Dr. Henry
Hill
Davis


 

DR. HENRY H. DAVIS was born at Crosswicks, N. J., August 16, 1848. He became a student of medicine in the office of Dr. Alexander Mecray in 1867; and enrolled at the Jefferson Medical College the fall of the same year, from which he graduated in March of 1869. He completed a course in pharmacy at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, graduating at the same time, and began the practice of medicine in Camden. In 1874 he opened a drug store, which he conducted in connection with his profession through at least 1886. In 1881 he joined the Camden County and City Medical Societies, and also the State Medical Society.  He ran unsuccessfully for Mayor in 1883, losing the election to Claudius W. Bradshaw.

Dr. Davis made his home and conducted his medical practice and pharmacy at 299 Kaighn Avenue, the northwest corner of Third Street and Kaighn Avenue through most of the 1880s. When the 1890-1891 Camden City Directory was published he had moved his residence and practice to the southeast corner. He later served as a physician at the Camden City Dispensary, one of the city's early hospitals. When the census was taken in 1910 he and his wife resided in the apartments at 232 North 2nd Street, at the southeast corner of 2nd and Penn Streets. He later lived, with his wife, the former Harriet Blizzard, at 417 Cooper Street in Camden.

In these times Dr. Davis served as a school board member, county coroner, Camden's first medical inspector, and first chief medical inspector. He served for many years on Camden's Board of Health, and was president during the years when the Camden Municipal Hospital for Contagious Diseases was planned and built. He was also the Chief of the Medical Department of Camden's public schools, and was the first person to serve as a School Medical Inspector in the State of New Jersey.

Plans for Camden Municipal Hospital were prepared in 1910. In 1912 construction was actually started under the direction of a building committee, composed of Raymond L. Warren, John A. Mather, Jr., and William H. Kensinger, M.D. The members of the City Board of Health, at this time, were Henry H. Davis, M.D., president; Marcus K. Mines, M.D.; E. Winner Collins; Reuben L. Gaskill; S. G. Bushey, M.D.; Melbourne F. Middleton, M.D.; and William I. Kelchner, M.D. Bids for equipping the hospital were let in 1914, and Dr. David Rhone was active in selecting the medical supplies and equipment.

With the appointment of four assistant medical inspectors, in addition to Chief Medical Inspector Davis, in September 1911, the medical department made significant strides in preserving the health and well-being of the students. In the first full month of employment, the five medical inspectors examined over 2,700 students. The department was also able to keep statistics on the various childhood diseases prevalent in the schools, and provide vaccinations in greater numbers. One year later, the board appointed Dr. Roscoe L. Moore, graduate of Camden High School, class of 1903, as an assistant medical inspector for the colored schools, with a salary of $240 per year.

By the time school opened in September 1911, the district had immigrants from Germany, Italy, England, Prussia, Poland, Romania, and Holland in the classrooms. The medical department, in one month alone, found 81 children with malnutrition among them, and found 16 native-born Americans having defective vision, and 84 with periodontal problems. The teachers' club informed the board of the wonderful work of the medical department, and the teachers agreed that the examinations alone reduced student absences and alerted teachers to medical problems. The medical department had a great deal of success meeting with parents who were more or less opposed to vaccinations, but in cases in which parents refused to have their children vaccinated, the board rejected their admittance. The department also had the board pass a rule that teachers found to have a communicable disease during the school year, did not lose any part of their salary for time lost, up to 30 days.

In February 1913, scarlet fever was in epidemic proportions in the school district, and in March, it was measles. Dr. Davis felt that epidemics resulted from the fact that there were too many families where diseases exist, but who have no physicians to report the diseases. If parents gave immediate attention to every case of a simple sore throat, they could prevent many sever and fatal cases of diphtheria and scarlet fever. He warned parents that they should be circumspect about the popular movie houses, which might be largely responsible for the spread of the contagious and infectious diseases.

Dr. Davis stated that providing classrooms with screens that allowed fresh air to circulate throughout the room was a health benefit to the students. To prove his point, the board allowed him to open an all-girls open-air class in the Bergen School in September 1913. The teacher held the open-air class outside, regardless of temperature, weather permitting. Parents had to sign a consent form and they used Rochester, or portable desks, for the students. The board bought suitable clothing for the students, provided milk twice a day, and lunch, with a changing menu, on a daily basis. The meal consisted of foods like cereals, cocoa, baked potatoes, and Hornlick's malted milk (that the company kindly donated free.) Attendance in the open-air class showed much better turnout than other classes in the school. He concluded from this small experiment, that the district should create more open-air classrooms, and added that other school districts around the country were establishing open-air classrooms. Nevertheless, because of the very small enrollment in the open-air class at the Bergen School, the committee on teachers discontinued the class as of February 1, 1925.

