Without the full story, you have to read between the lines, and this cabinet card photograph inscribed “Yours, J. B. SeBastian” offered lots of room to do just that.
The portrait, taken at the 17 W. Lexington Street studio of William Ashman (1863-1902), displays all the typical characteristics of a post-1900 card photograph: Oversized, simple black textured mount, understated advertising mark, plain background uncluttered by scenic backdrop or papier mache rocks and balustrades.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that I’d found yet another graduate of the University of Maryland Dental Department.
He was listed among the 1902 graduates of the program in the commencement announcement published in the journal Dental Cosmos. I quickly found census and directory listings in Baltimore from 1903 on for a James Burnite Sebastian, dentist, born in Delaware about 1875.
He had an undistinguished career as a dentist, eventually buying a two-story, two-bay row house at 3521 Greenmount Avenue, just east of Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus, in a now-faded neighborhood called Waverly. The ca. 1920 house stands today, virtually unchanged.
Dr. Sebastian served in the US Army Dental Corps Reserves. In these records, his origin was listed as Wilmington, Delaware, born 18 October 1875. His wife, Caroline, applied in 1947 for an Army-provided headstone in Lorraine Park Cemetery, Baltimore, on the basis of his service, using this date of birth.
Things became odder from there, however.
I couldn’t find anything on Dr. Sebastian earlier than 1902.
After trying a number of different possible spellings and variations, I found the surname Bastian. Thanks to the efforts of a family historian on Ancestry.com, I then found an obituary for a Delaware farmer named George M. Bastian (1832-1909) that listed a son, a Baltimore dentist named James Burnite Bastian.
But what the what??
James Burnite Bastian, or J. Burnite Bastian, was already three years old in the 1870 census–not in Wilmington, Delaware, but near a small rural peach-growing and peach-packing town named Felton, in Kent County, Delaware. He was born a good seven or eight years earlier than he’d claimed.
This same portrait, under the name James B. Bastian, appears on page 133 in the 1902 year book for the professional schools of the University of Maryland, Bones, Molars and Briefs.
Why the name change? And why fudge his age–something more usual with women of the period?
This history suggested a clue to James’ change of surname. The sketch mentioned that the family traced its roots to a vague “Count Sebastian” who had fled some sort of unspecified royal persecution in the 18th century.
They had settled in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. George M. Bastian worked as a carpenter in Tioga County, Pa., eventually saving enough to buy a small farm in Delaware, where he and his wife, Rachel (Brion) Bastian (1836-1919), raised 10 children. George and Rachel Bastian are buried in Hopkins Cemetery, Felton, Delaware.
So James had reinvented himself in the city as a younger man with the legendary family surname, telling his classmates that he was 25 when in fact he was about 32 years old at the time he graduated from dental school. His signature on the back of this portrait connects the two parts of the surname with a capital “s” and a capital “b,” suggesting the self-consciousness of the change.
Part of the excitement and frustration of collecting vintage photographs lies in unraveling puzzles from the past. By now I’ve had some experience tracking down long-ago graduates of Baltimore medical and dental programs, and even a group of nurses from Western Maryland Hospital, but Frances P. Toulmin was my first Baltimore nurse.
Despite the presence of an inscription, several challenges presented themselves. One was the unusual last name. At first I looked for Tomlinson, but the ones I found didn’t fit the 1890s time frame of the cabinet card style. And what did the initials “J. H. H. ’92” mean?
Finally a brainstorm: Johns Hopkins Hospital 1892. I quickly found a June 1892 Baltimore Sun account of the commencement ceremonies for the second graduating class of trained nurses from the newly established Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Nursing.
Among the graduates: Frances, or “Fannie,” Priestley Toulmin.
The two-year course of study had just been established at the new Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1889. Eighteen graduated in 1891, and Frances was among the second group of 21 to complete the curriculum successfully.
Success was by no means a given. The principle of the program was that “the School should form an organic part of the hospital and be fully identified with its work” (Ethel Johns and Blanche Pfefferkorn, The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, 1889-1949, Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1954, p. 59).
Less a course of study than a trial by fire, the program immediately put the untrained young women to work on the often crowded wards. The students worked 12-hour shifts, both day and night, caring for patients with everything from typhoid to mania.
