Musings from the Drew County Museum: Drs. Kimbro Part 5
Last week we left Barton Kimbro and Katurah (Kitty) Wheat as they were preparing to be married. We’ll pick up Barton’s autobiography there.
“Barton P. Kimbro and Miss Katurah A. Wheat were married in the evening on the 8th of April 1885, by the same minister that married our parents, Brother Allen.”(Presumably they were wed at Midway.)
“I had borrowed a buggy for the occasion. The next day we came to Monticello on our honeymoon to visit my parents. We spent two days, then returned to Midway and the farm. My parents gave me one horse, one cow and a bed; her parents gave her a cow and a bed.” (Did he mean to say “table”?) “I do not remember whether they gave us any chairs or not. Our cooking utensils consisted of one skillet, a frying pan and a pot. We may have had a few other things besides the dishes. That poor little girl had to prepare our meals on an open fire built in the fireplace through that year, but those were happy days. I can see her in the evening when she would get lonesome, coming to where I was at work in the field. She was always clean, with a clean dress and a little white bonnet. Oh, how I did love that girl! She would beg me to let her go to the field afternoons and help me work but I would never give my consent, but always told her if I could not support her, I was not worthy of her.
“On the 12 day of March, 1886, our first child was born. It almost cost that dear girl’s life. She had convulsions, one after another. Her mother called me to one side and told me the doctor said she could not live, that the baby could not be born. I went off to myself, got down on my knees and with all the earnestness in my young heart, I talked with God, begged Him and pleaded with Him not to take her from me, that my life would be a failure if He did. I do not know how long I was there pleading with Him but after some time I felt He had answered my prayers and I returned to the house confident in my own mind that God would provide some way to spare her to me. Later my daughter Maud was born. I want to say my experience at that time has been worth a great deal to me and the ladies I have attended since I became a doctor.
“We remained on the farm until December, 1886, when my father invited me to visit him and the family and spend Christmas and said, ‘We want you to be sure to bring Kitty and the baby’.” While there I went with him often when he was making his calls. He convinced me that I was making a mistake by staying on the farm, that I was not a farmer, that was not my talent. He made me a proposition. He would pay me $15.00 a month and we could live on that. I was to work for him when he needed me, mostly in the fall. I was to collect for him. I was to devote as much of my time as I could to reading medicine. Mamma (Kitty) did not want me to make a doctor. We discussed the matter often, her objections were, it was a hard life for me and also for her, and she was correct. After we had talked the matter over, (the proposition Father had made me) she agreed that if my mind was set on trying to make a doctor it was time I was getting at it, so we moved to Tyro, Arkansas, on March 26, 1887. I took pneumonia of both lungs and for twenty six days and nights I was unconscious. I came so near leaving this old world that, when I could sit up, I was nothing but skin and bones. I was not able to do any work until September.
“In the fall of 1888, we had two baby boys born. Their names were Alvin Roy and Elvin Ray. Elvin Ray lived only twelve days.
“In December we visited Mama’s mother in Ashley County to spend Christmas. It was understood that I was to rent the farm at Midway while there. I could not rent the place unless the house was re-covered (repaired). Father instructed me to return to Tyro and get a wagon and team and move enough things to Midway so that Mamma and the children could stay with me while I made boards and recovered the house. I hired a man to help me and it was the latter part of March before the job was completed and when I failed to rent the house, I was then instructed to come to Tyro and move the rest of my household goods to Midway and make a corn crop and rent what land I could, so that is what I did. In October I was told to rent the farm, if I could, sell the corn and move back to Tyro so I could take up my work of collecting. (I assume Barton was collecting past due medical bills for his father.)
“On the 13 day of April 1890, the fourth child was born to us, a boy. We named him Carroll Denson.”
(Barton P. Kimbro was now 27 years old.)
As you can surmise, life was not easy for the young couple at first. Yet they must have been happy because they had each other. Next week Dr. Barton Kimbro finally gets to attend medical school and become a licensed physician.
Please come and visit us at the museum!