Powder Springs was blessed with good doctors from its very beginning as a young settlement that first became known as Springville.
Early on the doctors worked out of their homes, which were located on Main Street (Marietta Street) or within short walking distance of the center of the small town. As the town grew with new businesses and buildings were built in the down town area, the doctors began to set up or relocate their offices in these buildings.
In those days, medical students who lived in the area would read medicine under the local Doctor during their vacations. Some of those students in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s was Dr. Charles Butner, Dr. W. E. Butner and Dr. Christian Middlebrook. They read with Dr. Robert Murray and set up their practices here.
The doctors usually practiced on their own. Occasionally, they might have an assistant who was interning with them or their wife or female family member acting as a “nurse”. These ladies would have used the knowledge and training that had been handed down by their mothers and grandmothers. Formal nurses training would come later.
There was also no official undertaker or funeral home. The family would take care of any coffin and burial arrangements that were needed. Some businessmen were undertakers who sold coffins as part of their merchandise and inventory. The first undertaker was Uriah Matthews in the 1850’s, who did this from his dry goods store on Main Street (Marietta St.). All they would do was furnish the coffin, sheet, quilt or cover, if the family did not furnish one, as it was carried to the church and or cemetery. A neighbor furnished the wagon, friends dug the grave, lowered the casket and filled the grave.
1850 – First Doctor
A Doctor Cotton was said to be the first doctor. Some accounts have a Dr. Ted Cotton and/or a Dr. J.F. (or J.K.) Cotton.
Dr Ted Cotton was here in1850 and had his office in his home which was the site of the C.M. McTyre’s residence (McTyre House on Marietta St.) This doctor’s father may have been actually our first doctor but moved away before the 1850’s.
1850 – 1900
Dr. J. F. (Joseph Federick) Cotton (1839-1913). Dr. Cotton also served in the Confederate Army as company surgeon. He married Martha Jane Lindley (1840-1908) around 1861. His office was located in his home on Main Street (Marietta St) in what is now called the McTyre House. They are both buried in the Methodist Cemetery.
Dr. Aristides Reynolds (1822-1892). Dr. Reynolds was here in the early 1850’s. He married Nancy J. Ann Charlotte Lindley (1828-1913). His office was located in his home on Main Street (Marietta St) in what is now The Magnolia House. He is buried in the Citizen’s Cemetery (Marietta City Cemetery) in Marietta.
Dr. W.T. Lackey came in the 1860’s and practiced here until the late 1870’s. His office was in his home in what is now the Tapp House on Marietta Street. Dr. Lackey sold the house in 1877 and moved away.
Dr. Robert Rootes Murray (1836-1909). Dr. Murray came in the late 1850’s early 1860’s. He also served in the Confederate Army as a Military Surgeon. In 1861, Dr. Murray married Josephine E. Conyers Lindley (1846-1881). After his wife’s death, he married Georgia A. Lindley (1853-1926) in 1886. His office was in his home located on the corner of present day Marietta Street and Lewis Road. He practiced here until his death in 1909. Dr. Murray is buried in the Methodist Cemetery.
Dr. James Shelton Vaughn (1862-1928) Dr. Vaughn came in the late 1880’s and practiced until 1927. His office was located on the corner of Pineview and Jackson Way. His is buried in the Methodist Cemetery.
Dr. William “Will” Edgar Butner (1868-1927) Dr. Butner came about 1890. He married Eva Hendrick Butner (1871-1942). They are buried in the Methodist Cemetery.
Dr. J.H. (John Henry) Hunter (1864-1904) Dr. Hunter came after his graduation but his health was not too well causing him not to practice long. However, he would go only if it was an emergency. Dr. Hunter did have a drug store till his death. His office & drug store were located in his home on the corner of Marietta Street and Dillard Street. Now known as the Ingram House. He is also buried in the Methodist Cemetery.
Dr. Lee Wright – from lost Mountain Community here around 1890 but for only a short time. He died at his home here in 1903.
Dr. Billie Kemp about 1900 but moved to Marietta.
Dr. J.H. (John Hendrick) Butner (1903-1962) Dr. Butner graduated from the A & M School (McEachern) in 1920 and practiced medicine in Atlanta 1930-1940, but continued to live in Powder Springs. He joined the US Medical Corp, serving six years, during World War II. When he returned He continued living here even though he was the Veterans Administration as physician. Dr. Butner would go to the sick in the area in emergencies. His father was Dr. William Edgar Butner who practiced here. He is also buried in the Methodist Cemetery with his parents.
Dr. James David Middlebrooks (1861-1938) practiced here from early 1900’s to his death in 1938. He bought one of the first in the community to purchase an automobile and was known for driving quite fast. He once even crashed into the back of his own garage wall. He and his wife, Emma Kate Credille (1867-1942) are buried in the Methodist Cemetery. Dr. John R. Middlebrooks (1889-1921) Dr. Middlebrooks practiced medicine with his father Dr. James David Middlebrooks after he graduated. He joined the Medical Corp of the U S Navy during World War I but was killed in an accident and died while in service.
Dr. Middlebrooks both had offices in what was called the Bell Telephone Exchange Switch Board Building downtown between the Lewis Building and the old Push Rods Building (the latter is now a restaurant). The building has been gone for many years and is vacant but now serves as
an outdoor patio area.
There was a Dr. Middleton who practiced earlier, but left and then returned around 1902 and practiced until his death.
Dr. Frank Pickens Lindley, Sr. (1890-1953) Dr. Lindley practiced from 1912 – 1953. Dr. Lindley was also involved and active over these forty years in civic and educational affairs as well as in the field of medicine. He was on the Powder Springs and Cobb County Board of Education during these years.
There may have been other doctors in the area, but these are the ones that have been collected in the histories of Powder Springs, from printed resources and memories of those who knew some of the later doctors. Printed Information is on file at the museum in the research room.
Some of the doctors who came after 1920 along with early druggist and dentist and undertakers will be covered in a Part II at a later date.