In addition, the students attended lectures and demonstrations given by the program’s head, Isabel Hampton, its cooking instructor Mary A. Boland, and its pioneering doctors, including William Osler, Henry M. Hurd, William Welch, and Howard A. Kelly.
The young women went on Dr. Osler’s rounds along with the young assistant physicians. They prepared for district nursing and private nursing as well as for working in hospital wards and surgical theaters. And they sewed their own uniforms: blue dress and cuffs, white apron, cap, and collar.
The Hopkins nursing program was modeled on the work of Florence Nightingale in Europe, particularly St. Thomas’s hospital in London, and the Bellevue Hospital training school in New York.
Ethel Johns and Blanche Pfefferkorn recount Dr. Billings’ recommendations for the Hopkins program’s organization. A picture arises of the nurse as a sort of magical Mary Poppins-like figure:
” ‘ Miss Nightingale’s views as to female nurses . . . are well known. By this school it is held that female nurses should be as far as possible, refined, educated women, fitted to move in good society–who should be thoroughly trained in everything pertaining to the management of the sick–from the washing of bedpans to the regulation of temperature and ventilation and the noting of symptoms for the physician–who should be good cooks and seamstresses–gentlewomen also, thoroughly kind-hearted, yet with firmness and decision, and power of control of unruly patients. They should know as much as the surgeon about the dressing of wounds and as much as the physician about the meaning of symptoms–yet they must have no tendency to become medical women or to set up their own opinions in practice. They must, of course, be of unspotted morals and chastity.’ “(Nursing, p. 13)
Although the work was so unrelenting that it broke some women’s health, according to the accounts of some early graduates, the nurses were happy. Their specially-built quarters were comfortable, airy and commodious, the food was simple but nourishing, and they were encouraged, as time allowed, to take advantage of the cultural opportunities of the city.
Fannie Toulmin’s pride and happiness shine clearly in her portrait, which may have been taken as a memento of graduation.
But of her previous life and subsequent career, little is known. The daughter of Alabaman US Army Captain Harry Toulmin (1819-1870) and Frances Priestley Biddle (1829-1916), Fannie Toulmin grew up in Northumberland, Pennsylvania, and, possibly, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where her brothers Priestley and Harry attended Lehigh University–Priestley, to become a mining engineer, and Harry, to prepare to enter the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school.
On her father’s side she was descended from the great early federal judge Harry Toulmin (1766-1823), and on her mother’s from the scientist and Unitarian pioneer Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) and from attorney James Biddle (1731-1797), an early Philadelphia settler who served with the Continental Army during the Revolution.
The Priestley and Toulmin families were not unknown to each other. Like Priestley, Judge Harry Toulmin was an early Unitarian leader, and had been a minister in England. Judge Toulmin’s sister, Lucinda Toulmin, was the second wife of Frances’ maternal great-grandfather, Joseph Priestley’s eldest son (G. H. Toulmin, A Catalogue of Toulmins, vol. 1, 1996, pp. 126-127).
Frances entered the Hopkins nursing program while her brother Harry was serving there as an intern, and one of her two letters of reference for the nursing program was written by Harry. But I have been able to find little about whether, or where, she worked as a nurse after completing her training.
While living in Baltimore, she attended First Unitarian Church, also known as Christ Church, Charles and Franklin streets; its pastor, Charles R. Weld, wrote Fannie’s second letter of reference for the nursing program. Rev. Weld describes her as “a teacher in one of my schools & highly esteemed for her efficiency, as well as for the graces of a Christian character.”
She does not reappear in any records I’ve found until 1910. In the 1910 census, she was listed, without employment, in the household of her now-married and well-established brother Harry in Haverford, Pa.
Harry, an avid golfer who ran track and played tennis at Lehigh University, had married Bertha Louise Townsend, the tennis champion daughter of well-to-do Philadelphia attorney Henry Clay Townsend. H.C. Townsend was founding counsel to the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company; Harry Toulmin rose to become Penn Mutual’s Resident Medical Director as well as a company vice-president.
