Dr. Ainsley Richard Colvin

February 26, 1871 –  May 29, 1954


Ainsley Richard Colwin was born February 26, 1871 in Unionville, Lincoln Parish, Louisiana, son of John and Emeline Colwin of South Carolina. He was the 4th of 12 children. The parents had  migrated from South Carolina to Louisiana in 1853.   As a young adult, he studied medicine with a local doctor. After 2 years he traveled to Louisville Kentucky Medical College to continue his study. Afterward he returned to Louisiana to practice medicine. This lasted for another 2 years.  Not satisfied, always wanting a more intense, broader education, Ainsley then attended at the University of Tennessee Medical School at Memphis, graduating in 1895.   Later he added pediatric and obstetric post-graduate medical courses at the University of Chicago.


At age 25 on January 13. 1897 Dr. Colwin  married Mary Elizabeth Watts with whom he had 4 children, a son, Ainsley Jr. (1897), twins who died soon after birth (1903), and a daughter, Emma Jo (1911).  Mary died in 1938 at age 63 after 40 years of marriage.  On December 12, 1940 Dr. Colwin married Ila Kelly with whom he had one daughter, Cora Dell. (On FindAGrave an additional marriage is listed, apparently from an error or very early in Dr. Colvin’s pre-medical life.)


Soon after his marriage with Mary the family moved to Wilmot, Arkansas to practice; later to Lapile where he supplemented his income by managing a small store. Then in 1901 he moved to the community of Strong in Union County, Arkansas. While he built his practice, often by horse and buggy house calls, he became interested in civic service.  Dr. Colwin was instrumental in getting the Victorian community, later Strong, to incorporate in 1903.  He served on its city council and was elected as mayor.  He was a charter member of the Masonic Lodge and was the first Scottish Rite Mason and the first Worthy Patron of the Eastern Star.  He was a Charter member of the First Baptist Church. He was interested in growing the city’s commerce.  Thus he instigated the organization of the Victoria Bank.


During  the mild influenza epidemic of 1922  Dr. Colvin closed the Strong schools to protect the children.  Churches followed the lead. In 1928 at age 45 Dr. Colvin accepted the position of City Health Officer of El Dorado, approximately 20 miles from Strong. He moved his family to the larger city though he continued his practice at Strong.


To illustrate what Dr. Colvin meant to the Strong  people for his long, loving and  committed service  a quote is offered from “Colvin and  Allied families”, Pages 204 and 205.:Library of Congress Catalog Card Number:65-26308.  Copyright 1965 1965; by

Ethelle and Baker Colvin.       


     Dr. A. R. Colvin of Strong honored by fellow citizens on his 75th birthday, 

                                                    45 straight years of practice



 Seventy five years old and with a record of 45 straight years of practice in the community of Strong, Dr. A. R. Colvin, who has doctored every ailment in and out of the book and who has delivered more babies than he can remember, was honored by his fellow townsmen last Friday night at the Strong high school auditorium.  It was no ceremony marking Dr. Colvin’s retirement, because the 75-year-old-youngster still does a full day of ministering to sick each and every day, it was just a simple recognition of his services to his fellow man.  With more than 100 of his friends and relatives present, including many of his small and large babies he brought into the world.  Dr. Colvin was honored with a presentation of a large easy chair, a gift of the community, and a short talk by the Rev. Arthur New, pastor of the Strong Baptist church.  Dr. Colvin replied briefly and told of a few of his experiences.  He recalled that on one in black morning he was jogging home in his buggy after bringing in a new citizen “I stopped right there and prayed for the Lord to save the little devil because I had done all I could.” 


The good doctor, beloved by many and long remembered for his concerned care, lived for 8 years after his birthday party. He had practiced medicine for more than 50 years; 45 years in Union County. He died on May 22, 1954 at age 83 and is buried at Strong Cemetery.


Betty Battenfield      May 2020