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Dr. Robert L. Nourse, a prominent citizen and leading physician of Hailey, was born at Cloverport, Kentucky, September 27, 1864. He descended from English ancestry, and his American progenitors were among the early settlers at Salem and Nashua, Massachusetts. History tells how Rebecca Nourse, a member of his family, was burned at the stake at Salem on a charge of witchcraft, and the story forms one of the darkest and most painful chapters of our American history. One of the sights of Salem is the monument erected to her memory by members of her family of a later generation, and there is no other shrine on the continent at which so many tears have been shed.
Dr. Nourse’s father, Charles Augustus Nourse, was born at Salem. He came west to Illinois with his brothers and was married at Ouincy to Miss Frances Bridges, a native of Kentucky, related to the Bullard and Murray families of that state, members of whom, as did some of the Bridges, participated in the war of 1812-14 and the war with Mexico. He died in 1880, at the age of sixty-one; his wife, at the age of forty-one, in 1867. They had nine children, of whom five are living, and so far as possible reared their family in the strict Presbyterian faith, of which they were lifelong adherents.
Dr. Robert L. Nourse, their youngest child, was educated in the public schools and at an academy, and received his degree of M. D. from Rush Medical College, Chicago, in 1889. He practiced his profession in Chicago and at Ashland, Wisconsin, until he came to Hailey. Almost from the day on which he opened his office in the flourishing Idaho town he may be said to have had a successful practice. It has grown constantly and extended into the country surrounding Hailey until it is very valuable. While devoting himself to general practice, Dr. Nourse has been an enthusiast in the study and treatment of diseases of the eye, ear and nose, and in surgery he has won a wide reputation as a safe and skillful operator. He is the sort of physician who would practice his profession for the love of it, even under less favorable environments than those of Hailey; and he recognizes the fact that the physician, endowed with superior knowledge and skill, is under grave responsibility to suffering mankind regardless of any mere question of pecuniary gain. In May 1899, he was appointed by the governor a member of the state board of medical examiners for six years, and was elected secretary and treasurer by said board for two years.
In 1889 Dr. Nourse was married to Miss Marie Crawford, daughter of Dr. S. K. Crawford, an eminent practitioner of Chicago. They have two children, Robert L., Jr., and Norman Crawford. Dr. and Mrs. Nourse are Presbyterians, but, there being no church of their own denomination in Hailey, attend the services of the Methodist Episcopal church and contribute liberally toward its support. Dr. Nourse is a member of the American Medical Association and of the Idaho State Medical Society. He was made a Master Mason in Ancient Landmark Lodge, No. 210, of Ashland, Wisconsin. He is an Odd Fellow and a Modern Woodman. He is one of the most popular men in Hailey and has a wide acquaintance among the leading men of the state.