History of  Gallatin County, Part 19


Among the men whose names figure prominently in connection with the medical profession of Gallatin county during the past sixty years and whose labors have proven most valuable and effective is that of Dr. O. B. Yager, of Glencoe.  A skilled and learned practitioner of medicine and surgery, he occupied a place of prestige in the ranks of the profession.  During this long period he has maintained its highest ideals and has continuously and unselfishly given to his honored calling his best labors and talents.  While so doing he has not railed to discharge fully the duties of citizenship.  Two generations of this familyave rendered notably useful service as physicians and surgeons in Gallatin County, Dr. Sanford C. Yager and his son O. B. Yager.

Dr. Yager rode shoulder to shoulder with General [John Hunt] Morgan, and thereby furnished material for one of the romantic chapters in the history of the Civil War.  From the time at the beginning of the war between the states, when he quit medical school to join a Confederate hospital staff only to find it so tame that he sought action with General Morgan, and saw some of the fiercest fighting that the Civil War furnished.  Dr. Orville B. Yager is a native of Oldham County and was born November 8, 1841.  His father, Sandford C. Yager was a native of Virginia, was born in 1812 and was also a physician and surgeon.  He came to Kentucky in 1814 with his parents, William and Jane (Chancellor) Yager, who settled on a farm in Oldham County, near Beard's Station, where he grew to manhood.

He taught school for a while, and later attended the medical college of Transylvania University in Lexington and took an honorary degree at Louisville Medical College and began to practice medicine in 1847, and continued to successfully practice his profession until his death, which occurred at Sparta, Gallatin County in 1878.

He took an active interest in literary affairs and in local politics, at one time making a canvass for the state senatorship, being defeated by a small majority, his opponent being W. L. Vorhees.  He married Lucinda Boulware, a native of Oldham County and a daughter of Fountain and Elizabeth McCray Boulware, natives of North Carolina.

Four sons and three daughters was the result of their union, of whom the subject of this sketch was the third child.  Wm. Yager, the paternal grandfather of Orville B., was a native of Virginia, and died at Beard's Station, Oldham County in 1870.  Orville B. Yager was reared n the village of Sligo, Henry county and lived for a time at Pendleton, working on his father's farm.  Here, he began to read medicine with a view to making it a life-long profession.

He continued to pursue his studies with his father until the outbreak of the war between the states in which he enlisted in 1861, on the confederate side, as a private in Company G, Ninth Kentucky Cavalry, under command of  Col. W. C. P. Breckinridge, in John Hunt Morgan's division. In 1863 he was transferred to General Wheeler's division and ranked as first lieutenant of his company until the close of the rebellion.  He was engaged in all of General Morgan's battles, and against General Sherman, during his march to the sea.  He was wounded several times, his body having been pierced by Yankee balls.  Fortunately, none of his wounds proved fatal, and he was discharged at Nashville, Tennessee, May 13, 1875.

He returned home and resumed the study of medicine, and in 1867 graduated from Miami Medical College at Cincinnati, Ohio and in 1869 located in Glencoe, Gallatin County, where he still engages in the practice of his profession.  At that time Glencoe consisted of about half dozen houses, a railroad depot, and one blacksmith shop.

January 12, 1870 he was united in marriage to Miss Mary E. Arnold, a native of Montgomery county, and a daughter of Robert G. and Caroline (Thompson) Arnold, natives of Kentucky.  One child blessed their union, Nora Sandford, who became the wife of Luther Breeden, a native of Gallatin County.  One granddaughter, Lucille Breeden, was born to this union. Dr. Yager is a Master Mason, a member of Lodge No. 498, F. and A. M.

A span of service starting a number of decades ago, when Glencoe was a mere hamlet has continued on down to the present time, while Dr. Yager does not do active county practice, notwithstanding his advanced years, is mentally and physically alert.  Neither darkness of the night, he coldest winter blast, the roughness of the way, nor the poverty of the patient ever turned him from duty's call.  Active participation in public affairs and his wide field of practice throughout the county has given him an extensive acquaintance throughout the country.  He is highly regarded for his professional attainments, and his genial spirit has gained for him a wide, lasting popularity.  He is liberal in his views, serving all interests faithfully and well. He is the kind of physician that is generous to the poor.  Much of his work in the past has been done gratis.  Dr. Yager is not only one of Gallatin County's outstanding early physicians, but one of the most outstanding county physicians in the state and one who has a very wide and extensive practice that few physicians have enjoyed.  To live in hearts we live behind is not to die, would be a fitting epitaph for one who has made so many sacrifices for the sake of humanity.


September, 1927, from the Gallatin County News