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Country doctors were highly valued members of their community, providing local medical care at a time when travel to the nearest hospital was prohibitive, if not impractical due to a patients’ medical needs or condition.

Country Doctors & The Doctors Remick


Country Doctors
Historically, country doctors practiced and lived in the same town, generally a rural community. Their patients were local townspeople and visitors to the town. A country doctor often tended to several generations of the same family and addressed a wide range of medical issues, encompassing a patient’s physical and emotional health.

House calls were a major component of a rural doctor’s work. If it was impossible or not practical for patients to travel to the doctor, the doctor went to them. Frequently, doctors or nurses serving rural areas would stay for extended periods of time in the homes of patients who were critically ill or were waiting to deliver a baby.

Country doctors needed a broad range of practical knowledge and skills and good old-fashioned ingenuity. They developed strong relationships and trust with their patients and the community.

Early on, doctors mixed, rolled, cut and dispensed medicines themselves; a patient need not go to a separate pharmacy for the pills or tinctures he or she needed to get well. Later, doctors purchased medications from pharmaceutical companies and had them available in their office to dispense to patients.

By the 20th-century, much of the rural medical profession was well organized, regulated and forward-thinking.
 

  

Tamworth’s Country Doctors
Dr. Edwin Remick (1866–1935, shown at left) and his son, Dr. Edwin “Doc” Crafts Remick (1903–1993, shown with one of his harness racing horses, Mighty Gem, circa 1950), provided Tamworth and surrounding communities with continuous medical care from 1894–1993. They administered medical care to patients in almost every area of their health: prenatal care to delivery, winter colds to vaccinations, and even minor surgery.

The elder Dr. Remick graduated from the University of Vermont College of Medicine in 1894, at which point he returned to Tamworth to establish his medical practice. In 1904 he and his wife, Emily Crafts Remick (1861-1911), moved into the Captain Enoch Remick House, which is named after Dr. Remick’s great-uncle who lived there in the mid-nineteenth century. Dr. Remick lived on the second floor of the house with his wife and son Doc, while his medical office and pharmacy were located on the ground floor.

During his years of service to the town of Tamworth, among other notable concerns, he was confronted with the 1918 influenza epidemic. The epidemic caused the death of nine people in the town and accounted for 41% of all the town deaths that year.

Directly after graduating from Tufts College Medical School in 1929, the younger Doctor Remick, Edwin “Doc” Crafts Remick, married Marion Miles Remick (1906–1980, shown below with Doc, circa 1935) and returned to Tamworth to join his father’s practice. The two doctors worked together until the elder doctor’s death in 1935.

After his father’s death, Doc continued to practice medicine out of the Captain Enoch Remick House, his boyhood home, until his own death in 1993. 
Peeking into Doc’s personality a bit, as a good rural doctor he needed the skill of intent listening. As recounted by many, his patients were asked to be focused listeners in return: Doc, being an avid harness racing fan, perpetually urged patients to listen to a recording of his favorite horse race.

When the Captain Enoch Remick House is open for guided tours, you can walk through the original doctors' office, see medical instruments and artifacts that span the timeline of our country doctors, and visit the medicine room where medicines were made and stored. The “Our Medicine Through Time” exhibit, located in the Museum Center, has medical and personal artifacts and is open year-round during museum hours.

Though they practiced in a rural setting, the Doctors Remick stayed educated about, and used, the latest medical advances possible during their range of service and were highly dedicated to serving the areas’ people. Both doctors were practicing medicine when they passed away: the elder doctor saw patients on the day he died and the younger doctor passed away just a few days after seeing to his last patient.

 



As newlyweds, Doc and Marion moved into a nearby house, a wedding and graduation gift from the elder Dr. Remick. They lived on the second floor; farm herdsman Cliff Warren and his family lived on the first floor and single staff members had individual rooms on the third floor. The farmhouse and attached barn are now part of the Museum Center and you can walk through Doc and Marion’s apartment during your visit.


Read one country doctor’s story, about current-day medical care in rural Texas.
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