While Harry and Bertha and their daughters, Marian and Frances, featured often in the Philadelphia society pages, and participated enthusiastically in Haverford’s exclusive Merion Cricket Club,Frances P. Toulmin appears but once in the Philadelphia Inquirer as a chaperone at an event for her neices.
In 1920, Frances was living on her own in an apartment on Montgomery Avenue in Bryn Mawr, near the college. An item in the nursing program’s alumnae association bulletin for 1925 says that she “has had to discontinue nursing. She is living at ‘Montgomery Inn’ Bryn Mawr, and when needed, ‘chaperoning’ at one of the Bryn Mawr Schools” (Johns Hopkins Nurses Alumnae Magazine, v. 24, n. 1, Feburary 1925). She died on the 25th of April 1928.
Another copy of this photograph is archived at the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, where Miss Toulmin’s portrait is part of a collection documenting the history of the JHU School of Nursing. Thanks to Marjorie W. Kehoe, Accessioning and Reference Archivist at the Chesney Archives, for her enthusiastic assistance with this research, including assistance in obtaining a copy of Miss Toulmin’s nursing school application.
Many–maybe most–people are forgotten. Some are remembered who ought to be obliterated, and some who should be recalled are lost to recollection.
So little is left of Dr. William Potter Shaw (1866-1933) that it is impossible to say what kind of man he was. Here is what I know:
According to his obituary published in the Meyersdale Republican, William Potter Shaw, the son of Barton, Md. native George Shaw (1827-1912), was born “at the famous stone house along the National Highway, near Grantsville” (likely the Tomlinson Tavern and farm at Little Meadows). His mother was Harriet (Potter) Shaw (1832-1909).
Shaw was a teacher before entering the University of Maryland Medical School. He earned his MD in 1893 and settled down in Berlin, Pa. to practice medicine (Baltimore Sun 19 May 1893; Meyersdale Republican 16 March 1933).
He likely had this portrait taken as a memento of graduation; according to Ross Kelbaugh’s Directory of Maryland Photographers, Harry Lenfield Perkins (b. abt. 1854, Md.), son of photographer Palmer Lenfield Perkins, had a studio at 311 Baltimore Street between 1887 and 1897.
In 1903, Shaw married a girl from Middletown, in Frederick County, Md.: Miss Harriet Geisinger Shafer (1871-1949), daughter of school teacher Peter W. Shafer and Anne L. L. (Young) Shafer.
In their home at 401 Main Street, the Shaws raised two daughters: Mary Elizabeth Shaw, a trained nurse who married accountant Robert B. Berkey, and Helen Louise Shaw, who remained single.
By 1910, the Shaws had enough money to keep a servant, whose occupation is given as “ostler, barn,” so they must have kept a horse and buggy for the doctor’s calls.
Although I haven’t found any evidence that Shaw was anything more than a competent country G.P., his obituary says that “Dr. Shaw was a prominent figure in the religious, social and civic life of the Berlin community.” He was a member of Trinity Reformed Church, served on the Berlin Borough School Board and the Borough Council, and in 1931 was elected Burgess of Berlin Borough.
Although Dr. Shaw’s obituary does not mention his ancestry, my research strongly suggests he was descended from the Shaws who settled the Georges Creek area that became known as Barton, in Allegany County, Maryland. They mined coal, laid out towns, and amassed land and businesses.
According to Pat O’Toole’s research, George Shaw’s parents were, Joseph and Francis Shaw.
I’ve traced them from Maryland to Barbour County, West Virginia. Descendants of George’s siblings, Benjamin, Samuel, and Harriett, settled there and in Buckhannon, Upshur County, West Virginia, where they were farmers and teachers.
Dr. Shaw’s brother, Henry Columbus Shaw (1852-1910), appears to have had both the popularity and business acumen of his forebears. H. C. Shaw, a coal mine owner and merchant, left a valuable estate in Somerset County, Pa. His funeral was said by the Meyersdale Republican to have been attended by hundreds.
Some years after Dr. Shaw’s death, his widow, their two daughters and son-in-law Robert Berkey left Berlin behind and moved to Long Beach, in Los Angeles, California, where descendants still live today. Nothing remains in Berlin of the Shaws to mark their approximately 40 years in the community.
