Updated November 23, 2012.
June 24, 2010 THE ISLANDERS. Interviews concerning Island Funerals.
November 23, 2013 ISLAND DOCTORS.
Interviews are from THE ISLANDERS. A publication produced by the Knotts Island Junior Historians at the Elementary School under the guidiance of Faye Freeman. These interviews are from Volume 1 of 1987.
Mahlon "Mike" Wade. Interviewed by Jr. Historians. Story written by Kelly Williams. Long ago Knotts Island had its own doctors who lived on the island and made house calls. Today the people on the Island must travel forty miles to Virginia Beach or Norfolk to receive medical help. Mahlon Wade, 77, talked to the Jr. Historians and told them what he remembered about the early doctors. The doctors, Oh we had one doctor living on here. He would charge, I believe it was a dollar and a quarter a month to take care of the whole family--if you had two in the family or if you had six or seven in the family. If you got something wrong, something that he could do, that was all free for that dollar and a quarter a month, for that whole family. Now if you didn't want to get on his list, as they called it, then if something happened and he had to come to you, why he could charge a little more for that. There was no operations. He could set an arm if you broke your arm, he would set that, or a finger, just a cold or whopping cough or things like that, but there was no operations. The first one I ever knew was Dr. Maynard, and then the one I remember most was Dr. Nicholson. (Mr. Nicholson did not live on Knotts Island, but he would come to the Island to treat people). Mr. Wade also remembered a few times when a dentist would come to the schools and check the student's teeth. Well I was not very old when the dentist came to the old school and he brought all of his stuff with him. The little drill that worked was just like a sewing machine. He had to work it with his feet. There was no such thing as putting something on your teeth to stop the pain, and I tell you that was a marvelous piece of work! I think it was up to you (to have the dentist work on your teeth). He would look at you naturally. If you said no, that's alright, he would go along with you.
Mrs. Edna White Carroll. Interviewed by Jr. Historian Club. Story by Mike Daugherty. Mrs. Edna Carroll, 72, a resident of Knotts Island, remembered about the doctors on Knotts Island in the early days. At one time, now I can't remember that because he was the doctor here when I was born, he was Mama's doctor, Dr. Maynard, I think he lived on the Island for a while. Then there was a Dr. Gatlin that lived just right across the road from Jean (Jean Cason). There was a two-story house there that burned, and he had a little office, right inside the yard. You went up Ward's Road and came into the yard and his little office was sitting right on Ward's Road. His office was separated from his house. Everybody made house calls, all doctors made house calls at that time. The two others that Mrs. Carroll remembered were Dr. Nicholson and Dr. Hancock. They lived at Creeds, Virginia, but they both made some house calls to Knotts Island. There were not medicines like we have today. They didn't have any tablets. All they had was liquid medicines. I remember they used to give quinine for fevers and it is the bitterest stuff you ever put in your mouth. You can't get rid of it. They give quinine, and then we had something in a bottle called Chill-tonic. You swallowed it as fast as you could because it was bitter and the quinine would stick to your tongue. They also have castor oil today, just like back then. They didn't have penicillin, back then. They had an epidemic of diptheria. People have died from this disease. Mrs. Carroll rememberred two of her classmates dying of diptheria during Christmas vacation.
Mr. Casey Munden. Interviewed by Suzanna Flannagan & Brandy Futrell. Story written by Tommy Hemsath. Mr. Casey Munden, a life-long resident of Knotts Island, related this story about doctors. Oh yes, oh yes, I remember the doctor. We paid them fifty cents a week, I think, to treat us. Back in those days they didn't charge for each visit. We contracted with him to come here and stay. I think it was fifty cents a week that we had to pay. I spent but $2.00 a month for doctor protection, see, and the first one come in here, he did not have any automobile. He had a horse and buggie that he visited his patients in. Towards the last, you know, we got a little more civilized, little more wealthier. Then we got an old model T; the second one in here, I think. In the earlier days doctors made house calls. But people did not have telephones, so you had to get the doctors when you needed them. Well I guess you would have to go down and tell them you needed a doctor.
Mrs. Bessie Cason. Interviewed by Sherry Cason. Story written by Sherry Cason. Mrs. Bessie Cason, 77, recalled what the doctors on Knotts Island used to be like. I remember when there were doctors on the Island. There were two doctors. Dr. Gatlin was the first doctor, and after he left it was Dr. Maynard. He lived on the Island. If you got sick, he'd come to you. You wouldn't have to go to him. You paid him once a month. Everyone on the Island had to pay 'em because that was the only way they had to go to the doctor. I believe it was a dollar and a half a month you had to pay them. They come to you; you didn't have to go to them.