Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 111
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
J. D. STEWART,
One of the notable institutions of Hutchinson is the Stewart Hospital, conducted by the Stewart Brothers, both distinguished and capable physicians and surgeons whose marked ability has placed them in the front rank of the representatives of the medical fraternity in this portion of the state. Their reputation, however, is not limited by the confines of Kansas, for many of their patrons come from other states and the history of their successful treatment is continually increasing their practice. This is a utilitarian age in which man is judged by his usefulness in the world. The public has no place for the misanthrope or the individual who lives to himself alone, and public opinion commends or condemns according as the individual has wrought along the lines of greatest good to his fellow men or otherwise. It is this which has won for the medical fraternity its high standing, and well does the honorable, able and conscientious physician deserve the gratitude and respect of his fellow men.
Dr J E Stewart, the senior member of the firm, was born in Bedford county, Virginia, March 19, 1857, a son of Robert B and Angeline (Arrington) Stewart, both of whom are representatives of prominent old southern families. The branch of Stewarts to which the Doctor belongs is descended from the Scottish clan of that name. The great-grandfather, emigrating to America, took up his abode in Beaufort, South Carolina, where he spent his remaining days. His son, the Rev James Stewart, the grandfather of the Doctor, was a pioneer minister of the Methodist Episcopal church and for sixty years was a member of the Baltimore conference, the scene of his labors being Virginia. There he gave his time and energies to ministerial work until 1868 when he came to Kansas, and his death occurred in Reno county when he had attained the advanced age of ninety-five years. In early life he had married Betsey Bush, of Virginia. His last years were spent in the home of his son Robert.
Robert Stewart was the father of the well known physicians of Hutchinson, who are conducting the Stewart Hospital. He was reared on the old plantation in Bedford county, Virginia, and there resided for many years. He owned extensive landed interests and many slaves and in common with other property owners of the southern states he lost considerable during the period of the Civil war. In 1881 he removed with his family of seven children to Rice county, Kansas, where he purchased a tract of land upon which he yet resides Ė an honored and representative agriculturist of the community. In his political views he is a stanch Democrat and like the other members of the Stewart family is a devoted member of the Methodist church. He has five children who are still living: Samuel W, who operates a part of the homestead farm in Rice county; Robert O, an agriculturist of the same county; James E, a twin brother of Robert and the subject of this review; R A, who is in partnership with his brother James; and Olive, the wife of Samuel Steinmetz, of Rice county.
On the old Virginia plantation Dr James E Stewart spent his early youth and acquired his preliminary education in the common schools. He began the study of medicine under the direction of Dr E W Sale, of Stewartville, Virginia, who directed his reading for two years. He then entered the Hospital Medical College, of Louisville, Kentucky, where he remained for one term, when he accompanied his parents on their removal to Kansas. After a residence of six months in Rice county he became a student in the office of Dr P P Trueheart, of Sterling, Kansas, and then returning to the east entered the University of Maryland, at Baltimore, where he spent one term. On the expiration of that period he returned to the Hospital Medical College, of Louisville, where he was graduated in the spring of 1883. Six months later he established an office in Alden, Rice county, Kansas, where he engaged in practice for eight years, removing to Hutchinson, where he has since remained, forming a partnership with his brother in the establishment and conduct of the Stewart Hospital, which has become one of the leading private hospitals in the state.
On the 7th of March, 1894, Dr J E Stewart married Miss Lillian Young, a daughter of John W and A E (Furgeson) Young. They have two children, Helen and William Y. The family attend the Methodist church, in which the Doctor holds membership. He is independent in his political views and has never sought office, his time and attention being fully engrossed by the demands of his practice.
Robert A Stewart, the junior member of the firm, was born in Bedford county, Virginia, January 20, 1868, and was only thirteen years of age when he accompanied his parents to Rice county, Kansas, where he continued his education which had been begun in the public schools of his native state. Through the summer months he assisted his father in the operation of the farm until 1888, when he matriculated in the Hospital Medical College, of Louisville, and was graduated in the class of 1891. Immediately afterward he entered into partnership with his brother, Dr James E Stewart, an association which has since been maintained. He was married June 12, 1895, to Mary C, daughter of James P McCurdy, and they have two children, Margaret and John R. They have an elegant residence at No. 801 North Main street, which was erected by the Doctor. His political views are not bound by party ties, his support being given to the men and measures that he believes will best promote the general good. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Methodist Episcopal church.
Both brothers give their undivided attention to their professional duties and their work has been crowned by a high measure of success. Since his graduation Dr R A Stewart has taken two private courses of study under Professor Reynolds, of Louisville, Kentucky. In March, 1891, the hospital was established in Hutchinson, with modest pretensions, in a small building on West Tenth street. They abandoned general practice, making a specialty of surgery, gynecology and the treatment of diseases of the eye, ear and throat. It took time to demonstrate to the public the worth of the institution and for about four years the financial outlook was anything but promising, but since that time a constantly increasing patronage has rendered their business lucrative and profitable. Well do they deserve success. They have founded a hospital justly meriting the public support. In 1897 they purchased their present property at 724 North Main street, the location being one of the most desirable in the city. It is far enough removed from the business portion to escape the noise of traffic. The building was originally a fine residence, and this they have remodeled and added to, making it well adapted for the purpose for which it is now used. The grounds are well kept and of attractive appearance and the house is bright and cheerful and arranged with admirable taste. Perfect sanitary conditions exist and the steam heating, electric lighting and water systems are equally admirable. There are more than thirty rooms in the building, each perfectly ventilated. The clean white walls and spotless floors in the twenty-two rooms fitted up for patients preclude the possibility of disease germs of any nature finding a harboring place. The kitchen is in a separate building so that no odors of cooking reach the rooms of the patients. On the second floor is located the laboratory containing apparatus for making all of the delicate tests and analysis so essential to correct diagnosis and subsequent successful treatment of disease. The institution is well equipped with all necessary appliances and instruments for the successful performance of all ordinary surgical operations in the operating room on the first floor and the past four years has demonstrated the fact that the percentage of recoveries here is greater in proportion than in many of the larger institutions. Skillful and scientific methods of treatment, salubrious climate, careful nursing and perfect sanitary conditions and quiet and pleasant surrounds, all doubtless contribute their share in accomplishing this desirable result. In summing up the value of manís work in the world that of the physician has a prominent place and no members of the profession are doing more along the line of their chosen vocation than the Stewart Brothers, whose professional skill, high Christian character and individual worth have gained them the unqualified regard of all with whom they have been associated.