Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Succession of Physicians - Bovina Doctors – Part II

Before looking at Bovina physicians in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries, there is the story of the Drs. McCune, a married couple who offered the "Fish Lake Water Cure" in the early 1860s. Dr. William S. McCune would not have a long career, dying at the age of 36. Born in Bovina in 1829, he was the son of James McCune and Phoebe Ann Nichols. He was married to Olive Frisbee, the daughter of Daniel Frisbee and Elizabeth Lee. Olive has the distinction of being one of the first female doctors in the area. In the late 1850s, William and Olive were living in what is now the Lake Delaware area of Bovina and advertising their water cure. Water cures or hydrotherapy was popular in the 18th and 19th century, with its origins in Europe. (For more information, here's the wikipedia article on water cures:

From July 1863 ‘The Herald of Health’
Dr. William McCune died in East Delhi in 1865 of small pox. Dr. Olive McCune continued in the medical profession, living at one point in the 1880s in Brooklyn with her daughter and son. She died in Binghamton in 1907 at the age of 78.

It is not clear whether either Drs. McCune provided regular medical services in Bovina. When Dr. Calhoun, who had been a doctor in Bovina for over 20 years, left in 1864 to become Delaware County Sheriff, one doctor who came in to fill the void was Charles Frisbee. Munsell's History of Delaware County noted that he “was a prominent doctor here quite recently, and occupied the present Methodist Episcopal parsonage.” Frisbee was born in Meredith in 1838. He was an assistant surgeon during the Civil War. When he left service at the war’s end, he came to Bovina and was a physician there from 1865 to 1871, when he moved to Bainbridge. Dr. Frisbee gave up the practice of medicine, instead engaging in running a drug store in Bainbridge until 1901 when he retired. He was 88 at his death in 1926 in Binghamton.

Dr. William Telford practiced in Bovina from around 1871 to his death in 1884, the son of the Dr. John Telford mentioned in the previous blog entry on Bovina physicians. He studied with his father, then entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the City of New York, graduating in 1871. William married Agnes Hastings in 1880 and died four years later from blood poisoning, caused by being bitten by a hog. He left his widow and three children as survivors. His son died a year later in the town’s diphtheria epidemic. His daughter Wilma, born after his death, died of TB in 1892. Agnes survived her husband by 61 years, dying in 1945.

Gilbert Dickson was a Bovina native, the son of Michael Dickson. Born in 1854, he attended the Albany Medical College of Union University, graduating in 1879. While serving as a physician, he built the building that is now Brushland Eating House in 1880, running a store and a pharmacy. He and his brother James also had a drug store in Oneonta under the name of Dickson Brothers. Dickson died suddenly of a stroke in January 1912, while tending to chores in his barn. He was survived by his wife, the former Jane Laughren and their five children. Jane and the children continued to run the store and at one point the post office in the building he built in the 1880s.

Active around the same time as Dr. Dickson was Leman Phinney. Phinney came from Greene County, NY specifically to succeed Dr. Telford. He graduated in 1879 from the New York Medical University. Like at least two of his predecessors, his practice was cut short by his early death at the age of 51 in 1901. He left a widow and two children. His mother died on the same day as he did. Dr. Phinney is buried in the Bovina Cemetery. His widow died in Sandpoint, Idaho in 1927. She is buried with her husband in Bovina.

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