Carroll’s Yesteryears

17 March 1991

A medical tradition is recreated in the present

by Joe Getty

The Historical Society of Carroll County is hosting a “Medical Heritage of Carroll County” dinner on April 4. The purpose of the dinner is to recognize Dr. Theodore E. Woodward, M.D., for his contributions towards documenting local history as the author of “Carroll County Physicians of the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries.”

This new publication documents the early medical heritage of Carroll County and the lives of the medical practitioners in our communities. Woodward’s research and writing of the careers and accomplishments of the academically-trained doctors in Carroll County provides a fascinating chronicle of our early history.

At the “Medical Heritage of Carroll County” dinner, we will also recognize the families and descendants of many of our former doctors. We hope to create a dinner atmosphere reminiscent of many dinners of the past where medical doctors in Carroll County were honored.

It has been a tradition in the Carroll County Medical Society to recognize doctors who achieved 50 years of medical services to the community. One of the most significant of these dinners was held in May 1914 when four Carroll County doctors were honored for careers. The Westminster newspaper, The American Sentinel, recorded the festivities on this occasion:

Physicians’ Jubilee

Fifty Years in Active Practice Honored by Their Brethren

of the Profession

A dinner was given on Wednesday afternoon at the Westminster Hotel, this city, by the Carroll County Medical Faculty in honor of the jubilee of four of its members who are now in active practice, at the close of fifty years from their graduation. They are Drs. George H. Brown, of New Windsor; Dr. James H. Billingslea, of this city; James Watt of Union Bridge, and John F. B. Weaver, of Manchester. The first three of these were graduated from the Maryland University, class of ’64. The occasion was a rare one and the spirit of fraternity exhibited by the members of the profession present was not only a delightful manifestation of personal regard for the guests of honor, but of general comity among all who gathered around the board. The Rev. C. Slagle, asked the blessing. The character of the dinner should hardly be a subject of remark, but it may not be out of place to say that it was up to the fine reputation of the Westminster as a hostelry, and was well served.

When the board was cleared speech-making came in order and Dr. D. B. Sprecher, of Sykesville, president of the society, acted as toastmaster, a role in which he seemed at home and the duties of which he discharged in an admirable manner. In this connection Dr. H. M. Fitzhugh, secretary of the faculty, read letters of congratulations from Judge Wm. H. Thomas, of this city, Drs. Samuel C. Chew, J. McPherson Scott, George H. Cairnes, W. H. V. Campbell, G. Lane Taneyhill, James Gore and Somerset R. Waters. Dr. Sinslow, president of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, supplemented the reading by a brief allusion to the wide and well deserved reputation of the venerable Dr. Chew.

Then Dr. George H. Brown, for himself and the other guests of honor, responded to the sentiment, “the Class of 64,” and spoke at considerable length of the wonderful revolution in medical science and practice which began about that period, by Dr. Bennett’s discover of the germ theory. In this brief account it is not possible to more than allude to the fact of this discovery and the wonderful change and progress in medical knowledge wrought by it, as described by Dr. Brown.

Judge James A. C. Bond, in his inimitable and witty style, then responded to the sentiment, “the Laity” and for nearly half an hour kept his auditors repeatedly convulsed with laughter. He jollied the doctors and surgeons rather unmercifully, but did not fail to pay a high tribute to the value of the profession, in which his grandsire Thomas Bond, was a shining light and in which his brother now holds high rank.

Dr. Randolph Winslow, of the Maryland University, spoke for the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of the State, and his remarks were heard with profound respect. He spoke of medical and surgical science and made a most interesting address.

Dr. Frank T. Shaw, who was a member of the class of ’64, but has not continued in active practice, to this manifest surprise was called upon and spoke, in a general way, for himself and others, briefly, but beautifully of het blessings of the profession to humanity. Impromptu as were his remarks, it may well be doubted if they could have been improved upon by studied effort.

Dr. Robert B. Day, of the University Faculty, spoke for that institution and justly alluded to its achievements and to its many years of usefulness in training men for this great profession. He exhibited pride in what might be considered the antiquity of the University, which is one of the very oldest genuine medical schools in the country and is constantly advancing in progress and improvement. His remarks then closed the speechmaking and Dr. Winslow, at the request of Dr. Sprecher, presented to each of the four guests of honor a handsomely engraved certificate expressive of the regard of his brethren of the Carroll County society. It is couched in the following brief, but expressive language:

“In commemoration and appreciation of the half century of active, unselfish and successful service to his fellow men and for the skillful practice in healing and relieving human suffering, this token of grateful admiration is presented to (the name of the recipient) by his colleagues and fellow members of the Medical Profession of Carroll County. May 13, 1914.”

Dr. Billingslea returned the thanks of himself and the other recipients of the honor to the society, and thus closed this interesting event.

The invited guests and members of the society present at the function were:

Invited guests, Drs. Randolph Winslow, Daniel E. Stone, Louis Naylor, Jas. H. Wilson, J. J. Weaver, Fr., Frank T. Shaw, James A. Zepp, D. E. Stone, Jr., Harry Naylor, Judge James A. C. Bond, Dr. Chas. Billingslea, D.D.S.

Members of the Carroll County Society, Drs. D. B. Sprecher, president; E. D. Cronk, John N. Morris, M. L. Bott, A. T. Cronk, R. R. Diller, Chas. H. Diller, Chas. R. Foutz, J. F. Geatty, M. D. Norris, J. J. Stewart, R. F. Wells, Ira E. Whitehill, G. L. Wetzel, John S. Zeigler, T. J. Coonan, L. K. Woodward, H. M. Fitzhugh.

Photo credit:  Courtesy of Historical Society of Carroll County

Photo caption:  James H. Billingslea, George Brown and John F.B. Weaver were honored in 1914 for 50 years of service in the medical profession.