Doctors of Norton County

Doctors of Norton County, Kansas

researched by Walta Russ

Dr. William C. Lathrop -1876 - 1942

William C. Lathrop was born December 6, 1876 at Marion, Iowa, a son of Virgil Augustus and Mary Gageby Lathrop. He grew to manhood in Iowa, and after elementary school he graduated from Coe College, the medical school of the University of Iowa. In 1902 he was graduated from the Chicago Medical School and located at Clarksville, Iowa, where he practiced until 1905.

He came to Norton in 1905 and to continue his education he arranged for a post-graduate course at the University of Illinois, and kept abreast of his profession by attending numerous clinics.

The interests of Dr. Lathrop were many and varied. His professional service to society included membership of the Kansas State Board of Health and on the advisory commission of the Kansas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium here at the time of his death. He had been surgical consultant since the opening of the sanatorium in June, 1914, He was a member for many years of the American Medical Association and the Kansas Medical Society, and since its organization of the Northwest Kansas Medical Society. He was a member of the Lodges and Clubs in Norton and but for him there would be no Norton County Credit Association, and since the establishment of the Norton Country Club, he has been one of the directing heads.

One of Dr. Lathropís greatest contributions to the community is the Norton Hospital, which he established more than a quarter century ago.  For many years he operated it himself under the name of the Lathrop Hospital but the load became too heavy for him and when the opportunity presented itself he sold it to the Methodist board of hospitals. When the institution became badly involved and the church was forced to relinquish it, Dr. Lathrop took back the building and nurses home he had erected and again operated it until a few years ago the citizens of the community approved the purchase of the institution by the city. Dr. Lathrop offered it to the municipality because he was unable physically to continue indefinitely the heavy responsibilities of management of the institution, it now stands as one of the finest memorial any man could leave to his community.

Dr. Lathrop is survived by his wife, children John, of Kansas City, who soon completes his internship as a doctor of medicine, Dr. William M. Lathrop, Mrs. Elizabeth Kelly and Mrs. Walter Harris all of Norton and a sister Miss Minnie Lathrop of Marion, Iowa.

Burial Norton Cemetery.  From Norton Daily Telegram.


added by Ardie Grimes

Dr. Lathrop's wife, Amy, wrote the book, "Tales of Western Kansas" ©1948, LaRue Printing Co., Kansas City, Missouri and a booklet, "Pioneer Remedies of Western Kansas" ©1962, Kansas Printing House, Concordia, Kansas.

In the booklet, she says, "When he located in a small Iowa town in 1902, I found myself not only his housekeeper but his office girl, assistant and nurse as well.  In 1905 we moved to Norton, Kansas, bringing with us the only X-ray machine.  Dr. Lathrop treated all his surgical patients in our home, and I assisted at the operations and cared for the patients, until once I had four patients and our three children to care for and no help but an inexperienced maid of all work.  That was too much.  We rented the house next door and put a registered nurse in charge of the "Cottage Hospital" which had to suffice until we could build a thirty-bed hospital in 1914.  Dr. Lathrop had always dispensed his own medicines, but when his practice increased it was handier for him to own a drugstore.  He passed the pharmacists' examination and thus never needed to be without a registered drug clerk.  Those were never too plentiful."

"At the hospital he hired only registered nurses, but because they were scarce he started a nurses' training school.  As his surgical practice increased he lacked time for the operation of a school, and with the opening of other drug stores which were able to fill his prescriptions, he disposed of his."

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Last updated Wednesday, September 03, 2008