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The expression, "Gone to Texas" (or simply "G.T.T.", chalked on the doors of houses in the Southern states gave information that the former occupants had departed for the frontier, Republic of Texas. Early Wharton County physicians had often been born in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia as proof of this migration. Some came from Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, New York, and Pennsylvania. Some were from foreign countries such as England, Germany, Ireland and Sweden.

Cholera, yellow fever, typhoid fever, smallpox, malaria and "summer complaint" plagued early settlers in Wharton County. Undrained creeks and ditches filled with stagnant water ans unsanitary conditions in general contributed to the prevalence of diseases. In 1878 there was a severe outbreak of yellow fever. In 1898 a smallpox epidemic broke out. Dr. J.M. Andrews, health officer, treated more than 1,000 cases. Pest houses were set up on the banks of the river near town so that those stricken with fever could be isolated. Wharton had a particularly virulent form of malaria known as black jaundice.

In 1902, Caney Creek was deep enough "to swim a horse". Under the leadership of Doctors J.W. Teague and Green Davidson, the creek was drained and efforts were made to improve other conditions in the City of Wharton.

Medicine was practiced in the 1890's is almost inconceivable to those of us in this day. Surgeons did not wear sterilized gowns; they stuck their threaded needles into their coat lapels for future use; their instruments were washed at the tap after an operation and put in a cabiney for future use; pus following an operation was an accepted fact and classified as healthy or diseased.

The association of Physicians and Surgeons of Wharton County was organized on January 19, 1899. The first officers were Dr. Jack Phillips, President; Dr. J.M. Andrews, vice-president; Dr. Phil Phillips, secretary and Dr. Aug. Saltman, treasurer.

It became the Wharton and Jackson Counties Medical Society on March 15, 1906. Today it is the Wharton-Jackson-Matagorda, and Ft. Bend Counties Medical Society, commonly referred to as the Four County Medical Society.

Associated Physicians and Surgeons of Wharton County

January 17, 1899

Left to Right:

1. Unidentified but could be Dr. Jack Phillips, 2. Dr. Richmond, Edna, 3.Dr. Hugh Walker Gates, Wharton, 4. Dr. G.L. Davidson, Wharton, 5. Unidentified but could be Dr. Aug. Saltman, 6. Dr. Daniel P. Redwine, El Campo, 7. Dr. J.C. Davidson, Wharton, 8. Dr. Judson M. Andrews, Wharton, 9. Dr. Addison L. Lincecum, Wharton.

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