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Elmer, Missouri - Early History
Dr. W.H. Gooch
(Reprinted from the History of Macon County, 1910)
In spite of all the advances made by the medical profession through the countless minds and other searching agencies constantly turned upon its requirements, developments and manifestations, the human race is still subject to sickness, disease and death, and this is the universal condition throughout the world. The need of good physicians is therefore always and everywhere felt, and, be it said to the credit of the profession, their services are always and everywhere appreciated by those who have the benefit of them. The life of the country doctor is one of self-sacrifice and privation. He is and has to be at the call of everybody when needed, and no conditions of weather or temptations to personal comfort can be allowed to have weight against the stern and unrelenting demands of duty. It is meet and proper, therefore, that the man who is everybody's helper and friend should have everybody's esteem and be universally appreciated.
Dr. William H. Gooch, of Elmer, in this county, is one of the professional men in this part of the state who enjoys this universal esteem and appreciation, and he has won it by his capacity as a physician and surgeon and the fidelity with which he devotes his time and attainments to the service of the people. He made thorough preparation for his professional work and entered upon it well qualified for all its probable exactions. Then he has been studious, observant and reflective during his practice, always alert for the reception and assimilation of any hint given him by reading, experience or conference with others. His natural aptitude for the work lie has chosen has, therefore, been developed and trained in the best school, the one which a mind eager and inquiring keeps for itself.
Dr. Gooch was born at Browning, Linn county, Missouri, in 1871. His father, Henry Gooch, was born and reared in Kentucky and came to Missouri to live in 1856. He took up his residence on a farm he bought near the present town of Browning, and on that he passed the remainder of his days, energetically and profitably engaged in farming and raising stock. In 1866 he was united in marriage with Miss Helen Robinson, who was also a native of Kentucky, where her forefathers, like those of her husband, lived for several generations. The union resulted in three children, all of whom are living: Loga, the wife of Sherman Hale, of Purdin, Missouri; May, the wife of Joseph Gibson, of Hillsdale, Uinta County, Wyoming, and Dr. Willard H. The mother died in 1896 and the father in 1905.
The Doctor grew to manhood in his native place, assisting his father on the farm and obtaining his education in the public schools and at Prairie Seminary. At the age of sixteen he became a school teacher, and after following that exacting but self-developing occupation for two years, turned his attention to mercantile pursuits, in which he passed three profitable years. While he sojourned in the realm of merchandising, in which he never intended to pass his life, he began the study of medicine, and when he was ready to give it his whole attention in technical study, he quit trade and entered Barnes Medical University with his life work well in view and all his energies harnessed to the task of preparing for it. He was graduated with the degree of M. D. in 1898, then pursued a post-graduate course at the National College of Electro-Therapeutics in Indianapolis, Indiana, and another at Barnes University. During the latter he had valuable practical experience as an intern at the St. Louis City hospital.
In 1899 Dr. Gooch located at Elmer and began the practice of his profession. He has made his home at that town ever since and been one of the busiest men there. He has risen steadily in his profession, winning and holding the regard of his brethren in the same line of endeavor and the confidence and esteem of the whole people. His practice has grown to fine proportions and includes the best class of residents of the township and much of the surrounding country. He is active and progressive in the affairs of the county, political, social and general, and takes a leading part in the fraternal life of the community. His political allegiance is given heartily to the Democratic party, which he serves faithfully and efficiently, and which has shown its appreciation of his services and its estimate of his worth and capacity by electing him coroner for four consecutive years, beginning in 1900, mayor of Elmer for three years, and a member of the board of village trustees, an office at which he is still filling to the general satisfaction of the people of the town.
Fraternally the Doctor belongs to the Odd Fellows, the Woodmen of the World, the Modern Woodmen of America, the Yeomen and the in Royal Neighbors. He is also an active and valued member of the Missouri, Iowa and Illinois State Medical Associations. In 1892 he was married to Miss Lena Childress, who was born and reared in this state. They have two children, their daughters, Pearl and Bernice. Ten years of active practice have given Dr. Gooch prominence in his profession and an exalted place in the estimation of the people of Macon county. Yet it may properly be said that his career is only fairly begun. And as he is a progressive man, and keeps abreast with the most advanced thought in all departments of activity, and has high character and ability as the mainsprings of his aspirations, it is inevitable that his progress will steadily continue and that he is destined to be one of the most useful and eminent citizens of the state.