Dentists I Have Not Known: Dr. Julian Gartrell, Brookeville, Maryland

Julian D. Gartrell was yet another dentist who graduated from the University of Maryland Dental Department in 1888, along with five others whose Baltimore cabinet card portraits I acquired earlier this year.

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 tree based on notes made by Hallie and Laura Gartrell and  The Gartrell/Gatrell Ancestry of Colonial Marylandby Randall A. Haines.

Dentists I Have Not Known: Dr. George Douglass Rouse

As far as I can tell, Dr. George Douglass Rouse, DDS (1870-1948), lived a quiet life in Charleston, South Carolina.

Although I have not been able to locate him among the graduates of Baltimore’s two pioneering schools of dentistry, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery and the University of Maryland’s Department of Dental Surgery, his obituary says that he studied dentistry at the University of Maryland and the University of Tennessee.

I did find a record, in a history of the dental profession in South Carolina, of George D. Rouse being admitted to the practice of dentistry by the South Carolina Dental Association in 1894 (History of the South Carolina Dental Association, 1869-1950, p. 146).

Dr. Rouse may not have been a ground-breaking dentist, but he did have something special: pedigree.

George D. Rouse could trace his lineage back to an ancestor who had fought in the American Revolution. His great-great-grandfather, William Rouse, joined the Continental army,  fought in the “Siege of Savannah” in 1779, and was taken prisoner by the British.

Thanks to the careful records kept by the Sons of the American Revolution, George knew that William Rouse was born in Leeds, England, in 1756 and died in Charleston in 1829.

According to the Preservation Society of Charleston, Rouse was a tanner, and served as the city’s “intendent” or mayor from 1808 to 1810. There is a plaque in the First Baptist Church of Charleston commemorating William Rouse’s service.

Dr. Rouse’s parents were Cordelia Lucretia Reeves (1849-1920) and George Washington Rouse (1838-1914), who was, according to his obituary in the Charleston News and Courier,  a Confederate officer and reputed  Confederate spy and, in his later years, a Charleston magistrate.  For a period, at least, he operated a restaurant in Charleston. He, his wife and his children, including Dr. Rouse, are buried in Charleston’s Magnolia Cemetery<.

According to Dr. Rouse’s obituary in the same paper, he held the rank of major in the Army Dental Reserve Corps and was for 40 years a member of the South Carolina National Guard (Charleston, South Carolina News and Courier, 4 November 1948, p. 2).

Blessing and Co. would have been a logical choice of photographic studio for a southern man. Though born in Frederick County, Maryland, John Philip Blessing (1835-1911) spent 25 years living in Texas with his brothers, where he operated photography studios in Galveston and Houston. and served with the Galveston Confederate volunteers and the Confederate navy.

According to his biography in The History of Washington County, Maryland, Blessing returned to Maryland in 1879 with his Texan wife, Mary A. A. Sterns, and opened a photographic studio in Baltimore at 214 N. Charles Street. His daughter, Rosa, married his partner, Henry Fenge. Blessing is buried in St. Lukes Episcopal Church cemetery in Brownsville, Washington County, Maryland.