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Rawley Watt Ward - Doctor in Victoria 1915 - abt 1971
Posted by: Corra Ward (ID *****4949) Date: November 19, 2011 at 22:24:08
  of 157

Reflections of a Pioneer Physician;
       By Tom E. Fite
       Advocate Staff Writer
Dr. Rawley R.W. Ward, the lively face
On today’s cover has seen and made a
Lot of history – much of it from a white
Frame house his father built at the corner
Of Stayton and Moody streets where he
Still maintains an active medical practice
At 73 years of age. This week on the eve
of the 50th anniversary of his graduation
from medical school he took time out to
relate some of it for a reporter. “And you
come back again,” he said, as the picture
was snapped.

Sleek, finned automobiles whisk by on concrete where Mexican and Negro cowboys once drove heards of cattle through the boiling dust of Moody Street, red bandanas pulled over their noses.

But the white frame house at 401 W. Stayton, at the corner of Moody, looks just the same as it did in 1909?, the year Dr. Rawley W. Ward was graduating from high school and the year his father Dr. William Ward built the house.

Last Thursday Dr. Ward commemorated the 50th anniversary of his graduation from the University of Louisville Medical School, completing 45 years of medical practice from the airy high ceilinged room where his father practiced medicine before him.

Dr. Ward’s Father, Dr. W.L. Ward came to Victoria in 1890 and bought the property where the white house now stands. The doctor himself was “born at this same place” three years later. That made him 73 years old last March, and though he has made some concession over the years he still keeps regular office hours, 10 until 12 am and 2 until 4 pm except on Thursdays and Saturdays. He won’t think about retirement “until my mind starts to slip” Thursdays and Saturdays from 1 until 4. Years ago at the beginning of his practice, he and his father were opened from 1 until 4 on Sundays, too.

“I like to hunt and fish” he explains, “but you can’t hunt and fish all the time". When a fellow gets up in the morning and has to have something to do to occupy him.

“And, to, I’ve got a lot of old people who don’t want to go to anyone else, so I take care of them. Why? I’ve got babies I brought into this world who are 45 years old now.”

In all there are about 3,000 of his babies, the youngest now in their teens. I gave up obstetrics in 1950 Dr. Ward said, “My wife made me do it. She was smarter than I was. That’s hard work all hours, you know.

Then in 1960, he stopped practicing surgery. You have to have a steady hand to do surgery – mine is pretty steady still,” he says, holding it out palm upward. “But you’re under terrific pressure when you’re doing surgery". It was the pressure that got me, so I quit. I was afraid it might affect my judgment some time.

“Besides, these younger doctors are qualified to do it and know all the new techniques – not that I don’t. I’ve kept up going to two or three medical conventions a year and reading all the journals.

Medicine, like all other fields of knowledge, has expanded with explosive force, “particularly in the last 10 years – all this blood vessel surgery by fellows like DeBakey, the antibiotics and the drugs to treat mental disease.” This rapid expansion has brought on a flood of new information, which is just about beyond the reading capacity of the average Dr. Ward, says, so a year so so ago he subscribed to an information service which provides a one-hour tape recording on new techniques and discoveries each week. “That’s how I do my reading now.”

It would be impossible, he continued to choose the single most significant achievement - “it would take three days to just list some of the more important ones.”

As he reminisces, however, it is evident that ability to control infection is one the advances which has made a lasting impression on Dr. Ward. As a young doctor he served in the Army Medical corps from 1917 until 1920, doing his last tour at Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington, D.C.

“We were working on all those wounded men,” he recalls “using the Dakin method-that was chlorine solution – for cleansing the wounds. “They almost all had osteomyelitis – infection of the bone - and we didn’t have anything we could just shoot in there to kill the infection. It was nasty work. You know, a wound won’t heal until you get all of that infection dead tissue out, so we had to go in and take out that dead bone and clean up the infections.”

