Henderson County Medical Society

Taken from a Special Edition of "The Gleaner"
printed (no date found)
permissive use granted by Editor
newspaper provided by Vonette Shelton-Curtis


We are indebted to Doctor James H. Letcher for the following interesting article:

The Henderson County Medical Society, an organization for the scientific improvement of its members by an interchange of ideas, in presenting essays, delivering addresses, exhibiting clinical cases, and discussing same, was organized in May, 1867. A preliminary meeting was held at the office of Dr. John T. Berry, May 11, and the organization was perfected May 27th by electing Dr. J. H. Hodge president, Dr. J. N. Powell vice president, and Dr. P. G. Valentine secretary and treasurer.

The first address was by Dr. John T. Berry, upon "The Unity of the Medical Profession," and at this first meeting the society recognized itself as auxiliary to the State Medical Society, and adopted the code of ethics of the American Medical Association, this code having since that time been adhere to by its members.

So earnest were these physicians that at a subsequent meeting a resolution was passed that any member who, without good excuse, was fifteen minutes late at a meeting should be fined 50 cents, and if absent the entire session, should pay a fine of not less than 50 cents nor more than $5.00.

It was in this Association that the McDowell Medical Society, an organization embracing this congressional district, and named for the greatest Kentucky surgeon, Dr. Ephriam McDowell, had its birth, and was instrumental in having the State Society recognize his achievements by appointing a committee of five physicians - one a member of this Society - to solicit funds with which to erect a monument to Dr. McDowell's memory in his hoe town, Danville. So far as the writer knows this was the first step of any importance taken to establish McDowell's claim for priority in a surgical procedure which has saved MANY, MANY thousands of years of life to women, and spread his name and his operation over the civilized world.

Credit is due this Society also for the creation of the "Kentucky State Board of Health, two of its members going to Frankfort during the sitting of our Legislature and making personal appeals to our representatives and senators to enact the law establishing the Board. When the law was passed, and the Board organized, it at once elected one of our members - Dr. Pinckney Thompson - its first president, who continued in office for many years.

Three other members of this County Society have served on the State Board.

AS an evidence of how members of this Society are esteemed by the profession at large, I will mention that Henderson has furnished five presidents - two of whom, Drs. J. A. Hodge and Pinckney Thompson, have long since passed to their reward - for the State Medical Society, a greater number than any other city in the state - Louisville and possibly Lexington excepted.

Or three living, one has been president of Mississippi Valley Medical ciety, another vice president of the International Association of Railway Surgeons. Two other of our members have been presidents of the Ohio Valley Medical Society, and another is Kentucky's representative on the Health Bureau of the American Medical Association.

Time and space forbid speaking of some distinguished attainments and traits of many of our departed members, but will mention, anyway, the name of Dr. John L. Cook, who, whilst not yet in the prime of life leaving here a wife and two small children, went down to Hickman, Ky., where the epidemic of yellow fever in 1878 was so fatal to many of her citizenship - several of the few number of her doctors being victims - and battled, both night and day, with the disease, until the dread poison entered his system, and he fell asleep and was buried there beside the newmade graves of his brother practitioners whose place he went to fill. Many months elapsed before his remains were allowed to be exhumed and brought back to Kentucky. Dr. Cook, like so many of our profesion, was a martyr to his conception of a physician's duty.

Below are the names of the living members of the County Medical Society:

Thos. W. Taylor, Sam. C. Smith, J.N. Powell, T. Y. Howard, T. C. McCarty, Jas. W. Cooper, Jas. H. Letcher, Archibald Dixon, J. R. Sigler, L. O. Jones, J. W. Stone, Wm. A. Quinn, Elijah Branson, H. D. Book, Peyton Ligon, W. S. Forwood, A. J. Lieber, David O. Hancock, Wm. M. Floyd, Albert S. Denton, M. C. Dunn, Cyrus Graham, Elijjah Arnett, J. R. Hodges, H. T. Norment, H. B. Powell, J. W. Watson, R. W. Dixon, J. C. Moseley, W. S. Galloway, O. G. Jones, G. E. Mitchell, Silas Griffin, A. R. Johnson, C. F. Negley, W. V. Neel, W. W. W. Wilson, E. L. Busby, Ira D. Cosby, E. N. Powell, W. A. Poole, J. U. Ridley, H. S. Zernow, W. T. Travis, John H. Gabhart.

transcribed by Tina Hall 5-28-2007

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