Clark County, Ohio

History and Genealogy



The Clark County Medical Society


From The History of Clark County, Ohio
Chicago: W.H. Beers & Co., 1881 - Page 344

By Dr. Isaac Kay


The Clark County Branch of the Ohio Medical Society was organized in Springfield May 30, 1850. The records for one year from the date of its origin are not in existence.

On the 21st day of May, 1851, a meeting of the physicians of Springfield was held at the office of Dr. Robert Rodgers — Dr. J. Hendershott, Chairman, and Dr. E. M. Buckingham, Secretary. A committee was appointed to draft constitution and by-laws; also a committee to invite the profession throughout the county to join in the association, and one to make arrangements for a room in which to meet.

At the next meeting, May 30, the constitution and by-laws were adopted.

The following were the original members:

Jesse W. Cook,* Berkley Gillett*, Robert Rodgers,* G. W. Runyan,* M. L. Houston, A. C. McLaughlin, James Sprague, Elijah Collins, E. M. Buckingham, Isaac Hendeshott,* Cornelius Smith,* R. Houston,* V. Smith, J. N. Stockstill, D. C. Poage,* George Keifer (removed), R. J. Shackelford (removed), E. W. Steele (removed), John A. Skinner,* J. C. Stoddard, Tobias Barr (removed), James H. Gillet, Isaac Meranda, David Serviss,* James R. Bayley, W. W. Dawson, Andrew Bruce,* E. Thorn,* H. H. Young, J. B. Lingle, H. C. Foster,* B. Winwood,* G. F. Kennedy, G. C. Paoli (removed), T. P. McCullough (removed), John H. Laurence (removed), Thomas C. Eakin (removed), George P. Hackenbery (removed), C. S. Smith (removed), M. Buffenbarger (removed), H. H. Seys, Isaac Kay, E. Owen, Ed D. Roe,* Daniel Neff (removed), William Marquart.

At the above meeting, by request, Dr. Gillett submitted an article to the society upon the position which its members should take concerning quackery and quack medicines. A resolution was passed inviting members of the profession in adjoining counties to co-operate in this enterprise. A Committee on Medical Ethics was appointed, and empiricism definitely discountenanced. Dr. Robert Rodgers was chosen President for the ensuing year — 1850-51.

At the November meeting, 1850, Dr. Skinner read an essay upon "Medical Science," which was followed by one from Dr. Stockstill upon "Malaria." A committee was appointed to memorialize the Legislature to tax quack medicines and nostrums, and one to draft and report a bill of minimum prices. The report of this committee was adopted at the next meeting. February 4, 1851, four members were admitted. Dr. Cook made a verbal report of the "Phenomena connected with the prevalence of cholera in Newark, Ohio," etc., and a resolution was passed that, "when called for," essays should be made the property of the society. Dr. Runyan also read an essay upon "New Medicine and New Instruments."† Dr. R. Houston was chosen President for the ensuing year, 1851-52.††

The object of this meeting being rather to give an historical resume of the more salient and important features of this organization than to present the proceedings of each meeting in detail, through a period of more than half a century, the method pursued in treating of the first two years will not be adhered to closely in the remainder of this chapter; nevertheless, we hope to let no essential point of historic interest go unrecorded.

November 4, 1851, "after some discussion," a resolution not to patronize, except in cases of necessity, drug-stores that sold patent medicine, was withdrawn. The first "request of dismissal" on the records occurred at the same meeting. Dr. Buckingham read an essay upon the "Advancement of the Regular Profession of Medicine." February 3, 1852, the first "case of discipline" was presented, verbally, which led to a resolution requiring that, when charges were made against members, they shall be in writing, and the accused shall be duly notified thereof by the Secretary. This was also the first meeting on record wherein an autopsy took place. Dr. Runyan exhibited to the society a heart obtained by post mortem examination, possessing great interest. At this session, a gentleman who preferred justice to generosity — and who probably expected to "pay for his funeral" — suggested that ministers of the Gospel should be charged the same as other patients. May 4, 1852, Dr. Shackleford read an essay upon the "The [sic] Properties of Quinine." An effort was also made, but failed, to obtain permission of the society to reduce the established fees in Carlisle, Charleston, Vienna, Enon, Fremont, and their respective vicinities. State delegates were appointed, and Dr. B. Gillett was chosen President for the ensuing year. The President-elect read an essay upon "The Influence of the Passions and Emotions of the Mind upon the Body." November 16, Dr. Paoli read an essay on the "State of Medical Science in France." At this meeting a committee was appointed to report upon the "Nature and Treatment of the first expulsion occurred — cause, the advocacy and practice of homeopathy. Typhoid Fever," and the "Medicinal Virtues of Cod Liver Oil." At the next meeting, February 1, 1852, Dr. Paoli reported on the latter, after which the subject was generally discussed. At the morning session of the May meeting this year, Dr. Hackenberg read an essay on "The Influence of the Atmosphere upon the Human System," and Dr. Paoli read an interesting report of a case for "Erysipelas Phlegmanodes." Dr. Hendershott was chosen President for the ensuing year, 1853-54. November 1, 1853, the society met at Carlisle. At the next meeting in Springfield, essays on special subjects, and the report of the Comittee of Ethics occupied the attention of the society. May 7, 1854, it was resolved that any member removing and remaining out of the county one year would forfeit his membership. Also, that absence for three successive meetings would have the same effect. Dr. McLaughlin read a description of a case of malignant epidemic. Dr. Sprague, of Vienna, described an instance of obstetrical malpractice. Committees were appointed on the practice of physic, on surgery, and on obstetrics, whose duty it shall be to embody the experiences and observations of the society thereon in separate reports, to be submitted at the next annual meeting. Dr. R. J. Shackleford was elected President for the ensuing year.

