William Frank Flack, M. D. While the medical profession for centuries had enlisted some of the most profound minds of all times, modern discoveries and developments have opened up new fields for the brilliant physician and surgeon, and many of this profession have turned their attention to particular branches, specializing along certain lines. This development had been necessary, for the problems presented in the calling today are so serious and difficult of solution that the average physician had not the expert knowledge to handle all satisfactorily. For some years past William Frank Flack, the pioneer physician of Elk County, had been specializing in diseases of the eye, and while he also carries on a general medical and surgical practice at Longton, where he had been located since 1885, it is perhaps in his particular field that he had achieved his greatest distinction.
Doctor Flack was born at Wooster, Wayne County, Ohio, April 18, 1857, and is a son of John and Nancy (Russell) Flack. The Flack family came from Germany to America during Colonial days and located in Pennsylvania, while the Russells had representatives in the patriot army during the War of the Revolution. James Flack, the paternal grandfather of Doctor Flack, was born in Pennsylvania, and was a pioneer into Ohio, where he built the first mill in Wayne County. This was owned by Mr. Flack and was operated by water power, and in connection therewith he also carried on large farming operations, being the owner of much property. He died at Wooster, Ohio, before the birth of his grandson.
John Flack, father of Doctor Flack, was born in Pennsylvania, and was still a youth when he accompanied his parents to Wayne County, Ohio. There he was engaged in farming until 1862, in which year he removed to Greene County, Indiana, and in 1881 located in Kansas, where he began farming near Independence. His death occurred in that locality in 1883. He was a republican in politics, and his religious faith was that of the United Presbyterian Church. Mr. Flack married Miss Nancy Russell, who was born in Ohio, and died at Independence the same year as her husband, and they were the parents of the following children: William Frank; Mary, who died at Independence, Kansas, as the wife of the late Tom Clifford, who was a farmer; James, who was a farmer and mail carrier and died at Longton; Gordon, who is superintendent of the water works at Caney, Kansas; Mattie, who is the wife of Frank Brewster, a leading contractor and builder of Independence, with numerous large contracts to his credit; John, who is proprietor of a plumbing establishment at Bartlesville, Oklahoma; and Ella, who lives in California.
The early education of William F. Flack was obtained in the public schools of Greene County, Indiana, and at Bloomington (Indiana) High School. In 1881 he came to Kansas and for a short time worked at the carpenter’s trade at Independence, but soon resumed his studies, this time for the medical profession, and in 1885 was graduated from the Electric Medical College, Cincinnati, Ohio, from which he was graduated with his degree. He first began practice at Longton, and here had continued to carry on his profession, with ever increasing success. When he began practice here he started as a stranger in a new field, and had grown in reputation and patronage until he now commands the entire confidence of the people all over this locality. He had kept well abreast of modern developments in medicine and surgery, and having a complete library and all the current professional publications, had continued his medical researches with constancy and assiduity. In the search for clearer vision and larger capacity for usefulness, he had taken post-graduate courses at the Chicago Policlinic, in 1892 and 1893, specializing in diseases of the eye, and in this field is widely known. In manner he is genial and optimistic, traits which contribute materially to his business as well as social success. Doctor Flack holds membership in the Elk County Medical Society, the Kansas State Medical Society, the American Medical Association and the Eclectie Medical Society of Kansas. He had frequently been the incumbent of official positions of trust and importance in connection with his profession, having been a member of the Board of Medical Examination and Registration of Kansas, under Governor Bailey, and serving as health officer of Longton for fourteen years. He also was a member of the school board for seven years, during which time much was done to improve the local school system. In political matters he supports the principles and candidates of the republican party. As a fraternalist, Doctor Flack is a prominent Mason, belonging to Longton Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Howard Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; Saint Bernard Commandery No. 10, Knights Templar, of Independence; and Abdullah Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystie Shrine, of Leavenworth. In addition to his residence on Fifth Street, he is the owner of a farm of 120 acres located 1½ miles northeast of Longton.
Doctor Flack was married at Kansas City, Missouri, in 1886, to Mrs. Sarah (Brown) Switzer, daughter of the late W. A. Brown, of Michigan, who was an agriculturist. To this union there have been born two sons: Dr. Frank, a successful practicing physician and surgeon of Coffeyville, Kansas; and Russell, who resided at Elk City, Kansas, and is engaged in business as an insurance agent.