Reflections: A peek at changing medical care in the community


By Evelyn Long - Morrow County Sentinel



January into February is considered the middle of winter and so often it is accompanied by colds and influenza. Hopefully, this winter will be an exception but it prompted me to research the physicians who have served Cardington and this area.

The very first professional to come to Cardington was Doctor McCluer, who arrived in 1836 and was not only the local physician but was the only doctor in the entire “area.” By the early 1900’s the town was served by four doctors, H S. Green (who later owned the first automobile in the village), C. E. Curl, C. T. Warmeling and Florence Smith-White. The latter was renowned for visiting patients in her horse and buggy into the 1920’s.

In fact, a 1922 phone book lists Cardington doctors as Moccabee, Neal, and Smith-White. Later, Dr. Lowell Murphy opened his practice in Dr. Neal’s office and practiced until 1974. Others serving the village that I recall were Dr. E C Sherman, Dr. Stanley Brody, Dr. Frank Hartsock and Dr. Wm Lee.

Looking at my father’s journal that he kept of expenditures in the early 1940’s, a doctor’s visit charge ranged from $1.50 to $2.00. Today there are many insurance plans including Medicare, group insurance, Medicaid, etc. and that includes much paper work. I wonder how those early settlers paid their doctors- with some of their stored food maybe?

I recall back in “those days,” one did not make an appointment but just sat in the waiting room until it was your “turn.” I remember local doctors making house calls into the 1940’s. When my sisters and I all came down with the flu, chicken pox or measles, the doctor and his nurse were a welcome sight in the eyes of our parents but sometimes a bit intimidating in our young eyes as he probed and pushed our innards. Vaccinations have now limited the number of these cases.

Before there was an EMS one could take an emergency case to the back door of the local doctor as in my case when my young son accidentally chopped off the end of his finger. The skilled doctor sewed the tip on and he has his finger today. The opening of the Morrow County Hospital in 1952 was a huge boost to medical care in Morrow County.

Our doctors were skilled and cured many people but today’s advanced technology allows for testing that could not be done “back then.” When I grew up I never heard the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease. Someone who had trouble remembering was tagged as having “hardening of the arteries.”

Medicine has come a long, long way and Morrow County is benefiting. Today, the village is served by the Morrow County Hospital Primary Care Center, located on the site that was Long’s Garage and more recently, Al’s Restaurant.

100 years ago, January 1916: The owner of the Dreamland theater on West Main Street (just across the railroad track) had taken possession of the Lyric Theater (on West Main Street just west of the Wornstaff Hotel) and was combining the two operations into one theater- the Lyric. The Dreamland Theater was sold and was to be opened as a machine shop. It was later the site of Zeb Russell’s business.

60 years ago, January, 1956: The Marengo Fire Department’s new engine house was almost complete. It was once the Wigton Dry Goods Store. Two typewriters had been stolen from the Cardington High School. New school board presidents were Henry Breckner, Cardington; Dale Mosher, Mt Gilead; Bryant Mosher, Bennington; George Kunze, Chester-Franklin; Floyd Weaver, Lincoln Harmony; Garsa Warner, Washington-Bloomfield; Homer Sayers, Edison and David Cass, Johnsville.

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By Evelyn Long

Morrow County Sentinel