The meetings thus far summarized correspond in character to those which followed until November 6, 1855, inclusive. From various causes, the sessions of the society were discontinued until April 12, 1864, when a convention was held to effect a re-organization, fifteen physicians of Clark County and vicinity responding to the call previously made. The meeting was held at the office of Dr. Rodgers. Present: Drs. Rodgers, Owen, Bruce, Thorn, Lefevre, Dunlap, Hazzard, Stockstill, Rector, Reeves, Pratt, Clark, Janney and Kay. Dr. Rodgers was appointed President, and Dr. Kay Secretary. The fee bill was re-adjusted in committee of the whole. The name of the society was changed to "The Clark County Medical Society." May 5, the constitution and by-laws of the old medical society were adopted, and the society virtually resuscitated. November 1, 1864, the fee bill was further discussed, amended, and ordered printed. Dr. Hazzard read an essay on "Pneumonia; its Pathology and Treatment," etc. This and other medical topics were discussed. At the February meeting, 1865, Dr. E. Owen read an essay on "The Treatment of Neuralgia by Strychnine." May 2, 1865, the Treasurers report for the year just closed showed: Receipts, $16; expenses, $5.50. A. C. McLaughlin was chosen President. Dr. Kay read an essay on "The Medical Properties and Uses of Ox-Gall;" Dr. Cravath on "The Claims of Medicine as a Science;" Dr. Hazzard on "The Change of Type in Disease;" and the retiring President delivered an appropriate valedictory address. A strong resolution was passed in regard to practitioners in the county who would not affiliate with the society, and thus help to promote the best interests of the profession. Dr. Rodgers read a paper on "Anesthesia." November 7, Dr. Dunlap verbally reported a case of craniotomy, and Dr. Buckingham in special operation in surgery.

The Medical Society was now again under full headway, and the meetings have been held with great regularity ever since. Subjects of vital interest to the profession have constantly engaged the attention of the members, and great benefit has been derived from the essays and discussions, not only to the fraternity, but to the community also. An elevated standard of medical ethics has been secured, and incompetence and charlatanism uniformly rebuked. Looking over the records for the past fifteen years, we find that more than one hundred meetings have been held during that time. As a matter of course, it would require almost a separate volume to give even a synopsis of each. Not less than one thousand medical topics have been discussed, about two hundred essays have been read, and more than that number of verbal reports made of important cases under treatment. All the leading quesitons connected with the progress of medical science for the last half-century have been canvassed, prevailing diseases and local epidemics considered, and a vast amount of co-operative work done in the society's sessions, the valuable results of which the community are now receiving, almost wholly unconscious of the source whence, to so great an extent, they have come. This has not been a "Mutual Admiration Society" in any sense. While nearly a hundred practitioners have been admitted, the rules of discipline have been frequently enforced, and the records show instances of criticism, censure and expulsion.‡ The Presidents, from our last mention, have been Drs. E. Owen, J.S.R. Hazzard, Isaac Kay, E. M. Buckingham, H. Senseman, A. Bruce, J. H. Rodgers, W. G. Bryant, Calvin Pollock, W. H. Reeves, W. H. Banwell, H. H. Seys and J. M. Harris. The principal Secretaries have been Drs. E. M. Buckingham, from 1850 to 1853; Isaac Kay, from May, 1854 to May, 1865; and from November 10, 1870, except two years, by Dr. Totten to date. Very full and systematic minutes have been made throughout, and, generally speaking, copious publications received through the local press. The early records are in a good state of preservation, and the later are seldom equaled in neatness and convenience of arrangement. The present membership is twenty-eight. Monthly meetings are held, with occasional exceptions, and the old-time enthusiasm still characterizes the sessions. Of the original members of the first society, only thirteen now remain, viz.: Drs. Buckingham, McLaughlin, J. H. Gillett, Kennedy, seys, Kay, Hazzard, Senseman, Herble, Owen, J. H. Rodgers, Reeves and Stonebarger. The officers of our society for 1880-81 are: President, J. M. Harris; First Vice President, W. L. Stonebarger; Second Vice President, T. M. Carroll; Secretary, Isaac Kay; Treasurer, John Reddish; Board of Censors, W. G. Bryant, J. H. Rodgers, D. C. Huffman, H. H. Seys and McK. Driscoll.

* - deceased
† A copy of the retiring President's address was requested by resolution for publication.
†† Dr. B. Gillett and J. Hendershott, Vice Presidents; Dr. E. M. Buckingham, Secretary, and Dr. G. H. Runyan, Treasurer. Drs. Gillett, Cook, Stockstill, Runyan and Rogers composed the first board of censors.
‡ From the first organization of the society to February 17, 1873, seventy-two physicians had been connected with it as members.














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