J. H. Baxter
J. H. BAXTER, M. D., a prominent physician and surgeon of Columbus, where he has been located since 1875, was born in Shelby County, Indiana, November 30, 1848. He is a son of James M. and Lydia A. (Rozelle) Baxter.
James M. Baxter was born in Kentucky, where he grew to manhood and obtained an excellent schooling, and where he also learned the trade of bricklaying and masonry. This he followed for five years in his native State, before he had attained his majority, at which time he moved into Indiana. He followed contracting in the "Hoosier" State, and built many of the important buildings at Shelbyville and other points. He was interested in public affairs from boyhood, being at one time one of but three who subscribed for a newspaper in his native township. His scholarly attainments and his oratorical powers caused him to be in great demand in political campaigns, and he was also called upon to serve in many of the local offices, and as justice of the peace.
Mr. Baxter was married twice, both times after settling in Indiana. His first marriage was to a Miss DeWitt, of Kentucky, who at death left three children, of whom the only survivor, Phoebe, is a resident of Los Angeles, California. The second marriage was to Lydia A. Rozelle, who was born in Indiana, and died in 1879, at Columbus, Kansas, aged 60 years. Seven children were born to this union, four of whom died in infancy and early childhood. Dr. Baxter has one surviving sister, Mrs. L. P. McAdams, of Scammon, Cherokee County. Another sister, Mrs. Mollie E. Graves, died at his home in Columbus in 1901. The father of this family died in Rush County, Indiana, aged 42 years.
The death of his father, when he was but seven years of age, placed heavy responsibilities upon the subject of this sketch and his boyhood was spent not like that of many, in search of innocent amusements, but was devoted to every kind of employment by which he could earn something to add to the family purse. After leaving the public school, he secured academic advantages at Ladoga, Indiana, and began teaching when 17 years of age. Thus by alternate teaching and school attendance, up to his 24th year, he managed to spend two years in the Christian University at Indianapolis, and later, in 1875, was graduated at the Louisville Medical College. Since then he has enjoyed many special courses, graduating at Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York, in 1884, and in l890 taking a special course in the Eye and Ear Infirmary there. In 1892 he took a special course in Homeopathy at St. Louis, thus equipping himself in every possible way for the scientific practice of his noble profession.
Dr. Baxter's settlement at Columbus was something in the nature of an accident. After graduation, while looking about for a suitable location, he advanced to met an old acquaintance, Jonathan Hunt, of Martinsville, Indiana, formerly sheriff of the county, who interested him in the new town of Columbus, in Cherokee County. It resulted in Dr. Baxter settling here, and he was the first physician to establish himself permanently at this point. He has grown into the confidence and affection of the people, and has performed some wonderful surgical operations.
Dr. Baxter was married at Columbus to Eva G. Shepard, who is a daughter of the late Col. D. F. Shepard, who come here from Fort Scott. The Colonel built the first flour mill at Fort Scott, hauling the machinery from Kansas City with ox teams. Dr. and Mrs. Baxter have had three children, two of whom died in childhood. The survivor, LeRoy, is a young man of brilliant promise. In 1898, he graduated at the Columbus High School, and then spent five years in the Kansas State University, where he was graduated in June, 1902. He is now attending the medical department of the University of Chicago, being in his second year.
Politically, Dr. Baxter is a Republican. He has taken an active part in civic affairs, having served on the School Board for 14 years, and having been from 1878 to 1880 county superintendent of the public schools. For eight years he has been a member of the pension board. He was one of the early members of the Southeastern Kansas Medical Association, which has been absorbed by the State organization. Fraternally, he is an Odd Fellow, and joined the Masons in Indiana; he is also a member of the Columbus lodge of the Knights of Pythias. Since boyhood he has been a member of the Christian Church. A portrait of the Doctor accompanies this brief review of his life.