Transcribed from History of Wyandotte County Kansas and its people ed. and comp. by Perl W. Morgan. Chicago, The Lewis publishing company, 1911. 2 v. front., illus., plates, ports., fold. map. 28 cm. [Vol. 2 contains biographical data. Paged continuously.] p. 763 - 766 transcribed by students from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, on January 19, 2001.

William H. Smith

WILLIAM H. SMITH, M. D. - Other men's services to the people and the state can be measured by definite deeds, by dangers averted, by legislation secured, by institutions built, by commerce promoted. The work of a doctor is entirely estranged from these lines of enterprise, yet without his capable, health giving assistance, all other accomplishment would count for naught. Man's greatest prize on earth is physical health and vigor; nothing deteriorates mental activity so quickly as prolonged sickness, hence the broad field for human helpfulness afforded in the medical profession. The successful doctor requires something more than mere technical training, he must be a man of broad human sympathy and genial kindliness of spirit, capable of inspiring hope and faith in the heart of his patient. Such a man is he whose name initiates this article. In connection with his extensive private practice at Kansas City, Dr. Smith conducts a sanitarium here and is deeply interested in hospital work in Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas. He is a man of splendid education, is possessed of a brilliant mind and is specially talented in many directions. He is a great mechanical genius, an eloquent lecturer and a poet and writer of unusual ability.

Dr. William Henry Smith was born in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the date of his nativity being the 2nd of August, 1862. He is a son of Emanuel H. and Elizabeth (Keeny) Smith, and the first in order of birth in a family of seven children. Dr. Smith was reared to the age of seven years in his native city and at that time he accompanied his parents to Fulton, Illinois, where his preliminary educational training included a course in the high school, in which he was graduated as a member of the class of 1884. Subsequently he attended and was graduated in the Western Normal School, at Bushnell, Illinois, and in 1889 he was graduated in the pharmacy department of the Chicago School of Chemistry. For a time he was also a student in Musselman's Law and Commercial school, at Quincy, Illinois, and eventually he attended the University of Chicago, in the medical department of which now widely renowned institution he was graduated as a member of the class of 1890, duly receiving his degree of Doctor of Medicine. Prior to his graduation he had practiced chemistry and medicine under an old doctor in Chicago but after obtaining his degree he immediately initiated an independent practice at Paris, Missouri. His success was of most gratifying order from the very beginning and on the 1st of May, 1899, seeking a wider territory for his life work, he came to Kansas City, Kansas, where he opened offices and where he has continued to reside during the intervening years to the present time. His work now extends to hospitals in a number of large western cities and his territory includes Oklahoma and Missouri. He himself drew the plans for and superintended the construction of his present fine place of business, which includes a sanitarium with accomodation for thirty patients, four private offices and his home. In connection with the work of his profession he is a valued and appreciative member of the American Medical Association, the Tri-state Medical Society, which he has served as vice president; the Missouri State Medical Society; and the Wyandotte County Medical Society. He has contributed a number of important papers to medical journals of note and has been called upon to read papers before each of the above organizations. A splendid article, compiled by Dr. Smith, which appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Medicine, under date of April, 1909, was that entitled "Membranous Croup and Diptheria," the same being a discussion of the relationship existing between laryngeal diptheria and membranous croup. It would be a matter of great interest to physicians, and surgeons, especially, if this article, could be here reproduced in full but the brevity of this review forbids. Hence but two introductory paragraphs and three short paragraphs from the conclusion are here inserted, the same being taken verbatim.

"It is very difficult indeed to remain stationary in educational matters, while thinking. The general object of human thought is to broaden our mental scope, give us a grander individuality, and make us better beings. The special object of doctors thinking on medical subjects in medical society meetings is to make them better practitioners. I shall then be satisfied if in my humble manner I can provoke some thought on this subject.

"Of all the pathological conditions with which the general practitioner comes in contact, those of the throat, larynx and trachea perturb him most. And I feel that of these those of the larynx cause the greatest degree of worry and anxiety. Where is the doctor who has not had these hours of trial, when he felt his utter insignificance, felt his professional dignity fading away like a thin mist!"

Following a lengthy and particularly intelligent discussion of the subject in hand, it ends up with an appeal to individual practitioners to do everything in their power to help the local boards of health to rid the world of infectious diseases.

"Let each practitioner help ever so much by educating his patients that they should be clean, sanitary in their surroundings, that most of the germs of the infectious diseases enter the body by the mouth - very few being able to enter by the nose as most of them die soon after entering; that the nose should be kept open all the time and the mouth closed - most of the time; that the mouth should be kept clean, the teeth kept clean and sound.

"Don't you know that if the government compelled people to live cleanly, and have clean mouths and teeth, many of the infectious diseases would be far less prevalent? It would be the greatest weapon yet used in our fight to rid the world of infectious diseases.

"In closing my paper I will venture one further digression. Let us work for a sound system of guarding the health of the children. Let us feel that a scientific, non-political inspection of school children is a moral public necessity. Let us work until it becomes a legal crime for parents to neglect their childrens' mouths. Let us work for a school inspection that is not a farce. Let us work until this is accomplished intelligently. The report should read, 'See your dentist,' or, 'See your doctor' - one or both. On the report should be a space for the report of the dentist or doctor. Each state can well afford to pay a handsome sum for the intelligent inspection of the children. Who can calculate the amount each state would save financially, morally, by so doing?"

The Doctor is a graduate from the three schools of medicine, Homeopathic, Allopathic and Eclectic. In the year 1907 Dr. Smith was made a member of the faculty of the Western Eclectic College of Medicine and Surgery, at Kansas City, Kansas, and in that excellent institution he was elected president in 1908, is professor of surgery, and is likewise a member of the college board. In connection with his office practice, Dr. Smith has a static electric machine and he also gives X-ray treatments. He has never participated actively in political affairs but gives freely of his aid and influence in support of all measures and enterprises advanced for the good of progress and improvement. In fraternal circles he has passed through all the official chairs of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, is a member of the Moose and for the past ten years has been one of the chief examiners of the Germania Life Insurance Company for the state of Kansas.

In the state of Illinois, on the 3rd of April, 1887, Dr. Smith was united in marriage to Miss Etta J. Trotter, a native of Illinois and a daughter of William and Catherine (Trone) Trotter. Dr. and Mrs. Smith are the parents of two sons, namely, Don L. and Jay L. Both boys were graduated in the Kansas City High School and both are now students in the Kansas City Medical College, the medical department of the University of Kansas.

Dr. Smith is a man of sterling integrity and worth, and his citizenship is a most valuable adjunct to Kansas City, in whose sanitary work and improvement he has figured so prominently, In conclusion of this sketch, a short poem, dedicated to "The Nurse," and written by the Doctor in September, 1910, is here incorporated.

"And dowered with the wealth of perfect health,
Life's Guardian Angel rare, stands sweet and fair;

Through many hours of weary trials great -
When friends and relatives had yielded up
The last strained hope for that beloved one,
The 'Silent Messenger' had shadowed o'er
These many weary days and gloomy nights -
By lingering touch of health and look of hope
And with a grace beyond the reach of pen,
And by a sense of duty richly hers,
And through a dauntless courage, fair to see,

She woos the infant back to consciousness;
And like a well versed mariner at sea
She rows him to the billowed shores of health.

So now her task is done, the battle won,
And she with modest grace, now takes her place,
Among the Red Cross Soldiers of the World."

Biographical Index