Dr. Edward Watts Saunders, who for forty-three years has engaged in the practice of medicine in St. Louis and who is now professor emeritus of pediatrics and clinical obstetrics in the medical department of Washington University, was born in Campbell county, Virginia, on the 15th of October, 1854, a son of Robert C. and Caryetta (Davis) Saunders. His father was a Civil war veteran, serving as captain of Company A of the Eleventh Virginia Infantry of the Confederate army and winning promotion to the rank of major. In the maternal line was Captain Eugene Davis under General J.E.B. Stuart. He raised a company of calvary for service with the Confederate forces, was captured and imprisoned at Elmira, New York. An uncle, Richard T. Davis, was also a chaplain in the army. The ancestry of the Saunders family in America dates back to the middle of the seventeenth century, when settlement was made at Jamestown by one of the name. On the mother’s side the ancestral line is traced back only through three generations. The grandfather Davis was rector of the University of Virginia and met a tragic death, being assassinated by a drunken student in 1840.
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The early education of Dr. Saunders was obtained in private schools and the academic department of the University of Virginia. In preparation for his professional career he attended the medical department of the same university, from which he was graduated with the M. D. degree in 1875. He afterward took post-graduate work in the Royal University of Vienna, and in 1878 he came to St. Louis, where he opened an office, and through the intervening period has continuously engaged in pratice. He has largely specialized in pediatrics and obstetrics and has gained wide recognition for his skill along those lines. For an extended period he was one of the instructors in the medical department of Washington University, which has now made him professor emeritus of pediatrics and clinical obstetrics. He is serving on the medical staff of the Bethesda Hospital, and also of the Missouri Baptist the American Pediatric Society, the American Medical Association, the St. Louis Medical Society and the St. Louis Pediatric Society. He is also a member of the American Immunologic Society and fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Dr. Saunders is a Presbyterian in his religious faith, and is a member of the University Club. During the World war Dr. Saunders made application for service and was placed on the Volunteer Medical Corps, doing duty in connection with secret service work for the government. He has a very wide acquaintance in St. Louis, where he has so long made his home, and throughout the entire period he has enjoyed the fullest respect and confidence not only of the general public but of his colleagues and contemporaries because of his close conformity to the highest standards and ethics of the profession.