A young Dr. Charles Thomas Harper (1872-1915) had his photograph taken at the studio of William Ashman, whose establishment was located at 17 W. Lexington Street ca. 1889-1904 (Kelbaugh, Directory of Maryland Photographers 1839-1900).
Harper might have made a present of his cabinet card portrait to a friend while studying medicine in Baltimore.
After a period of pre-med study at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina, Harper earned his medical degree from the University of Maryland in 1894. He married Jessie Glenora Zimmerman in 1895, and they remained in Baltimore for a number of years.
He was “Demonstrator of Anatomy at the Woman’s Medical College in 1895, and also during that year Assistant Demonstrator of Histology at Baltimore Medical College. In 1896 he was Chief of Clinics of Surgery at Baltimore University, and in 1897 lecturer on Minor Surgery and Bandages at Baltimore University” (Henry E. Shepherd, History of Baltimore, Maryland, p. 91).
By 1900, Harper and his wife and daughter Jessie returned to Wilmington, North Carolina. Dr. Harper’s family was prominent and prosperous. His father, Capt. James Thomas Harper, ran a tugboat service, was a partner in the Boney & Harper Milling Company and proprietor of the Wilmington Steam Laundry.
But it was at 1 Church Street, a sprawling 1828 house backing onto the Cape Fear River, that Charles Harper grew up.
Dr. Harper’s granddaughter, Anne Newbold Perkins, remembered the house, which remained in the family from 1882 to 1992, as a center of activity for the neighborhood children, “a big old house . . . a wonderful house, fourteen rooms- no central heat. So you were either freezing or burning up. And we just had a good time there” (2006 oral history of Anne Newbold Perkins, William Madison Randall Library, University of North Carolina Wilmington).
Charles and his family moved back into the big Harper home with his parents and sisters, Mary and Anna.
Once settled back in Wilmington, Dr. Harper took a leading role in matters of municipal health as well as county and state medical affairs. He served as port physican and superintendent of health for the City of Wilmington and was a member of the North Carolina State Board of Medical Examiners.
In 1910 Harper founded a small sanitorium, in a Second Empire-style building at Front and Castle streets, where, ironically, he died of complications from an appendectomy in 1915.
After his death, the Association of Seaboard, Airline and Railway Surgeons published a memorial to Dr. Harper in the International Journal of Surgery:
“Dr. Harper was a lovable and strong man, and was always willing to bear the infirmities of the weak and lowly. His genial personality and bright disposition endeared him to all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance . . . Among the profession he was universally popular” (International Journal of Surgery, v. 28, 1915).
Charles T. Harper and his wife Jessie are buried in Oakdale Cemetery, Wilmington, North Carolina, along with their daughter, Jessie Harper Newbold.
Ashman’s operator used the very popular vignette style, which burned out the background so that the figure seems to float. Curiously, Harper’s bow tie remains the most vivid thing in the photo–the tie seems so real you can almost imagine reaching in and touching its shiny folds.
Of the six graduates of the University of Maryland Dental Department class of 1888 whose portraits I have written about, Fred Morton Wheeler is the only one who gave up dental practice.
Son of Nashua, New Hampshire job printer Harrison Rodney Wheeler (1841-1898) and Nettie (Mills) Wheeler, Fred was born in April 1866 in Nashua. In 1900 he was practicing dentistry in Milford, New Hampshire, but by 1910 he was working as a printer. In 1920, he had a position as a clerk in the Manchester, New Hampshire post office, where he stayed for the rest of his known career.
Their family’s ancestry is well documented, thanks to Albert Gallatin Wheeler’s 1914 work The genealogical and encyclopedic history of the Wheeler family in America.
Fred’s grandfather was Daniel Wheeler (1789-1867), an Amherst, New Hampshire farmer. According to family historian Paul Wheeler, the family’s roots go back to American Revolution: great-grandfather Timothy Wheeler (1750-1826) served in Col. Nichols Regiment, New Hampshire Militia, and may have seen action at Fort Ticonderoga.
