MS 384 - Dr. Benjamin Franklin Davis
|Title||MS 384 - Dr. Benjamin Franklin Davis|
|Subject||Business & Commerce|
The registers and ledgers of B.F. Davis, physician and druggist in Tontogany, Ohio, cover most of his medical career, from 1865-1906. The registers and ledgers span from 1877-1906 and are an excellent example of patient and customer accounts of a very successful medical practice and private business.
Although the bulk of the material is concerned with formal financial records, there are a few diversions. The collection includes a Civil War patient-soldier account; a copied segment of a brief diary of Davis' activities between January 1-6, 1864, found inside the Davis Brothers Medical practice ledger of August 1866-April 1871; and various cards, advertising materials, blotters, and notices related to his medical practice.
The records were donated and transferred to the Center for Archival Collections in October, 1984 through the cooperation of David Mertz of Tontogany, Ohio. There are no restrictions on the use of this collection. The register was prepared by Karen Roberts in March 1986, and revised by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts in March, 1991.
Benjamin Franklin Davis (1836-1906) was a physician and druggist in Tontogany, Wood County, Ohio. He was born in Painted Post, Steuben County, New York on October 11, 1836 to J.P. and Mary Darby Davis. His father, J.P., was born in 1810 in Norwich, New York, of an old Rhode Island family; his mother, Mary Darby, was born in 1809 in New Berlin, New York. In 1837 J.P. and Mary moved and settled on an 80 acre farm near South Bloomfield, Morrow County, Ohio. In 1859 Mary died leaving seven children, Benjamin, Harriet, William, Arnold (who served during the Civil War with the 20th O.V.I. and died at Atlanta), Albert, Morgan, and Malon. J.P. then married Joanna Bishop, producing three more children, Minnie, Cora, and Ella. J.P. died in 1867 in Mount Liberty, Ohio.
B.F. Davis attended regular school until the age of 16, then went on to attend a select school at Centerburg. He was a one-term student in college at both Iberia and Delaware and at 19 began teaching. At 23, in the Spring of 1859, Davis began reading medicine in the office of Drs. Russell and Thompson of Mt. Vernon, Ohio. He attended medical lectures at Ann Arbor, Michigan in the Winter of 1861-1862, and went to the Starling Medical College in Columbus, Ohio, from which he graduated in February, 1863.
Davis' military career began in 1861 with a three month tour in Company B, 4th O.V.I, under Captain H.B. Banning. In 1862 Davis became one of the "squirrel hunters" during the Cincinnati Invasion, and in March 1863, about a month after his graduation from Starling, he was commissioned assistant surgeon of the 44th O.V.I. When the 44th O.V.I. became the 8th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry in 1864, Davis served during the Lynchburg Raid and in part of the campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. He was also an eyewitness to the historic ride during the Battle of Winchester at Cedar Creek. In 1865 Davis was mustered out of the Army.
Upon his return home, Davis began what would prove to be a very successful practice in Tontogany, Ohio. He opened a drugstore in 1872 with his brother Albert, an 1871 graduate of medicine at Ann Arbor, Michigan. When Albert died in 1877 at the young age of 30, B.F. continued the store in association with R.J. Collin, to become Davis & Collin.
In 1865 Benjamin married Elizabeth White (born 1846 in Delaware County) and they had three children; Hattie in 1870 (stillborn), Frederick in 1873, and Bernard in 1875. Elizabeth died in 1878, and in that same year Davis married Sarah A. Carpenter Ross. He was a Republican and was a member of the G.A.R., the Masons, and the Wood County Medical Association.
|Scope and Content|
The Benjamin Franklin Davis Collection spans some 43 years and consists mainly of patient and store registers and ledgers, each with their own distinctive features. The small leather and cloth bound daybook registers are presumably ones carried by Davis during his patient visits, having his name engraved on some and all in the same handwriting. The large daybook registers are probably the office copied accounts of patient visits, corresponding to the information in the smaller books. These registers contain the patient name, treatment, and cost of services, but not the account balance. The patient ledgers, which look very much like the large office registers, are the only place one finds all the patients listed in alphabetic order, along with the balance. The store registers and ledgers follow the same pattern, giving a well-rounded look at a successful medical practice and business.
Included in the collection are three daybook patient registers of Davis' associate, Dr. C.R. Hume, who shared a practice with Davis starting around 1876. The collection also contains various prescription notices, receipts, blotters, cards, and advertisements associated with the Davis practice.
One minor item in the collection of particular interest is a small soldier-patient account, listing names, ranks, regiments, and diagnoses of soldiers treated by B.F. Davis in the hospital of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, in Clarksburg, West Virginia, during the Civil War.
CIVIL WAR REGISTER/DAYBOOK
SMALL DAYBOOK REGISTERS
LARGE DAYBOOK REGISTERS
MEDICAL PRACTICE LEDGERS
ADVERTISING MATERIAL/BUSINESS CARDS