History of  Gallatin County, Part 25 


There is nothing remarkable in the fact that the physician of any community is numbered among its leading citizens, for the strict training necessary in order that a man enter the most exacting calling of medicine so develops his mentality that he is fitted to assume other responsibilities in a capable manner, and his associates soon recognize this and ask his assistance in their enterprises.  Placing a true value upon civic development the conscientious physician is naturally anxious to secure for his home town and community the advantages coming from good sanitary protection, and thus endeavors to secure it.

Many of Gallatin's early physicians belonged to this class of enterprising men which added much to the welfare of future Gallatin.  Gallatin has no record of any physician living within her bounds until the middle 20's of the nineteenth century.  Dr. McClure, Dr. Orr and Dr. Chamberlain were among the earliest to located in Fredericksburg.  Dr. Orr must have settled in Fredericksburg, now Warsaw, in the year 1828 according to local tradition, and the above mentioned came much later.  Dr. Louie Bates, a graduate of the College of Medicine of Louisville 1823, came to Sparta in 1825, and remained until 1829, when he moved to Louisville, where he practiced his profession until his death, which occurred in 1835, when he unfortunately took a dose of his medicine thru mistake that caused his death a few hours afterwards.

Another one of Gallatin County's early physicians was Dr. John Richards, of Napoleon, whose autobiography [!!] we hope later to secure, was for many years the only rural doctor for miles around.  He was a man of large means, well trained in his profession and concentrated in his efforts to solve the problems that deeply concerned humanity.  Dr. Richards belonged to one of the oldest families in the county.  His life was spent in ministering to the sick and for the prevention of disease.  He enjoyed an extensive practice and many of the older citizens remember him as one of the best known physicians and surgeons in the county.

Dr. John M. Chambers, an Indian by birth, was born in Madison, Indiana in the year 1833, June 19 (the date of the shower of meteor from the elements) a son of Anthony and Nancy Chambers.  His ancestors were closely related to Humphrey ad Hon. Thos Marshall.  The Chambers family are of English origin and came to Kentucky from Virginia.  Dr. John Chambers was educated in the schools of Jefferson county, Indiana, and entered the Franklin College in 1852, Johnson county, Indiana, where he received a scientific education, graduating in 1854.  He read medicine under the tutorship of Dr. Holdman, of Madison, and, in 1857, entered the university of New York, graduating from that institution in 1859.  He located in Independence, Ky., in the fall of 1859, where he began the practice of his profession. 

Later, he came to Gallatin County and located in the rural district about three miles northwest of Sparta on the state highway No. 37.  The old frame house still stands where he lived and had his office located near the roadside on what has been formerly known as the late James Weldon farm now owned by Wm. Craig.  Here he was successfully established in the practice of his profession as one of the ablest and representative physicians and surgeons of the county where he maintained his residence and professional headquarters until the outbreak of the war between the states.  He was an ardent supporter of southern strategists and when his beloved Kentucky became over-run with Yankee soldiers his friends deemed it best for him to go away until the struggle was over (as many of the older inhabitants who can recall those stirring times know, it was dangerous to be safe, as Mark Twain puts it).   He reluctantly consented to go to Canada where he remained until the bloody struggle ended, when he returned and established his headquarters in Warsaw, where he controlled a large practice that vouched for his technical ability and his secure hold upon popular confidence and esteem.

On December 1, 1866 he was married to Miss Nancy Sellers, a native of Kenton County, who died in 1868.  Dr. Chambers was again married to Miss Margaret Metcalf.  Four children were born to this union, all of whom have passed to the great beyond after their illustrious ancestor.  He was also an extensive farmer and active in all civic and political affairs of the county.  Dr. Chambers professional prestige and high standing as a citizen are specially pleasing to note.  He maintained a high sense of personal and professional stewardship.  He never failed to respond to a call of suffering and distress no matter how inclement the weather or poor the condition of the roads to be traversed, often in the night hours, or how problematic his compensation for services rendered.  Under these conditions it is needless to say that he has left an inviolable place in the hearts of his countrymen.  No better legacy could be left his posterity.

[see the next Gullion article for corrections to this article]


August 31, 1929, from the Gallatin County News