Dr. Charles Frederick Attwood (1882-1945), Physician and Surgeon

ADR 9-4-1914

Dr. Charles Frederick Attwood

Thomas Edward Attwood told a tale of his being a young man who set out from Leavenworth County, Kansas by foot with a bag of peach pits and little money heading west.  He would trade pits for food and with what pits he had left he would start an orchard.  He came to settle in Goshen Township, Clay County, Kansas.  Being too young to apply for a homestead, he squatted for a couple of years until he could claim the land and set to farming.  This was in the year 1870.  He married Mary M. Adkins and over the next twenty years they would raise eight children in Goshen Township near Fact, Kansas.  Of their eight children four would become physicians (J. Edward, Lewis, George Arthur, and Charles Frederick) and one would become a pharmacist (Ethel Mary).  Their sixth child was Charles Frederick Attwood born in Clay Center, Kansas on January 11, 1882.  As all the male children did, Charles attended local schools and worked on the farm.

The Times (Clay Center) 6-20-1905

Advertisement from The Times (Clay Center),  June 20, 1905

After finishing local school courses, Charles enrolled at the Kansas Medical School in Topeka in 1902 and graduated in 1906.  His older brother, Lewis, was a physician in Topeka at the time.  Charles would return to Clay County for holidays and during the summer.  Although he had not completed his training as a physician and surgeon, he started practicing medicine in Fact, Kansas in June 1905 and would do so for a year.  While at school, Charles met Azaima Florence Deever, a daughter of Rev. John Bixler Deever and Jennie Brown Etherington.  Charles and Florence were married at her parent’s house in Topeka on April 12, 1906.  The couple’s only child, Dorothy Jane Attwood, would be born in Palmer, Kansas on February 16, 1910.

Azaima Florence Deever Attwood 1

Azaima Florence Deever Attwood

After graduating with his medical degree, Charles visited his brother in-law and sister, George Franklin and Luella Lucille (Attwood) Hahn, in Palmer, Kansas and decided to move his practice there.  His practice in Palmer officially began on May 1, 1906 with his office being on the 2nd floor above the P. Meier & Son Store.   When other physicians were on vacation, Charles would step in to manage the practice until their return.  This favor was often reciprocated.  For instance, in January 1907, Charles and Florence had an extended visit with her parents in Topeka and Charles’ brother Dr. George Arthur Attwood, arrived in Palmer to manage while Charles was absent.  While practicing in Palmer, Charles had an automobile and often drove patients to Clay Center for treatment and surgery.

The Linn-Palmer Record 7-1-1910

Advertisement from The Linn-Palmer Record, July 1, 1910

Charles decided to open a pharmacy in Palmer and traveled to Topeka to purchase the equipment and fixtures for the new venture.  The Attwood Pharmacy opened in May 1909.  The pharmacy had a soda fountain, back to school supplies, Christmas gifts, sold tickets to local events, and other goods available nowhere else in Palmer.  Miss Blanche Thomas was one of the pharmacy employees.  Charles decided that running a medical practice and pharmacy was not working, so he sold the pharmacy in February 1912 to a party from Medford, Oklahoma.  As part of the sale, Charles acquired 160 acres in Grant County, Oklahoma near Medford.

Florence was a member of the Knight’s and Ladies of Security Council, which threw a surprise farewell dinner for the Attwood’s at Cook & Fowler’s store prior to their moving to Abilene.  The last week of May, Charles loaded up his car with personal effects and drove to Abilene.  Charles resigned his position on the Palmer City Council and Bert Harnett was appointed as his replacement.  Upon arriving in Abilene, the Attwood’s purchased part of Lots 1 and 3, Block 15 of the Kuney and Hodges Addition and commenced to having a bungalow built.  The home addressed 802 N. Olive Street was completed in July 1912.  The Attwood’s would live in this home the duration of their time in Abilene and sold it to George Stacey Chase in 1925.

301 N Broadway

Farmers National Bank at 301 N. Broadway Street, Abilene.  Dr. C. F. Attwood’s Office Upstairs and Painted on Window


DCN 11-6-1913

Advertisement in the Dickinson County News, November 6, 1913

When he first arrived in Abilene, Charles’ practice occupied an office on the 2nd floor of the Farmers National Bank building (currently the La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant) and was addressed 212 ½ NW. 3rd Street with the entrance being on the 3rd Street side of the building.  His office would be in this location until December 1918, when he would move to the space above the Hoon & Company Clothing store at 207 N. Broadway (currently the south third of the USD 435 Administrative Offices).  In 1920, he moved his office to 208 ½ N. Broadway Street, which was above the Oscar Allen Dentzer’s Grocery Store (currently Abilene Chiropractic).

In Abilene, Charles was a member of the Brotherhood of American Yeoman and served as Chaplain.  He was on the Board of Directors of the Commercial State Bank, which was managed by his brother in-law, Roy M. Deevers.  Charles was also a shareholder for the natatorium.  Florence was involved with the Methodist church.

AWC 5-7-1919

Abilene Weekly Chronicle, May 7, 1919

In January 1918, Charles was appointed the Dickinson County Health Officer and would serve in that capacity until 1921.  He was succeeded by Dr. Tracy R. Conklin in 1922.  In October 1918, Charles was informed that he passed the examination to serve in the army medical corps and he would be commissioned for duty in the near future.  However, World War I ended on November 11, 1918 when Germany signed the Armistice of Compiègne.  During this time, the Memorial Hospital was being built and Charles was one of the managing physicians.  The other managing physicians were: Drs. Peter Bachman Witmer, Tracy R. Conklin, Simon S. Steelsmith, Harry Bowman Felty, and Johann Nickaulaus Dieter.  In July 1919, the Attwood’s spent a month in Rochester, Minnesota, while Charles attended a four week post graduate course at the Mayo Brothers hospital, later known as the Mayo Clinic.  The following year, the US Bureau of War Risk Insurance appointed Charles as an examiner for insurance claims for servicemen.

In 1924, the Attwood’s decided to move back to Topeka.  Charles rented part of 909-911 Kansas Avenue in downtown for his office and the family lived at 1301 SW. MacVicar Street.  Around 1940, they moved to 1411 Stratford Street.  Between 1933 and 1937, his office was in Suite 202 of the Kresge Building and at 633 Kansas Avenue between 1938 and 1945.

Charles died on Christmas Day of 1945 in Topeka.  Florence would outlive her husband by almost 20 years.  She died in Topeka on February 8, 1965.  They were laid to rest in the Penwell-Gabel Cemetery and Mausoleum in Topeka.

About James D. Holland

I'm a former local government planner turned real estate agent turned safety manager turned Chamber of Commerce Director, turned marketing sales representative... phew. I enjoy writing about Abilene's history, businesses, events, politics, and anything else that interests me.
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1 Response to Dr. Charles Frederick Attwood (1882-1945), Physician and Surgeon

  1. Ronald Britt says:

    Another Great Article James!!!! Don’t stop. Keep em coming. Ron Britt 3-2-2019

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