The following stories bring to light that a doctor suffered privations, did what he could, often without pay, and went when he was called.
Dr. G. W. Hollenbeak's story as told to Ida Ellen (Cox) Rath and published in the Dodge City Daily Globe, December 24, 1935. Dr. Hollenbeak was a member of the State Board of Health for a number of years and president one year. He was Santa Fe doctor for Gray County and county doctor for a good many years, a representative in the state legislature, 1895 to 1897. He was a member of the Woodmen, Knights of Pythias, American Medical Association, Kansas Medical Association, and Southwest Medical Association. His story follows.
Sometimes as I look at our family pictures, I smile as I come to the one of myself, taken about the time I came to the Kansas plains overcoat so long it almost came to my ankles, great fur cap in my hand, and my future before me. I remember I was awed and forced along by the knowledge that my mother traced her descent beck to John Quince Adams, mayor of Boston.
But maybe I should go back to earlier days. It's funny how some things in a boy's life stand out, stay with him through the years, things that don't amount to anything. I often recall one happening and many are the laughs I have had over the fool incident. The teacher, part Indian, gave the word, "Blennerhasit," and one boy started to spell it out of his turn. The teacher said, "Wait, it's the other fellow's turn." The other fellow tried to spell the word and failed. The teacher then turned to the other boy and spoke, sharp and quick, much to our mirth, "Blennerhasit, now you have it." To this day I do not know the meaning of the word. (Harman Blennerhassett was tried for treason, aiding Aaron Burr financially in his scheme to found an independent empire in the southwest, therefore a noted spy. And the name was a teaser in a spelling match).
The teacher was a peculiar man and had unique ways of punishing. If he caught anyone whispering, he would throw a switch at him. Then the lad must bring the switch to the teacher and receive a switching.
I was in the rural school until I was twenty-two years old. I started to school to father when he had an average attendance of ninety-two, all in one room but with an assistant to help. It was a rural school called Pin Oak. For seats, we had slabs of trees turned upside down with pegs for legs.
After that I went to the medical college at Keokuk, Iowa, and at Quincy, Illinois. During my last term, I worked for my uncle sawing wood. Usually I sawed wood in the morning and it would invariably make me so ill that I would lose my breakfast. But I kept it up anyway until it almost got my health. I graduated in 1884.
I had gone to my father's home at Richfield, Illinois, for a short vacation before I began practicing. Several of my brothers were playing ball. I threw the ball. My brother, next younger to me, went to catch it and doubled over with pneumonia. He didn't die but it's a wonder.
I practiced in Hull, Illinois, for three years. During my first year there, I married Oliva M. Baker, a girl from our home town. She was a teacher and a music teacher, and later years proved she was certainly a good choice for a doctor's wife.
We came to Gray County in 1887, living on a claim for two years, about eighteen miles south of Ingalls. My wife liked it here and she was a good pioneer. She never complained of hardships. She always saw something bright about them. That was all we ever had, hardships and fun.
After that I practiced in Ingalls. In 1894, I came to Cimarron. My specialty in medical work is obstetrics. I have brought many babies into the world, some under very unfavorable circumstances, but I never have kept count of them all. Some obstetrical cases were pretty severe. We had so few things with which to work. There is one thing of which I am proud-I have never refused to go on a case when called.
I traveled on foot a great deal in the very early days, after that in a cart or buggy. I went alone mostly. It never seemed harder for me to go places in those early days of pioneering but it was a task sometimes to remember the directions.
Short cuts went everywhere, but which one to take was a problem more often than not. A man would ride to my door, lean from his saddle and shout these directions, "You go south one mile and a half, west three miles, angle southwest about three miles, then west and you come to an angle in the road. Don't take the first angle but the second, then about three miles and you get there." All that as I was preparing for the trip and I had to remember it.
I have gone out into blizzards in the dark of night when I did not know if I would arrive where I was bound or if I would ever live to return to my home. One would think a doctor would have trouble with the woman but I always had more trouble with the men when I was called to a home. The wife was generally calm, helpful; the husband nervous, inclined to be in the way.
