Biographical Sketch of Dr. George Francis Elam
April 15, 1846 – November 3,1922
George Francis Elam was born on April 15, 1846 to William Thomas and Cornelia Royster Elam in Rutherford County, North Carolina. He was the second of at least eight children. Some time between 1850 and 1860 the family migrated to the town of Hampton in Marion County, Arkansas. At age 17 (1864) George entered the Civil War as a Confederate soldier. At the close of hostilities he returned to Marion County and remained there the remainder of his life.
He was 20 years old when he married Rachel Dulcenia McIntire, 4 years his senior. (The 1870 and 1880 Census shows 7 or 8 years difference in George and Dulcenia ages.) The union yielded nine children, 4 girls and 5 boys. On January 20, 1902 Dulcenia died at age 59 (1842 – 1902). Nine months after Dulcenia’s death, Dr. Elam at age 55, married Ella Copeland, age 21, a marriage that lasted the remainder of his life. The marriage brought forth several children.
George farmed for a while when he returned from the War and gradually became interested in the field of medicine. He probably worked under another doctor to practice medicine for several years, as law required. He was determined to become a legally educated physician. He attended the University of Arkansas Medical Department in Little Rock and graduated in 1887 at age 41. An official license was mandated in 1903 and Dr. Elam is listed in the American Medical Directory Volume I of 1903 in Boone County as a practicing physician. Boone County is adjacent to Marion County. In the American Medical Directory Volume I of 1909 he is listed in Marion County.
Dr. Elam practiced about 15 years before he went to medical school. Then from his graduation in 1887 to retirement in about 1920, he added another 33 years. This made a grand total of approximately 45 years of medical care he had given to his patients
As further service to his profession and his belief in the ideals of regulated Medical Practice, Dr. Elam helped in forming the first Marion County Medical Society in 1913. He was elected its first president.
On his 73rd birthday the community gave him a surprise birthday party. Sixty-six neighbors, former patients and family attended to celebrate his long years of medical service to the community.
A newspaper article written upon his death stated that Dr. Elam was “considered one of the ablest practitioners in this part of the state and one of the county’s most progressive
citizens from every standpoint. He will be greatly missed in his community, and his place will be hard to fill”.*
Dr. George Francis Elam died on November 3, 1922 at the age of 76. Forty-five year of dedicated service to his friends and patients in Marion County, Arkansas was celebrated at his funeral. He was buried in Bruno Cemetery in Marion County, Arkansas.
*The Mountain Echo (Yellville, Arkansas) Nov. 9, 1922
Betty Battenfield July 2020