Medical suites were more or less established when the board consented to the purchase of medical cabinets, and examination screens for the schools. Many girls were embarrassed when examined with boys present, but with the screens in place, examinations continued and the medical department found children with malnutrition, vision problems, tuberculosis, lice, and children who Davis classified as "dull or deficient." The teachers' club urged the board to hire full-time nurses to follow up on the work of the doctors. Davis echoed the request, as nurses would help with the eradication of the lice problem by visiting the homes of those children, and giving parents instruction on what to do. Nurses could give advice on minor diseases caused by dirt and lack of good hygiene. Davis informed the board that in one city in New Jersey, the use of school nurses was so successful that the number of nurses rose from 8 to 38. He proposed one nurse for every 5,000 students.

The board hired Miss Sarah Kroenwetter, as the district's first nurse, on January 19, 1914, with a salary of $625 per year, and Davis assigned her to the Central School. Within three months, Nurse Kroenwetter examined every student in the school, and visited 101 homes of pupils sent home for treatment of lice. In addition, Davis assigned the nurse to visit the homes of children identified by the medical department as mentally deficient to obtain family histories, and spent time working with parents on how to keep their hands, and the hands of their children, clean. Because of her excellent work, and her continued training at the University of Pennsylvania, the board granted her an annual $100 salary increase, starting in January 1915.

Davis found; after looking over the historical records of the Camden County Board of Health, that Camden was never freer from disease then the present. He was delighted that parents were calling physicians when their children became ill, and could say with pride that as of February 1915, not one school reported the death of a child from an illness. He attributed this to early detection and isolation of those infected by the medical department. The board directed him to prosecute parents who sent their children to school with dirty hands, and to this end, he held "court" each Wednesday, and through the courts, Davis summoned parents and their children.

With the start of 1915-1916 school year, he needed three more nurses, and when an assistant medical inspector resigned, Davis pleaded to replace the inspector with a nurse. The board hired Nurse Rebecca O. Kandle, because she qualified by competitive examination, and held a New Jersey certificate. Her starting salary was $720 per year.

In September 1918, Davis reported that the so-called Spanish Influenza was an epidemic, and the severity of the disease caused many deaths among the students (more than 600,000 Americans lost their lives in the 1918 flu epidemic.) The average daily attendance dropped by almost 2,000 students, and the disease affected both teachers and janitors as well. Yet, Davis knew of many instances that came to his attention in which teachers rendered heroic service. Because of the medical emergency, the board deferred medical decision-making authority to Davis to determine when, or if, a school should close during the epidemic. Subsequently, he closed both day and evening schools from October 1 to November 6, 1918. A second influenza epidemic broke out in January, but abated by March, allowing Davis to declare the epidemic to have ended. It was not until that announcement that school attendance, for both students and staff, made significant improvement. The influenza returned in February 1920, not only depleting student attendance, but staff attendance, too. Fortunately, there were no fatalities this time. ac

Meanwhile, The Camden Municipal Hospital for Contagious Diseases was officially opened in 1916 under Dr. Davis, who by then had the title of  Health Director of the City of Camden. Dr. Rhone treated over one hundred polio patients in the large epidemic of that year; and a Dr. Jungman was employed as full time Medical Director. . 

In 1917 Dr. Jungman was called into the military service, and the hospital was run by Dr. Henry H. Davis and by Dr. John Leavitt. During the influenza epidemic of 1918, the hospital was filled to overflowing, and patients were housed in the doctor's bungalow and in the nurses' home, as well as in the armory on Haddon Avenue. Additional nurses and physicians were assigned from the New York Shipbuilding Corporation during the epidemic. Dr. Davis did notable work with Dr. Marcus K. Mines when Camden was hit by the influenza epidemic of 1918. 

Epidemics of smallpox occurred in Camden, and not infrequently, before 1910. Under the supervision of Dr. Davis, vaccination of all the population was pressed, and this disease became less common. However, the periodic influx of migratory workers has always been a public health problem in South Jersey, and there was an outbreak of smallpox in Camden in 1925 with 97 cases and 44 deaths. In 1933 there was one fatal case, and in 1947 there was one fatal case. In 1923 Dr. Davis was succeeded as Health Director by Dr. Arthur L. Stone.