I always had the idea a doctor had a lot of charity work to do. Maybe one gets what he expects, anyway I never got much remuneration. I haven't asked for money for a good many years. People know they owe me and I always think if they want to pay me they will, if they don't they won't. I thought "I won't get rich in a moment of course but soon." If the Bible saying is true, it is hardly possible for a rich man to enter into heaven, then there is nothing in that line to keep me from entering there.
Once an accident happened that very nearly put an end to my practice. I had climbed to the roof of our house, nearly to the peak. There I stepped on a cleat. It broke and I went headlong over the house falling about fourteen feet. My back was broken as it was; if I had lit about two feet further out, I would have hit the cement walk. I doubt if that had happened if my hack could have been repaired.
I always wanted to collect old coins and I have quite a collection, some that I prize--an 1835 half-dollar, some pennies over a hundred years old. It's funny but I have never wanted to sell them.
Flowers have always been a hobby with me but the yard doesn't look like it now. But after a rain, I will work them again. I like all flowers, wild and otherwise. Always I see beauty in blades of grass, the stalks of weeds. Often my wife and I went on exploring trips, observing plants and flowers.
She has been dead since August, 1931. Now Edith May, a
daughter, and I live here together. My once brown hair is gray, my brown eyes are less bright than formerly but still I am carrying on. Only yesterday, I had a patient.
A. J. Anthony, often a partner of R. M. Wright, filled several offices of honor and trust. He was county commissioner and held other county and township offices. He was one of the partners of the Charles Rath Merchantile Company, along with Rath and Robert M. Wright when the store was organized in 1872. Before the Adobe Walls fight, Mr. Wright had bought out A. J. Anthony's share in the store and Charles Rath had put in an equal amount of money, so each now had one-half interest in the Charles Rath and Company store. Mr. Anthony lived to a ripe old age and his son, Ray Anthony, who held a government clerk position, still lives in Washington, D. C., and another son, Tobe, lives in Florida.
Early day doctors at Fort Dodge were Dr. Choteau and Dr. Galland. Dr. S. Galland had charge of the Great Western Hotel more than any other individual, and it was used under the same name for sixty years. George Reighard and William States owned and operated it until they sold it to Dr. Galland in 1877. Galland had hotel rules that guests must be in by 10: 00 o'clock at night or else they did not get in until the following morning for the hotel was locked up tightly at that time. It is said that in spite of the ruling, the hotel was full all the time for its good beds and good service, outranked the slight inconvenience of its early closing.
In all its history there were never any alcoholic beverages sold there even in the days when saloons were legal, before the amendment passed. Drinking by guests was taboo during most of the life of the hotel. At least most of the time the hotel had a dining room and the meals were considered the standard for the town. The best people were among its clientele, and while the Dodge House was always higher than at the Great Western Hotel, the hotel always held its own. May 15, 1942, The Dodge City Globe reported the razing of the Great Western Hotel, stating it was the oldest business: building, continuously in business here since 1874, bringing to an end another historical site. It was a cattlemen's hostelry through the seventies and eighties and continuously a hotel until that time.
Andy Johnson came from Sweden, first settling at Sweetwine, Ohio, and later coming west, first to Hays, Osage City, and then Dodge City to help on the toll bridge. A blacksmith by trade, he would work at anything and did a good job. All the sidewalks in Dodge City that are marked A. J. were laid by Andy Johnson. He was right hand man for Charles Rath in all his undertakings; in fact, Charles Rath was instrumental in getting the young man to come west for they came from the same small community in Ohio. He built the big store for Rath and Wright at Adobe Walls, and after the fight there, he collected war bonnets, shields, bows and arrows, spears and white people's scalps, and other curiosities. They were considered of great value but were nearly all destroyed by the big Front Street fire in 1885. He also worked in the hide yard of Rath and Wright's store, located just east of the present depot.
Andrew H. (Andy) Johnson was one of those rugged individuals who blazed the trail for other pioneers to follow in southwest Kansas, especially in and around Dodge City and for fifty-two years was one of its most loyal citizens. While living, he bought a lot just west of the road as it winds into the cemetery from the south gate and erected a tombstone for himself, typical of that day. The story of his life contains numerous thrilling and spine chilling incidents as experienced by the first settlers in the west. He was in the Adobe Walls Indian battle, 180 miles south of Dodge City, June 27, 1874, in which twenty-one men repulsed a desperate attack by hundreds of Indian warriors. Andy is credited with digging a well inside the Rath Store, a walk down well in the sand, which probably saved the lives of the thirsty men, for no one could venture forth to go for water.