Fred and his wife, Mary (Batten) Wheeler had one daughter. Mabel Florence (Wheeler) Lovering (1904-1996), taught school in Manchester before her marriage to Clarence E. Lovering (1905-2000).
Wheeler had his portrait taken at the studio of Russell & Company. Ross Kelbaugh’s Directory of Maryland Photographers 1839-1900 dates Russell’s location at 17 & 203 W. Lexington Street to 1888, which corresponds nicely with the date of Wheeler’s graduation from dental school.
For this vignetted bust portrait, the photographer chose to add a touch of rose to Wheeler’s cheeks, probably on the print, to highlight the sitter’s youth and health.
He was born 9 Mar 1862 in Westernport, Md. to William R. Cross (1831-1895), who became head of the carpentry department for the B & O Railroad operations in Piedmont, and milliner Penelope (Jameson) Cross (1838-1891).
Piedmont was a key B & O Railroad hub, and in its heyday was a prosperous town. The Cross family’s upper middle class status probably enabled Theodore to study for a profession in Baltimore.
Dr. Cross died on 4 Mar 1944, Burlington, Mineral, West Virginia.He and his parents are buried in Philos Cemetery, Westernport, Allegany Co., Md. He was a member of the Knights of Pythias, Piedmont Company No. 10, Uniform Rank, which held graveside services for him at his death.
Cross had his cabinet card portrait taken at the studio of William Ashman(1863-1902). Ashman learned photography from his uncle, stereoview photographer and publisher William M. Chase. The young photographer worked for David Bachrach, then in 1877 left to open his own studio.
As with many of the portraits of dentists I’ve written about, Cross’ photograph focuses on the bust and employs vignetting–careful overexposure of the background–to create a floating effect. The popularity of vignetting may point to a shift away from the gimmicky props and backdrops of earlier years.
The technique has, however, the unfortunate side-effect of destroying depth and flattening the sitter’s image. Compare this lack of depth with the much more attractive and dimensional effect created when a nuanced, textural backdrop returned to the studio in the 1890s, as in this moody later Ashman portrait.
Born in Missouri on 1 April 1860, he grew up in the hamlet ofBrookevilleand the town of Olney, Montgomery County, Maryland, where his father, Rufus Worthington Gartrell (1824-1898), was a merchant and postmaster. Although not a distinguished family, their roots in Montgomery County went at least as far back as the American Revolution.
Rufus appears to have been the only one of five siblings who married and had children. Julian was one of three siblings, and all remained single.
In 1889 Gartrell joined the DC dental practice of C. E. Kennedy at 1426 New York Avenue, NW (Washington DC Evening Star, 23 May 1889).
Gartrell’s interest was oral prophylaxis, and he became a lecturer on this subject at the George Washington University School of Dentistry (GWU Bulletin March 1910).
His mother Caroline (Robinson) Gartrell, and his sisters Hallie May and Laura, kept house for him at 3025 15th St., NW.
Dr. Gartrell died 28 March 1943 in Washington, DC. His funeral was held at All Souls Episcopal Church, just a few blocks from his DC home.
He is buried, along with his parents and sisters Hallie and Laura, at Saint Johns Episcopal Church, Olney, Montgomery County, Md, the church his ancestor Caleb Gartrell helped to found in 1842.
John Philip Blessing (1835-1911) and son-in-law Henry Fenge were partners at 214 N. Charles Street in Baltimore from 1887 to 1904, a timeline that fits my tentative dating of this portrait to 1888 (Ross Kelbaugh, Directory of Maryland Photographers 1839-1900).
As with many of the other portraits of Maryland doctors and dentists in my collection, the operator chose a vignetted bust for Gartrell’s portrait, in which the background is burned out to create a soft, floating effect.
I am grateful to descendant and family historian William Gartrell, who has posted a Gartrell family treebased on notes made by Hallie and Laura Gartrell and The Gartrell/Gatrell Ancestry of Colonial Marylandby Randall A. Haines.
McConachie settled in Baltimore and in 1898 married into an old Cecil County clan. His wife, Mollie Manly Thomas Drennen, through the Hylands traced her Elkton roots back the 18th century.
