Minnesota County Histories
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The History of Renville County, Volume 2
Compiled by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge
The first physician in Renville was Dr. Fleishman, an eccentric character well remembered by the early settlers.
Edward M. Clay, M. D., physician and surgeon of Renville, was born in Oronoco, Olmsted county, Minnesota, March 2, 1866, son of Mark W. and Johanna P. (Stoddard) Clay. He attended the public schools of his native county, and in 1884 removed with his father to Hutchinson, in this state. It was in 1887 when he came to Renville, then without a paper, and became editor of the Renville Weekly News, which was established by C. L. Lorraine the same week of his arrival, and continued editing it until 1889. In the meantime he had engaged in private study, and upon leaving the newspaper desk, found himself well-qualified to enter the Minneapolis College of Physicians and Surgeons at Minneapolis, from which he graduated in 1893 with the degrees of M. D. and C. M. Having thus realized an ambition of many years, he opened an office in Renville, where he still continues to practice. He has built up a large practice, and is well deserving of the esteem and confidence in which he is held by the people of the village and surrounding rural districts. Keeping thoroughly abreast of the latest discoveries in science and medicine, he has perfected his previous study and experience by post-graduate work in several branches. Being thoroughly ethical in the practice of the ideals of his profession he has allied himself with the Camp Release District Medical Association, the Southern Minnesota Medical Association, the Minnesota State Medical Association and the American Medical Association. He is medical examiner for eighteen Old Line, so-called, insurance companies, and has been local surgeon for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad for some twenty years. Locally the health and sanitation of the community has been benefitted by his valued services as county coroner twelve years, county physician four years, and village health officer for several years. Dr. Clay is past worshipful master of Renville Lodge, No. 193, A. F. & A. M., and in 1904 he served as deputy grand master, Minnesota Grand Lodge, I. O. O. F. He is also a member of the Modern Woodmen and other orders. Too busy with his work to mingle actively in political life, he nevertheless has consented to serve for two years as alderman of Renville from the second ward, and his sane and conservative judgement was thoroughly appreciated by his contituents. Dr. Clay was married October 14, 1893, to Belle C. Benson, daughter of David and Carrie (Knutson) Benson, of Renville. This union has been blessed with two children. Florence J. was born May 20, 1906. An unnamed infant is deceased.
Mark W. Clay, one of Minnesota's sturdy territorial pioneers, was a native of the Granite State, having been born of New England ancestry in the state of New Hampshire. In the early fifties, when so many of the scions of the early settlers on the Atlantic slope were striking westward to take their part in the subduing of the Northwestern wilderness, Mark M. Clay joined the vanguard, and the year 1853 found him located in Oronoco, Olmsted county. He engaged for many years in the mercantile business in Oronoco in that county. In 1884 he moved to Hutchinson, in this state, where he died at the age of sixty-eight years. At the outbreak of the civil war he organized Company K, Third Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry and was elected captain. He was mustered in on November 14, 1861, and retired December 1, 1862. Mark W. Clay was married in 1857 to Johanna P. Stoddard, a native of Massachusetts, who came to Minnesota with her estimable parents in 1853. She died at Oronoco, in Olmsted county, this state, in 1884, at the age of fifty-three. Later in life Mr. Clay married Emma Brundage. By his first marriage he was the father of seven children: Ida A., Maggie W., Edward M., Harvey J., Wellington S., Zelda M., and Charles F. Ida A. is the wife of William H. Hoffman, of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, a contractor. They have four children: Mark (deceased), Merle, Claude and Charles. Maggie W. is the wife of John W. West, a harness manufacturer of Browntown, Minnesota, and they have three children: Earl, Ruth and Donald. Edward M. is a physician at Renville. He married Belle C. Benson, and they have one child, Florence J. Wellington S. lives in Hutchinson, Minnesota. He married Effie Powell, and they have five children: James, Josephine, Mark, Elizabeth and Warren. Harry J. lives at Hutchinson. He married Maud Sofford and has one son, Arthur Clay. Zelda M. is the wife of Frank Chase, of San Franscisco, and they have one daughter, Margaret. Charles F. is proprietor of Sacred Heart Hotel at Sacred Heart. He married Byrdina Lambert, and they have four children: Marshall, Marcia, Virginia and Lambert.
Joseph W. Preisinger, M. D., was born Dec. 22, 1874, in Nicholette county, Minn., son of Wolfgang and Juliana (Gerl) Preisinger. On completing the work of the country school he entered the New Ulm High school, from which he graduated in 1900. He then entered the School of Medicine of the University of Minn., receiving his diploma in 1904. He began practicing in Renville, where he still remains, having a large practice. He is a democrat in politics, and for two terms was a health officer of Renville. He is a member of the Cathloic church and of the Catholic Foresters and Knights of Columbus. Dr. Preisinger was married Oct. 12, 1911, to Ella Wigdahl, born Aug. 22, 1890, in Westby, Vernon county, Wisconsin, her parents being Peter and Mary Wigdahl. They have one child, Myrtle, born Dec. 3, 1912.
