Biography of David Stainrook Booth, M.D.

Dr. David Stainrook Booth, medical practitioner, educator and author of St. Louis, was born April 6, 1863, on his father’s plantation near Enterprise, McDonald county, Missouri. He is a son of Dr. David Stainrook Booth, Sr., and a grandson of Dr. John Jefferson Booth, of Philadelphia. That the family of Booth is of great antiquity is evidenced by the following from a history of the family: “At the time of the conquest, in 1066, we find the de-la-Booths accompanying William the Conqueror to England. Evidences also, there are, that go to show that when William the Conqueror was distributing the confiscated English lands among his followers of rank, among others who were recipients were the de-la-Booths, to whom was given lands to have and to hold by the same right and title as that possessed by the king and queen. The right to title and possession through conquest by the sword.’ He also conferred upon the de-la-Booths his coat-of-arms ‘to have and to hold, so long as the name of Booth shall exist, because ye are of my blood.’ .

The best genealogical evidence obtainable points direct to the family of Adam de Booth, residing at ‘Booths,’ Lancashire, England, A. D. 1200, as the immediate family from whom all Booths of America are descended. In the line of descendants of this Adam de Booth there have been many eminent persons. Indeed, royalty is tinctured with the blood of Booth.” The grandfather, Dr. John Jefferson Booth, married Elizabeth Stainrook of Philadelphia. He was a member of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, as were his ancestors, who were among the early settlers of the “City of Brotherly Love.” Dr. David Stainrook Booth, Sr., served as a surgeon in the Mississippi Ram Fleet and Marine Brigade in the Civil war and was captured on the Queen of the West on Red river, after which he was exchanged and assigned to the general and post hospitals at Springfield, Missouri. He afterward located at Sparta, Illinois, where he successfully engaged in practice for many years, and his high professional standing is indicated in the fact that he was president of the Illinois State Medical Society and Southern Illinois Medical Society and he wrote the first medical practice act to be introduced into the legislature of that state. He married Cynthia Grounds, a daughter of Adam and Frances Grounds, who were pioneers of Madison county, Missouri, removing to that section from Pennsylvania.

Dr. David S. Booth, the subject of this sketch, now of St. Louis, was but a year old when his parents removed to Sparta, Illinois, where he was educated in the public schools, being graduated as valedictorian in the classical course from the high school in 1882, after which he attended the Southern Illinois Normal University at Carbondale. While pursuing his literary course he won first prize in penmanship at the county fair and he was an active member of several literary and debating societies, also a charter member of the “Amateur Senate,” a society of young men, the organization having for its object the study of parliamentary usages and the practice of extemporaneous speaking and debate. Dr. Booth appeared in a number of public debates and as an orator in public entertainments, and during his university course he was elected orator of an intercollegiate contest. He also served as a corporal of the Douglas Corps Cadets (National) and was detailed drill master. In 1883 he became a member of the Illinois National Guard and was at once elected orderly sergeant of his company. During the annual encampment at Springfield, Illinois, he was awarded a sharpshooter’s badge.

Dr. Booth took up the study of medicine and began reciting his lessons to his father when but fifteen years of age, continuing his studies during the vacation periods in his college days. He afterward attended three courses of lectures with extra summer courses at the St. Louis Medical College, now the medical department of the Washington University, and became a private pupil of, and assistant to, the late Dr. H. H. Mudd during the last twelve months of his course, so continuing for several months after his graduation, or until appointed by Dr. W. B. Outten to the hospital department of the Missouri Pacific Railway Company and sent to Palestine, Texas, as assistant house surgeon of the International & Great Northern Railway Hospital. On the 1st of December, 1886, he was transferred to the Missouri Pacific Hospital at St. Louis and a year thereafter was returned to Palestine, Texas, as surgeon-in-charge of the hospital. When in 1888 the International & Great Northern Railway severed its relationship to the Missouri Pacific system and operated as an independent road, he was for three months acting chief surgeon and after the appointment of a chief surgeon -to which position the management decided he was ineligible on account of his youth he was retained at a salary greatly in excess of any other officer in the hospital department. He left the service in 1889 under the protest of the manager of the railroad and petitions of the employes, who tendered him a banquet and presented him with a substantial testimonial of their appreciation.

