Story of a century, 1848-1948 : Manitowoc County during Wisconsin's first hundred years
Dicke, Fred G.
Professions, pp. 153-155 ff. PDF (1.1 MB)
t PROFESSIONS By Fred G. Dicke Medical In view of the complete and careful treatment of this sub- ject by persons who made the history of this community a mat- ter of life-long study and inter- est, it would be presumptive to attempt to record any compre- hensive review of the develop- ment of the so-called "learned professions" in Manitowoc county. Space does not permit personal mention of the many professional men who were and are imeiortant figures, not only in their respective fields, but in the development of the commu- nity at large. The intent is only to repeat a few of the import- ant dates and events in our past, restricting comment to the for- mative years in the growth of the professions of law and medi- cine. The earliest practitioners in the county, as in most pioneer communities, had no formal medical education. There were no legal prerequisites to meet and undoubtedly many who en- tered the field were outright quaks, who did more harm than good. Others, by long experi- ence and conscientious applica- tion, and probably by trial and error, became proficient in the treatment of certain ills. Some, it is said, were so successful and so devoted to their work thal they gained the respect, not only of the community but of the graduate physicians who lat- er appeared on the scene. It is notable that a fair proportion of these early "doctors" were women who first became inter- ested as mid-wives and practi- cal nurses, and, in the absence of trained medical men, devel- oped their own line of herbs, poultices and purgatives. Crude though their methods were, no better was available; and per- haps, in'riding or walking in in- clement weather the miles that often separated them from their patients, they made up in devo- tion to duty what they lacked in technical skill. First "Doctor" in 1847 It is a matter of record that not until 1847, when the popu- lation of the county had passed the thousand mark, did the first bonefide physician locate in Manitowoc. Until that time, the nearest doctor was the surgeon at the army post at Green Bay. If a person were seriously ill, a messenger might be sent there; but since the round trip was a matter of at least two days, the patient had usually either died or recovered by the time the doctor arrived. As an interesting sidelight, Dr. Falge, in his fine "History of Manitowoc County", records the unpleasant experience of an even earlier practitioner who visited the county as a tourist in 1821. An army surgeon from the post at Green Bay, he had been granted a furlough and was passing through our county, on his was home from Kentucky. When near the present site of Manitowoc, he was shot in the back and killed by one of the local Indians. After 1850, doctors began to arrive in the county yearly. A number of them were present to help fight the great cholera epi- demics of 1850 and 1854. Within 50 years, that is by the turn of the century, nearly two hundred had located in the county-but few had remained for long. The Civil war took many of them away, but the majority, after spending some time here, moved to larger communities where they could get cash money for their services rather than the 153 ýOYOF A CENTURY TORY OF A CENTURY MANITOWOC COUNTY, WIS. MANITOWOC COUNTY, WIS.
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