Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Lot Green, M.D. and the 1902 Smallpox Outbreak

Dr. Lot Green (1847-1905)

Dr. James Wilkinson Green and Mary Jane Gowdy had thirteen children - five of them followed their father's profession.  Lot Green was their oldest child and the first of his brothers to become a doctor.  As a young man, Lot studied medicine under his father, a country physician in Shelbyville, and became well versed in anatomy and physics.

In 1872, Lot Green married Cordelia J. Barnard.  Six years later he entered the medical department of Butler University.  Lot graduated in 1880 and began his medical practice alongside his father before going on to open his own office.

Lot and Cordelia had five sons; Lucien Louis, Hallie Wilkinson, Frank Hayes, Charles Sumner, and Derby Blaine Green.  Lot took his oldest son Lucien with him on multiple house calls, perhaps to encourage him to become a doctor. These early experiences must have not made a good impression on Lucien, because he left Rushville for good and started a career as a loan officer in Indianapolis.  Of the five sons, only Frank Hayes Green continued the tradition of Green doctors, like his father and his grandfather had done.

During the summer of 1902, Lot Green issued a mandate for the residents of Rush County to be vaccinated after discovering a case of smallpox.  The news was publicized in the Indianapolis Journal as an effort to convince locals that the situation could turn serious.  However, the citizens of Greensburg in neighboring Decatur County disregarded the warning.  A special sanitary marshal was appointed to enforce the quarantine.

On February 21, 1905, Lot Green died at the age of 57.  There are differing accounts as to how Lot died; one article in the Indianapolis News states that he was "stricken with apoplexy while in his office." However, the Shelbyville Democrat said that Dr. Green was found in his sleigh, after he had an attack of apoplexy.

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