According to a Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Book, Mrs. McConachie was descended through her mother, Ann Elizabeth Worrall Manly, from a Lt. John Hyland, born in Kent County, Maryland, in 1746.
After his marriage, Dr, McConachie and his wife settled on Charles Street, in Baltimore, where they lived for the rest of their lives. McConachie, who specialized in disorders of the ear, nose and throat, had his practice at the same address for 50 years.
Dr. McConachie took his Presbyterian Protestantism seriously. When asked for his definition of success, he told the authors of Men of Mark of Maryland:
“Being content and happy in doing my daily duty as it arises, I never feel the sting of failure, but if I have failed (according to the judgment of others), I should say that I have not succeeded in applying assiduously my gospel, which is a gospel of work, and more work, by which we work out our salvation here and hereafter.”
Fortunately, his gospel did not stop him from enjoying life. An avid sportsman, he loved the new pastime of “motoring” and “hoped to fly.” He liked movies and the theater, and read widely.
The portrait of the young doctor here was taken at the studio of William Ashman, probably as a graduation remembrance in the late 1880s. The National Library of Medicine’s later portrait of Dr. McConachie shows a handsome man in his confident prime.
He and his wife are buried with his wife’s people in Elkton Cemetery, Cecil County.
This confident young man, identified on the reverse of this photograph as Dr. Ernest Funderburk, DDS, sat for his portrait at the Baltimore studio of Herman Ellerbrock (b. abt. 1869, Maryland).
Ellerbrock, son of German-born baker August Ellerbrock, appears listed as a photographer in Baltimore business directories of circa 1890, with the address 215 N. Patterson Park Avenue. A 1904 Baltimore SUN advertisement gives his business address as 109 West Lexington Street, the nearly unreadable address at bottom right.
Difficult to make out below the name “Ellerbrock” in the lower right-hand corner are the words “formerly with Ashman.” This tells me Ellerbrock established his bona fides as an independent “operator” by referencing his association with his former employer, the well-known Baltimore studio photographer William Ashman.
Ellerbrock’s young subject may have been James Ernest Funderburk (1885-1972), who graduated from the University of Maryland Dental Department in 1908 (today’s UMD School of Dentistry).
Born in Cheraw, Chesterfield County, South Carolina to farmer James Thomas Funderburk (1847-1934) and Mary Welsh or Welch (1852-1907),J. Ernest Funderburk, as he is sometimes identified, did post-graduate work in oral surgery and anesthesiology before beginning private practice.
He returned home to Chesterfield County, South Carolina to practice dental surgery, and married Mary Eliza Sellers. After her death, he married Effie Wall, and between his two wives, he had ten children, eight of whom survived to adulthood.
His youngest son, Ervin W. Funderburk, followed him into the dental profession and may still be practicing in Cheraw.
According to the research of an anonymous family historian and of Shirley Burks Wells, Dr. Funderburk’s grandfather, also named James, was born in South Carolina in 1809, and the family’s roots in Chesterfield County and Lancaster County, South Carolina, trace back to the pre-Revolutionary era.
A large memorial erected in the cemetery of Spring Hill Baptist Church in Lancaster County traces the family’s roots back to German settler Hans Devauld Funderburk (1724-1818).
Two aspects of this portrait mark it as transitional. While Dr. Funderburk leans against a bit of papier mache balustrade, a typical 1880s studio prop, the card mount is oversized and has a fine texture meant to mimic linen. Ellerbrock chose an understated blind embossed advertising mark, all more typical of early 1900s studio practice.
Perhaps they had their portrait taken as a parting remembrance of their time together.
All five are mentioned in a Baltimore Sun article of 16 March 1888 about the school’s commencement ceremonies at Ford’s Opera House in Baltimore: William Rish Lowman from South Carolina; Harris Miller Branham and Peyton H. Keaton from Georgia. George E. Weber and W. W. Brown are mentioned as special prize-winners in the “graded course,” but their state of origin isn’t given.
For graduating second in his graduating class, Harris Miller Branham (1862-1938) was awarded the Brown Memorial Prize and a year’s residency at Baltimore City Hospital (Peabody College Alumni Directory).
He had come to Baltimore to study medicine after graduating from Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee and teaching for several years.
