The February 2004 "Pioneer History" column featured the life of Schuyler Colfax Dwyer (1869-1953), a prominent Lowell business man who played an important part in local history. Because he was the grandson of 1837 pioneer Dr. Jabez Clark and the son-in-law of Civil War era Dr. E. R. Bacon and grew up in the neighborhood of other early doctors, he was able to add interesting information to earlier histories. His stories appeared in The Lowell Tribune during Lowell’s Centennial year of 1952. We will review stories about the doctors from the "Pioneer History" column and others, with additional items of interest written by Dwyer:
A quote from the August 1983 "Pioneer History" column: "Jabez Clark, energetic pioneer of the Lowell area, was born in 1808 at Thomkins County, New York." Dwyer wrote that the area in northwestern New York state was called "Grotton Holler" by the local residents.
The earlier history shows Clark having a "fine education in the East," and Dwyer wrote that Dr. Clark had finished his medical course at a Rhode Island university.
Both the "Pioneer History" story and Dwyer’s version agree about the little family sailing on the Great Lakes and landing at Michigan City. Dwyer added that Jabez Clark bought the area’s first threshing machine and used it first on farms in the Rolling Prairie area before they came to settle in Lowell in 1837.
Dwyer also wrote that Clark’s first home was an abandoned log cabin at the northeast corner of Mill and Main Streets, and that the family soon built a larger log home on the south border of what is now the Veteran of Foreign Wars Post #6841 grounds, near the stream. He also noted that friendly Indian neighbors lived near the present Liberty Park.
Dwyer wrote "Sometime before 1854 they built a commodious frame house sufficiently roomed to accommodate travelers on the south side of our present Commercial Avenue at the intersection with Burnham Street." 1845 is the year given for the building of the frame home in the "Pioneer History" story, and both dates seem to be close, proven by the fact that Dwyer wrote that as Justice of the Peace, Jabez Clark helped to enlist men for the Mexican War, 1846-1848, at the frame house.
Dwyer wrote that Dr. Clark farmed for many years on land that he bought from the government for $1.25 per acre. With farming, civic duties and visiting the sick, Dr. Clark was a very busy pioneer. Dwyer wrote that Clark attended Mrs. James Sanger, Sr., at the birth of her only daughter, Martha, who became the wife of Dr. E.R. Bacon.
The Old Timer was surprised to read about the school in Dwyer’s story. . . "He [Dr. Clark] was a champion of public interests, schooling and patriotic celebrations. He established the first school house in the vicinity, which was a single room only and which was located on the south side of the present East Oakley Avenue, within a few rods east from the flowing water spring there."
Dwyer was writing about what is now Lincoln Street, near South Viant Street. Some readers may still remember drinking the good water from that spring which flowed out of the hill on the north side of Lincoln Street, west of the intersection of South Viant Street.
Dr. Jabez Clark, 1827 Lowell pioneer, died in 1876 at the age of 68.
From the 1904 History of Lake County by Rev. Timothy Ball: "Dr. S.B. Yeoman is one other physician to be named at Lowell, a good physician, an excellent man. He died Jan. 1865." The Lowell Public Library History web site lists Dr. Yeoman as coming to Lowell in 1847.
Because of his closeness to his grandmother, Marietta, wife of Dr. Jabez Clark, Schuyler C. Dwyer knew some of Dr. Yeoman’s history and wrote the following in 1952: "Our second physician, who established his home and office in a one-and-a-half story frame house on the lot at the site of the present  Methodist Church parsonage. This property for many years after his passing (1865) was referred to as the ‘Yeoman property.’
"He probably occupied the first story of his house as his family residence, and the upper story for his office, for it was the latter portion which Doctor Gerrish occupied in later years.
"He had a barn on the south end of the lot, facing the present Union Avenue. Nothing could be gleaned of his characteristics, as all who knew of him have long since passed on to their eternal home, but he must have had an extensive practice for that early time, as he had no practical competition. He was well spoken of by those who were left later."
The one-and-a-half story house, mentioned above was replaced by a Queen Anne/Eclectic style brick home in about 1889, purchased from Carrie Sanger by the Lowell Methodist Church in 1925. It served as the Methodist parsonage until 1968, when it was moved to North Viant Street in Lowell, as a private residence.
It is listed and pictured in the Lowell Public Library’s brochure "Historic Homes of Lowell." The present Lowell Methodist parsonage is now on Hilltop Drive.
Dr. James A. Wood was born in 1814 at Trumbull County, Ohio, attended school there and worked on his father’s farm until he was 18, when he began to study medicine with Dr. Abram Becker of Wayne County, Ohio. Following his graduation from Washington Medical College at Cannonsburg, Pa., in 1836, he was married to Ann Jacobs of Saratoga, N.Y.
Dr Wood came to Porter County, Indiana, in 1837, moved to the Cedar Lake area in 1849, then came to Lowell in 1847, where he rode his Indian pony while treating patients from the Kankakee River to Lake Michigan. From 1863 to 1865, he served as Assistant Regimental Surgeon of the 12th Indiana Cavalry during the Civil War. I
n 1875 he suffered a severe injury to a hip when he was thrown from his cutter. He served as township trustee and Justice of the Peace and was a leading physician and civic leader until his death in 1898. (Information from Counties of Lake and Porter, Goodspeed, 1882.)
Schuyler C. Dwyer wrote that he well-remembered the busy doctor as the grandfather of the present  surviving town folks, Alva Wood and Lillian Grubb.
"His [early] residence was in the present frame house facing the then "County Road" [now SR 2], west of the well-known James H. Sanger farm home near ‘Sanger’s corner.’" The Sanger home was on the present site of the Lowell High School -- ("Sanger’s Corner" was at Ind. R.2 and Holtz Road.)
Dwyer also remembered the doctor going about in the 1870’s on crutches. He said that the legend told around town was that he was thrown from his horse on a dark night near Bostwick Prairie, on SR 55 northeast of Lowell, a slightly different story about his accident.
Dr. Wood’s later residence was in the frame house north of the present Bank One building on Castle Street.
Historian Ball wrote this about Dr. Wood in 1904: "He was an excellent singer, a very pleasant and kind friend. The doctor served the Lowell community for over 50 years until his death in 1898."
Stories about three more of the early doctors, with comments written by Mr. Dwyer, will be printed in April’s "Pioneer History" column.
The timid never started;
The weak died on the way;
The strong arrived;
They were the pioneers!
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