Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Vera Taylor Oden's Memoir: SECTIONS XVII and XVIII

This posting contains sections seventeen and eighteen of twenty-one sections that describe life in Sugar Creek, Louisiana prior to 1902. If you haven't read the post about the significance of VERA TAYLOR ODEN's memoir, click here.



One great concern of Mamma's and Papa's was the distance from a doctor. The nearest doctor was six or seven miles away. To send for the doctor a man would have to ride horseback to ask him to come, and then perhaps find him off on a call. It might be several hours before he finally arrived. There was one summer when Papa was very ill with high fever. Dr. Jarrell, our nearest doctor had done what he could without success, so he asked to have Dr. Thornhill come from Arcadia to see him. They finally pulled him through and Mamma and Papa always had lots of of confidence in him after that.


The mail carrier used a horse and buggy and must have had trouble at times with bad roads and weather. He came about twice a week. There were no rural mail boxes, so the mail was delivered to the post office and the people had to call for it. Of course everybody looked forward to the arrival of the mail carrier when they would receive letters and newspapers. I don't remember receiving any advertising matter except calendars and almanacs.


The earliest newspaper I remember was "The Atlanta Constitution," possible because most of the families around there originally came from Georgia. I think the Uncle Remus stories were first published in that newspaper. Other papers we got were "The Texas Farm and Ranch," "The Dallas News" and "The Homer Guardian Journal." All in our school wrote letters to "Aunt Sallie" and "Cousin Pearl" who edited the children's pages of "The Texas Farm and Ranch." What a thrill it was to see our names in print. I also remember "The Youth's Companion" more of a children's magazine, "The Comfort" a cheap little home magazine and "Thee Delineator."


For those of you who do not know me, I am a journalist by trade. So the idea of Mrs. Vera writing in to a magazine as a very young child is especially thrilling to me. I'd love to get my hands on a late-1800's copy of "The Texas Farm and Ranch." But for now, this digital copy of a late-1800's Delineator cover makes me smile. I hope you enjoy looking at it as much as I do... who knows. Maybe a copy of this very issue arrived at the post office across the street from THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK.

On a side note, I found this information on Dr. Francis Marion Thornhill from an online source. It gives us a little perspective on the Dr. Thornhill that Mrs. Vera writes about in her memoir.

Bio: Francis Marion Thornhill, M.D., Bienville & Caldwell Parish Louisiana
Source: Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northwest Louisiana
The Southern Publishing Company, Chicago & Nashville, 1890

Submitted by Kay Thompson Brown

Copyright. All rights reserved.

Arcadia, La

Dr. Thornhill is a man of decided intellectual ability, is ever ready to obey the call of all classes, and is in truth a physician of thorough learning and experience. He was born in Caldwell Parish, La., September 10,1850, and was third of a family of seven children-six sons and one daughter--who are named as follows: A. G. (married and resides in Texas, where he is engaged in
farming), Joseph J. (deceased), Francis M., J. C. (married and resides in Texas, where he is also engaged in agricultural pursuits), Louisa (married Orin 0. Gray, who is a farmer of Caldwell Parish), W. H. (resides in Caldwell Parish), C. P. (is the youngest and also a resident of the last-named parish). The father of these children was a native of Mississippi, born in 1816, was fairly well educated, and is now a successful agriculturist. The mother, whose maiden name was Matilda Blackburn, was also born in the Bayou State and was educated in the common schools. She is also living.

Dr. Thornhill received the rudiments of an education in the common schools, and then attended academy about two years before commencing to read medicine under Dr C. C. Meredith, at Columbia, La., in the fall of 1868. There he remained until 1870, and in October of that year he entered Tulane Medical College now, but at that time it was called the University of Louisiana. There he completed the full course of medicine in this far-famed institution, which has a national reputation, graduating in a class of seventy-five in March, 1872. He then at once began practicing at his home in Columbia, La., and remained there in 1882, during the noted flood year, when the whole surface of the parish was under water. There he established a large and extensive practice, but not a paying one, so he wisely changed his base of operations and located in Arcadia, La., in 1882. Here the Doctor has resided since, and he stands today, not only one of the leading physicians, but a liberal-minded, public-spirited citizen.

The Doctor was married, January 26,1874, to Miss Anna Meredith. a native of Caldwell Parish, La., who was educated in the female seminary. Only one child was born to this union and that died in infancy. Dr. Thornbill has always been a Democrat in politics. But he has never been a bitter partisan. He has aimed to support men of principle and honor. He is one of the directors of the Arcadia State National Bank, and is a man full of energy and determination. He is a Master Mason of Arcadia Lodge.

Like a few others of the prominent men of Arcadia Dr. Thornhill started out in life for himself with limited means, but he had the push and determination to succeed in whatever he undertook, and he now has a large and lucrative practice. He also has a full line of drugs, and is doing well in this business. He is a land owner, and is not only the owner of his residence property, but owns his place of business as well. Mrs. Thornhill is a member of the Baptist Church in Arcadia, La.

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