Removing to Webster Groves, Missouri, Dr. Booth became local surgeon of the Missouri Pacific Railway Company there but after three months removed to Belleville, Illinois, to become associated with his father, who had taken up his abode there upon his removal from Sparta. The junior doctor at once received the appointment of local surgeon of the Louisville, Evansville & St. Louis Railroad, now the Southern Railroad. Although in 1891 Dr. Booth received an appointment to the Southern Illinois Hospital for the Insane, his preference caused him to accept a position as assistant to Dr. C. H. Hughes of St. Louis, Missouri, with whom he was associated for more than eight years, being manager and collaborator of the Alienist and Neurologist, a journal devoted to diseases of the nervous system and with an international circulation. He remained in collaboration with the editor until the latter’s death in 1916, whereupon Dr. Booth was elected editor. He is likewise well known as an educator, having been at different times clinical instructor of neurology in the Marion-Sims and Beaumont Hospital Medical Colleges and professor of diseases of the nervous system in the College of Physicians and Surgeons and of the medical department of the National University of Arts and Sciences. He was also local surgeon of the St. Louis Southwestern Railway Company from 1899 until 1904, since which time he has been the neurologist. He has likewise been consulting neurologist for the hospital department of the Missouri Pacific Railway Company for over a quarter of a century, is neurologist to the St. Louis Baptist Hospital and to the nurses’ training school of that institution he is lecturer on diseases of the nervous system. He has been examiner for the Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company for thirty-three years and is examiner for the National Investigation Bureau. He has long specialized on diseases of the nervous system and has been a frequent contributor to this branch of the profession, having also appeared as court expert in important medico-legal cases in several different states. A number of his medical contributions have been reproduced or abstracted in various journals in this country and abroad. In addition to his extensive writings he has many times appeared on lecture platforms, his public. addresses including “The Cigarette from a Medical Standpoint,” which was published by special request and used 1n several schools. He has also delivered a popular lecture, “The Elixir of Life,” in several different states and abstracts have been printed in a number of publications.

Dr. Booth is a fellow of the American Medical Association, an active member of the American Association of Railway Surgeons, a charter member of the Association for the Study of Internal Secretions and an active member of the St. Louis, Missouri State and Southern Illinois Medical Societies and the St. Louis Clinical Club.

In 1892 Dr. Booth was married to Miss Basmath Artadne, a daughter of Dr. Washington and Mary Agnes (Wolfe) West, of Belleville, Illinois. Mrs. Booth passed away in 1905, leaving three children-David Stainrook, Jr., John West and Mary Agnes, while one daughter, Basmath Ariadne, died in 1901, at the age of five years. The wife and mother was an honor graduate o1 Hosmer Hall, delivering the salutatory in Latin. She was always very active in church and Sunday school work and in literary and art societies, and her death was deeply deplored by many friends as well as by her. immediate family.

Dr. Booth served on the medical advisory board of District No. 3 during the World war. He applied for and received promise of a commission as a medical officer in the United States service if relieved of service on the board, but his resignation was refused. He was a member of the state committee to raise units on nervous and mental diseases to be attached to government hospitals during the war and thus in every possible way he used his professional service to further the interests of the country during the critical period through which the world has just passed. His political support has always been given to the republican party. He is a member of the St. Louis Zoological Society, the St. Louis Automobile Club and the Safety Drivers Club, but his professional activities have prevented active club life or systematic recreation. He finds the latter largely in attending medical associations, though he has traveled not a little and occasionally takes time for golf. He was a member and treasurer of Bethany Mission, which eventually became the Page Boulevard Presbyterian church, of which he served for a number of years as one of its trustees and treasurer, while his membership at the present time is in the Westminster Presbyterian church. His contribution to the world’s work has been real and vital and he stands In an eminent position among the specialists on mental and nervous disorders in St. Louis and the Mississippi valley.



Stevens, Walter B. Centennial History of Missouri (The Center State) One Hundred Years In The Union 1820-1921 Vol 6. St. Louis-Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company. 1921.

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