ROBERT BLAKE TYLER, M. D.
Since 1880 Dr. Tyler has engage in the practice of medicine in Joplin and has won distinction as a representative
of the profession, but his activity has not been confined alone to this line, as in public affairs he has been
an important factor, and material progress owes its advancement largely to him. His name is familiar not alone
to the residents of the city to whose development he has contributed so conspicuously, but toe all who have been
in the least intimately informed as to the history of this portion of the state.
The Doctor was born in Westmoreland county, Virginia, a son of Dr. Walter H. Tyler, who lived and died in that
county, where he owned a large plantation He was a very influential and prominent man, took an active part in public
work, serving as mayor of Hague and was chief magistrate for many years. He married Julia Breckinridge, a niece
of John C. Breckinridge, and a representative of one of the most honored families of the south.
In taking up the personal history of Dr. Robert B. Tyler we present to our readers the record of one who is widely
and favorably known in southwestern Missouri. He pursued his education in his native state, and in 1862 he ran
away from home in order to enlist in the United States navy, in which he served for two years and eight months
under Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgreen. He participated in the attacks on Fort Sumter, Moultrie and Wagner and the
capture of Charleston, and was once wounded, but whenever possible was found at his post of duty, loyally performing
his part in the naval service during the great Civil war. After the cessation of hostilities he located in Binghamton,
New York, where he attended school, and later he engaged in teaching for several years. His preparation for the
medical profession was made in the Buffalo University, of Buffalo, New York, and in that institution he was graduated.
Subsequently he engaged in the practice of medicine in New York for two years, but believing that the rapidly growing
west would furnish better opportunities for a young man, he came to Joplin, Missouri, in 1880, and has now been
engaged in active practice in this place longer than many other member of the medical fraternity of the city. He
has read extensively and thus kept in touch with the progress which is continually being made in professional circles.
His knowledge is accurate and extensive, and he is seldom if ever at fault in diagnosing a case and predicting
the complications and outcome of a disease. Added to his love of scientific research he has a deep human sympathy
which is an important element in his success.
Dr. Tyler was united in marriage to Miss Maggie Heathwood, a daughter of Major Thomas Heathwood, of Joplin, Missouri,
but formerly of Boston, Massachusetts, where Mrs. Tyler was born. By her marriage she has become the mother of
four children: Walter H., Major Heathwood, Dorothy and Harry T. The Doctor and his wife occupy an enviable position
in social circles and enjoy the high regard of many friends. In politics he is a stalwart Republican, unswerving
in his advocacy of the principles of the party. He is recognized as one of its leaders and has taken a very active
part in city politics. In 1882 he was a member of the city council, and from 1890 until 1895, inclusive, he was
mayor of Joplin, covering the period of the greatest growth and advancement of the city. It was during his administration
that many needed -improvements were introduced. A fire alarm system was put in and a paid fire department instituted;
a map of the city was also made; the water works were enlarged, their capacity being doubled; electric lights were
put in, and the sewer system was begun during his administration, a portion of the main sewer being completed;
stone pavements were also laid; and the work of progress and upbuilding was continued along other lines to the
great benefit of the city. Joplin still feels the influence of his administration, and no other mayor of the city
has done nearly so much for the municipality. His long continuance in office indicated the confidence and trust
which his fellow townsmen had in his ability and fidelity, and when his last term had expired he retired from office
as he had entered it - with the good will and respect of all. He has served on the Republican county committee
for three or four terms, and has twice been chairman of the county executive committee. He was also a candidate
for congress against Burton, of Nevada. Socially he is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and
with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Viewed in a personal light he is a strong man, of excellent judgment,
fair in his views, and highly honorable in his relations with his fellow men. His integrity stands as an unquestioned
fact in his career. His life has been manly, his actions sincere, his manner unaffected, ands his example is well
worthy of emulation.
The Biographical History of Jasper County, Missouri
By Hon. Malcolm G. McGregor
The Lewis Publishing Co.
Jasper County, MO
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