KanColl Articles
Contributed by Tod Roberts

Excerpts from the 1911

"Physician's Pocket Account Book"
of Dr. R. C. McClymonds,
Walton (Harvey County), Kansas

by Tod Roberts

I found this account book among the personal belongings of my grandparents, Dr. and Mrs. R. C. McClymonds, in Walton KS in 1997.  Dr. McClymonds, a true "horse & buggy doctor," practiced medicine for almost 60 years (1903-1962) in the Walton community.  Given the many years of his practice, he doubtless had dozens of these account books.  However, out of respect for his patients' privacy, most of these records were destroyed by family members after he passed away in 1962.

According to his daughter Elizabeth Vance McClymonds Roberts (now deceased), soon after completing his medical degree at the University of Nebraska in 1903, he arrived in Walton by train to visit some relatives.  He was on his way to establish a new medical practice in California or Oregon, but when Walton residents pleaded with him to stay and serve their physician-less community, he decided to plant his roots there.  The fact that the Gilchrist family, with its five beautiful daughters, lived on a nearby farm probably also influenced his decision; after dating a few of these women, he eventually persuaded one of them to be his wife.  He married my grandmother, Beulah Buchanan Gilchrist, in Walton on Oct. 30, 1907.  Together they brought five children into the world -- Margaret Catherine in 1910, Elizabeth Vance (my mother) in 1913, Samuel Erskine in 1916, Robert Clendenin, Jr. in 1918, and Bryson Gilchrist in 1920.  As I write this (April 2000), all of these children except my uncle, Samuel Erskine McClymonds, are deceased.

During his long career, Dr. McClymonds helped deliver over 4,000 babies, including all of his own five children and three of his 10 grandchildren -- my sister Clenece Roberts Hills in 1938, my cousin Philip Charles McKnight in 1941, and me in 1943.  This represented almost 20 times the population of the small community of Walton, a farm town in eastern Harvey County.  Although forced to travel to his patients by horse and buggy in the early days of his practice, Dr. McClymonds eagerly replaced this often frustrating form of transportation when he acquired one of the first automobiles sold in Harvey County.

Dr. McClymonds and children

Dr. R. C. McClymonds with the three grandchildren he helped bring into the world (left to right): Philip McKnight, Tod Roberts, and Clenece Roberts (probably Christmas 1943)

His patients included families and individuals from Walton and several nearby communities such as Peabody, Elbing, Halstead, Goessel, Lehigh, and many farmsteads near Newton.

The following links will take you to excerpts from the ledger:

• Names of patients appearing in the 1911 accounts ledger
• An excerpt of the ledger itself (a scan of a single patient record, plus a transcription)
• A statement of fees as recommended by Dr. J. J. Taylor, the author of the 1909 PHYSICIAN'S ACCOUNT BOOK

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