Wolfgang Preisinger was born in 1828 and died at New Ulm, Minn., in 1898. He came to America with his parents in 1861 and settled near New Ulm, where he engaged in farming. In 1862 he enlisted in the Second Battery, Light Artillery, Minnesota Volunteers, and saw service in Kentucky and Tennessee under General Rosecrans. During the year of his enlistment he received word at Frankfort, Ky., of the Indian outbreak at his home and asked for leave of absence to go home and look after his folks. He was refused and a few days later deserted, but before reaching home was taken prisoner by the Confederates. He escaped and went home, instead of returning to his regiment. On his arrival he found that the country had been laid waste. After spending two weeks in hunting for his folks he found them all safe at Mankato and St. Peter. Returning to the farm they rebuilt their houses and barns and in the fall of 1862 Mr. Preisinger went to Wisconsin and enlisted in the Thirty-eighth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry under an assumed name. He was with Grant beforeVicksburg and Richmond. He was mustered out at the close of the war. Returning home he married and took up a homestead near New Ulm where he lived until 1897 when he sold his farm and moved to New Ulm. Six children were born to him as the result of his marriage in 1868: Mary, now Mrs. A. J. Fisher, of Brown Co., Minn.; Annie, the wife of Frank Bartl, of Stirum, North Dakota; Frances, widow of George Dauscheck, of New Ulm; Joseph, of Renville; Sophia, who resides with her mother; Theresa, who died in 1887.
Peter Wigdahl was born in Wisconsin in 1859 and his wife was born in the same state in 1861. They had fifteen children, thirteen of whom are living: Carl, George, Mabel, Nordahl, Ella, Jeanette, Edward, John, Myrtle, Hazel, Esther, Lloyd, and Emerson. Two died in infancy. Mr. Wigdahl is a farmer and for several years has lived on his farm in Crooks township, Renville county.
Edward Carle Adams received a certificate from the Medical Examining Board Oct. 13, 1905, and offered it for record Nov. 17, 1908.
Allison W. Lumley received a certificate from the Medical Examining Board Oct. 5, 1894, and offered it for record Oct. 1, 1895. In about 1912 he left for Ellsworth, Wisconsin.
L. T. Francis has practiced in Renville since Nov. 23, 1909. He studied medicine in the Bennett Medical College, of Chicago, in 1881-82, and then became associated with Dr. L. Pratt, of Wheaton, Ill., who proved a most excellent preceptor. It was through his influence that the young student adhered to the Homeopathic school of practice. In the spring of 1884, Dr. Francis took his degree from the Chicago Homeopatic Medical College. Then he practiced with his preceptor for another year, subsequently going to College Springs, Iowa, where he remained for a year and a half. He then found himself compelled to come north on account of the malaria. Sept. 2, 1886, he located in Wasioja, Minn., where he practiced for some seventeen years, moving from there to Hammond, Minn., from which town he came to Renville for the purpose of placing his three sons in the Renville High school, from which institution all three have since graduated. In the winter of 1889-90, Dr. Francis took a post-graduate course in the Chicago Polyclinic College. Since that time he has not confined his practice to the Homeopathic school but uses those remedies which he believes for the highest interest of his patients.
John R. Peterson received a certificate from the Medical Examining Board June 10, 1897, and offered it for record August 2, 1897. He then located at Renville. In 1900 he went to Madison, Minn., and left there for Willmar in 1904 or 05. In about 1910 he moved to Minneapolis where he is still practicing.
Rebecca Shoemaker received a certificate from the Medical Examining Board Dec. 31, 1883, and offered it for record January 19, 1884.
Willis Clay was born in 1854, in Chicago, Ill. About four [years] later he went with his widowed mother to New York but one year after removed to Minnesota. Dr. Clay attended the high school at Plainview and began the study of medicine there in 1877, with Dr. J. P. Waste. Two years after, he entered Rush Medical College of Chicago, and after graduating from there in 1880 was in practice in Renville. Dr. Clay taught school while studying medicine. In 1900 Dr. Clay moved from Renville to Iowa, where he remained about two years and then moved to Waterville, Minn., where he operates a drug store and practices medicine.
Richard Randall practiced in Renville in the early days. He was educated in the college at Keokuk, Iowa, and came to Renville from Le Sueur county, this state. He afterwards returned to Le Sueur county and died there.
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