Butler Co., Penn., and continued it successfully until within about fourteen years of his death. His practice was large and his duties arduous. He rode on horseback day and night, visiting patients in three or four counties. At an early day, the people were poor, and for years much of his practice was rendered gratuitously. He led a busy and useful life, and was widely esteemed. He was a man of extensive reading and sound judgement, and his patients placed implicit confidence in his ability and skill.

* Dr. Isaac P. COWDEN was one of the very first students of Jefferson College, Cannonsburg, Penn., and one of the pioneer physicians of the Western Reserve in Ohio.

When he settled at Portersville, he at first boarded with Thomas CHRISTIE, Esq., one of the pioneer settlers of this county, who moved here from Westmoreland County. Later, he married Mr. CHRISTIE's daughter, Elizabeth. He resided at Portersville until about 1866, when he retired from practice, and during the remainder of his life lived with his daughter in Allegheny City. He died February 15, 1880, aged eighty-three years. His wife died in 1879, at the age of eighty-two. They and six children who reached mature years -- Dr. William R., now of Worth Township; Maria C., wife of James FRAZIER, Muddy Creek Township; Elizabeth, deceased, was the wife of Erskin MCCLELLAND; Eleanor J., now the wife of John FRAZIER, one of the firm of FRAZIER Bros., builders and lumber merchants, Allegheny City; Tirzah, the wife of Andrew GAILY, resides in Allegheny County, near Economy; Susan, deceased, was the wife of Rev. Samuel KERR, of Harrisville.

William Reynolds COWDEN was born in Portersville March 4, 1820. He attended the academy at Jamestown, Mercer County, and afterward the Venango Academy, in Franklin, Penn. In 1841, he entered Jefferson College as a sophomore, and remained two years. He then taught school to obtain means to pursue his studies further. Teaching at home in 1843, he began the study of medicine under his father's tuition. He attended medical lectures at the Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, in the winter of 1844-45, and again in 1845-46. His health having been injured by too close application, he was obliged to leave the college early in 1846 and return home. In the spring of that year, having in a measure regained his health, he began the practice of medicine at Portersville, which he continued uninterruptedly until 1879. His skill and good judgment soon became known, and his practice grew rapidly. His health was restored by the exercise he obtained by visiting his patients on horseback. In 1859-60, his devotion to work caused another decline in his health, and thenceforth he restricted his visits to a narrower territory. In 1879, he removed to Sunbury, and in the spring of 1882 to his present home in Worth Township (Jackville Post Office), Butler County. He is now residing in the neighborhood where he has labored so long and so successfully.

Though retired from active practice and living on a farm, the Doctor still continues to pursue his profession about home, and is frequently called to consultations with neighboring physicians. He is a member of the Butler County Medical Society, of which he has served as President several years; also a member of the State Medical Society, and was one of the Vice presidents at the meeting of the society held at Lancaster, Penn, in 1881.

Not only is Dr. COWDEN well skilled and thoroughly educated in the science of medicine, but his literary attainments are of a high order. His knowledge of the classics and his acquaintance with good literature evince his studious habits. Within the last two years, alone and without instruction, Dr. COWDEN has taught himself the French language, and is able to read it readily. He is a member of the United Presbyterian Church, and socially and professionally his character is without reproach. In politics, he is an earnest Republican. He cast his first vote for a Presidential candidate at the old State House, Philadelphia, in 1844, voting for Henry CLAY.

Dr. COWDEN was married, November 7, 1850, to Matilda M. KLINE, daughter of J. G. and Catharine (Eyster) KLINE. Mrs. COWDEN's parents were among the most prominent of the early settlers of Mercer, Penn. Dr. COWDEN is the father of seven children living -- Annie E., Ida M., Maggie K., Eva M., William Rush, John, Victor and Nellie J. F. Annie E. is the wife of C. FOSTERWICK, of Sunbury, and the mother of four children. The rest of the Doctor's children reside at home.


Dr. Josiah MCMICHAEL was born in Meadville, Penn., October 2, 1826. He studied medicine prior to attending a course of lectures at the Cleveland Medical College. He first established himself in practice in Venango County, in 1852, and came to Millerstown in 1858, where he continued to practice his profession until his death, January 12, 1880. He was a member of the Butler County Medical Society, also of the State Medical Society, and took an active part in their deliberations. He was very successful in his practice and a man of liberal ideas. He took an active part in educational matters, and was highly [p. 85] esteemed as a man possessed of many ennobling qualities.