His parents were Eatonton, Georgia natives Mary Helen Matthews and Isham Harris Branham (1848-1906), a wealthy Georgia merchant and attorney who attended Emory College in Oxford, Georgia, and served in the Confederate armed forces during the Civil War.
Young Harris Branham grew up in Fort Valley, Houston County, Georgia, but when he settled down to practice medicine, it was in Brunswick, in Glynn County, Georgia. He and his wife Daisy Tison Branham, are buried in Palmetto Cemetery, Glynn County.
William Rish Lowman was awarded the Erich Prize for finishing third in his graduating medical class.
Born 3 December 1866 in Lexington County, South Carolina, to Dr. Jacob Walter Lowman (1837-1905) and Lodusky (Rish) Lowman (1839-1929), William was descended, through his mother’s kin, from Jacob Long, who served in Water’s Regiment of South Carolina during the American Revolution.
Like Branham’s father, Lowman’s father served the Confederacy in the war between the states, but whether as a doctor or as a soldier is not clear.
Dr. Jacob Lowman studied medicine at the University of Georgia. After the war, he returned to his country practice. A respected and influential citizen, he was elected to the South Carolina state legislature for Lexington County.
According to family and local history researcher Jim Dugan,William Rish Lowman was a pharmacist as well as a physician, and the proprietor of Lowman Drug Store in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
Dr. Lowman served as a board member and trustee of Orangeburg’s South Carolina State University. A men’s dormitory, Lowman Hall, was named for him in 1917. The building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and part of the South Carolina State College Historic District, was completely rehabbed and reopened in 2010 as University administrative offices.
William, his wife Elvira (Izlar) Lowman, and his parents are buried in Sunnyside Cemetery, Orangeburg.
Dr. Peyton Howard Keaton (1863-1927) of Dougherty County, Georgia, was the son of wealthy plantation-owner Benjamin Washington Keaton (b. abt. 1825).
B. W. Keaton had inherited a large portion of land in what became Dougherty County from his father, B. O. Keaton, who died leaving something like 21,000 acres, including dwellings, farm equipment, farm animals, and probably hundreds of slaves. The land appears to have been divided among several sons, including Benjamin W. Keaton.
After the death of B. W. Keaton sometime between 1865 and 1870, Peyton’s mother, Laura Henington or Hemington Keaton, married a prosperous merchant of Damascus, Early County, Georgia, and Peyton grew up in the house of his stepfather, Thomas Hightower.
Keaton died of an apparent accidental overdose of chloroform on 7 December 1927, possibly in Leon County, Florida; records of the location conflict. He is buried in Damascus Cemetery, Old Damascus, Early Co., Georgia.
By all accounts, Dr. Keaton died a wealthy man: Owner of 5,000 acres of land, part-owner of dry goods store in Blakely, Georgia and a meat market in Damascus, and vice-president of a local bank.
W. W. Brown and George E. Weber present more difficult problems, as their states of origin are not given.
Cathy McCormick has documented the life of Wiley P. Brown’s family in Groesbeck, Limestone County, Texas, where William Wiley Brown married May Procter (1875-1938) and settled down to practice medicine.Dr. Brown died in an auto accident in 1932 and is buried in Faulkenberry Cemetery, Groesbeck, Limestone Co., Texas, along with William’s parents.
Dr. Brown’s brother, Frank F. Brown, DDS, studied dentisty at the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery.
Dr. Brown shared with Keaton and Lowman the history of a father who served in the Confederate army. Capt. Wiley P. Brown rode with the 20th Texas Cavalry in Arkansas and Indian Territory during the Civil War.
G. E. Weber could have been George Ernest Peter Webber (1872-1930), a Kentucky-born physician who grew up in Missouri, and settled in Morland, Graham County, Kansas with his wife Cora Mather. They are buried in Morland City Cemetery, Graham County, Kansas.
Did they ever see each other again after they settled down? State medical associations routinely appointed delegates to attend the annual conferences of other state medical associations, so it is possible that they encountered each other at such gatherings.
However life separated them later, their group photograph captures a moment when these confident young southern doctors, graduating at the top of their class, formed an affectionate confederacy of five.