Dr. William J Darnell

Dr. William J. Darnell
b. 12 December 1837, Scott County, Virginia, to Henry H. and Hannah Retia (Hensley) Darnell
d. 20 February 1926, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

m/1. 10 May 1868, Fayette County, Illinois
Elizabeth W. Pasley
b. June 1851, Illinois
d. Miami County, Illinois

m/2. 1901, Miami County, Indiana
Mary Martha Keplinger
b. 18 November 1886, Union Township, Miami County, Indiana
d. 4 June 1971, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Children with Elizabeth W. Pasley:

  • T. E.
  • Mary
  • Lou
  • Ida Mae
  • Ethel E.
  • Hazel M.

Children with Mary Martha Keplinger:

  • Irene Vinita (b. 17 September 1902)
  • William Jay (b. 29 May 1912)

Dr. Darnell immigrated to Peru, Miami County, Indiana, before 1900 from Fayette County, IL. He emigrated from Indiana to Weer, Indian Territory, south of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, in 1904.

William Darnell served in Company M of the 1st Indiana Cavalry during the Civil War until he was wounded in the head by a steel ball. Doctors then inserted a stainless steel plate, and he was discharged. Darnell was so impressed with the medical profession that he decided to become a physician. He attended the University of Michigan, the University of Illinois, and Johns Hopkins University while earning his Doctor of Medicine degree with a specialization in surgery and obtaining a license to practice pharmacy in 1868.

Dr. Darnell began his profession in Illinois and then moved to Peru, Indiana. In 1903 while practicing in Williford, Arkansas, he became acquainted with the Jesse James gang after treating some of their wounds from one of their escapades.

After visiting Indian Territory a number of times, Dr. Darnell purchased Dr. B. T. Ball’s business at Weer. The Darnell store was a combined drug, grocery, and general store. Since he was a licensed pharmacist, he would prepare various types of medicines for his patients, and his wife would operate the store while he was away on house calls.

His practice took Dr. Darnell as far east as Wagoner and to Kellyville in the west. He rode a horse on most trips, although he did use a horse and buggy on some occasions. Later he purchased a Model T Ford to use on his calls.

Bills were sometimes paid in wood, hogs, chickens, and cows, and a few patients even worked their bills by helping on Dr. Darnell’s farm. For those who made no effort to pay their debts, Dr. Darnell wrote in the back of his journal of uncollected bills “Gone to Hell.”

Submitted by:
Norma M. Sullivan.
Delphi IN

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