Dr. R. L. PATTERSON was born in Wolf Creek Township, Mercer County, Penn., in 1852. Preparatory to a medical education, he studied for nearly three years in Allegheny College, Meadville. He studied medicine with Profs. BENNETT and HINES, and graduated from the Cleveland Medical College in 1872, but remained in the city for six months, engaged in hospital practice. He then attended a course of lectures in Pennsylvania University, and then commenced to practice in the then flourishing Greece City, and following up the oil excitement, changed his residence to the now defunct village of St. Joe, but shortly changed his residence to Millerstown, where he now enjoys a lucrative practice and is numbered among the successful physicians of the county, a reputation well earned and worthily bestowed.

Among the early physicians were Dr. MARKS, who remained but a short time; R. MCLAUGHLIN, who lived in the borough about two years, and Dr. GEDDES, who remained about an equal length of time.


As many as fifteen physicians have practiced in Petrolia for a longer or a shorter period during the last ten years. We allude briefly to some of the most prominent.

Dr. Lyman WILLARD was the first to settle here. He came in 1872, and remained until 1878, when he removed to New York State. He was quite successful in his practice.

Dr. F. C. CLUXTON, a well educated and accomplished man, settled in Petrolia soon after Dr. WILLARD. In 1870, he removed to Bradford.

Dr. J. H. SUTHERLAND, originally from Canada, came in 1874 or 1875, and remained until 1881. He had been following up the oil developments some years before he came here. He went to Richburg, N.Y. Just before he left, his son Lee fell from a foot bridge into the creek, February 10, 1881, during a time of high water, and was drowned. Both the boy and the father had a great many friends, and the sad event distressed the entire community.

Dr. E. P. SQUIRE practiced from 1876 until 1880. He was in partnership with Dr. SUTHERLAND for a time. He moved to New York State. Dr. G. RENO, Dr. John MECHLING and Dr. DEITRICK were among those who practice from one to three years each.

Dr. STUART, now of Bradford, came to Petrolia during the first excitement and practiced until 1878.

Dr. W. C. FOSTER and Dr. C. C. RUMBERGER are the physicians at present. Dr. FOSTER located here in 1876. He was born in Armstrong County in 1852; studied medicine with Dr. H. M. WICK & Son, of Clarion County; graduated from the Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, in 1874; he practiced two years in New Bethlehem Clarion County.

Dr. C. C. RUMBERGER has enjoyed a large practice in this vicinity for ten years. He is a son of Col. W. F. RUMBERGER and was born in Slippery Rock township, Butler County, in 1851. He studied medicine under the tuition of Dr. John K. MAXWELL, Worthington, Armstrong County; graduated in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, in 1872; settled at Buena Vista, where he remained until 1881, when he removed to Petrolia.


But little can be said of the medical practitioners of this place, as nearly all have moved away and their present locations are unknown. Dr. S. H. PETTIGREW was the first to settle here. He came in the fall of 1872, and practiced successfully until 1881, when he moved to Dubois, Penn. He had a drug store while here.

Dr. BINKARD practiced about one year, commencing in 1874. Dr. William F. F. MAHUEKE came from Butler in 1878, and remained two years or more.

Dr. D. HARPER settled in Karns City in 1873, and still continues his practice. He was born in Allegheny County in 1832; graduated in medicine at the University of Michigan, and practiced in Oil City and Bradensburg, Venango County, before coming here.


Dr. Samuel WALLACE, of Sugar Creek, Armstrong County, was the first who practiced in Martinsburg, but he did not settle here. Dr. GOE, of Lawrenceburg, also practiced here.

The first resident physician was Dr. David FOWLER, who moved to this place from Fairview about 1845. He resided also at North Washington and at Harrisville. After at least twenty-five years of successful practice in this vicinity, he went West and is now located near Chicago.

Dr. THOMAS, a young man, practiced here about two years, then moved to Fairview. Dr. ADAIR practiced in Martinsburg for two or three years.

