Thomas Moore Pinson, the first and only graduate of the first session of the Arkansas Medical College, branch of the University of Arkansas, was born August 5, 1858 in Union County, Arkansas to Dr. John Hendrick and Frances A. Pinson. Dr. John H. Pinson graduated from the medical college of the state of South Carolina in 1855. “Young Tom attended the public schools in El Dorado for about eight years. He then began the study of medicine, first in his father’s office, and then attended lectures in Little Rock in 1878 – 1879. In 1879 he came home, practiced medicine and then returned later that year to Little Rock, graduating on March 2. 1880. He then commenced practicing with his father in El Dorado. In 1885 he went to Texas, located at Cookville, and here practiced his profession until December, 1889 when he returned and re-engaged in practice with his father.”*
He was married January 13, 1881 to Miss Kate Newton, a daughter of Judge Isaac Newton of Camden. To them were born six children: John H. 1883 – 1910, Annie Lee 1883 – 1963, John H. “Jack” 1884 – 1967, Fannie Courtney 1886 – 1921, Tom Newton 1890 – 1891 and “Little” Edwin.
Dr. Pinson continued to practice medicine in Union County until 1918. Shortly after losing his wife in 1917 he relocated to Kerrville, Texas and took up residence with his daughter Annie Lee and her husband, Dr. S. E. Thompson.
In March, 1936 Dr. Pinson, accompanied by his daughter Annie Lee, returned to Little Rock to officiate in the dedication of a new medical building at Arkansas State Medical College. During this return to Arkansas, Dr. Pinson gave an interview in which he described the rigors of medical practice after graduating in 1880. “I returned to Union County and practiced thirty-six years when there were no roads. People worked cutting down pine tops and putting into the holes, but the roads were so bad, a buggy was torn up in six months. I had two horses and rode horseback night and day. People had no phones and sent a messenger on horseback when some one got sick. I got my medical supplies by train in the summer and by boat on the Ouachita in the winter.”**
After a brief illness, Dr. Pinson died at home of his daughter and son-in-law on December 2, 1940. His remains were brought back to El Dorado and interred at Woodlawn Cemetery. Dr. Pinson’s obituary says this of the man: “He was a quiet, scholarly man, and was a lover of nature. Before his health became enfeebled, he raised a variety of pets around the Thompson home. It was his delight to pet the young fawns which roamed the estate, and soon a herd of deer would be following in the steps of Dr. Pinson, who always had something for the animals to eat. Turkeys, peafowl, pigeons, quail and numerous other birds learned to know him and to come at his call. He was one of the few older people whom small children did not make nervous, and he numbered scores of them among his closest friends”.***
*Biographical & Historical Memoirs of Southern Arkansas by Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1890, p. 860
**The History of Union County, Arkansas by Juanita Whitaker Green, Appendix Y, pp. 185 – 187
***Kerrville Mountain Sun, Kerrville, TX, December 5, 1940
Betty L. Battenfield
John T. Mitchell, BSBA July 20,2019