Andrew Johnson was born in Engelholm, Sweden, August 15, 1845, and came to the United States in 1869, settling at Sweetwine, Ohio, but during the winter he came to Leavenworth. Later, he went to work for Charles Rath at Osage, Kansas, breaking 1,000 acres of sod. He also went with Mr. Rath on uniting and Indian trading expeditions, then came to Dodge :City to help on the toll bridge, using Rath's teams. He did some of the first concrete work done in Dodge City. At least me woman in the city, Annie Gingrich has proof that he also liked to do artistic work for she has a cement urn which Andy made for her when she was confirmed into the Swedish Lutheran
Church. Andy, himself, had a Swedish Bible. All through the years, he worked for Charles Rath when he was needed, a regular right hand man, and finally he had a blacksmith shop of his own. He died on a Friday in June, 1925, and was buried on Sunday in Maple Grove cemetery in a lot he had prepared in earlier years.
Dr. T. L. McCarty became the oldest and best known surgeon and physician in the west. He and his son, Dr. Claude McCarty, had a hospital for many years on the corner of Central and Spruce. Dr. T. L. McCarty was the only man in Dodge City in the early days of the town to hold on to the habits of civilization, day in and day out. Always there was the daily shave, white collar, white tie. In fact, he never adopted the frontier way of living. He could not adopt their approved style of dress but he liked their western spirit. He had high ideals. He liked the infectious spirit of adventure in the West, the western genuineness and freedom from sham, the way they took their changing fortunes. He had high ideals and an inborn dignity which conditions of frontier life could not break down. He had unfailing courage and a tender regard for humanity, and accomplished professional achievements under difficult circumstances, no questions asked.
It was Dr. T. L. McCarty who plugged the bullet holes and every rough and ready man would fight for him at the drop of a hat. Cowboys said his heart was where God put it; "his blood was allus red; his mouth he alluz shut it when troubles were ahead." In their mind's eye an early day patient could see him-neatly trimmed blonde mustache, finely featured face, and clear Irish-blue eyes, and always anyone would notice his massive gold watch chain, a legend in those early days. The doctor came in 1872, bringing Sallie, his Kentucky born bride, a brunette. The story of Chief Spotted Tail and her part in it will vouch for her pioneer qualities when a need arose. Dr. T. L. McCarty spent his adult lifehood here in Dodge City. At his death, his old-time friend, Ham Bell, drove the hearse that carried him to Maple Grove cemetery.
George B. Cox came to Dodge City in the fall of 1872 and during the fall and winter he built the Dodge House, 30 by 125 feet deep, at a cost of $11,452. It had 38 rooms and was opened to the public January 18, 1873. It was run by Cox and Boyd until January 10, 1883, when Cox bought out Boyd. The
two men also owned a livery stable and as one old timer used to say--it was a daughter, Clara Bell, who armed the girls with buggy whips to chase the boys. All supplies for the Dodge House were bought wholesale. They bought beer by the carload and other liquors and groceries in large quantities. They carried on a wholesale and retail liquor business in connection with the hotel.
The Dodge House was headquarters for two large stage lines. One of them extended one hundred miles to old Fort Camp Supply, Indian Territory. The other line ran two hundred miles southwest to Tascosa, Texas. These old Concord coaches with four or six good horses on would come thundering in at six in the morning, loaded with passengers. They were an interesting lot after riding all night for they had to ford the Canadian River and their trunks were sometimes full of water and ice. The hotels, dance halls, and gambling places were kept open all night. They never closed their doors from one year's end to another. More business was transacted at night than at any other time in this wild frontier town. The night clerk had charge of the house from seven at night until eight in the morning. When the bartender retired for the night, the clerk had to look after the billiard hall. The house was full and running over with guests. Fort Dodge was only a few miles away and army officers and soldiers helped to make the place crowded by adding their presence to: the list of registered guests.
A. H. (Al.) Boyd was a partner of George B. Cox, in the hotel and livery business until the early eighties. In the early sixties he was a freighter. He and his partner were captured by the Indians, their freighting outfit was taken away from them and his partner was scalped. They left Al Boyd, a-foot and alone, on the prairie. Boyd was a sandy-haired man and it was said the Indians would not scalp a red-headed man.