“I never worked so hard in my life,: he recalls. “Many of the times I went to work at 7 in the morning and didn’t get through until 11 that night. In the Army, the paperwork is the worst. After you get through working all day, then you have to sit down and catch-up with the paper work.”

By 1920, Dr. Ward was up for an overseas tour of duty and the prospects of six years in the Philippines didn’t appeal to him, so he resigned his commission. He had learned he didn’t like cities for doing internship in – places like New York City and Washington, Del. “So I came back home and joined my father.”

For the past 45 years, from the white house at 401 W. Stayton Street, he has watched the herds of automobiles push the cattle out, attended the births of 3,000 babies, and kept up with the work of such men as Dr. Michael DeBakey whose pioneering techniques were written up in last week’s Time Magazine.

He found time, to, to play a leading role I helping his native city keep pace with all the medical history that was being made during his first 40 years in the profession – and that was the reason the staff of Victoria County Citizens Memorial Hospital, at its opening ceremonies, present him with a plaque naming him “Chief of Staff, Benemeritum.”

The plaque now hangs on the wall in his office in the white frame house, just above a reunion picture of his medical school graduation class – the 20 who were left out of 150, that is, when the reunion was held a decade ago. “of course, there’s only a handful of those left now, “ he say reflectively.

There was no celebration Thursday as he observed the 50th anniversary of his graduation form medical school, on June 3, 1915. He drove down with friends to his deer lease in Webb County, looked over the country calculated the fawn crop, and in the evening called up coyotes and wildcats with mechanical calling devices.’

“I have to get out in the open once in awhile,” he explained. That isn’t so hard to under stand from a man whose ancestors “came to Texas in the 1830’s and 40’s in covered wagons – the Wards from Alabama, the Rawleys – that was my mother’s name – from Georgia and Kentucky” and whose own life has spanned the era from the cattle drives to heart surgery.
no children
burial - Evergreen Cem

1900 United States Federal Census
about Rawley W Ward
Name: Rawley W Ward
Home in 1900: Victoria Ward 3, Victoria, Texas
Age: 7
Birth Date: Mar 1893
Birthplace: Texas
Race: White
Gender: Male
Relationship to Head of House: Son
Father's Name: William
Father's Birthplace: Texas
Mother's Name: Cora J
Mother's Birthplace: Alabama
Marital Status: Single
Residence : Victoria City, Victoria, Texas
Occupation: View on Image
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members: Name Age
William Ward 46
Cora J Ward 31 (Corra Idell)
Ada M Ward 10
Rawley W Ward 7
Margaret Ward 6/12

1910 United States Federal Census
about Raleigh W Ward (Rawley Watt Ward) my uncle
Name: Raleigh W Ward
Age in 1910: 17
Estimated birth year: abt 1893
Birthplace: Texas
Relation to Head of House: Son
Father's Name: Wm L (William Levi)
Father's Birth Place: Illinois (wrong) census writing faded)
Mother's Name: Cara (Corra Idel)
Mother's Birth Place: Texas
Home in 1910: Victoria Ward 3, Victoria, Texas
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Gender: Male
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members: Name Age
Wm L Ward 58
Cara Ward 41 (Corra)
Addie M Ward 20
Raleigh W Ward 17 (Rawley)
Margaret Ward 10
Wm L Ward Jr. 4 (my father)

Death Index of Texas Burial Evergreen Cemetery in Victoria, Texas

From the files of Elizabeth Ramagos sixty years of researching the Ward Family:

Social Security Death Index
about Rawley Ward
Name: Rawley Ward
SSN: 467-74-9225
Last Residence: 77901 Victoria, Victoria, Texas, United States of America
Born: 29 Mar 1893
Died: Apr 1978
State (Year) SSN issued: Texas (1962)

Texas Death Index, 1903-2000
about Rawley Ward
Name: Rawley Ward
Death Date: 26 Apr 1978
Death County: Victoria
Gender: Male

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