Biography of Dr. James W. York

DR. JAMES W. YORK. This prominent physician has been a close student of his profession and in his mission of “healing the sick,” his generous treatment of his patients, his liberality and kindness of heart, have won for him not the respect alone, but the earnest regard of the large clientele, he has gathered around him. For thirteen years be has resided in Billings and is known as a man of untarnished integrity of character and of high moral standing. His birth occurred at Richland, Keokuk County, Iowa, March 27, 1851, and he is a son of James M. and Frances C. (Ward) York, natives of North Carolina.

The York family came to this country from England and settled in the Old North State, where they were classed among the best citizens. Several members of this family served in the Revolutionary War and later other members served in the War of 1812. Jacob York, grandfather of subject, was born in North Carolina and there passed his entire life. The brother of that veteran, Capt. Bill York, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Our subject’s maternal grandparents were James and Martha Ward, and the family is of Irish descent. The first members of the Ward family to settle in America came here prior to the Revolutionary War, and Great-grandfather Ward took part in the struggle for independence. He had a number of sons in the War of 1812, the grandfather of our subject being one of them. The latter was a man of education and held the office of justice of the peace for years, that being considered quite an office at that time. He removed from North Carolina to Mooresville, Morgan County, Indiana, and there our subject’s father and mother were married and made their home until 1844, when they migrated to Richland, Iowa. They were among the pioneers of that State, and before the State was admitted into the Union they settled on a farm and built a house. The father died in Iowa in 1887, when seventy years of age and the mother died in the same State in 1885, when sixty-six years of age. They were the parents of seven children, all living but one, as follows: Angeline, who is now making her home at Billings, is the widow of Judge T. B. Adamson, formerly of that city; Alfred, now residing in Van Buren County, Iowa, was a soldier in an Iowa regiment. He was severely wounded at Shiloh and now gets a pension of $72 per month with a back pension of $1o,000; Elias, who is in Kansas, was also a soldier in the Fortieth Infantry of Iowa, and served his country four years; William, a resident or Jasper County, Iowa, was also in the Fortieth Infantry of Iowa and served four years; James W. (subject); Calvin V., resides at Glenwood, Iowa, and one child died in infancy. For many years the family have been earnest workers in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and its members are classed among the upright, honorable citizens. The father of our subject was justice of the peace and a prominent man in the community where he lived in Iowa.

In his native county Dr. York spent his boyhood days, and until sixteen years of age attended the schools of the same. He then entered a drug store and has since been in the drug business. His father being a poor man, young York saw the need of a good education and applied himself and became a well-informed man. He entered a drug store in Eddyville, Iowa, in 1867, later taught school for some time, and with the means thus obtained, attended medical lectures in the Keokuk Medical School, graduating from that institution June 16, 1874. The following year he located in Kansas, and in 1877 he was appointed to a Government position in the Indian Nation as Government physician. Two years later, or in 1879, he resigned this position on account of ill health and took a trip to the Black Hills. In 1880 he came to Billings, began practicing medicine, and has continued this ever since. While in the Nation the Doctor had some exciting experiences. During a hunting trip with a number of Indians he was robbed by the noted outlaw, Sam Bass, as were also the Indians with him. At another time he was called to see a man who was sick, and after he had started he was blindfolded and taken to the place, many miles away. The sick man proved to be a noted robber who had been wounded, and after our subject’s services were no longer needed, he was again blindfolded and taken back to the reservation. He received $50 for his trouble. His life while in the Nation was full of incidents of that character. Until 1887 Dr. York practiced at Billings and then embarked in the drug business, but still does an office practice. He is one of the prominent men of Billings and is an ardent supporter of all worthy enterprises.

In the year 1880 he was married to Miss Olive Napper, daughter of George Napper, one of the largest farmers of Christian County. Mrs. York was born at London, England. To them have been given two daughters: Angie and Marie. Dr. York is a self-made man, for he started out a poor boy; educated himself and has made a good property, being one of the largest property owners in the town. In his drug store he keeps a large stock, always fresh and pure, and has succeeded in building up a business that is deservedly remunerative for the energy and labor bestowed upon it.



A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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