Named in Dr. Davis' memory, the Henry H. Davis School, the largest elementary school in Camden,  was built in 1925 at 3425 Cramer Street in East Camden. The school was designed by architect Benjamin Howell Lackey. The school was named after Dr. Davis.  In addition, Davis Street, which adjoins the property where the Municipal Hospital was located, was named in his honor.

Dr. Davis was a member and served as president of the Camden County and Camden City Medical Societies. He also was a member of the American Medical Association, among other professional organizations. He was an active member of Camden Lodge No. 293 of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks

Dr. Henry Hill Davis passed away in 1929, a much loved and respected figure who served the city faithfully for many years. 


Camden Post
May 29, 1885

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Atlantic Avenue
Dr. Henry H. Davis
Carl Scholl


Philadelphia Inquirer - May 30, 1885
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John Evans - Hatch Post No. 37, G.A.R. - William J. Sewell - Matilda Scholl  
Dr. Henry H. Davis - West Jersey Railroad - S.S. Westernland - Atlantic Avenue 

Philadelphia Inquirer - June 2, 1885
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Matilda Scholl - Dr. Henry H. Davis - David Pancoast - John C. Clement Abram Anderson - Leander W. Goulhy - John I. Cox - John Wanamaker Henry Fowler
Market Street - Atlantic Avenue - West Jersey Hospital


Matilda Scholl

Trenton Evening Times
June 2, 1885

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Matilda Scholl


Matilda Scholl
Death Certificate
May 29, 1885

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Dr, Henry H. Davis
E.E. Jefferis
Line Ditch
West Jersey Railroad


Philadelphia Inquirer
July 21, 1885

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Branch Street
Dr. Henry H. Davis
Officer Fox
Broadway

Chestnut Street


Philadelphia Inquirer - July 1, 1886

Dr. Henry H. Davis


Philadelphia Inquirer - August 17, 1886

Oak Street - Dr. Henry H. Davis - Charles Rieth


Philadelphia Inquirer
January 31, 1890

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Spruce Street
Dr. Henry H. Davis
Walter Vanstavern
Harry Hovis
South 7th Street

Walter Vanstavern survived his injuries.


Philadelphia Inquirer - August 25, 1898

Henry B. WIlson - St. John's Episcopal Church
Rev. G.R. Underhill - Arthur W. Williams - Samuel T. Bailey Samuel H. Grey - Herbert C. Felton - Elias Davis
John Leighton Westcott - Dr. Henry H. Davis
Frank L. Vinton -
Mt. Vernon Street

Philadelphia Inquirer - May 14, 1900
Click on Images for PDF File of Complete Article

Taylor Avenue
Federal Street
South 5th Street
Arch Street
Arthur Rose
Thomas Pinkerton
William Pinkerton
William Cowgill
William Grosscup
Mrs. James Morris
M.S. Irvin
B.F. Sutton
Charles WIlliams
Samuel Davis
Joseph Swing
Samuel S. Elfreth
Dr. Henry H. Davis
Cooper Hospital
George M. Beringer
F. Walter Toms
Camden Lodge of Elks No. 293
Edward Foster
S.B. Morris
Broadway

...continued...
Mrs. Robert Wible
Isaac S. Toy
Charles Foulon
Harry A. Miller
John Foster
John W. Cheney
C.W. Nichols
F.W. Potter
North Baptist Church
Thomas M.K. Lee Post No. 5, G.A.R.
New Jersey Safe Deposit & Trust Company
Berkley Street
Click on Images for PDF File of Complete Article

Philadelphia Inquirer - September 5, 1903



David Baird Sr. - J. Wesley Sell - Frank F. Patterson Jr. - E.V.D. Joline
E. Ambler Armstrong -
Frank T. Lloyd - F. Morse Archer - Robert L. Barber
William J. Bradley -
William D. Brown - Thomas P. Curley - Charles F. Currie
Isaac W. Coles - E.W. Delacroix -
John J. Burleigh - John Cherry - William Graeff
Theodore Gibbs -
John S. Roberts - Henry J. West - George Pfeiffer Jr.
Irving Buckle - Samuel Wood - Jonathan Watson - Maurice Redrow
Richard R. Miller - Lwis H. Mohrman - David M. Anderson - G. WIlliam Harned
Edward H. Chew - William Coffin - Dr. John B. Davis -
Dr. Henry H. Davis
Samuel S. Elfreth - Charles H. Ellis - Levi Farnham - John Blowe - J. Palmer Earl
Samuel P. Jones - George W. Turner - Henry M. Snyder - Lewis Stehr Sr.
Charles P. Sayrs - Henry J. Rumrille - William M. Palmer - Frank Peterson
Martin J. O'Brien -
J. WIllard Morgan - J. Alpheus McCracken - John R. McCabe
A.G. McCausland - Joseph Kolb - John M. Kelly - E.E. Jefferies - Jacob S. Justice
Robert Jaggard - Harry L. Jones - Upton S. Jefferys - William Kettler
John D. Courter -
Dr. William S. Jones - Mahlon F. Ivins Sr.
Samuel G. Hufty - Ephraim T. Gill -
Francis Fithian 

