Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5 v. (lvi, 2731 p., [228] leaves of plates) : ill., maps (some fold.), ports. ; 27 cm.

1918 KANSAS AND KANSANS Medicine Part 1


The growth of medical science in Kansas has been largely the reflection of general progress in the profession in the country. With this, Kansas has kept full pace, and the medical profession is as intelligently represented in Kansas as in any state. The first physicians to become well known in Kansas were among the very earliest settlers. One of them was Dr. Charles Robinson, who came from Massachusetts and settled at Lawrence. He took a prominent part in Kansas political affairs on the Free-State side and was the first governor of the state. Dr. B. F. Stringfellow came to Kansas from Missouri, but was a native of South Carolina. He settled in Atchison, and he became one of the leaders of the proslavery people and did his utmost to make Kansas a slave state. He died at Atchison respected by all. In the territorial days many other physicians came to Kansas to find a home and field for their labors. One of these was Dr. Joseph P. Root, who was a pioneer in Wabaunsee County. He finally established himself in Wyandotte County, where he had a lucrative practice until his death. He was elected the first lieutenant-governor of the state.

It is unfortunate that the statistics from which to write a complete review of the progress of medical science in Kansas do not exist. The early days of the territory and state were too strenuous to admit of that attention to vital statistics which should have been given.

The physicians of Kansas early recognized the need of association for exchange of ideas and information obtained from their experiences with the diseases met with in a new country. An act of the Territorial Legislature approved February 10, 1859, incorporated the first medical society. It was called the Kansas Medical Society, and twenty-nine physicians were the incorporators, as follows: M. Bailey, H. H. Beals, G. W. Beaumont, J. G. Blunt (afterward major-general in the United States Army), O. Brown, H. J. Canniff, A. Danford, A. Fuller, William Graham, S. C. Harrington, M. Hartman, M. F. Holaday, Amory Hunting, C. F. Kobb, J. Leigh, T. Linsey, W. Madison, C. E. Miner, A. Newman, J. M. Pelot, J. H. Phelps, S. B. Prentiss, A. J. Richey, Charles Robinson, J. P. Root, L. C. Tolles, J. B. Wheeler, and J. B. Woodward. A permanent organization under this charter was effected at Lawrence, February 11, 1859. A portion of the charter members were present. Dr. S. B. Prentiss was chosen as president and J. B. Woodward was elected secretary. The committee appointed to prepare a constitution and by-laws reported on February 23, 1860. It submitted a constitution and by-laws, which were adopted. This meeting also adopted the code of ethics of the American Medical Association. Delegates to this association were not elected until 1867. This was largely because of the unsettled times due to the Civil war.

The annual meeting of 1867 reorganized the Kansas Medical Society and enlarged its scope to meet the growing demands created by the increasing population of the state. By its charter it was authorized to issue certificates to its members, to license physicians seeking to practice in Kansas whether they were graduates of medical colleges or not, and to organize in each county an auxiliary society. This work was now to be pushed with energy. In 1872 there were, as a result, the Northwestern Medical Society, the Southern Kansas Medical Society, the Eastern Kansas Medical Society, the Kansas Valley Medical Society, and the Third Judicial District Medical Society. These were all the offspring of the parent society, organized by and under its authority. Other societies have since been instituted - the Missouri Valley Medical Society, and the Golden Belt Medical Society. There are many local societies in the cities and counties of the state. The Kansas Medical Society has modified its organization from time to time to meet the emergencies arising from the growth of medical knowledge and the increase in population of the state. With these things it has kept in touch, and it must be said that no other state has a more efficient medical force than Kansas.

The annual meetings of the Kansas Medical Society date from the meeting held in 1867. The real work of the society began at that time. The first number of the Medical Herald was issued in that year at Leavenworth, by Logan & Sinks. The Medical Index, published by Dr. F. F. Dickman, at Fort Scott, succeeded the Herald. In 1889 the Kansas Medical Journal was published. In continues under the name of the Journal of the Kansas Medical Society. The place of publication is Kansas City, Kansas.

