George Lewis Dickinson was born in Calhoun County, Alabama on March 19, 1858. He was the 12th of 13 children of Peyton I. and Nancy Davis Dickinson. At the age of 19 he moved to Amity, Arkansas. He was a tall thin man. There he married Sarah Pannell. The couple had 8 children but only 3 sons lived. His second marriage to Florence Poole gave him 4 children only 2 who lived.
Wanting to study medicine he enrolled in medical school (12th class of the new Little Rock medical school) and graduated in 1892 at the age of 34. Later he took post graduate courses at Tulane University.
Dr. Dickinson moved his family to Walnut Ridge, Sevier County to establish his medical practice, then moving to Horatio to continue a lengthy and highly successful professional and personal life.
Service to his patients at the beginning was by horseback or buggy. In his early years he often stayed over night if the patient needed him. His dedication to the sick was seen by his son when he came home, one night frozen to his saddle so he could not get off the horse without help. His love of people made him welcome in his patients’ homes as one of the family even on his hunting and fishing trips. Often the patients had no money and he was paid in produce. He loved his family, encouraging them to become well educated. All his children went to college. Both of his sons became doctors. Dr. Dickinson was active in the Methodist church and held many offices but his main pleasure was singing–he was a long-time choir member.
Dr. Dickinson opened his office soon after he arrived in Horatio. Soon it became a clinic because he needed to accommodate patients who needed more care than an office visit. Eventually more changes were necessary as Dr. Dickinson’s sons joined him in practice. The clinic grew to become the Dickinson Hospital in 1950. Later it became the De Queen Nursing home, the site of the Family Clinic and finally the Sevier County Health Unit. (His two sons, his grandson and great-grandson worked at the Dickinson Clinic at one time in their careers.)
A special party was given in Dr. Dickinson’s honor on his 50th birthday. Newspapers covered the event. As time went by his sons were active in their practices and patients referred to his as “Ole doc”.
Directors 36 years after his father’s death. “Ole doc” would have been proud of the progress in health care that he had helped to build.
Dr. George Dickinson died in 1933. He was 74 or 75 years of age. He had practiced medicine for 41 years caring for the people of Sevier County from his horseback days to the Great Depression era with courage, compassion and love. He is buried at Clear Creek Cemetery in Sevier County.
Betty L. Battenfield 2018