Potter County, Chapter 5, Medical

Created: Tuesday, 21 October 2008 Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 February 2014 Written by Nathan Zipfel Print Email




AMONG the early physicians of Potter county, first mention should be made of Dr. Stout, of Ulysses, and Dr. French, of Coudersport, who came here in 1836 and 1837, respectively, and were the only practicing physicians in the county for some time. Dr. French's ride took him down the Sinnemahoning to Canoe Place (Port Allegany) and over about Oswayo and Clara. Going over this territory with a sulky or carriage in those early years was no small undertaking, in fact, out of the question. The journeys made by day and by night, through storm and sunshine, must be accomplished on horseback. Blind roads must be followed through deep forests; finding near cuts through the trackless woods, down valleys and over mountains, disturbing the bear and deer, and being howled at by wolves. Cold, rain and fatigue fell to the lot of the settlement doctor. He must be a man of dauntless courage, with an immense stock of perseverance and patience. He must be able to fast by day, and to go without sleep at night; must treat those from whom he could hardly expect remuneration, and be willing to take a saddle of venison or a bushel of corn for his visit and advice. All of these qualifications were embodied in Dr. French. He was a tall man, of dignified bearing, but whose sense of humor was remarkably acute. As a story- teller he was without a peer. He was born in 1808. In the later years of his life he engaged in the drug trade in Coudersport. The fire of May 18, 1880, destroyed his store, and he never rebuilt. He had accumulated some property, and during his last years he lived upon the rental of his tenant houses. He died of bronchitis May 15, 1886. He frequently affirmed that he had attended, during the practice of his profession, the births of between two and three thousand children.

Dr. Daniel Olney died in March, 1883, after practicing at Harrison Valley for thirty years. Dr. Brown, of Ulysses, may be named among the old physicians. Dr. Gage, his partner, Tyler and his father- in- law, Dr. Dean, who kept a drug store, moved to Wisconsin in 1856. Another physician, Hiram Heath, who built Judge Olmsted's present residence, left the town early in the "fifties." Dr. Stout was stationed at Lewisville for twenty years before 1856, about which time Dr. Pierce came. Dr. Joerg resided in the Kettle creek district. Dr. O.T. Ellison came in 1856, when his circuit extended from Ceres to a point fifty miles southeast, and to Driftwood and up the Benezette branch. Dr. Drake remained for a short time after the war; Dr. Buck, Dr. Mattison and Dr. Ashcraft practiced at Ellisburg some time before moving to Coudersport.

The physicians who registered here in 1881, under the laws of the commonwealth, are named as follows: Richard V. Post, 1881, resided at Hebron; C.W. Taucher, 1881, at Clara; Elvin H. Ashcraft, 1881, at Coudersport; Edgar S. Mattison, a native of Geneva, N.Y.,1881, now twenty- three years in practice at Sunderlinville and Coudersport; Franklin Buck practiced at Westfield and Lewisville before moving to Coudersport; Charles H. Sharp, Oswayo; Charles S. French, born at Coudersport, where he now resides, practiced at Millport; William H. Turner, at Oswayo since 1853; A.R. Porter practiced in Sharon sixteen years prior to 1881; Charles Meine is an old resident of Germania, but a native of Oldendorf, Germany; O.T. Ellison came to Coudersport in 1856-  57, and is today one of the leading physicians of the county; Edelbert U. Eaton was physician at Lewisville in 1881; Orville L. Barney, who practiced at Shongo, N.Y., for fifteen years, resided at Genesee Fork in 1881; Samuel B. Hartman was an itinerant specialist in 1881; Mrs. Laura A. Brooks, now of Roulette, was physician in Pleasant Valley in 1881; Dan. Olney, at Harrison Valley; Lyman Cobb Presho, in Allegheny township; Amos French, who came in 1837, was here in 1881; Charles W. Breesenick, now of Costello, was at Coudersport in 1881; J.M.R. Pritchard, at Harrison Valley; Asher J. Remington, at Shinglehouse; Moses M. Cunningham, of Petrolia, Butler county, and of Bradford, McKean county, visited Potter county in 1882; Charles G. Ficher was at Roulette; William H. Tassell, at Hebron; Squire J. S. Reynolds, at Sunderlinville; Charles H. Lane, a traveling physician, in 1884; J.B. Colcord practiced at Coudersport in 1885; Alonzo Kibb, at Pike's Mills; George C. Rees, at Costello; Mrs. E.M. Fanning, at Millport; and Byron Clark, a traveling specialist, registered in 1885; James T. Hurd, of Pike's Mills, registered in 1886; also F.A. Sunger, of Tioga ‘county; Miles E. Reed, of Genesee Forks, and William P. Burdick, of Keating Summit. In 1887 Dr. Martin Maynard practiced at Oswayo and Sharon; William B. Palmer resided at Port Allegany; Mary D. Rukgaber, in practice since 1871, resides at Austin; Fred H. Houghton, at Austin, and James S. Wells, at Keating Summit; Charles M. Blakeslee resided at Muncy in 1888; R.J. Sharp, in practice since 1882, came to Austin in, 1888; A.W. Cummings, at Oswayo; Charles DeWitt Voorhees, at Shinglehouse, and Charles S. Floyd, at Austin in April, 1889; in May, Elmer E. Horn; in September, John W. Elliott; in February, 1890, Horace F. Webster, .and in March, 1890, Charles H. Reed.

Source: Page(s) 1019-1020 History of Counties of McKean, Elk and Forest, Pennsylvania. Chicago, J.H. Beers & Co., 1890.
Transcribed March 2006 by Mary Bryant, Published 2006 by PA-Roots