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Doctors of Foxcroft

By Dr. Edgar T. Flint.

In attempting to give a brief history of those physicians who have practiced in Foxcroft, the chief obstacle has been that there are no records or documents available to which reference might be had, and it has been necessary to depend, with few exceptions, upon the memory of those now living. In such instances the information has been largely of a fragmentary character and somewhat speculative as to dates and names.

The time allotted to this task was very limited for such an undertaking and no claim is made for completeness or absolute accuracy.

It is hoped that with what few facts are here recorded the information and corrections which will undoubtedly come to our attention subsequent to this occasion, it will be possible to compile a better and more complete history of this profession.

Loring's history of Piscataquis mentions one physician, Josiah Hobbs, regarding whom no information can be obtained, and in the absence of such mention of him is hereby made in connection with the rest.

Loring's history records the fact that in 1808 Capt. S. Chamberlain being ill of a fever sent to Bangor for Dr. Rich, who made the trip up in twenty-four hours, presumably by horseback, and charged fifteen dollars. One year later a Dr. Winthrop Brown came here from Berwick, but his field was so limited that he soon sought another and until 1818 the settlers were without a local physician.

At this time Jeremiah Leach came to Foxcroft and fortified his income by the manufacture of potash, but his health soon compelled him to seek aid in Boston.

In 1818. Dr. Stacy Tucker located here and remained until his death. He was a man of considerable consequence in the early history of the town, being identified with all public enterprises and holding many offices. He built the house on Main Street now owned by William P. Oakes and had two sons and three daughters, Martha Tucker, Mabel Warren and Frank Turner, grandchildren of Dr. Tucker, still reside in this community.

Dr. Sumner Lawton settled in Foxcroft somewhere about 1840, at which date he was one of the founders of the Baptist church in Dover. He lived first on Lincoln Street in a small house which was demolished some twenty-live years ago and which stood near the site of the residence now owned by Leo Libby. He later built and occupied the house on Main Street owned by Stanley Annis, it being at that time the next house on that side of the street to the James S. Holmes residence, later occupied by Dr. Preston Fisher and at present by Dr. C. C. Hall, Jr.

Dr. Lawton enjoyed an extensive practice here and in 1849 moved to Bangor. He married Mary A. Parker and their children were Frances L. Mace, who went to California and was somewhat celebrated as a poetess, and F. M. Lawton, an ex-mayor of Bangor.

Dr. Josiah Jordan came here in 1848 and the next year bought the practice and good will of Dr. Lawton, who was about to leave as above stated. He built the residence on North Street now occupied by Dr. Chamberlain, where he continued to reside until 1865.

Dr. Jordan was a man of very engaging personality and had a wide practice, but in 1857 or '58 his two children died of diphtheria and he became so impressed with the futility of medical science in the face of disease at that time, that he gradually relinquished his practice and in 1858 was elected Register of Deeds for this county, a position which he held until 1862, when he enlisted in the army, was made surgeon and served until the end of the war. Subsequent to his being mustered out of the service he moved to Springfield, Mass., where he died. Dr. Jordan had two sons. Charles of Chicago and William of Massachusetts.

Dr. James Edgecomb came to Foxcroft in 1853 and remained about seven years. He first located in the village but later married Miss Julia Howard and moved to the farm cleared by her father, Asaph Howard, where they continued to reside until 1856, when the records show that it was sold to Ansel Crockett and the Doctor and Mrs. Edgecomb moved to Turner.

Dr. Freeland Holmes was a native of this town, a son of Salmon Holmes. In 1858 he located here to practice his profession and ultimately bought and occupied the house of Dr. Jordan on North Street. Dr. Holmes enlisted in the army, was made surgeon and was killed on the field while in line of duty.

A diary kept by Mr. Henry Prentiss of this town makes note of the sad occasion when Dr. Holmes' body was brought home from the front for burial. A Rev. Mr. Godfrey preached the funeral sermon and the interment was in the Foxcroft cemetery.

