Chester Chatter: Town doctors a life-line in small communities

By Ruthie Douglas
©2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The country doctor had an important role in small town America. Folks counted on him to fix their ailments. They counted on him for all sort of advice as well.

In Springfield, where I grew up, we were lucky to have two such doctors — Dr. Griffith and Dr. Jackson. Across the street from us, when I was about 6 years old and in the first grade, Dr. Bob Jackson set up his first practice.

He rented a house and neighbors quickly got to know him. He seemed to be always cheerful and smiling.

When I got the measles, Dr. Jackson came across the street after hours to see how I was doing. In his doctor’s bag he carried a story book, and every day he read to me another story. He made me promise to stay in my darkened room to protect my eyes. In those days, measles was a two-week ordeal.

Later, when I needed my tonsils out, my mother and I went by taxi to the hospital, where Dr. Jackson removed them and, when his workday was done, Dr. Jackson drove me home.

Dr. Jackson’s office remained across the street from our home for three years before he moved to Chester. We all missed him. Perhaps his office had not been fancy and his equipment modern but when you went to see him when you were sick, you always left feeling better.

Dr. Jackson never forgot me. He often called me about my column and had nice things to say.

Dr. Jackson was special, and meant a lot to many people.


Alice “Dee” Hesselton passed away last week. She was known by many. Dee offered her help to her church and other groups. She was always busy. Our thoughts are with her family.

Rick Howard and Karen, as well as Lyndsay and Joe and baby Jack, all of Louisa, Va., were home for the graveside service for Dick Howard. Friends and family gathered for lunch at the American Legion Post 67. Rick thanks all those who helped on the lunch.

Chris and Cheryl Cook have moved into their new home in Statesville, N.C. Best wishes to you two.

Congratulations to Judy Henning who is a brand new grandmother of two granddaughters. Born to Kirby Putnam and Carissa Neathawk is Finley Grace. Born to Damien Adams and Ashley Austin is Charlotte Anne. The cousins were born a week apart.

And then …

Several members of the American Legion Post 67 went to the Summer Convention in Rutland, attending meetings, workshops and speaker presentations.

And it is the 70th anniversary of the tragic crash of the B-29 Bomber on Hawks Mountain.

This week’s trivia:  Who opened up the eating place named Hind Quarters?
Answer to last week’s trivia: President Richard Nixon made Father’s Day legal in 1972.

Street Talk

What famous person would you like to have lunch with?

What’s that?

If you think you know what this object is, give Ruthie a call at 875-3260.

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Filed Under: Chester ChatterCommunity and Arts Life

About the Author: Ruthie Douglas is originally from Springfield but has called Chester her home for 58 years, and has been writing the Chester Chatter column for more than 40 of those years. Ruthie is also a longtime volunteer throughout the community.

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  1. Carol Peebles says:

    Hi Ruthie, So glad to see you back in business; yep the business of making us all happy again. You know, we all appreciate your stories of long ago, it jogs our memories and brings smiles to our lips too.
    My family had Dr. Doane in Springfield for a family doctor. He would make house calls, or more often than not, just listen to my mother over the phone and tell her a prescription would be ready at the local pharmacy. Things were so simple back then.
    Speaking of Dr. Jackson -I can remember my mom telling me that when she was ready to go to high school, she moved to Springfield from Andover and stayed with and worked for a Dr. Jackson. His wife was ill and they had small children. She loved this family and worked very hard for them until she had to leave school after her junior year. I wonder if he was related to your Dr. Jackson.

  2. Judy Cenate says:

    Enjoyed recalling the love and care Dr Jackson provided to our community. thank you

  3. Heather and Tyler Chapman says:

    Dear Ms. Douglas,
    Dr. Jackson was my husband’s grandfather and our daughter’s great grandfather. Thank you for sharing such a sweet story. We miss him a lot. I will be sure to share the story with family.

  4. Diana Ashworth says:

    So good to see your wonderful columns here, Ruthie.