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Biography of Joseph M. Thompson, M.D.

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This popular young physician was born February 8, 1865, near Red River, Chickasaw Nation, during the war, and whilst his family were amongst the Cherokee refugees. He is the son of Johnson Thompson and Eliza C. Taylor, both Cherokees. In 1866 his parents went to Grand River, east of Vinita, Delaware district, where at eight years, Joseph was sent to a neighborhood school. At the age of fifteen years he went to the male seminary, and there remained three years, graduating a short time afterward at the Indian University, then located at Tahlequah. From this he began reading medicine under Dr. Allen, which was followed up by a three years’ medical course at the Missouri Medical College, St. Louis, from which institution he graduated in 1885. Dr. Thompson commenced practice the same year in Tahlequah, and in 1887 married Lulu Elliott, daughter to George W. Elliot, a white man. By this marriage he has two children, Christine, two years, and Eddie, three months old. In the fall of 1888, Dr. Thompson, although but twenty-three years of age, was appointed by the council as medical superintendent of the public institutions of the Cherokee Nation, a most arduous and responsible position, for which there were five candidates. These public institutions comprise the male and female seminaries, national jail and insane asylum, for which services he receives an income of $1,500 per year, the commission holding good for four years. Reference is made to the asylum and other public institutions elsewhere in this volume. Dr. Thompson has a farm of 70 acres in cultivation within ten miles from town, and a handsome residence in Tahlequah. Despite the fact that his time is almost entirely occupied in discharging his duties to the nation’s wards, he is sought after in private practice to such an extent that he is forced to refuse many calls. Though kept busy, Dr. Thompson occasionally finds leisure for a few hours with dog and gun, and on such occasions makes fur and feather fly. He is a good sportsman in the true sense, but no participant in gambling, whisky drinking, or even the use of tobacco. Dr. Thompson is a courteous, refined gentleman, and as a physician is skillful beyond his years. He has undoubtedly a bright future before him.

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