John Manke is an active former Bay View resident who is involved in numerous neighborhood organizations, including the Bay View Historical Society, the Humboldt Park Fourth of July Association and the Shore Shore Farmers Market. He believes Bay View has a fine tradition in its past that we do not want to lose in the future.
In the early years of Wisconsin, doctors were very scarce. Many times people to went to people who had knowledge of the old indian cures to help them. Because we had no medical schools in Wisconsin then, the only real doctors had to come from elsewhere. Dr. Enoch Chase came from Darby, Vermont in 1835. His brother Horace Chase ( later Mayor of Milwaukee ) came here in 1834. Dr. Chase delivered the first two children born in Milwaukee. Milwaukee Sivyer and Milwaukee Smith were the two children. Sivyer was a boy and Smith was a girl. U. S. Smith, the father of Milwaukee Smith, was a Bay View resident. His house is still standing on S. Howell Ave., half way between E. Smith Street and E. Wilson Street, and is located close to the alley. If you look at this house, you would never guess that it was a pioneer house. Dr. Chase left the field of medicine then and started glass works in Bay View.
In the old days, anybody could put up a sign and say they were a doctor. It was not until later years that regulations on who could be registered as a doctor went into effect. Doctors from the eastern United States and doctors who came from Europe gradually became the doctors of choice for people. Dentists had the same problem.
Once established, the doctors built up a strong medical practice and plenty of patients. Hospitals had a reputation of being a house of death, since only the sickest people went there. In Germany, a story came out of the dark ages. "Kein Wunder" ( No Wonder) was the title of the story. During the plague, every doctor was required to have a sign out near his office to list how many of his patients died of the plague. A rich man started coming down with plague symptoms. He asked his servant to go out and find a doctor that had the fewest plague deaths on his sign. The servant brought the doctor to his master. The master asked how many of his patients had died of the plague. The doctor said only three. He was asked for his remedy for the plague. The doctor said take plenty of orange juice and water. The master asked him how long he was a doctor. The doctor stated that he became a doctor only yesterday. Thus the title of the story. We never had this kind of problem here in Milwaukee. You should check out your doctor before you see him and check out his skills. You have to trust your doctor in all matters of health. A good doctor is unafraid of anybody checking his records as a doctor.
Today, doctors have trained in the most advanced studies possible in saving lives. The general doctor is almost a thing of the past. Most doctors today specialize in many fields. If you have a problem, you will most likely be sent to a specialist by your general practitioner, because he is not trained in certain fields of practice. Hospitals today are very expensive compared to yesteryear. Diseases that were incurable in the past can now be cured. If you were told you had cancer then, there was little they could do for you. Now they have new drugs and methods that are extending the lives of the cancer patients. Even though it cost more to be cured now, at least you have good chance of surviving for a few more years.
Nobody is perfect, and as hard as they try to help you, there a still some things that they know little about. Research and development is the key to today's medical programs. You must trust in your doctor to find a cure for your illnesses. Healthful living and eating with plenty of excercise are very good in prolonging our lives. Do not be afraid to see a doctor when you need one. He could save your life one day.