Dr. B. E. DENNISON, the present resident practitioner, settled in Martinsburg in 1872. He was born in Stonington, Conn., in 1836, and brought up in Portage County, Ohio; fitted for college at Hiram, Ohio, under President GARFIELD; educated at Harvard University; studied medicine with Drs. BENNETT and PITMAN, in Portage County, and graduated from the Louisville, Ky., Medical College in 1860. He settled for a time in Missouri, but at the breaking-out of the rebellion, entered the Union army as a Surgeon, and served through the war. In 1864-65, he was on the [p. 86] staff of Assistant Surgeon General at Louisville, Ky.

Among those who have practiced in Martinsburg from one to three years each, since 1872, have been Dr. S. H. PETTIGREW, Dr. J. W. KELLY, Dr. A. BRYAN, Dr. C.M.C. CAMPBELL and Dr. S. H. KERR.


As nearly as can be ascertained, Dr. BULLARD was the first physician who settled in Fairview. After several years of faithful practice, he died here in 1850. Dr. FOWLER came from North Washington, settled here and practiced some years. Dr. ORMSBY was another practitioner, who came soon after Dr. FOWLER. Dr. BARNHART, a German physician, was in the place in 1840.

Dr. J. W. BEATTY died in Fairview in 1881, after a faithful and fairly successful professional career of twenty-five years in this place.

Dr. MCMILLEN practiced in Fairview several years, and died here.

Dr. H. C. BIRCHARD, at present the only medical practitioner in the borough, was born in Crawford County in 1839. He was educated at Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York City, and began practice in Venango County in 1865. In 1873, he settled in Fairview.

Dr. C. F. MCBRIDE, a native of Butler County, practiced in Fairview about three years, and moved to Youngstown, Ohio, in 1882. He had a drug store here, which he sold out to Dr. BIRCHARD.

Dr. C. F. MCBRIDE, now of Youngstown, Ohio, practiced here for several years; also in other localities in the county. He was born in Harrisburg, Penn., March 23, 1851, and came with his parents to Butler when an infant. He attended the public schools of Butler and Witherspoon Institute, after which he taught school in Slippery Rock township and elsewhere. In the fall of 1871, he entered the office of Dr. A. M. NEYMAN, in Butler, for the purpose of reading medicine, and remained there until the fall of 1873, when he entered the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia, from which he graduated in the spring of 1875. He began practice at Butler, remained there one year, and removed to Harrisville, where he practiced for a year and a half in partnership with Dr. J. ELRICH. From thence he removed to this place, where he remained for three years and a half, leaving in the spring of 1822 for Youngstown.


The first physician to locate in this place was Dr. T. B. RHODES, from Ohio, who settled here in 1875, and is still practicing here.

Dr. Albert RITCHIE practiced here two years, and in 1881 moved to Kansas.

Dr. R. J. MCMICHAEL, of Farmington is a son of C. MCMICHAEL, and was born in Clay township, Butler County, in 1851. He began practice at Sunbury in 1879, and located at Farmington in 1881. Dr. MCMICHAEL was educated in his profession at the Cleveland Medical College, where he attended three courses, and was graduated therefrom in 1881.



Dr. A. M. NEYMAN, who has now been in continuous practice in Butler longer than any other physician of the borough, is the son of Abraham Markle and Eleanor (MCLEARY) NEYMAN, and was born in Butler February 6, 1826. His father, who kept tavern in a log building where the Vogeley House now is, was killed April 12, 1827, by the falling of a tree during a storm (see chapter on Centre Township), and his mother received injuries at the same time, from the effects of which she never fully recovered. The boy, thus left a half-orphan when but little more than a year old, grew up in Butler, and received his education in the old Butler Academy, his last teacher in that institution being the Rev. William WHITE, who, at the time, was considered to be one of the finest linguists in the State. Subsequently, he taught school in the country, and clerked in the offices of Justices of the Peace, but, conceiving a fondness for the study of medicine, he went to Zanesville, Ohio, in 1845, and began reading with Dr. Washington MOREHEAD, of that place. In 1847, he returned to Butler. He was obliged to make his own way in the world, and again resorted to school-teaching and other occupations to sustain himself and provide means for future study. He clerked in the Recorder’s office, and taught school in country and in town. In the year 1849, he was associated with Rev. William WHITE, and taught the English branches in the academy. During the winter of 1849-50, he taught school in Centre township, and, in the spring of 1850, was again able to follow his inclination for the study of medicine. He resumed his reading, Dr. RANDOLPH, who has heretofore been spoken of, now being his preceptor. He attended the Western Reserve Medical College of Cleveland in the winter of 1850-51; returned in the spring of the year to Butler, and, going into partnership with Dr. RANDOLPH, gained much practical knowledge of his chosen profession. He practiced during 1851 and until the fall of 1852, when he again went to Cleveland. In the spring of 1853, he graduated from the college, and, immediately returning to Butler, opened the practice, which he has followed with but little interruption and very successfully since. After practicing a few years, he went to Philadelphia, and spent a winter in the city hospitals, and there received much practical knowledge not obtainable from other sources. His career has been highly creditable from the fact that he overcame many difficulties, and is worthy the careful consideration and the emulation of the young men who desire to succeed in life. Dr. NEYMAN was married November 12, 1861, to Emeline, daughter of John N. and Eliza Jane PURVIANCE.


