Biographical Sketch of Dr. James Henry Drewry
June 20, 1849 – February 9, 1929
James Henry Drewry was born in Smithville, DeKalb County, Tennessee on June 20, 1849 to the farming family of George Washington and Susan Hendrix Drewry. In the 1850 U. S. Census the family is living in District 25, Dade, Missouri and ten years later the family is making their home in Mountain, Searcy, Arkansas. In the 1870 U. S. Census James H Drewry is a farm laborer in Mount Pleasant, Searcy, Arkansas living at home with his father and two siblings. Doctor Drewry is to call Searcy County, Arkansas home for the remainder of his life.
“James H. Drewry’s first experience as a doctor was in studying and practice with Dr. John Stevens in 1876. After securing his license under the regulations of those days he later attended the Arkansas Medical College in Little Rock. His first practice was in 1876. His last professional visit was on December 30, 1928.” 1 Information regarding graduation was not obtained nor is his name among the list of Graduates in Medicine, 1880-1979 Medical Education in Arkansas 1879-1978. He was licensed to practice medicine in 1903.
“Many interesting anecdotes are told of him. He experienced many narrow escapes. He was a crack shot. Once in the early days a black bear barred the narrow path he was traveling up a steep bluff, and only a quick shot saving the doctor’s life.” 2
“During the entire 52 years of his practice, his mounts, in riding to his scattered patients, were confined almost entirely to two animals. He rode one mule for 25 years and one horse for 20 years. During the last two years of his life he plodded on foot to see his patients, when he was no longer able to ride. In spite of his infirmities he said he wished to died in the harness.”3
“At the beginning of his last sickness, over the protests of his family, he got up from his sick bed, threw his “pill pockets” over his shoulder and plodded out through the woods to minister to a sick child. That was his last service as a doctor.”4 Dr. James Henry Drewry died on February 9, 1929 and is buried in Witt Springs Cemetery, Searcy County, Arkansas.
“James Henry was known as “the Doctor of Boston Mountain.” His grandson, Vincent Drewry, spoke of James Henry’s service as a doctor. “I can attest to the high debt load because I helped my father, Herman, consolidate the debt on James Henry’s log books. Herman considered the debts uncollectable. So, I consider that for the last ten years of the Doctors life that he delivered his services to most of his patients on a ‘free gratis’ basis.”5
1 Find a Grave Memorial ID citing Arkansas Democrat, March 17, 1929,
pg.2, Will Rice
5 Ancestry.com – Notes for James Henry “Doc” Drewry, M.D. by Jody
Lawrence Drewry, Posted 13 Nov 2020 by TxMatt77
John T. Mitchell