Biographical Sketch of Dr. Jeter Lafferty Rushing
February 8, 1879 – April 20, 1957
Jeter Lafferty Rushing was born February 8, 1879 a few miles west of Chidester, Ouachita County, Arkansas to William N. and Nancy L. Rushing. At the time of his birth the farming family consisted of children Warner E., William Garland and Nancy E. Rushing. When he was 18 year old the family moved to Chidester and it has been their home ever since.
Dr. Rushing attended Memphis Hospital Medical College, graduating April 3, 1903 and being licensed the same year. The same month he graduated he rode horseback, carrying his personal effects in saddlebags from Chidester to the brand new community of Felsenthal to begin his medical practice. On December 23, 1903 he and Mary Eritha Lafferty were married in Union County, Arkansas. In 1904, in its first election, the four hundred inhabitants of Felsenthal elected Dr. Rushing as their mayor. Dr. and Mrs. Rushing soon moved to El Dorado where for two years he was associated with Dr. L. L. Purifoy. Dr. and Mrs. Rushing’s daughter, Mary Elizabeth, was born in El Dorado in 1906. The young family moved back to Chidester in 1907 where Dr. Rushing practiced medicine for the remainder of his life. In 1908 Mary Eritha passed away. Five years later on August 3, 1913 he and Sallie Lou Gayne were married. Sallie Lou gave birth to Edgar Benson Rushing in 1915.
He came to Ouachita County when being a country doctor was a terrific challenge. There were no roads to speak of, not too many passable bridges, no cars, in fact few modern conveniences of any sort. Dr. Rushing rode horses, drove buggies and walked when necessary to get to his patients, performing “kitchen table” surgery with success if he had to. Although he brought hundreds of children into this world, he never lost both a mother and baby.
“Dr. Rushing’s life has been characterized by devotion to his family and to his profession. He never worried about the financial side of his practice, never had a bookkeeper, nor sent out statements to his patients. He is one of the few family doctors who has never taken a cow or a pig in payment of a bill nor received an acre of land through his profession. He has never taken mortgages nor notes in payments of fees. His patients paid him if they could; if not, it was forgotten. He has never been known to charge a minister, an old person, nor anyone unable to pay for his services – not even for the prescriptions which he filled himself. The keynote of Dr. Rushing’s life has been service. No one could be more indifferent to his own comfort, pleasure or material gain than he has been. Several times he has been offered the opportunity of establishing himself in a larger place with an easier and more remunerative practice; but he has chosen to remain among his own people where he has been needed most.” 1
Dr. Rushing died at a Camden Hospital April 20, 1957 and is buried in Chidester Cemetery.
1 Hope Star, Hope, Arkansas, April 4, 1953, p. 1
John T. Mitchell, BBA
June 20, 2020