Minnesota County Histories
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The History of Renville County, Volume 2
Compiled by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge
George H. Mesker, M. D., a resident physician of Olivia, Minnesota, was born in Kelso township, Sibley county, Minnesota, July 10, 1873, son of Herman and Wilhelmina (Buesing) Mesker, natives respectively of Hanover and Baden, Germany. Herman Mesker was brought to America by his parents as an infant. Wilhelmina Buesing came with her parents at the age of eighteen. Both families located in Ohio where the young people grew to manhood and womanhood and married. In 1858 they came to Minnesota, driving through Iowa to Sibley county by team and located a piece of wild land where they built a log cabin and lived the rest of their days. Herman Mesker died at the age of seventy-eight and his wife at the age of forty-seven. They had nine children, George H. being the youngest. He attended the district school and the Henderson High school. Then he taught school in his home township a year. In 1896 he graduated from the College of Medicine and Surgery, University of Minnesota. After a year spent as a hospital interne, he came to Oliva in 1897, opened an office, and has since continued in practice.
Dr. Mesker has held office as a council member, is on the school board and is a member of the Olivia Lodge No. 220, A. F. & A. M. He was united in marriage to Ella Dressel, born in St. Paul, daughter of early pioneers of the state who came from Germany. Two children, Douglas and Clifford, have been born to Dr. and Mrs. Mesker.
Adolph Augustus Passer, A. B., M. D., physician and surgeon of Olivia, was born in Luverne, Minnesota, Jan. 3, 1880, son of Ludwig and Pauline (Boehlke) Passer, Minnesota pioneers, the father who now resides at Waseca, this state, having been a clergyman in the German Evangelical Church for some fifty years. Dr. Passer graduated from the Waseca High school, and then took the four-year course in the Academic Department of the University of Minnesota, receiving his degree in 1902. Then for five years he was principal of the High school at Virginia, this state, and then engaged as a druggist at St. Cloud for a year. In 1908 he began the study of medicine at the University of Minnesota, completing his course in 1912. While attending medical school he served as assistant surgeon of the Soldiers' Home Hospital at Minneapolis for a year and was for a similar period interne in the St. Thomas Hospital. He is a member of the Phi Beta Pi, the medical fraternity. After graduation he spent a year as an interne at the Minneapolis City Hospital, and in April, 1913, came to Olivia, where he is now engaged in general practice. He has taken his part in the life of Olivia, is a stockholder in the Farmers' State Bank, a member of the Rod and Gun club, and of the Commercial club. Fraternally his affiliation is with the A. F. & A. M. Dr. Passer has been county coroner since 1913, and has served for some years as a member of the Olivia village Board of Health. He is also second lieutenant of Company H, Third Regiment, M. N. G. His professional connections are many. He belongs to the Camp Release Medical Society, the Minnesota State Medical Association and the American Medical Association, and is local examiner for the N. Y. Mutual Life Insurance Co.; the Northwest Mutual, of Milwaukee; Fidelity Mutual; Equitable Life Insurance Society; Minnesota Mutual Life; Dakota Life Insurance Co.; the Modern Woodmen of America and the Royal Neighbors. He is a member of the staff of the West Side General Hospital of St. Paul. In politics he is a Republican, and his faith is that of the German Evangelical church. Dr. Passer was married May 15, 1913, in Minneapolis, to Irene Morek, daughter of James and Caroline (Locke) Morek.
James B. Ferguson, for some forty years a Medical Officer in the United States, and for some time a physician at Olivia, first came to Minnesota in 1870, when he reached St. Paul on his way to Ft. Totten, North Dakota. In all he spent some twenty years in the Department of Dakota. Nov. 30, 1891, he resigned from the army, and after considering a number of places decided upon Olivia as the scene of his future activities. He reached Olivia, Dec. 25, 1891, and while looking about for a home, boarded at the old Merchants Hotel, at that time kept by Mr. and Mrs. John Miller, Sr. Dr. Ferguson located in Olivia because he had confidence in the people who were interested in its welfare and growth and because at that time there was a need of a physician, none being then located here. The country around was an excellent farming area, the village had good railroad facilities, and even at that time it seemed the logical place for the county seat. Dr. Ferguson at once won the esteem of the people and established a good practice. He took part in the county seat fight and was an able assistant to such county-seat fighters as Peter W. Heins, Hans Gronnerud, P. H. Kirwan, Thad. P. McIntyre and others. The doctor found, however, that after so many years of army service the life of a village physician was too strenuous, so on June 4, 1898, in response to a telegram from the Surgeon General, United States Army, Washington, D. C., asking him to reenter the service, he accepted, and was assigned to Ft. Yellowstone, Wyoming. In April, 1911, he retired, and with his wife, who in the meantime had continued to live in Olivia, moved to St. Paul, where he now lives.
J. D. Ellis practiced in Olivia for a year in 1891.
Glenn Hymer practiced in Olivia for a year or two about 1911. He moved to Williston, North Dakota, where he died in 1913.
F. C. Miller was born on a farm near Northfield, this state, worked as a druggist, attended a school of pharmacy at Portland, Oregon, graduated from the medical department of Hamline University with honors, and started practice in Olivia in October, 1899.
Charles Weinsma graduated from the University of Utrecht, Holland, in 1872, received a certificate from the Medical Examing Board, Sept. 18, 1884, and presented his certificate for record Dec. 18, 1890. He practiced at Olivia some two to five years..
Rock Phelps Miller received a certificate from the Medical Examining Board Oct. 13, 1896, and offered it for record Nov. 9, 1899. He remained in Sacred Heart a short time but is out of practice now.
Edward T. Congngham graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Minneapolis, Minn., in 1886, received a certificate from the Medical Examining Board June 3, 1886, and presented his certificate for record April 13, 1887. He practiced in Olivia for about six months in 1887.
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