Camden Lodge No. 293, B. P. O. E.

CAMDEN, N. J., April 13, 1906

DEAR SIR AND BROTHER:

You are requested to attend the regular Stated Meeting, April 18, 1906, at 8 o'clock, at which time the following named applicants for membership will be balloted for:

CANDIDATE AGE OCCUPATION RESIDENCE ENDORSED BY COMMITTEE

Thomas H. Edwards

37 Shoe Man'f''g 423 Benson St.

Brother John H. Switzer

Bro. John Harris
Bro. W. Penn Corson
Bro. Asa L. Roberts

Francis. J. Bicker M.D.

46 Physician

Fillmore &
Van Hook St
s.

Bro. John S. Smith

Bro. H.H. Davis
Fro. J. Willard Morgan
Bro. George B. Bond

Charles W. Bossle

31 Hatter 706 Linden Street

Bro. Joseph Bossle Sr.

Bro. J.R. McCabe
Bro. H.B. Francis
Bro. B.H. Shivers

John Morgan Jr. 

27 Real Estate Agent Merchantville, N.J.

Bro. John W. Barr

Bro. William F. Rex
Bro, D. Harry Condit
Bro. Frank E. Gardiner

Howard Callingham

23 Bookkeeper Orston, N.J.

Bro. Joseph Bossle Sr.

Bro. Thomas J. Moore
Bro. Samuel B. Crall
Bro. James H. Eyster

G. Frank Travis

34 Tailor 320 Spruce Street

Bro. John W. Barr

Bro. John H. Switzer
Bro. William G. Maguire
Bro. Charles W. Brecker

Theodore Stiles Jr.

42 Meat and Provision Dealer 27 N. Third Street

Bro. C.W. Brecker

Bro. Wm. Shillingsburg
Bro. James T. Bailey
Bro. P.S.D. Johnston

C.F. Taylor

35 General Storekeeper Collingswood, N.J.

Bro. Thomas J. Moore

Bro. Samuel B. Crall
Bro. James H. Eyster
Bro. H.I. Cooper

Frank Reiss

  Cotton Duck Salesman Collingswood, N.J.

Bro. S.H. Wilkinson

Bro. Thomas J. Moore
Bro. Samuel B. Crall
Bro. James H. Eyster

Edward M. Wright

35 Produce
Com. Merchant
Merchantville, N.J.

Bro. John Stewart

Bro. Al. L. Smith
Bro. M.W. Taylor
Bro. H.H. Voorhees

      Attest: J. FRED. NEWTON,                                                           ALEX. J. MILLIETTE,
                                             Secretary.                                                                         Exalted Ruler.


Philadelphia Inquirer - October 25, 1917

Dr. Henry H. Davis - Edna M. Moore - Mary F. Snyder

Philadelphia Inquirer - May 17, 1918

Dr. Henry H. Davis

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 7, 1918

Dr. Henry H. Davis - Thomas Cheeseman - Mrs. Olga Moebius Ritter - Frederick Moebius
Mrs. G. Gamoski - Frederick Maier - William Long
Franklin Hall at South 7th Street & Ferry Avenue
Pine Street - Haddon Avenue - North 5th Street - Cooper Street - Pearl Street - Morton Street

Camden Courier-Post - October 26, 1931

Four Prominent Physicians
Reminiscences of Drs. Godfrey, Iszard, Davis and Gross, 
All Leaders of Their Profession in South Jersey

(Another in a series of articles on
Camden affairs and personalities of yesteryear
)

By BEN COURTER

SINCE these annals of medical men in Camden county have appeared, other residents have occasionally as­serted this or that physician, their family doctor half a century ago, has been forgotten,

"What's the matter with Doc So-and-So?" they have asked, and they have usually added, "He was the best doctor in typhoid" or whatever ailment was probably cured in their own particular household. The particular phy­sician's victory over a malady which prolonged the life of some kin has evidently been handed down through the years as such an outstanding accomplishment that if monuments were in order it is unquestioned Camden would be liberally sprinkled with them, It likewise is certain that when family physicians were more the order of the day in lieu of the present tendency to develop specialists, the medical man's clientele stuck to him through two or three generations and usually placed him on a figurative pedestal at least.