Dr. Holmes was a popular practitioner and a public-spirited and patriotic gentleman, and his death was a sad blow to the community. He married a Miss Washburn, sister to Gov. Israel Washburn and to two other brothers, one a congressman from Illinois, the other a congressman from Minnesota and the founder of the Washburn flour mills.

In 1863 Dr. Joseph W. Cook, a homeopathic physician, came to Foxcroft, and resided on Lincoln street in a house now owned and occupied by John F. Arnold. Dr. Cook practiced here for a number of years and afterward moved to Dover. He corresponded for the Observer and reported many political meetings in the surrounding county, it being a time of political strife. He had one son and two daughters. Dr. Cook's reputation for professional ability was excellent. In 1864 Dr. Costello Hamilton opened an office here and remained a short time. But little can be learned of him except that he was not in full sympathy with the government in relation to the Civil War and it is due chiefly to this fact that any record of his presence here was preserved.

Dr. William Buck was a native of Hodgdon, Maine, and received his medical degree in 1859. After serving as surgeon and being mustered out with the Sixth Maine Regiment, he spent a year in New York and located here in 1865. For many years he was a familiar figure about town and a welcome visitor to the sick, a public-spirited, kind-hearted and skilful physician and a surgeon of marked ability.

Dr. Buck occupied various municipal offices and represented this class in the legislature in 1877; he also served the county as treasurer for six years and was United States examining surgeon for thirty years. He was a member of the Maine Medical Association and a contributor of original articles to the County Medical Society. Dr. Buck died at his home on Main Street in August 1908, aged 75 years. He left beside his wife, a daughter, Anna, and a son, Lieut. Guy M. Buck, all of whom still reside in the old home. The pharmacy which the Doctor established in 1865 on Monument Square is still operated by his son.

Dr. Evelyn G. Buck, wife of Dr. John Buck, came here from Philadelphia soon after the death of her husband in 1870 and began the practice of medicine according to the homeopathic school. Dr. Buck remained here until 1879, having an office and home in the Masonic block over what is now Batchelor & Sawyer's store.

In 1879 she married Lyman W. Keene and moved to Atkinson, returning to Foxcroft in 1884, where she continued to reside and practice until her death in 1901.

The Doctor was licensed as a physician under the act of 1895. She resided at the time of her death at her farm on the North and South road near Foxcroft Center.

Dr. J. B. Cochrane, a native of Fayette, Maine, came here from Minnesota in 1873 and married Elizabeth M. Cochrane of Dover. He located in his present residence, the Cochrane homestead on Lincoln Street, near the site of Piscataquis Falls and on the town line between Dover and Foxcroft.

Dr. Cochrane received his degree in 1866 and did general practice, serving between 1882 and 1883 as pension examiner, being secretary of the board. Dr. Cochrane retired from active practice several years ago and devotes much of his time to agriculture and the raising of small fruit.

Dr. A. T. Walker came here from Sebec Village in 1875, where he had been in practice since 1870. He boarded at the Exchange while building his residence on North Street, the next above Osgood Martin's.

Dr. Walker remained in Foxcroft until the spring of 1883, when he removed to Falmouth. Mass., ultimately retiring in 1889 and now residing in Woburn, Mass. The Doctor sends greetings to his old friends and expresses the hope that the centennial will be a grand success in every way. While here Dr. Walker enjoyed an extensive practice and the reputation of a successful business man.

About 1877 Dr. T. H. Merrill came to this place and built the house on Main Street now owned by W. L. Sampson. His office was in the apartment now occupied by Dr. W. G. Buswell as a dental office.

Dr. Merrill had several children, among whom was a son Fred, now a Congregational minister in Massachusetts. About 1890, Dr. Merrill moved to Tacoma, Wash. He is now a resident of Brockton, Mass.

