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Doss, Charles H.
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Doss, Charles H.
Contributed by Barbara
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Source: Past and Present of Pike County, Page 423-424


The consensus of opinion on the part of the public and the profession concerning Dr. Charles H. Doss, of Pittsfield, has been most favorable during the forty-five years of his connection with the medical fraternity, and he is the honored family physician in many a household, where his professional services have been retained through long years. He was born in Simpson county, Kentucky, February 19, 1834, a son of Joel Burgess Doss, who was a native of Kentucky and of Saxon ancestry. He was a minister of the Baptist church and also a physician of the allopathic school. He married Miss Mildred Hurt, a daughter of Charles Hurt, who was a native of Kentucky and of Welsh lineage. Judge Hurt, of Texas, and Captain Hurt, of Barry, Illinois, are relatives of Dr. Doss, and many of the representatives of the family are found in various sections of the southern states.

Dr. Doss was one of twelve children and his school privileges were limited, he educating himself from the age of fifteen years. He was reared in and near Hopkinsville, Kentucky, until twenty years of age, in the meantime serving an apprenticeship to the milling- business. He then came to Illinois, arriving in Jacksonville with only twenty-five cents in his pocket. For five years he continued to make his home in Morgan county, acting as superintendent of the Waverley Mills at Waverley. In the fall of 1859 he went to Carrollton, Greene county, this state, and entered the office of Dr. A. VV. Bowman, an eclectic physician, under whose direction he read medicine during 1860 and 1861. In the fall of the latter year he matriculated in the Eclectic Medical College at Cincinnati, Ohio, which he attended for a year, after which he began to practice in Fayette, Greene county, Illinois, where he remained from May, 1862, until November, 1867. He then took up his abode in Manchester, Scott county, where he practiced until the spring of 1876. In the meantime he had attended lectures and was graduated from the Eclectic Medical Institute at Cincinnati. In the latter year he came to Pittsfield, where he has since resided and for almost thirty years has been engaged in active practice here. A liberal patronage has always been accorded him and though the old school of physicians were strongly opposed to his methods he has ever enjoyed their personal regard and good will and has steadily gained in public favor. His professional business has been gratifying and his efforts have been attended with a large measure of success, but in sixteen years he lost twenty-five thousand dollars by breeding trotting horses, five stallions dying, which cost him twelve thousand dollars. Throughout the years, however, he has followed his profession with untiring zeal and unfaltering devotion, and in 1870 he joined the National Eclectic Medical Society of Chicago, of which he has since been a member. In 1868 he became a charter member of the Illinois State Eclectic Society, in which he has at various times held all the different offices, being its president in 1878. He has prepared many papers for the state and national associations and for different medical journals and through his relationship with the medical societies has kept abreast with the most modern thought of the age, concerning the scientific practice of medicine.

Dr. Doss was married in 1856 to Miss Margaret Thresher, a daughter of J. M. Thresher, of Morgan county, Illinois. Eleven children have been born unto them, of whom nine reached years of maturity. Two are now graduates of medical colleges two of dental colleges and one of the veterinary college at Toronto, Canada, while one of the daughters married a dentist, another a physician, a third a tobacco jobber, while a fourth is the wife of O. W. Fullman, of St. Louis. Since 1856 Dr. Doss has been a devoted member of the Christian church and his first wife was also one of its members. Her death occurred in January, 1895, and in 1896 he was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Ellen Wilson, of Chicago, the widow of the late R. W. Wilson, former circuit clerk of Pittsfield.

Fraternally Dr. Doss has been connected with the Masons for forty years and has taken the Royal Arch degree. Since attaining his majority he has affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and he is also a member of the Knights of Pythias fraternity and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He cast his first vote in 1855 for Richard Yates, the candidate of the American party for congress, and in 1864 he voted for Abraham Lincoln. He did not vote again until 1876, when he cast his ballot for Peter Cooper, the candidate of the greenback party, and twenty years later he voted for William Jennings Bryan. He has always been very independent in politics, however, supporting principle rather than party, nor has he desired office for himself. The cause of education has found in him a strong and stalwart friend and he has given excellent educational opportunities to his children, all of whom are graduates of good schools. Fifteen young men have studied under Dr. Doss in preparation for the practice of medicine. He has been medical examiner for various life insurance companies for several years and is now the president of the United States pension board. His genuine personal worth and kindly spirit have gained him warm friends, while his laudable ambition, his close study and his unremitting diligence have made him a prominent representative of the profession which stands as the safeguard of health.

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