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Dr. J.M. Andrews was born in Alabama on September 11, 1864, the son of A.M. and Ann Ragsdale Andrews. As a young man, he worked for Cummings Lumber company of Fort Smith and Houston. He married Ellen, a quick and intelligent daughter of Dr. J.W. Teague, and when he expressed a wish to become a doctor, she urged him to do so. He graduated from Memphis Medical College in Tennessee in 1894, and did post graduate work at New York City Poly-Clinic School of Medicine.

In 1896, he began practice in Wharton. In 1898, he was appointed Health Officer of Wharton County, a position he held for 38 years. One of the worst epidemics of smallpox this country has ever known developed in 1898. Pest houses were set up on the banks of the Colorado, not far from Wharton. Dr. Andrews himself treated 663 patients and vaccinated thousands of people in a single month. More than a thousand were ill, but there was only one fatality. Dr. Andrews wore a rubber suit while treating them, then went home to his stable to bathe and change before going to his family.

Because of his experience with the smallpox epidemic, he was appointed Texas Medical Inspector to Central America during the yellow fever epidemic of 1900 and went to Panama to aid in its control.

Dr. Andrews' next worst epidemic was that of influenza in 1918. With other doctors of the community, he struggled against an ever mounting toll of victims. At one time, he went for five days without ever taking his clothes off.

Dr. Andrews served as the first vice-president of the Association of Physicians and Surgeons of Wharton County which was organized in 1899. He practiced until his death on February 2, 1953.

J.M. and Ellen Teague Andrews had two children, Lurline who married Albert H. Wadsworth of Bay City, and J. Dorian who married Helen Chew.


From The Wharton Spectator June 13, 1913

In an altercation which occurred Saturday night at a negro church festival several miles east of the city, Cornelius Bliss was very badly stabbed by Edward Sheppard. After the difficulty, Sheppard made his escape and at the time of going to press had not been apprehended.

Bliss is in precarious condition, but Dr. Andrews believes he has a chance to recover.


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