Dr. Preston Fisher came here in 1885 from California and resided in the James S. Holmes house on Main Street. He remained about ten years and. moved to Jamaica Plains, Mass.

Dr. Fisher had a wide practice here and in surrounding towns, was a practical, conservative man and one of good judgment although somewhat eccentric and the author of many original tales. His father practiced in Corinna where Dr. Preston was probably born.

Dr. E. D. Merrill was born in Dexter. Maine, 1866, received his degree in medicine in 1885 and located here in 1886. He married Miss Lora Dyer of Foxcroft and maintains his office and residence on Winter Street. Dr. Merrill is of the Homeopathic School, is a member of the Maine Medical Association and treasurer of the Piscataquis County Medical Society. He enjoys the distinction of being the senior physician in active practice as regards the date of his location in this community.

Dr. A. H. Chamberlain, son of Chester and Minerva (Spaulding) Chamberlain, was born in Foxcroft in 1861, received his degree in medicine in 1888 and located here in 1891. Dr. Chamberlain resides in the house on North Street built and occupied by Dr. Jordan and later by Dr. Holmes. He attends to general practice but specializes to quite an extent in diseases of the eye and ear. Dr. F. W Merrill, son of Adams H. Merrill of Williamsburg, came here early in 1895 from Winn, and for two years occupied the W. L. Sampson house on Main Street.

At this time there were registered in Foxcroft five physicians and sometime in 1896 Dr. Merrill returned to Winn. While here he occupied as an office the rooms in the Opera House Block now occupied by the E. E. Whitney Insurance Company.

In 1894 Dr. A. H. Stanhope moved from Milo to Dover and opened an office in the Opera House Block in Foxcroft. He continued in this town until 1897 when he moved his office to Dover, where he still resides and practices. Dr. Stanhope is a member of the Maine Medical Association and an ex-president of the county Medical Society. Dr. Stanhope received his medical degree in 1887.

Dr. Harold C. Martin, son of Mr. and Mrs. Osgood Martin and a native of this town, was born Oct. 23, 1870. He received his medical degree in 1895 after serving as surgeon for the Canadian Pacific Railroad and house physician at the Kineo House. Moosehead Lake, he located in his home town in 1900, where he had an office in the building on North Street moved from the site of the present Opera House Block.

Dr. Martin died of angina pectoris the year that he came here. He was an able, competent physician, a man of exceptional brilliance, and his untimely death was mourned by a host of friends who remember him for his many line qualities and companionable nature.

Dr. Martin was a member of the Maine Medical Association.

Dr. M. O. Brown, a native of Dover, after practicing in Aroostook County for several years, located in Foxcroft in 1908. Maintaining his office and residence in the Masonic Block on Union Square. In 1911, he moved across the street into Dover, where he, now resides.

Dr. Brown received his medical degree in 1902, is a member of the Maine Medical Association, and at present president of the Piscataquis County Medical Society.

In 1910 Dr. C. C. Hall, Jr., son of Dr. and Mrs. C. C. Hall of Dover, having received his degree in medicine, located in Foxcroft and purchased the James S. Holmes house on Main street, formerly occupied by Dr. Fisher. Dr. Hall maintains an office in the Opera House Block formerly occupied by Dr. E. D. Merrill, is a member of the Maine Medical Association and at present vice-president of the Piscataquis County Medical Society.

Dr. Edgar T. Flint, son of Henry B. and Caro E. Flint of this town was born June 2, 1877. He received his degree in medicine in 1901 and practiced ten years in Aroostook County, coming here in 1911, residing at his old home on Lincoln Street and maintaining his office in the Masonic Block. Dr. Flint was a member of the First Maine Regiment in the Spanish-American war and is a member of the Maine Medical and County Medical Society.

Dover-Foxcroft | Maine

Source: Sprague's Journal of Maine History, Vol. 5 No. 7, Published by John Francis Sprague, Dover, ME, July 1914


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