Robert Scott Mahan, M. D. While a high medical authority had declared that man’s organs, under natural strain only, ought to last 300 years, the fact is patent that only in rare cases do they function one-third of that time, and that threescore and ten, according to the Psalmist, covers the life history of the majority in any community who reach what is termed “old age.” To combat by medical knowledge and surgical skill the diseases that attack and the accidents that lay low mankind that shorten his life and ruin his happiness, the physician and surgeon is called. There can be no profession more deserving of honor than that which alleviates human pain and brings healing, and no matter how great may be the monetary rewards in some cases, it is largely a humanitarian career, that had been often illuminated by acts of heroic self-sacrifice in the cause of science. The great opportunity does not come in the practice of every practitioner, but if a history were published of the unselfish self-imposed acts performed by the humblest physician in his charity and pity, his place in medical annals would be no insignificant one. A physician and surgeon who had but recently established himself at Elgin, is Dr. Robert S. Mahan, coming here from Cherokee County with years of professional success behind him. Doctor Mahan was born at Paola, Orange County, Indiana, January 29, 1856.
The pioneer of the Mahan family in the United States was Peter Mahan, the grandfather of Doctor Mahan. He was born in the City of Dublin, Ireland, in 1775. His first American place of settlement was Virginia, from there he proceeded with the pioneers into the mountains of Kentucky and thence to Indiana. In that state he became a man of consequence and acquired lands and cattle and was one of the wealthiest men of his day there when he died in Orange County, Indiana, in 1873.
In Kentucky he was married to Mary Reed, who was born there in 1780, and died in Orange County, Indiana. Two of their children survive, one being the father of Doctor Mahan, Samuel Mahan, and the other, the father’s sister, Elizabeth, who is the widow of Gideon Daugherty. Mrs. Daugherty had reached the unusual age of ninety-six years, almost that of her father, and makes her home in Page County, Iowa.
Samuel Mahan was born in Orange County, Indiana, in 1826, and is passing a peaceful old age at Chambersburg, in that state. In his active years he was a leader in the republican party in politics and for ten years served on the board of county commissioners. His seat in the Baptist Church is seldom vacant, he being one of the deacons and all his life a consistent member of that religious body. For many years he was an extensive farmer and large stockman. He married Sarah Daugherty, who was born in 1838 in Orange County, Indiana, and died there in 1906. She was the beloved mother of eight children: Franklin Green, who was a farmer in Cherokee County, Kansas, at time of death, in 1901; Mary E., who is the wife of Joseph Danner, who is a druggist in Davis County, Indiana; Robert Scott; Peter, who is a farmer near Pittsburg, Kansas; Jane, who is the wife of James McCoy, and they reside on the old Mahan homestead in Orange County; Emily, who is the wife of Benjamin Williams, who is a farmer in Orange County; Clara, who is the wife of Robert Kirby, who is a farmer in Orange County; and John W., who is engaged in the jewelry business at Colorado Springs, Colorado. They were all reared and educated in Orange County and all are respected residents of the communities in which they make their homes.
After completing his public school education, Robert S. Mahan entered the Southern Indiana Normal School at Paola, from which he was graduated in 1875 with a certificate that entitled him to teach school in any part of the state. For the following five years he was engaged almost continuously in educational work in Orange County, in the meanwhile preparing himself for a first course of medical lectures, and in 1882 to benefit by them entered the Kentucky School of Medicine, at Louisville. His second lecture course was taken at the Kansas Medical College, Topeka, Kansas, in 1896, his third and graduating course, in the winter of 1897-8, at the old Medical University of Louisville, from which he received his medical degree in 1898.
In the meanwhile the young student, as an undergraduate, had been engaged for twelve years in practice, beginning at Cherokee, Kansas, in 1886. After two years there he went to Scammon, Kansas, where he practiced from 1888 to 1904 and then took up practice at Mineral, where he remained until 1914, when he removed to Girard, Kansas, and remained there until May 13, 1916, when he settled at Elgin and opened his office in the Elgin Drug Company’s building. Doctor Mahan had made a favorable impression here and inspired confidence. He is a member of the Kansas State Medical Society and of the American Medical Society, and formerly belonged to the Cherokee County Medical Society.
Doctor Mahan was married October 17, 1875, in Washington County, Indiana, to Miss Emma L. Patton, who was born in Indiana and is a daughter of Granville and Clementine (Trabue) Patton, the latter of whom is deceased. The father of Mrs. Mahan is a retired farmer still residing in Indiana. To Doctor and Mrs. Mahan the following children were born: Arthur Lee, who is a civil engineer residing at Frontenac, Kansas; Horace P., who is a physician and surgeon in practice at Ellsworth, Iowa, is a graduate of the medical department of the Kansas University, at Lawrence, Kansas; Ethel, who is the wife of Charles H. Walbert, who is in the hardware and implement business at Girard, Kansas; Edith, who is the wife of John B. Fulton, who is mine foreman for the Hamilton Coal Company and they reside at Arma, Kansas; and J. Russell, who had been in the United States naval service for the past eight years.
In politics Doctor Mahan had always been identified with the republican party. Ordinarily he had no political ambitious but while living in Cherokee County had consented to serve as coroner and remained in office for two years. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church. He is connected with a number of fraternal organizations at West Mineral, Kansas, these including: the Modern Workmen of America, Camp 6385; the Ancient Order of United Workmen, Lodge No. 391; and the Sons and Daughters of Justice. Doctor Mahan had a wide acquaintance over the state by which he is highly esteemed both personally and professionally.