Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at places and events of interest in Bulloch County history.
Many believe that Bulloch got its first real doctor in 1838. He was Dr. George Ross, who lived by Black Creek.
There is a story/legend that on one of his trips to resupply himself with medicine in Savannah, Ross put all of his powders in bags and then packed them in a barrel. He arrived home, only to find out most of the bags had been jostled open.
Ross, never one to waste anything, decided to just mix them all together rather than throw them away. He then found a mangy cur dog that was near dead and started experimenting with his concoction. The dog recovered so then he went out and found a stray sick cat. He gave the same mixture to the cat, which also recovered.
By this time, he was pretty sure of its recuperative powers, so he gave the mixture to Old Man Beasley, who the legend goes was his very best patient. The next time Ross saw Beasley, he was astonished to find him completely recovered from most of his ailments. Unfortunately, when it was gone, there was no way to recreate what he had done, so a cure-all may have been lost to all of humanity.
Ross, according to some, was also Bulloch’s first surgeon. An older patient came to Ross with an injured leg that was so infected as to require amputation. He grabbed a butcher’s knife from his kitchen, took the old man outside, put him on a large table set up in the shade of a large tree, and proceeded to cut the leg off, with no anesthesia. The man recovered completely, and lived a good many more years.
According to local newspapers, more doctors soon followed: Doctors T.T. Seibles and Coleman arrived in 1850; Lloyd Carleton Belt and Jones arrived in 1855; Alfred Iverson Hendry set up shop in 1860; J.F. Brow, Kiebler and Matthew Hodges established their practices in 1865; George Stotsebury arrived in 1869.
In 1870, four more doctors arrived: Thomas Roach, Rodney Burke, John I. Lane and Dan L. Kennedy. Five years later, in 1875, I.S.L. Miller, Dr. Foss and Montague Boyd set up their practices. G.W. Sease arrived in 1876, and two more doctors came to the area in 1878: Tom Headley and M.W. Eason.
In 1879, Dr. J.W. Daniel moved to the county, followed in 1885 by two more physicians: M.M. Holland and Dr. Gay.
Bulloch County now had about 25 physicians to care for its residents.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at email@example.com.