Biographical Sketch of Dr. David Ambrose Hutchinson
December 27, 1848 – May 27, 1934
David Ambrose Hutchinson was born in Dadeville, Tallapoosa County, Alabama to Joseph Richard and Henrietta Hutchinson (note spelling: David changed it so it was unlike his brother’s). There were five girls and three boys in the family. The family moved to Arkansas in 1886 by wagon train and after several moves, settled in Columbia County, on a plantation. Young David helped his father with farm work and simultaneously studied medicine and helped in Doctor Walker’s office.
As David matured, his interest in medicine increased and his knowledge
of anatomy and known treatments became adequate. He left home and went to New Orleans to attend Tulane University, graduating from the Medical Department in 1872. In that same year, he married Mary A. Wallace. Later, with their four children, the family moved to Hope, Arkansas, then to Nashville, Arkansas in 1882 where they made their permanent home. Dr. Hutchinson took a post-graduate course in1880 or 1881 from the College of Physicians of Surgeons of Baltimore, Maryland. Mary, in poor health after the 4th child, died in 1897. About two years later, Dr. Hutchinson married Lola Hutchinson in November 28, 1899. They had one child who became a doctor in Texarkana. He was killed in WWII at age 42.
The doctor built a very fine house in Nashville in 1881, but it burned completely five years later (1886). In 1889, he constructed his second house and lived comfortably there for many years. By this time “he was one of the foremost, respected physicians of this section and possesses a character which all respect and admire”.* In 1900, the City of Nashville appointed a Board of Health with Dr. Hutchinson and two other doctors on it. The first task was to determine whether a negro had small pox. Dr. Hutchinson visited the patient and determined that he did not have the disease. He remained on the Board of Health for a number of years. He aided another doctor on an infantile paralysis case, and confirmed another case on a small 5 year old girl as having the dreaded infantile paralysis. To the parents he gave instruction, according to state guidelines– to keep flies out of the house and not to allow others to come in contact with the patient. Dr. Hutchinson kept meticulous records of his County Health Officer work and of his private practice. His “medical record books dating back to the late 1800’s are housed in the Department of Archives and History in Little Rock, Arkansas.” **
Dr Hutchinson had “one of the first reclining chairs in Nashville, and the first Hupmobile in Nashville”, a novel treat for children to see him driving through town. Dr. Hutchinson invited his family of five brothers and his mother for a reunion at his home in June of 1904. The family invitations were answered positively and the family enjoyed their time together. Dr. Hutchinson owned a fertile farm of 160 acres near the city of Hope, some of it under cultivation and some left as timber.
The doctor was a Mason and a member of the Methodist Church. He held many offices in the Medical Society. He served many years on the school board. In1834, he was the first mayor of Nashville when it was incorporated, serving two terms. He was a veteran of WW I.
Dr. Hutchinson served the people of Nashville faithfully from 1882 to 1934. He had practiced medicine for 60 years, about 52 years in Nashville of Howard County. He retired at age 84 years of age only because of diminishing health. In 1934, he died at the age of 86. All stores in town were closed during the funeral service. Burial is at Nashville Cemetery.
* Goodspeed Biological and Historical Memoirs of Southern Arkansas
Chicago, Nashville and St. Louis, Goodspeed Publishing Co. 1890. 274
** Lola Hutchinson McFarland, “Biography of Dr. David Ambrose Hutchinson”
Betty L. Battenfield October 2019