Sylvester D. BELL began the practice of medicine in 1871. He was born near Brady’s Bend, Armstrong County, June 30, 1847. His father, S. S. BELL, was the son of one of the early settlers of Butler County, and was born in Washington Township, this county, in the year 1822. The grandfather of the subject of this sketch came to Butler County about 1810.

Dr. BELL obtained an academical education, and commenced the study of medicine in the office of Dr. T. M. MCMILLAN, of Fairview. Passing through the required course of reading, and obtaining much practical knowledge from other sources than books, he went to the Cleveland Medical College, from which institution he graduated with honor in 1874. Prior to his graduation, he had established himself in the practice of his profession at Millerstown, and, on the completion of his medical course, returned to Millerstown, where he has since remained. He has been highly successful in his chosen profession, and, although he is comparatively a young practitioner, he occupies a foremost position among the physicians of Butler County. He is a member of both the county and State Medical Societies.

The Doctor has taken an active interest in political matters, and, in 1880, was elected to the Representative branch of the State Legislature. His official duties were discharged with credit to himself, and to the satisfaction of his constituents, and his record as a legislator evidences the possession of many of the essential qualifications of the successful physician – good judgment, quick perception and honesty of purpose. In 1871, Dr. BELL was married to Miss Mary E., daughter of William ALEXANDER, of Fairview, one of the early settlers of that township. Four children have been born to them – Harry A., Charles E., Anna L. and Bessie.


Wilson N. CLARK was born near Meadville, Penn., February 22, 1835. He was the son of Robert and Nancy (GROSS) CLARK, who reared a family of five children. The early life of the Doctor was spent on his father’s farm. He received an academical education, and after the completion of his literary education, followed teaching for several years. In 1862, he enlisted in Company C, One Hundred and Fiftieth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. At the battle of Gettysburg he was severely wounded, and was discharged for disability June 28, 1864. He returned to his home, and after a few months of rest, he entered the office of M. L. FAULKNER, M. D., and commenced the study of medicine. His medical education was completed at the Medical University of Michigan and the Cleveland Medical College, graduating with honor from the latter institution in 1867. Shortly after, he established himself in the practice of his profession at Whitestown, where he has since resided.

Two years subsequent to his removal to Whitestown, the Doctor was married to Miss Elizabeth C., daughter of Robert BOLTON, of Connoquenessing. Mrs. CLARK was born in Zelienople. Four children have been born to them – Francis E., Luella M., Zelia Estella and Charles R.

But few physicians have attained a larger measure of success in the practice than Dr. CLARK, and none have devoted themselves more assiduously to professional duties than he. At all hours and in all kinds of weather, he was ready to attend to the calls of the sick and afflicted, until his health became so impaired by hard work and exposure that he was compelled to abandon his practice.

His is a member of the Butler Medical Society and the State Medical Association. The Doctor has always taken a deep interest in public affairs, and in him the temperance cause has a stanch advocate. In his political and religious affiliations, he is a Republican and a Presbyterian. Dr. CLARK is a gentleman well and favorably known, and one who is highly respected and esteemed. He possesses the necessary qualifications of a physician other than knowledge – geniality of disposition and firmness blended with kindness and compassion. In his domestic relations, he is kind and affectionate, a good husband, father and friend, and in every sense a worthy citizen.

[End of Chapter 10--The Medical Profession: History of Butler County, Pennsylvania. With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Waterman, Watkins, & Co., Chicago, 1883.]

Chapter 09--The Press
Chapter 11--Soldiers of the War of 1812
1883 Butler County History Contents
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Edited 07 Dec 1999, 12:25