Monument Honors “Beloved” Dr. Boydby Charles V. Patton – Knoxville Journal, January 29, 1956, Page 3-D
There stands at the corner of Gay Street and West Main Avenue entrance to Knoxville County Court House, a marble monument imposing in beauty and as commanding as it may appear, it is a tribute to the memory of the late Dr. John M. Boyd, one of the city’s earliest practicing physicians. The monument was erected by the citizens to perpetuate the name of a kindly family doctor, who was known as “Our Beloved Physician.” Dr. Boyd was an eminent physician and skilled surgeon. He practiced for years in Knoxville before a hospital was established. There were no ambulances. Patients were treated in family homes. Patients for surgery operations also were cared for in improvised operating rooms prepared in private homes. It was known by older residents that Dr. Boyd had never failed to respond to calls from homes where patients were unable to pay for treatments. The poor were given free treatment, Knoxville was then a small city. The writer of this column has promised to assemble all of the information available and turn it over to the Knoxville Academy of Medicine. Any other information received will be described and sent to the Academy of Medicine. It was in a period when doctors were few and hospitals unknown here. Many persons could be found who believed in treating all illness with salts and poultices made of peachtree [sic] leaves and onions. Some people carried buckeyes in the pockets to ward off rheumatism, and children were forced to have a small bag of asafetida tied about their necks to prevent diseases. This column began working up stories on the first hospital and later the Medical Colleges established in Knoxville near the close of the 19th century. Dr. William E. Howell, a prominent Morristown physician, who was active in Knoxville years ago as a practitioner became interested in the stories. He added the following comments and historic information: Dr. Howell said: “You was correct (Old Timer) the first hospital in Knoxville was an eight bed one, located at State Street and Cumberland Avenue and was for Knoxville patients only. The additions of Park City, North Knoxville, West Knoxville, Mechanicsville, Lonsdale, and Mountain View hadn’t come into the city at the time. Dr. John L. Howell, Dr. Charles E. Ristine, Dr. John M. Boyd, Dr. McCrary, Dr. R. S. C. Hill, Dr. Lancester and possibly others were the staff, Maggie Powers, Mrs. Leach was the nurse. “The exact date of the establishment of the Tennessee Medical College, I do not know, possibly 1890. In addition to Vanderbilt Medical College, there were several located in different cities, one in each Knoxville, Tenn. (Tennessee Medical College); Chattanooga Medical College, another in Nashville and still another in Memphis, all have now been absorbed, so that now the Medical Department of UT and Vanderbilt remain. “Laws have been enacted from time to time until now, graduating physicians, dentists and etc. must take a rigid examination, also pay a license fee of $5.00 per year in addition to a fee of $1.00 for narcotic license. Formerly prospective doctors simply read medicine under an older doctor, purchased a pair of saddle bags, a pocket case of some 12 drugs, a blood lance, a hook like instrument to extract teeth, a good horse and the doctor was ready to ride in fair or foul weather. “A visit was $1.00 and prescription five cents, not often paid, but always promised. There was little reciprosity [sic] among the states and much rivalry and very few graduates were accredited the privilege or license to practice in other states. North Carolina was very caustic, but now most states rule that qualifications in one state qualifies the right to practice in other states.