Biography of Dr. W. P. Crumbacker
Buchanan County, IA Biographies





Dr. W. P. Crumbacker is superintendent of the State Hospital at Independence, having received his appointment to this position on the 1st of July, 1902. He is well qualified for the onerous and responsible duties which devolve upon him in this connection and at all times has proven himself worthy the liberal patronage accorded him.

He was born in Wheeling, Virginia, now West Virginia, in 1857, his parents being J. H. and Hannah J. (Pollock) Crumbacker. The father's birth occurred in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, in 1823, and the mother was horn in Belmont county, Ohio, in 1826. J. H. Crumbacker was a student in Bethany College of Virginia, which was conducted by Alexander Campbell, the organizer of the present Christian church. He was a druggist and carried on business with his father at Wheeling, while later he removed to Washington, Ohio. At length he took up the study of medicine and in 1865 was graduated from the Sterling Medical College at Columbus, Ohio. He then located for practice in Antrim, Guernsey county, Ohio, where he remained until his death, which occurred in 1894. His wife survived him for about eleven years, passing away in 1905. He was captain of the Ohio State Militia at Washington, Guernsey county, Ohio, a member of the town council, of the board of education, and held various minor offices, the duties of which he discharged in a prompt and capable manner. He took an active interest in the promotion of the schools and his efforts in support of higher education were far reaching and beneficial. His religious faith was that of the United Presbyterian church and he was an earnest worker for the upbuilding of the organization His family numbered six children, five daughters and a son, of whom Dr. Crumbacker was the third in order of birth.

In the village schools W. P. Crumbacker pursued his early education and afterward attended an academy at Philadelphia, conducted by F. W. Hastings. He spent two years, from 1876 until 1878, as a student there, after which he entered the Medical College of Ohio, now the medical department of the University of Cincinnati. He was graduated in 1882, with the M. D. degree, and ten years later he pursued post graduate work in the New York Polyclinic. In 1897 he visited hospitals in Dublin, Ireland, and in Edinburgh, Scotland, making special investigations concerning the treatment of nervous and mental diseases. He has constantly read and studied along those lines and has attained a high degree of proficiency in practice. His education, however, was not continuous but was acquired through the improvement of every opportunity which came to him He was only sixteen years of age when he began teaching in the country schools of Guernsey county, Ohio. He followed that profession through the winter months, while in the summer seasons he continued his studies, thus alternating his time until his first year in medical college. Following his course he practiced in Ohio with his father for two years and then entered the Athens (Ohio) State Asylum, now the State Hospital, in which he became assistant physician, remaining there for five years in that capacity. He afterward took up private practice in Cambridge, Ohio, where he remained for a year, and on the expiration of that period he returned to the Athens Asylum as superintendent, filling that position for three years. He next went to the West Virginia State Hospital for the Insane at Weston, West Virginia, continuing in charge for five years, after which he resumed the private practice of medicine in Athens, Ohio, where the succeeding three years were passed. He left that city for Pasadena, California, to engage in the private practice of his profession in the Green Hotel, the leading hostelry of that city. He remained as house physician, however, for only a brief period and was then selected as superintendent of the State Hospital at Independence, Iowa, entering upon his duties here on the 1st of July, 1902. He has since continued in charge, covering a period of twelve years, and during his regime the work has steadily advanced. Several new buildings have been added, including a psychopathic hospital, while a new nurses building has just been completed. He has also introduced many radical and beneficial changes in treatment. In his care of the patients he uses no mechanical restraint and has abolished all of the severe methods which in past, ages made the care of the insane a blot upon the fair name of many a state. He has made another improvement in the way of introducing female attendants, having only sixteen male nurses. At the present time there are eleven hundred and ninety seven patients and one hundred and eight nurses. Dr. Crumbacker is directly responsible for the entire institution in all of its branches His work here has been successful in the extreme. The entire atmosphere is one of sympathy and help, and the work accomplished has been most commendable.

In 1888 Dr. Crumbacker was united in marriage to Miss Emma L. Bower, a native of Athens, Ohio, and a daughter of Captain J. C. Bower, who was born in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, in 1835. Her mother, Lovisa (Cooley) Bower, was a native of Athens county, Ohio. In early life Captain Bower took up the occupation of farming, which he followed until he enlisted for service in the Civil war, in which he held the rank of captain in a regiment of Ohio infantry. Following the close of hostilities he resumed agricultural pursuits and cultivated six hunched acres of land and also engaged in raising horses, mostly driving stock. He also raised Holstein cattle and the various branches of his business have proven profitable, owing to his practical and progressive methods. At one time he served as coroner of Athens county, continuing in the office for three terms. He was a member of the state board of agriculture several years, at one time being president of the board. Mrs. Crumbacker is the second in order of birth in a family of five children and by her marriage has become the mother of one son, James Bower, who is now a student in Harvard University at Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dr. Crumbacker practically gives his entire time to his professional duties and interests and is continually seeking to augment his knowledge by reading and study and thereby increase his skill and efficiency. He belongs to the American Medico-Psychological Association, of which he has served on the council for three years, and he also has membership in the Buchanan County Medical Society and the Iowa State Medical Seciety. His practice represents the ideas and ideals of a higher civilization, and the truths which he has gleaned from his own broad experience have constituted a valuable contribution to medical science.

From:
History of Bachanan County, Iowa
And its People
By Harry Church and Katharyn J. Chappell
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago 1914


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