Doctor O. H. Simpson of Hannibal, Missouri, dentist and distant relative of Jess Chisholm, blazer of the famous cattle trail that bears his name, was quickly dubbed by the Front Street gang, because of the high-topped, silk hat he wore, "Dude Dentist from Missouri." Later he was lovingly called "The Cowboy Dentist." He rented a small room on a side street in Dodge City and opened his office, with a sign painted on the door Dr. O. H. Simpson, Dentist.
He made many visits to inland towns, riding in his buckboard,
with his dental equipment strapped on behind. He became known far and wide and pioneered in many changes in the dental trade. He studied the mold of the face and took pride making a set of teeth to fit that likeness. The teeth he made were never quite one's own---the patient paid for them but the doctor owned them and he examined them at will.
He became well known for his technique in designing gold dentures and was one of the originators of the inlay. To obtain the gold for their use, he placed twenty dollar gold pieces on the railroad tracks and after the Santa Fe Flyer had passed along ribbon of 28 gauge gold was ready for his use. He lectured far and wide on improved methods of dentistry and ran a column in a French Dental Journal. He was on the Kansas Board of Dental examiners for years, serving as president of that body for twelve years.
He was a lover of fine horses and dogs and was the proud owner of some of the finest saddle horses in the West. Mornings, in the early days, he liked to mount his high-front-wheeler bicycle and pedal out of town and often boasted that he courted his wife as the two of them pedaled their high-wheelers over the country roads.
In his later years, he modelled and made the Cowboy Statue on Boot Hill, the oxen head, and the grave markers, as well as a bear, a true reproduction of James (Dog) Kelly's pet beat Patsy, which stood in the front yard of the Simpson home, 80 First Avenue, for many years. He made small frogs and large ones, enameled frog green, with glittering red eyes. The latter he called "Mama Frogs" and with a sly wink, always said before he presented them to a friend, "I only give these to the ladies love." He made baby elephants and larger ones, enameled white, and, when presenting these gifts, always said he hoped would not make the owner poor trying to keep up with the owner of a white elephant.
He always had time to visit with old-timers and many was the tale he could spin of the early days, adding a touch of the famous "Simpson glamour" to the tale. "No, we didn't pi them in coffins," he was wont to say. "They were lucky to ha-, a saddle blanket for a shroud for lumber was VERY expensive.
He always claimed a well behaved stranger in Dodge City in the old days was always treated courteously and never molested. But any stranger entering in a quarrel-some mood would fin
trouble awaiting him. No Dodge City person "put on the dog" or swallow-tailed coats or evening clothes, nor wore plug hats. If he had been so rash, he would have been promptly called down. He had been so the doctor knew what he was talking about.
Dr. Simpson often told about the time Chestnut Street was shingled with tin cans and appropriately called Tin Pan Alley. When the town was platted by the original Town Company, it never occurred to them that this would be anything but a "Cow Town" and that Front Street would ever cease to be the principal business thoroughfare. Chestnut Street, now Wyatt Earp Boulevard, ryas used as an alley and made wide enough for bull teams and freighting outfits to pass when loaded with merchandise and supplies for the various ranches and forts south and southwest.
Old tin pans, cans, and rubbish were dumped in this alley as is usually the case in small towns. Those ponderous wagons rolled over these once useful articles times without number, until they became so flattened out that they all resembled tin pans. Hence the name "Tin Pan Alley." Eddie Foy, during his stay in the young town cracked a joke about the rattling good music that came from Tin Pan Alley as the oxen trampled and the heavily tired wagon wheels crunched on and over the ever fresh crop of tin cans in the alley. Perhaps many a town has had a Tin Pan Alley since but Dodge City was the first to coin the phrase, Dr. Simpson claimed. On June 17, 1872, George M. Hoover, a young Canadian, came to Dodge City from Hays, Kansas, setting up a tent saloon. When prohibition came in, though others ignored it for years, Hoover went out of business, with the wry comment, "I am not an outlaw."
George M. Hoover was tall and well proportioned, a commanding figure. He never betrayed a trust and was always generous to a fault, always figured to give value received. He was always a town builder, if ever there was one, always the first man on the list with a generous donation for any worthy cause. When hard times came, he stayed with the town.
