Monday, September 18, 2017

Dr. Martha H. Griffith--The First Woman Doctor in Indiana!

     From the December 20, 1924, Crawfordsville Daily Journal comes the story of the life of Dr. Martha H. Griffith, the oldest female physician in the county at the time of her death.
Dr. Martha Hutchings Griffith,
CDPL image database
Martha was born in Hanover, Indiana, in 1842, to John and Elizabeth Hutchings. Her father farmed, and also represented Jefferson County in the state legislature in 1856-7. He also took part in the organization of the Republican Party in Indiana. The family moved to Jennings County in the early 1860’s so that Martha could study at the Jennings Academy with a small class of young men. Having completed those studies and with the young men going off to war, Martha began to study medicine in secret with a local doctor in a time when women were not really encouraged or allowed to study medicine. When the time came for her to attend proper medical school, her neighbors and school friends were astonished and scoffed at her ambition. She entered the Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia in 1866, and eventually graduated as the first woman in Indiana to hold a medical college degree recognized by her profession.
Griffith house, Darlington,
CDPL image database
     She began practicing medicine in Madison, Indiana, in 1870. In 1871, she met and married Dr. Thomas J. Griffith and moved to Darlington, where she carried on a large obstetrical practice. After completing more coursework and certification, she and her family moved to Crawfordsville.  She became deeply involved in community work. She was one of the organizers for the Carnegie Library. She started up the Community House, located where the Post Office is now. Here people could come for help and a meal. Martha was a member of several local clubs, and held state office in the State Federation of Clubs She and her husband had two children—Dr. J. B. Griffith, and Helen, who died in childhood. Dr. Griffith was a fine example of how a woman could be a mother and a wife, and successfully work in a profession.  

Thursday, September 7, 2017

This Day in 1917, September 6.

     One hundred years ago today, September 6, 1917, there were several reports in the Crawfordsville Daily Journal about local soldiers and where they were being sent.  Lieutenant William Cunningham of Crawfordsville, after officer training at Ft. Harrison, in Indianapolis, and then some time spent at Camp Taylor, in Louisville, was headed down to Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Harry Cook and George Pennington were on their way to Camp Taylor. The 150th Field Artillery unit from Ft. Harrison, containing many Montgomery County men, was finally on its way to Mineola, Long Island. They had been delayed because of a shortage of clothing and equipment for them to take to Europe.
     Not letting any grass grow under their feet, the Red Cross ladies of New Market were scheduled to present a comic play on Saturday evening,  with the money going to support Red Cross activities. 
from www.books.google.com   National Geographic #XXXIII Index Jan-June1918
     Earlier in 1917, several barns in the county had large numbers painted on their roofs. Pilots flying from Rantoul, Illinois, to Dayton, Ohio, used them for guidance.  Local barns used belonged to:
George Stafford (near Hose School)  #11
O. Rush #12
Unnamed #13
John Small (near Waynetown) #14
Tom Bailey #15
E.E. Coates #16
Charles Thayer #17
V. E. Livengood #18