Monday, August 4, 2014

The Succession of Physicians - Bovina Doctors – Part III

The death of Dr. Phinney in 1901 led to the appointment of German native Dr. Samuel Henry Rabuck as the town’s health officer. He had emigrated with his parents to South Dakota and went to Rush Medical College in Chicago for his medical degree. Rabuck had a practice in Bloomville, but opened a small office in Bovina Center. He sold the practice to Dr. Ward Young in 1904 and went to Virginia but ended up back in New York State. Like several of his successors in Bovina, Dr. Rabuck died young, dying at the age of 45 in 1915.

Dr. Young’s time in Bovina was also short, though not because of his death. Born in Canada in 1872, he came to Bovina in 1905, buying Dr. Phinney’s practice. He lived in the house now occupied by John and Margaret Hilson but by 1910, he moved to Gouverneur in Northern New York. Young became an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist in the area and died in 1949 at the age of 77.

The doctor who stepped in when Dr. Young left was a Bovina native who slated to have a brief career in Bovina, too. Dr. Gilbert Scott was born on Coulter Brook in Bovina in 1854. He practiced in Davenport for about 25 years before coming to Bovina in 1910. In May 1912, he suffered a stroke. While he had a partial recovery he never regained the use of his right arm. Dr. Scott bought the house at what is now 1771 County Highway 6 a few months after his stoke. He made the office a basement, removing the wooden front and installing the concrete blocks that still are there. Scott was able to serve as the town health officer and continued his practice, but he was limited enough that another doctor came into Bovina to carry on a practice. Scott caught a chill and died of pneumonia at his home in December 1917 at the age of 63. His son, Clifton Scott, followed in his father’s footsteps, graduating from Yale School of Medicine, later becoming a noted x-ray and heart specialist.

With Dr. Scott’s illness, there was a need for another doctor. The October 11, 1912 Andes Recorder reported that “Dr. Norris Whitcomb, of Walton, has located here and will reside in part of George Gladstone’s house [now Steve and Maureen Roberts’ house at 93 Maple Avenue].” Born in Walton in 1887, he remained in Bovina until 1919. During his time in Bovina, he married and had two children. About a year after the U.S. entered World War I, he was called into war service. He took ill shortly after however and by the time he recovered, the war was over. About a year later, he became a medical missionary in Egypt and left Bovina. Occasional reports about Dr. Whitcomb and his family in Egypt showed up in the local press. Whitcomb came back from Egypt for a furlough in 1927 and again in 1933. He died in Egypt from septicemia in May 1935 and was buried there.

Bovina went almost a decade without a resident physician. Doctors H.J. Goodrich, G.A. Silliman and William Ormiston of Delhi came to Bovina to provide services, with Dr. Goodrich doing the bulk of them. Bovina again had a resident physician with the arrival of Dr. Willis Sarle in October 1927. Sarle, a Chenango County native, was in Bovina for over a decade. The town was so happy to have a resident physician again that a reception welcoming Dr. Sarle and his family was held at the Bovina UP Church parlors in December 1927. Dr. Sarle lived in the house now owned by Gary Mayer and Lynne Resch (1645 County Highway 6). Mrs. Sarle was only in Bovina about two years when she passed away. Dr. Sarle died in a hospital in Saugerties in 1946. He has the distinction of being the last doctor to have a practice based in Bovina.

This sign is now in the Bovina Museum.

1 comment:

  1. Great information. Thanks Ray. Sincerely, Jeff Weiser