William Henry Higdon was born in the month of July, 1872 in Higdon, Missouri, an unincorporated community in northeast Madison County, Missouri. His parents were William Hansford and Nancy A. Combs Higdon. William was the second son born into the farming family, to be followed by another brother and two sisters in later years. Growing up, his mother saw to it that Sunday was a day set aside for worship in the Higdon Chapel Christian Church, of which she was a charter member.
William followed his older brother Edward into the medical field, graduating from Washington University Medical School in St. Louis. On February 17, 1903 he was issued a CERTIFICATE OF PRACTICE BY EXAMINATION by The State Medical Board of the Arkansas Medical Society allowing him to practice medicine and surgery in the state of Arkansas. He initially set up practice in an office in Scranton, AR and later moved to Prairie View, keeping the Scranton practice and also seeing patients in his Prairie View home. In the early years Dr. Higdon traveled by horseback, always carrying his familiar “doctors bag” containing medical supplies needed for house calls and emergencies whenever and wherever he was needed. The well-worn satchel survived all the years of use and is on display in the Logan County Museum in Paris.
In 1916 Dr. Higdon married Ruth Gideon, a teacher in the Prairie View School and daughter of Professor Granville Jerome Gideon, ophthalmologist and principal of the Prairie View School.
“Dr. Higdon was a dedicated family doctor. If people in the Prairie View-Scranton area called for him day or night, he would always respond. If his patient was seriously ill or a baby was being born, he would sit with them all night if necessary.”1
“A member of the American Medical Association, Dr. Higdon had been a practicing physician in the Scranton-Prairie View area for more than 50 years. He retired in 1959 due to ill health.”2
Dr. Higdon died Thursday, March 23, 1961 in the Paris, Arkansas Hospital following a long illness and was laid to rest the following Saturday in Prairie View Cemetery.
1 Logan County Historical Society Wagon Wheels, Vol. 19, #1, p. 11
2 Paris Express, March 27, 1961
John T. Mitchell, BSBA