Ashfield — Physicians
Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.
A large number of physicians have practiced in the town; of these the first was Dr. Phineas Bartlet, who is mentioned in the town records as early as 1766, and who remained in practice until the time of his death (in a fit), in 1799. He resided on the "Plain,"" in what is now known as the "Norton place." He was largely identified with public affairs, represented the town in the General Court, was town clerk a great many years and at the time of his death, and filled other positions of responsibility. His sudden death was greatly lamented.
A contemporary of Dr. Bartlet was Dr. Moses Hayden, who was in practice in 1766, and perhaps earlier. He lived at South Ashfield, was in practice about fifteen years, and removed to Conway.
The next physician was probably Dr. Francis Mantor, who was in practice at the close of the last century. Dr. Enos Smith probably came next, and was in practice many years. He lived on the "Plain" where Lemuel Cross now resides, and also where Mrs. Thompson now lives. About the same time as Dr. Smith, Dr. Rivera Nash engaged in practice in the town. Dr. David Dickinson was also in practice contemporaneously with Drs. Smith and Nash.
Dr. Cornelius Luce was in practice about 1810 for a few years, and lived about half a mile north of the "Plain." Dr. Wm. A. Hamilton followed a little later. Then came Dr. Atherton Clark, who married a daughter of Dr. Smith, and first engaged in practice in the town about 1816. He lived where Lemuel Cross now resides, and was in practice many years. President William S. Clark, of Amherst Agricultural College, is a son of Dr. Clark.
Dr. Jared Bement also married a daughter of Dr. Smith, and engaged in practice about 1830-33. He resided where Seth Miles now lives. Dr. Charles Knowlton and Dr. Roswell Shepard were in practice about the same time, the latter for a few years only. They were in partnership for a time. Dr. Knowlton remained in town, and died in 1850. He was succeeded by his son, Dr. Charles L. Knowlton, who removed to Northampton, where he still is (in 1879). Dr. Bement was succeeded by Dr. Milo Wilson, to whom he disposed of his business about 1838. A Dr. King was in practice for about two years at South Ashfield, and a Dr. Lee died in town in 1816, after a short practice.
Dr. Sidney Brooks, a relative of Buckland, bought the homestead and practice of Dr. Wilson in 1845. He remained until 1855. While here he built the two houses now occupied by Levi Gardner and Edwin Sears.
Dr. Stephen J. W. Tabor, a native of Vermont, studied medicine with Dr. Charles Knowlton about 1840, married his daughter, and practiced here a few years. He went into practice at Shelburne Falls, and then at Independence, in Iowa, where he became a judge. He was, about the year 1863, appointed fourth auditor in the Treasury Department at Washington, in which position he yet continues.
The present physician, Dr. James R. Fairbanks, was born in Pittsfield, subsequently engaged in practice in Connecticut, and settled in Ashfield in the spring of 1868.
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