Edward Baxter was born in Batesville, Arkansas on January 16, 1853 the son of Elisha and Harriet N. Patton Baxter, the second of six children, three boys and three girls. Elisha, an attorney in Batesville was Governor of Arkansas during the reconstruction period after the Civil War. Edward served as aide-de-camp to his father for a while thus interrupting his education. When he returned to Batesville he enrolled at the new Arkansas College (now Lyons College). Upon completing college he enrolled at the University of Louisville in 1877 receiving an M.D. in 1879. He established practice in Melbourne, Izard County, Arkansas.
Dr. Baxter married Margaret Powell on December 23, 1882. The couple had five children. A daughter, Fannie, died in infancy. One son, Cecil, died at about age nine. Margaret was an ideal wife. She kept his saddle bags ready at all times and was unofficial receptionist and secretary.
Dr. Baxter practiced his beloved profession the first 44 years traveling on horse back with his instruments and pills in a saddlebag. He delivered an estimated 3500 babies. Known as kind and caring he spent many nights at a bedside of the sick, committed to them whether they paid him–in produce, or not at all. He gained the confidence of people throughout the area studying constantly to keep up with the latest medical advances. The people trusted him and he cared for 3 generations of many families as their confident and friend. In 1912 his office was destroyed in a fire that consumed part of the city. It totaled five hundred dollars for repair costs to rebuild and start over. In 1924 he bought a Chevrolet touring car to replace his horses but he never learned to drive. He hired someone to drive him to see his patients.
Dr. Baxter was the Health Officer for Izard County several years and was coroner for two years. At times Dr. Baxter was called to sign “The Arkansas Certificate of Medical Examination” verifying that a person was qualified to practice medicine in the County. One such occasion was for a young man named Robert Lee.
Dr. Baxter was member of the I O O F and the I O O F Encampment. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Church. He was seldom interested in politics.
At the age of 88 Dr. Baxter died peacefully at home on September 22, 1941. He had practiced medicine more than 60 years in Izard County dedicated to the people he loved. His burial is in the Melbourne Cemetery.
Betty L. Battenfield 2019