Making his advent into professional circles in St. Louis in 1913 as an interne in Bethesda Hospital, Dr. Richard Johnson Payne has continuously engaged in practice in this city save for the period of his service in charge of the ear, nose and throat department of Base Hospital, No. 20, in France during the World war. Thorough study, earnest purpose and close adherence to the highest standards of the profession have gained for him a creditable place and large practice. Missouri numbers him among her native sons, his birth having occurred in Fayette on the 14th of April, 1888. He is a son of William Payne, also a native of Missouri and descended from ancestry from Virginia and Kentucky. The grandfather, Richard Payne, came to Missouri in the early part of the nineteenth century and settled in Howard county, where he engaged extensively in farming and stock raising and also became identified with banking. The father was reared and educated in Howard county, where he, too, engaged in agricultural pursuits for many years but is now living retired. He married Nannie May Walker, a native of that county and representative of one of its old pioneer families, her father being John Walker, a prominent statesman, who at one time filled the position of auditor of Missouri. Mrs. Payne passed away in 1900, at the age of thirty-nine years. In the family were two sons, the elder being John, a farmer of Howard county.
Dr. Payne, the younger son, was educated in Central College of Fayette, Missouri, winning his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1908, after which he came to St. Louis and entered upon preparation for a professional career as a medical student in the St. Louis University, from which he was graduated in 1913. He then became an interne in Bethesda Hospital, spending a year in that connection and gaining the broad and practical experience which one obtains in hospital work. He afterward became resident physician at the Deaconess Hospital, there continuing for a year, on the expiration of which period he took up private practice as a specialist on the ear, nose and throat. He has taken post-graduate work at the Jefferson College and The University of Pennsylvania, both of Philadelphia, and is continually studying in order to promote his efficiency. He is now a member of the clinical staff of the Barnes Hospital and during the World war had charge of the department of the ear, nose and throat for the University of Pennsylvania, Base Hospital No. 20, stationed at Chatel-Guyon, France. He was commissioned a major and was honorably discharged April 15, 1919. He at once returned to St. Louis and resumed his private practice, which is now extensive and of an important character.
On the 27th of October, 1919, Dr. Payne was married in Sikeston, Missouri, to Miss Mary Matthewes, a native of this state and daughter of A. J. and Katherine (Emory) Matthewes, representatives of old families of Missouri. They now have one child, Richard J., born October 21, 1920. Dr. and Mrs. Payne are members of St. John’s Methodist church and in politics he is a democrat. Fraternally he is connected with Rocheport Lodge, No. 67, A. F. & A. M., of Rocheport, Missouri, and has attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite, being a loyal follower of the teachings of the craft. His entire life has been guided by high and honorable principles and in his profession he displays the closest conformity to high ethical standards. Since 1915 he has been associated with Dr. Selden Spencer in his practice and the firm is one of recognized, prominence in professional circles in St. Louis.