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Dr. James W. Shankland, a St. Louis surgeon who for some time was surgical chief of the Embarkation Hospital at Newport News, Virginia, during the World war and who is now practicing successfully in the metropolis of Missouri, was born in Noble county, Ohio, April 4, 1867. His father, James M. Shankland, was a native of the Buckeye state and a representative of one of its old families of Scotch-Irish descent. The founder of the family in America was Rhodes Shankland, who came to the new world from Scotland prior to the Revolutionary war and settled in Delaware, where during the period of active hostilities between the colonies and the mother country, he filled the office of high sheriff in Sussex county, and was also commissioned captain during the war. His son, Rhodes, was one o1 the heroes who valiantly fought for American independence and was also a soldier of the War of 1812. The grandfather, William Shankland, migrated from the eastern coast to Ohio in the early part of the nineteenth century and there his son, James M. Shankland, was reared and educated.
Later he engaged successfully in mercantile pursuits until 1871, when he removed with his family to Des Moines, Iowa, and again took up merchandising, in which he continued successfully for many years. He passed away in 1910, at the advanced age of eighty-one. He had long given his political allegiance to the republican party, had served as a member of the city council and of the board of public works and was always keenly and helpfully interested in civic matters. He, too, displayed the same military spirit and patriotic devotion to his country that characterized his ancestors. He became a soldier in the Mexican war when but sixteen years of age and was also a Civil war veteran, serving as a member of Company C, One Hundred and Tenth Regiment, Ohio Volunteers. He became a sergeant and participated in several hotly contested engagements. He married Elizabeth Hare, a daughter of the Rev. John and Julia Hare, the former a well known Methodist clergyman of the Pittsburg (Pa.) Conference. The Hare family came originally from England, being founded in the new world about the beginning of the nineteenth century and settlement was early made by members of the family in Ohio. The mother of Dr. Shankland passed away in Asbury Park, New Jersey, April 5, 1915, at the age of seventy-eight. By her marriage she became the mother of eight children, four sons and four daughters, of whom three sons and three daughters are living.
Dr. Shankland, who was the third child of the family, was educated in the public and high schools of Des Moines and in the University of Minnesota, which conferred upon him the D. M. D. degree in 1897, while in 1904 he won the M. D. degree from the St. Louis University. Before qualifying for professional activity of this character, however, he served as a bookkeeper in mercantile lines and was also connected in a similar capacity with the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. He afterward took up the study of dentistry, which profession he followed in Des Moines for five years, but was not wholly satisfied with that line of business and turned to the practice of medicine. After his graduation from the Medical College he was assistant superintendent of the St. Louis City Hospital from 1904 until 1908 and then entered upon private practice, specializing in surgery, in which he has displayed advanced skill and ability. He is now a member of the surgical staff of St. John’s Hospital and assistant professor in surgery in the St. Louis University. He is widely known to the profession through his contributions to medical journals and he belongs to the St. Louis, Missouri State and American Medical Associations, thus keeping conversant with the latest scientific researches and discoveries that have to do with the laws of health.
In St. Louis on the 5th of February, 1910, Dr. Shankland was married to Miss Abbie E. Morse, a native of Illinois, and a daughter of Lemuel and America (Wakefield) Morse, the latter now a resident of Odell, Illinois, while the father has passed away. Dr. and Mrs. Shankland have one son, Wilbur Morse, who was born in St. Louis, March 13, 1912.
Dr. Shankland finds his recreation in travel in which he indulges when the demands of his profession permit. During his residence in Iowa he was a member of the Iowa National Guard from 1886 until 1899. During the World war he served as a captain of the Medical Corps, being commissioned on the 7th of December, 1917, and he was overseas on transport work during two months and later in service at Newport News, Virginia, and Ft. Riley, Kansas, until honorably discharged June 24, 1920. In politics he is a republican when national questions and issues are involved, but casts an independent local ballot. Fraternally he is connected with Tuscan Lodge, No. 360, A. F. & A. M., and belongs also to the Delta Sigma Delta, a dental fraternity, and the Phi Beta Phi, a medical fraternity. His religious faith is indicated in his membership in the Grace Methodist church and his various associations in membership relations indicate clearly the line of his activities and the rules which govern him in every relation of life. His standards are high, his enterprise effective in the accomplishment of his purposes and he is today accorded a commendable place in professional circles and in the regard of his fellowmen.