Doctor of 50 Years Ago

Fifty years ago one of the city's leading physicians was Dr. E. L. B. Godfrey, whose office then was at 621 North Second Street. He was born in Cape May, February 2, 1850. After graduating at the Hightstown Institute, he took up the study of medicine with Dr. E. L. B. Wales, at Cape May.

Later he entered Jefferson College, graduating in 1875, serving his term as intern at the Rhode Island Hospital, Providence. He reached here the next year and immediately became one of the most active men of his profession, being on the surgical staff when Cooper Hospital was opened in 1887. He also was lecturer on fractures at the Medico-Chi Hos­pital in Philadelphia was major and surgeon of the Sixth Regiment, National Guard served as president of both the city and county societies and contributed authoritative papers to medical journals.

One of the early county physicians of Camden was Dr. William H. Iszard, a native of Gloucester County, where he was born in 1842. In 1862 he entered the service of the government as a medical cadet, being stationed at the hospital on Broad Street, Philadelphia, entering Jefferson College the following year. He was considerably hampered through ill health, but after much interruption graduated in 1870. He first located at Elmer, but soon afterward came here and opened an office at 411 North Fourth Street, where he practiced for many years. He was active in political work, being one of the first presidents of the Camden Republican Club, which long had its headquarters on Cooper Street above Third, and where many of the national figures in the party were occasional guests. He not only was welcome to any sick room but popular about town because of his affability and general all-around good fellowship. William H. Iszard, the realty man and prominent Elk, is a surviving son. Dr. Iszard died a couple of years ago in his eighties, mourned by many an old-timer. 

Dr. H. H. Davis

Contemporary with him was Dr. Henry H. Davis, whose name is still identified with all that means health protection for Camden's school children. For a generation he was either identified with the Board of Health as its president or the schools as chief medical officer. It was he who was largely responsible for rules guarding young pupils in public schools.

Prior to his activities not much attention was paid to ailing youngsters. If they had poor eyesight they were just as liable to be seated far from the blackboard. if their record put them in that position. Not much attention was paid to the cause of their backwardness and if they couldn't see the figures the teacher placed on the board failure was laid to natural dumbness. Not much attention was paid to chronic sore throats, bad teeth or other imperfections, but when Dr. Davis was placed in full charge of the schools he changed all that and children who have passed through the classes in the past quarter of a century owe much to this veteran medical man whom fate ordained should be killed by an auto in his eightieth year. It was through his efforts clinics were established where poor eyesight might be corrected and other deficiencies looked after by the hospitals or dental men.

Dr. Davis was born at Crosswicks, August 16, 1848, and became a student of pharmacy in the office of Dr. Alexander Mecray in 1867, entering Jefferson College in the fall of that year. He graduated two years later, courses then being half of the present requirements, and began practice here. For many years he had his office at Third Street and Kaighn Avenue. Two young men whose preceptor he was, Dr. Harry Jarrett and Dr. Rowland I. Haines, afterwards ranked among Camden's leading physicians. Dr. Davis was active in the county society, was a former coroner and for many years identified with many of the city's activities.

Dr. Onan B. Gross

Arch Street at one time was among Camden's leading residential thoroughfares, although in these days, with most of the old dwellings either gone or in a state of dilapidation that perhaps would be difficult to believe. Half a century ago some of the city's best known professional men resided there, among them Dr. Onan B. Gross, who had his office at 407 Arch Street. In later years he was located at Seventh and Federal Streets.

Dr. Gross was a native of Ephrata, Pa., where he was born February 19, 1851. He entered Ephrata Academy but when he was 17 he was thrown on his own resources and apprenticed as a carpenter. He served his time and worked as a journeyman, but he sought a medical career. Through hard work and rigid economy he saved enough to enter the University of Pennsylvania in 1875, graduating three years later. His ability was recognized even then for he was assistant demonstrator in anatomy in the last two years of his course, the first time such an honor had been given one not yet a graduate. In the year of his graduation he received a prize for skill in dissection work.

Dr. Gross was county physician three years, president of the county society, a surgeon at Cooper Hospital, member of the board of managers of the City Dispensary and identified with the various medical groups of the period. 


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