Reflections

Charles Cooper

Canadian Doctor Liked His Fast Cadillacs

Hello everyone, hope you had a great Easter.  In doing some research for the column, I frequently find information that I’d like to share with you.

About 1914 and 1915 Water Valley had a good baseball team.  A young student at Ole Miss named George Brown would come down to pitch and the team would usually win.  

When World War I came along, Water Valley lost contact with him.  After the war he returned to Water Valley as Doctor George Brown along with his wife, Dorothy, who was a nurse.  

Soon after his older brother, Dr. Leo came to town and the two Browns served Water Valley for nearly 50 years. They had been born in Canada and their father was an Episcopal Rector who came to serve the church in Oxford. Dr. George and Dr. Leo bought the home of Dr. J. C. Armstrong who had retired and moved to Jackson.  

Dr. George and Mrs. Brown lived in part of the house and the rest served as a clinic.  Dr. George already had a reputation as an outstanding surgeon  and DR. Leo as an obstetrics and gynecologists.  Later Dr. George and Mrs. Brown bought the house next door and the Armstrong house became a full fledged hospital.  

Very few families of that day were not touched in some way by Dr. George.  He was a soft-spoken, very erect individual who never seemed to get in a hurry, with one exception.  

He nearly always bought Cadillac’s and he would drive as fast as the roads would permit, but was also considered a careful driver. I don’t remember hearing that he ever had a wreck.  

He did own a Lincoln Zephyr prior to Word War II and after the war he bought a Lincoln Continental coupe which was dark blue with a white top.  I still think it along with the 1937 Cord were two of the most beautiful cars to ever come out of Detroit.  

There is a story that Ed Mays saw him in Memphis and asked for a ride home.  As usual, Dr. George drove at his usual speed over Highway 78 which was gravel in those days.  

When they got to Holly Springs, Ed suddenly remembered some business he had to transact there.  Ed said that seventy and eighty miles-an-hour on that highway was just too fast.

Another story was Dr. George driving from Jackson when he ran into a rainstorm. This was before air conditioning and Dr. George had his windows rolled down and the interior of the car was soaked. He pulled into Cadillac dealer in Grenada and saw a car he liked and told the man he’d take it.  The man wanted to know how he wanted to pay for it and Dr. George said “why cash of course.”

When I worked for Newman-Gardner we also did ambulance work.  Dr. George thought it only fair that he give one call to us and the next to Hamric.  It was quite an experience to wrestle a gurney down those twisting stairs with a patient on it as there was no elevator in his place.  

When the Yalobusha hospital opened, Dr. George closed his hospital and devoted most of his time to general practice in an office over Lowe’s drug store.      

He was on call at the new hospital and some people would only let Dr. George treat them.  Hamric and Dorothy Jane bought the hospital building and bricked it all around which made it the most beautiful home on Panola Street.

The last visit I had with Ham, we sat in his living room and he told some stories about Dr. George and the deep affection he had for him. I recalled that in that same room I waited for Dr. George to set a broken arm for me during World War II.  This column can’t really do justice for this remarkable man, but I have a question for Water Valley.

Why is there no plaque or marker to honor his long service to the community?  Let me hear from you as your input is always welcome.  My email address is charlescooper3616@sbcglobal.net or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great week.

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