There has always been more or less friction in Kansas between the different "Schools" of medicine. On April 14, 1869, the Homeopathic Medical Society was organized at Leavenworth. It was incorporated January 24, 1871. The charter members were John J. Edie, H. F. Klemp, J. A. Rubicon, Richard Huson, and S. K. Huson. This society has maintained a vigorous organization, and is a forceful medical factor in the state. The Eclectic Medical Association was organized at Lawrence, June 1, 1869, with Samuel E. Martin, Topeka, as president, and N. Simons, Lawrence, as secretary. A state organization was effected which was incorporated as the Kansas Eclectic Medical Association, under the act of March 27, 1871. The incorporators were Daniel B. Crouse, Ansel M. Edison, George H. Field, Samuel E. Martin, David Surber, and Caleb D. Ward. The association undertook the establishment of a medical college in 1883 through a stock company with a capital of $30,000, but the plan was never carried to success. The association maintains its organization.

The question of who should be permitted to practice medicine in Kansas was long agitated without a satisfactory solution. The act of February 27, 1879, authorized the appointment of a board of examiners. This board was composed of twenty-one members - seven each to be appointed by three medical societies - the Allopathic, Homeopathic, and Eclectic. The board was to pass on the qualifications of applicants and issue them certificates. This law was not entirely satisfactory to either the physicians or the state. The act of March 1, 1901, created a board of medical examination and registration. This board consisted of seven members - physicians in good standing, having received the degree of M. D. from a reputable medical college or university, at least six years prior to appointment. The different "Schools" were to be represented, but no one "School" was to have a majority of the board. The terms of office were - one member for one year; two members for two years; two members for three years; two members for four years. After this, all members were to be appointed for four years. There have been amendments to this law and as modified it is still in force.

The first medical college in Kansas was organized July 3, 1889, at Topeka. It was the Kansas Medical College of Topeka. It had a capital stock of $100,000. The faculty consisted of twenty-four members, and the first term began September 23, 1890, in a building at Twelfth and Tyler streets. The robbery of a number of graves by persons supposed to be connected with the college created excitement and trouble. In 1903 this college became the medical department of Washburn College.

On July 12, 1894, the College of Physicians and Surgeons was organized at Kansas City, Kansas. The officers were G. W. Fitzpatrick, president; W. L. Seaman, vice president; J. A. Smith, secretary; G. E. Tead, treasurer. It was absorbed by the clinical department of the University of Kansas in 1905.

The Kansas City Medical College was opened in Kansas City, Kansas, September 14, 1897. The Kansas City College of Medicine and Surgery was also opened in Kansas City, Kansas. It began September 22, 1897. The trustees were S. A. Dunham, president; George M. Gray, vice president; James L. Harrington, secretary; Ernest J. Lutz, treasurer; John B. Scroggs, M. B. Ward, G. O. Coffin, H. M. Downs, A. J. Welch, P. L. McDonald, and R. E. Morris. It was also absorbed by the Kansas University.

The medical "School" of osteopathy originated in Kansas. Its founder, Dr. A. T. Still, came to Kansas with his father who was a missionary to the Indians. Doctor Still served in a Kansas regiment in the Civil war. He is a man of deep and original thought. Becoming dissatisfied with the effects of drugs on the human system, he turned his attention to functions of the nerves and muscles of the human body. By proper adjustment of these and the bones of the body he was enabled to secure results far more satisfactory than with medicine. He had made a great discovery, and later he moved to Kirksville, Mo., where he established a school or college for the training of men and women in the science or profession of osteopathy. It has grown to be a great institution, with a fame reaching around the world.

The medical department of the University of Kansas is located at Rosedale, on land donated by Dr. Simeon B. Bell, one of the pioneer physicians of Kansas. It now stands as the head of the medical activities, in an educational way, of Kansas.

Closely associated with the work of the medical profession of Kansas is the State Board of Health, an account of which see in this work.

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A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans , written and compiled by William E. Connelley, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, 1998.