Sunday, July 29, 2012



            Among the well known medical men of western Oklahoma is Dr. Ira A. Lee, of Erick, a member of an early colonial family of English origin which was founded in the colony of Virginia and which gave to this country the great Confederate leader, Gen. Robert E. Lee. Doctor Lee first came to the Indian Territory in 1905, and with the exception of two years in Arkansas has been engaged in professional labors here ever since, having steadily advanced to a position where his talents are recognized as being of an order entitling him to be classed among the skilled and thorough devotees of the science of medicine of this part of the state. He was born in Ohio County, Kentucky. December 31, 1875, and is the son of John W. and Polly J. (Stidum) Lee.

            Robert Lee, the grandfather of Doctor Lee, was born in 1811, in Virginia, one of a family of six sons, whose descendants are to be found all over the south and Southwest. Robert Lee was married in Virginia to a Miss Elum, also a native of the Old Dominion, and after several years they removed to Ohio County, Kentucky, settling as pioneers on a plantation, where for many years the grandfather followed farming and stock raising. In later life he removed to Kansas, where his death occurred in 1881, the grandmother having passed away in Kentucky. Robert Lee served valiantly as a soldier of the Confederacy in a Kentucky volunteer infantry regiment during the Civil war, and lost an arm at the battle of Shiloh, this terminating his service. He was the father of five children, as follows: John W.; Elizabeth, who died in Ohio County, Kentucky; Hardin A., who was a physician and surgeon and met an accidental death in Indiana; Eliza Jane, who died in Ohio County, Kentucky; and Armina, who resides in Daviess County, Kentucky.

            John W. Lee was born in Virginia in 1840 and was a small boy when taken by his parents to Ohio County, Kentucky. There he learned the trade of stone mason, which he followed for a number of years, although later his attention was almost entirely devoted to the vocation of farming. When he retired from active labor he removed to Magazine, Arkansas, in 1905, and there made his home with his son, Ira A., and died in 1910. He was a democrat, but not active in public life, his activities therein being confined to the performance of the duties of good citizenship. Mr. Lee married Miss Polly J. Stidum, who was born in Ohio County, Kentucky, in 1848, and they became the parents of two children: Dr. Ira A., and Hardin R., who is a mechanic and resides at Erick, Oklahoma.

            Dr. Ira A. Lee received his early education in Ohio County, Kentucky, where he graduated from the high school in the class of 1893. Securing a certificate as a teacher he entered upon a career in educational work, and from 1893 until 1897 was principal of the county schools in Ohio County. During this time he had become interested in the study of medicine and finally entered Louisville (Kentucky) Medical College, which he attended two years. Subsequently he became a student at the Kansas City Eclectic Medical University, where he was graduated in 1905 with the degree of Doctor of Medicine, and his first practice was at Magazine, Arkansas, where he remained for only a short time. In 1905 he came to Indian Territory and practiced two years, then returned to Arkansas for a like period. In 1909 he settled permanently at Erick, Beckham County, Oklahoma, and this flourishing little city has continued to be the scene of his professional activities and successes, his offices being now located in the First State Bank Building. He carries on a general medical and surgical practice and is regarded as a learned practitioner, skilled in diagnosis, and as a careful and steady-handed surgeon. He holds membership in the Beckham County Medical Society, the Oklahoma Medical Society, the American Medical Association and the Southwestern Medical Society, and keeps himself thoroughly informed with regard to the constantly advancing standards of his calling. He is a democrat but has not entered into public life, preferring to devote himself wholeheartedly to the duties of his rapidly increasing practice. His fraternal affiliation is confined to membership in Magazine (Arkansas) Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.

            In 1897, in Ohio County, Kentucky, Doctor Lee was married to Miss Nellie H. Martin, daughter of William H. Martin, a farmer of Ohio County, Kentucky, and four children have been born to this union: Myrtle, born October 21, 1901; Robert, born July 1, 1903; Mabel, born March 8, 1906; and Fitzhugh, born in June 1910. Doctor Lee is a citizen who at all times has been willing to support measures for the public welfare and through a high order of citizenship has won and retained the regard of his fellow-townsmen.

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