Honorable G. M. Hoover represented Ford County in the legislature two terms. He was mayor of Dodge City several times and county commissioner several times. Starting in as a saloon keeper, he finally owned his own bank, was its founder,
and, until his death, president of the Bank of Dodge City.
When George M. Hoover died in 1914, he did not forget the town he had helped to build from the prairie up but left the city the bulk of his fortune. He left a sum of $100,000 to beautify the city. He left money for an auditorium in Wright Park, which was fittingly called Hoover Pavilion, and he left $1,000. to each of the six churches in the city for an improvement fund.
J. A. Arment said, "Our people have sustained a great loss. In his business dealings he was honest and fair to persons with whom he came in contact. He loved his home town and hi,, neighbors."
A. Gluck said, "There was no hypocrisy in his make-up."
In his tribute to George M. Hoover at the funeral, the Honorable W. J. Fitzgerald said, "He had sympathy and compassion. He knew the sorrows and yearnings of human hearts, He comforted; he pitied; he did a helpful act, and performed ministrations of kindness and of mercy for some poor struggling soul every day of his life in Dodge City."
At least one piece of furniture from the George Hoover home exists in Dodge City today-a large lovely walnut desk with burled walnut trim, and the high one paned glass bookcase above the lower part, ornately designed and finely carved, almost reaches the ceiling. The lower doors operate on wooden pegs, instead of hinges. The key is still intact, ready to lock it The author bought the bookcase from a Dodge City resident and later found in the back of a compartment was a letter where Mrs. Hoover had received a bill for flowers from a florist in Colorado Springs.
Dr. C. A. Milton's saddle bags and Dr. Crumbine's old obstetrical case are in Beeson Museum. Beside Dr. T. L. McCarty Dr. Milton was the next oldest physician in Dodge City ant enjoyed a large practice. Others were Dr. Choteau, and Drs J. J. Plummer & Wright. It was Dr. Plummer who took Dr Crumbine over the town on his first night in Dodge City, courtesy extended to all new business men.
Samuel J. Crumbine was born September 17, 1862, at Emlenton, Pa., son of Samuel D. and Sarah Crumbine. He first practiced medicine in Spearville. During his vacations he had acquired a one-half interest in a drug store in Spearville, "paying for it by working there as a pharmacist and contributing part of
my salary each month toward the sum I owed." People were asking for medical advice because the one physician was too busy; those were the days when doctors were called out of town and stayed longer with a patient. Medical laws were lax then compared to now, so he felt free to advise but was always careful to advise only what he understood. He came to Dodge City in the early eighties.
He boarded at the Dodge House, a central point where he could be found easily. He did not have to wait for clientele as one usually does in settled communities. New settlers were piling into the territory who had no affiliations with any doctor and were willing to take any doctor available. Dodge City was the only big town in all the counties surrounding it, so he had to travel all over the map to see his clientele. Sometimes a visit took twenty-four hours. Often he had to take payment in kind -eggs, ham, chickens, and in fact almost anything offered him. He made his name famous all over the state, especially to every Kansas child, by his persistent and rewarding campaign for the individual drinking cup, comb, clean towels, swat the fly. He asked for inspection of hotels and restaurants, and many other things of a sanitary nature that have received worldwide recognition and adoption. He became nationally known as a health crusader. He was elected Dean of Medical School at Kansas University. He became secretary of the Kansas State Board of Health. He received an invitation from the American Child Health Association to join its staff and later received a wire from Herbert Hoover, president of the Association, "Urge your acceptance of important position with our association." He was later Director of the Child Health Association, a position he held until he retired.
When Dr. William Swan, secretary and executive officer of the State Board of Health, was accidentally drowned, Crumbine was elected by the board members to his place. Then Dr. Crumbine moved his family from Dodge City to Topeka, 1303 Tyler, in July, 1904. He was nineteen years in the executive office. He was a member of the Board of Regents at Kansas University. Governor Arthur Capper appointed him to the state Council of Defense.
Dr. Jay S. Crumbine had a bit of advice also for writers: "Prepare the way for belief with proof, pile it up until it is overwhelming, gradually wearing down the opposition."