The Evening Star, September 1, 1952
Dr J R Nevitt Dies; Was District Coroner From 1900 Till 1931
Dr J Ramsey Nevitt, 85, District Coroner from 1900 till 1931 died Saturday at Cedarcroft Sanitarium, Silver Spring. He had been at the sanitarium for the last three years.
Dr Nevitt began his coroner's job at $1500 a year, plus 50 cents a day for horse and livery hire. The morgue was then a small structure of secand hand brick beside a stable behind the police precinct.
Later the morgue was moved to the waterfront and then to Gallinger Hospital grounds.
During Dr Nevitt's career, a police homicide squad was established to supplement the coroners efforts to investigate murders.
Strange Cases Recalled
When Dr Nevitt retired he recalled some of his strange death cases: The man who died of bed bug bites, the three chinese members of a special mission to the United States who were murdered, the painter who killed himself while working in Dr Nevitt's home and the son of an Ambassador who was found hanging in the Embassy attic. The Ambassador demanded that coroner Nevitt give no publicity to the case and with the help of the Commissioners and the Secretary of State a certificate of death was issued quietly and filed in the District Building.
Dr Nevitt directed rescue of the injured after the knickerbocker Theater disaster in 1922. The theater, at 18th street and Columbia Rd NW was around the corner from his home at 1820 Calvert St NW. He issued certificates for the 101 dead after the disaster. He also was on the job at the Terre Cotta railroad wreck in which 48 persons died.
Born in Virginia
Dr Nevitt was born in Naylors Hole, Richmond County, Virginia. He had lived in the Washington area since he was 2 years of age.
He graduated from Columbia University, now George Washington University, and recieved his medical degree there in 1892. He was in the District Engineer Department from 1890 to 1891.
Dr Nevitt gained fame combating a small pox epidemic in the Washington area when he was in charge of the district hospital for contagious diseases from 1892 to 1894. He was appointed to the board of the police Surgeons in 1894 and became president the following year.
After his retirement Dr Nevitt lived on a farm near Potomac Beach, VA in the summer and at 3639 Van Ness St NW in the winter.
He married Mary Hine in 1894. She died in 1948.
Dr Nevitt was a member of the Masons, Washington Heights Presbyterian Church, Washington Medical and Sugical Sociaety and the American Medical Association.
Survivors are his son, Leman H Nevitt, 3121 Patterson St NW, an employee of the district Bridge Department, a daughter, Miss Ramsey Nevitt, 3639 Van Hess NW, a teacher at Woodrow Wilson high school, and three granddaughters.
Memorial services will be held at 4 pm tomorrow at the Lee funeral home, 4th St and Massachustts Ave NE.
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