Dodd City, Texas - 150 years: Early medical history
By Andy & Sherri Weeks
Oct 8, 2023
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Dodd City, Texas - 150 years
Sept. 8, 1873 – 2023

11th in a series by Andy & Sherri Weeks
“Early Medical History”

Prior to the creation of Dodd City in 1873 there were several doctors serving the center part of Fannin County we will attempt to name the ones we have discovered: Dr. Walter Crawford Whitsett (1813-1883) visited Fannin County in Feb 1850 and stayed at E. H. Dodd’s home in Lick, Texas, one mile east of what is now Dodd City.

About 1853 he moved his family from Barren Co., Kentucky to a farm near the Shiloah community about three miles southwest of Dodd City. He was in partners with Drs. J.R. and S.W. McKee who had an office in Bonham and several families west of Dodd City. In 1858 he semi-retired from his practice after selling his interest to Dr. S.W. McKee but was never too busy to help his neighbors up to the time of his death.

The VanNoy family settled about two miles east of E.H. Dodd’s home near the Cobb-VanNoy Cemetery. This family had several members that were involved in the medical field. The father, Rev./Dr. William VanNoy (1807-1874) was born in Tennessee and moved to Mississippi about 1835. He was a postmaster in Sarepta, MS. He moved to Lick in the mid 1850s and was the last postmaster of Lick in 1873. William served as a doctor and pastor in Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas for decades until his death. His sons: Dr. Thomas Jefferson, Sr.(1839-1925), Dr. John William, Dr. Walter Winfield, and Druggist, H. Foster(1877-1917) and grandson, Druggist, Thomas Jefferson, Jr.(1871-1944) who was one of the last druggists in Dodd City.

The picture is of Dr. T.J. VanNoy and a prescription pad of his that was found in the Dodd City Cumberland Presbyterian church March 4, 1889 minutes. The VanNoy family served the church for many years.

Dr. Orville H Caldwell (1832-1883) studied medical in Tenneesse under Dr. J. F. Turner. He came to Dodd City, Texas in 1859, served as the first mayor when the town first incorporated in 1879. While in Dodd City he built a new home in 1880 that still stands today. It is located on the SE corner of main and 2nd street, below is the house as it was in 2017. Ad is from the Dodd City Spectator Jun 3, 1892. His son, Dr. Thomas Joseph Caldwell, was also a doctor in several Fannin County towns.*

The 1860 US census of Lick records two physicians: Dr. James S. Sadler and Dr. A. Daughtery served both Lick and the Stephensville/Lannius area. The 1870 US census lists Dr. Albert William Clendenen, located west of Dodd City and Dr. W. C. Whitsett in Shiloah.

From the 1884 Nov 21 Dodd City Weekly Spectator: It’s hard to imagine Dodd City hosting the North Texas Medical Association meeting, but it happened about 138 years ago! This paper recorded the entire speech. This paper also mentions several Dodd City and Lannius doctors, dentists and drug stores. Like some doctors today, the early doctors also owned or were partners with someone who had a drug store. Crawford & Wolfe Bros carried drugs at their store in downtown Stephensville. Marsh & Bedford Drugs store was purchased from H. S. Randall who is now advertising as a H. S. Randall’s Saloon. See below a few of the medical advertisements.

In the 1888 May 5 Dodd City Spectator, an ad shows that Dr. T J VanNoy, Sr. has bought out John Organ’s portion of the drug store. In the same newspaper ads for: Dr. R. E. L. Kincaid, Dr. O. H. Caldwell and his son, Dr. T. J. Caldwell, and Dr. W. F. West, office in the Crawford & Norris Store at Stephensville and Dr. J. M. Neel of Windom. The dentist, Dr. John Royce had his office above the Organ & VanNoy Drug store.

According to the 1889 Biographical Souvenir: Dr J.D. Bedford (1857-1912) started his practice in Dodd City, and also had a drug store with his partner, Ronzee. Two years after Dr. Bedford’s arrival in 1883 he married into the well known Stephens’ family. He stayed until 1888 then he moved to Honey Grove and started a partnership with Dr. T.J. Caldwell formerly of Stephensville and Dodd City. Later, Dr. Bedford moved to Amarillo and built the Bedford Hospital; he was a well-respected person everywhere he lived. He died at Dallas, Texas and is buried in the Honey Grove cemetery.**

More history at...

Millard Brent’s The History of Dodd City, Texas available at: FC Historical Museum

Fannin GenWeb

*Biographical Souvenir of The State of Texas 1889 on-line @ North Texas Portal pg148

**Biographical Souvenir of The State of Texas 1889 on-line @ North Texas Portal pg. 70-72