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History of Madison
County, Iowa, 1915.

Biographical.  Volume 2.


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Robert R. Davisson, M. D.


Dr. Robert R. Davisson


Dr. David D. Davisson


Dr. Robert R. Davisson, a prominent physician of Winterset, is the son of one of the best known pioneer physicians of this part of Iowa, and also the grandson of a successful physician.  He was born in Winterset on the 10th of October, 1865, his parents being Dr. David DeKalb and Mary A. (Jenkins) Davisson.  The father's birth occurred in Clarksburg, Virginia, August 29, 1828, and his parents were David and Maria (De Vecmon) Davisson, both natives of the Old Dominion.  Dr. David Davisson, Sr. was born in Clarksburg in 1770, and our subject has his commission as surgeon in the militia of Virginia, issued in 1810 and signed by J. G. Jackson, who was an uncle of "Stonewall" Jackson.  Dr. Davisson also served through the War of 1812 as a surgeon and lived to more than round out a century, passing away in Virginia when one hundred years and six months old.  His father, who bore the name of Andrew Davisson, was born near Aberdeen, Scotland, and served as an officer in the English army.  While still a young man he emigrated to the colonies and served in the state militia of Virginia when Patrick Henry was governor.  The grandmother of our subject, who bore the maiden name of Miss Maria De Vecmon; was born in Virginia, a daughter of Peter De Vecmon, a native of France.

Dr. David DeKalb Davisson, the father of our subject, was born in Clarksburg, Virginia, and was there educated in a military academy, in which one of the instructors was "Stonewall" Jackson.  He later studied medicine in Baltimore, but before completing the course decided to abandon the profession, and came west, locating in Washington county, Iowa, in 1847.  As there were no physicians in that locality, he was forced to begin practice.  He was later a resident of Nebraska for a time and upon his return to Iowa, settled in Winterset, where he was married and continued to reside until his death, with the exception of about a year spent in Adel, Iowa.  He continued to practice and as he was always a student and read widely on medical subjects, he kept abreast with the developments of medical science.  His practice covered a large territory, as was usual in the early days, and he often rode many miles over very bad roads.  He continued active until about a year before his death, which occurred December 28, 1902, when he was seventy-four years of age.  He was a man of magnificent physique, six feet and one-fourth inch tall, and weighed from one hundred and ninety to two hundred and twenty pounds.  His strong constitution and great vitality enabled him to endure the hardships of pioneer life and to perform the arduous duties that devolve upon a successful physician.  Fraternally he was a member of the Masonic order.  His wife, who was in her maidenhood Miss Mary A. Jenkins, was born in Carrollton, Ohio, and was a daughter of William Jenkins, a merchant, who in the spring of 1844 removed to the eastern part of Iowa.  Subsequently he took up his residence in Mahaska county, where he entered land and became one of the pioneer farmers, but later engaged in business in Winterset, where he passed away.  His daughter, Mary A., was but a girl when the family came to Iowa and was at Fort Des Moines at the time when the Indians signed the treaty giving the land which is now Madison county to the government.  Her girlhood experiences here were very interesting, and her reminiscences cover an important chapter in the history of the state.  In 1853 she accompanied the family to Madison county and her father built the house in Winterset now owned by our subject.  Her brother, Wilton A. Jenkins, became colonel of the Fifth Kansas Regiment, having gone from Winterset to Kansas to enlist.  After the was he located in Chicago, where he was living at the time of the great fire and where he engaged in the hotel business with good success.  Mrs. Davisson passed away in 1898, in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal church.  She was the mother of four children:  Ralph, who died when young;  Kate, who died at the age of fourteen years;  Robert R.;  and Ross, who died in infancy.

Dr. Robert R. Davisson passed his boyhood under the parental roof and attended the public and high schools of Winterset.  When about eighteen years of age he began working in a printing office here, but shortly afterward entered the Keokuk Medical College, having decided to follow the profession to which his father and grandfather had devoted their lives.  After spending a year in that school he entered Rush Medical College of Chicago, from which he was graduated with the degree of M. D. in 1890.  He returned to his native city and has since remained here, building up a large and lucrative practice.  He is a member of the Madison County, the Rock Island and the Iowa State Medical Societies and finds much of value in the deliberations of those bodies.  He has never supposed his knowledge concerning disease and its treatment to be complete, but has continually sought by study to keep informed in regard to the discoveries of investigators in all parts of the world.  He is painstaking in diagnosis and this trait has had much to do with his gratifying success as a physician.

Mr. Davisson is a member of the Masonic order, belonging to the blue lodge, the Des Moines Consistory and the Shrine, and not only wears the pin that signifies him a Mason, but is true to the basic principles of Masonry, namely the brotherhood of mankind.  That he should achieve professional success in his native city and hold the personal respect and regard of those who have known him from boyhood is high tribute to his worth as a physician and as a man.



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