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Biography of Osmon B. Way, M.D.

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Osmon B. Way, M.D., a leading physician of Claremont, was born in Lempster, N.H., March 22, 1840, son of Gordon Way by his first wife, Abigail Perley Way.

His grandfather, George Way, settled in Lempster, removing from the neighborhood of New London. George became one of the town’s most substantial residents. At his death he left a large family. His wife, Sarah Douglas Way, was a descendant of a noted family of Scotland and a relative of the distinguished Stephen A. Douglas.

Gordon Way, son of George, went to Claremont in 1844 with his family, and there took up farming, in which he was most successful. Believing that he could not fulfil the duties of public office without allowing them to interfere with his motto, “close application to work,” he refused all appeals from his townspeople to enter into politics and public life. He was a Trustee of the Methodist church. The latter part of his life was passed quietly in the village. There were thirteen children by his first wife, who died in 1848 at the age of fifty. A lady of superior intellect, she was a sister of the wife of the late Dr. A. A. Miner and of the wife of the late Bishop Osmon C. Baker, LL.D. His second wife July 31, 1880, at the age of eighty-two years. His daughter, Eliza M., now deceased, married O. B. Kidder, of Claremont, and removed to Minnesota. Alonzo G., George O., Edwin F., Orlo F., and Eliza all emigrated to Claremont, Minn., in 1854. Alonzo was the first white settler of the place, and gave the town its name. George, who is a dealer in real estate in Minneapolis, formerly resided in Claremont, Minn. His wife was the first white woman in Claremont. Edwin is a merchant, and the Judge of the Probate Court. Orlo F. is a noted farmer in Claremont, Minn. Of the other children Lucy A. married the Rev. J. C. Hoyt, and resides in New York; Louisa M. married Ira Colby, of Claremont, one of the first lawyers in the State of New Hampshire; Evaline married Eliacum Tandy, and died in 1848; Emaly died in the same year; Perley E. died in 1847; and the remaining two died in infancy.

Osmon B. Way was a typical farmer boy during his early years. He was educated at Kimball Union Academy, Meriden, and studied medicine with the late Professor A. B. Crosby, M.D., of Hanover, and the late Dr. Nathaniel Tolles, of Claremont, teaching school in the meantime. He graduated at Dartmouth Medical College in 1865, receiving the first prize for scholarship. Later he took a thorough course in the colleges and hospitals of New York. After practising for a year and a half at South Acworth, he returned to Claremont in 1867, where he has since been busy in his profession. Appointed United States Examining Pension Surgeon in December, 1873, he resigned the office in May, 1882. He represented this locality in the State legislature in 1871 and 1872. He has served about fifteen years as Superintendent of Schools and nineteen years on the High School Committee. He has been Trustee of the Fiske Free Library from its inception; is a Director of the People’s National Bank, of Claremont; and was formerly for many years President of the Board of Trade. Dr. Way is a member of the Masonic fraternity of the third degree. He is a prominent member of the Methodist church, has been a trustee twenty-five years, and president of the society nearly as long. He built and now owns one-third of the Union Block, the largest and most attractive business building of the town, if not of the State. The fine residence he occupies in Claremont is also his property. Having bought out the heirs of his father’s estate, he owns the fine farm of two hundred acres in West Claremont for many years known as the old Way farm. The house, which is one of the old landmarks of the district, was built by the grandfather of the distinguished Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase in 1784. The farm is kept well stocked, and the Doctor enjoys many an hour of recreation in its rural seclusion. In recent years the Doctor has given much time and study to the subject of bacteriology and to pathological subjects. He is also an authority on all general diseases, especially all diseases arising from germs, to the investigation of which he has given special attention for the last ten years. Analytical and microscopical investigations have also occupied a large share of his time. In truth, he has a large reputation as a microscopist, bacteriologist, and pathologist. At the request of the townspeople he often gives most interesting and instructive lectures on the results of his investigations with the microscope. His genial disposition and peculiarly pleasing manners make him a fascinating lecturer.

In 1867 Mr. Way married first Martha L. Wightman, who died after one year of married happiness. In 1882 Mary J. Wightman, the first Mrs. Way, became his wife. She had been a successful teacher in high school and college before marriage. She was many years instructor in the famous Gannett Institute, Boston. This gifted and highly educated woman takes the deepest interest in the study of bacteriology, and is her husband’s constant companion and assistant in his researches. Dr. Way is a self-made man in the best sense. Public-spirited to a high degree, he takes an earnest interest in every measure calculated to advance the welfare of the town.

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