Dr. Silas Woodard Moreland
Dr. Silas Woodard Moreland was born in Clinton
County, Missouri, on March 16, 1851. He was the
youngest of the ten children of Silas Woodard Moreland (1807-1886) and Sarah (Sally) Henderson
(1805-1894). The Morelands and Hendersons,
along with other families from Clark and Madison
Counties, Kentucky, were among the first settlers
in Clinton County, Missouri. They came to Jackson Township, Clinton County, Missouri, in 1835.1
Dr. S. W. Moreland grew up in a Republican family. They were farmers; they grew hemp and made
rope for the cotton industry. He was too young to
serve in the Civil War, but two older brothers, John
Wesley and Andrew Jackson Moreland, joined the
Missouri State Militia (Union).
Dr. Moreland told a story that when he was fourteen years old he witnessed his brother’s murder.
In December 1865, he and his 28-year-old brother,
Tandy H. Moreland, were working in a field when a
band of post-Civil War bandits came through and
killed Tandy. Tandy Moreland was married to Margaret Younger from the family from next door. The
Youngers were southern sympathizers and had
ties to Jesse James. It is not known if Tandy was
a southern sympathizer or if his connection to the Younger family had anything to do with the murder.
Dr. Moreland studied at the National University of Arts and Science, Medical Department, and the
American Medical College, St. Louis, Missouri. American Medical College was organized in 1873. Its
backers were promoters of eclectic medicine, which was an approach to therapeutics that emphasized herbal remedies but also instructed medical students in chiropractic and allopathic medicine. In
1910 the college abandoned eclecticism and formally embraced “regular” medicine. In 1911 American
merged with nearby Barnes University. The combined institution was renamed National University in
1912. This medical school later became part of the present-day Barnes and Jewish Hospital system
and Washington University Medical School.2
Dr. S. W. Moreland received his medical degree in 1886,
at the age of 35.3
He regularly presented papers at the National Eclectic Medical Association in the late
1900s and up until 1921. He and his son, Dr. William Hubert Moreland, often attended these annual
meetings together. Both the doctors presented papers that were subsequently published in the National
Eclectic Medicine Quarterly.
It is not known why Dr. S. W. Moreland decided to practice in Jonesboro, in Craighead County. He set
up practice there before receiving his final medical degree, in about 1883, the year he married Mary
Charlsey Cole. Her father, Henry Morlan Cole, was a former Confederate and who had farmed near
Jonesboro since the mid-1850s.5
With the exception of a year of locum tenens in Springfield, Missouri,
in 1890, he practiced in the Philadelphia community and Jonesboro the entirety of his 46-year-long
professional life. In 1912 he practiced in Jonesboro along with eighteen other physicians. In this 1912
American Medical Directory he is incorrectly listed as Samuel W. Moreland.6
We think Dr. S. W. Moreland’s witnessing the murder of his brother just after the Civil War at least partially explains his fixed opposition to the United States’ entry into World War I. Dr. Moreland was a rare
Republican in Craighead County. Family stories tell that he was whipped in the streets of Jonesboro
for his Republican anti-war opinions. He could not have been pleased when his son, Dr. William Hubert Moreland, who was practicing in Hickory Ridge, Cross County, Arkansas, at the time, was drafted
in January 1918. Much to the elder Dr. Moreland’s relief, the younger Dr. Moreland would never see
combat. He was assigned to the 267th Aero Squadron which trained in Illinois, left for England in midsummer 1918, and was qualified for active duty on November 5, 1918, only to be demobilized at the
end of the war in November 1918. In June 1918 Dr. William Hubert Moreland attended a meeting of the
National Eclectic Medical Association convention in Cincinnati, in uniform, along with his father.7
Dr. S. W. Moreland successfully passed the Arkansas State Medical Examination in Eclectic Medicine
in 1903. Five out of six practicing physicians in Arkansas did not pass.8
He was president of the Northeast Arkansas Medical Society, a leading member of the Arkansas Medical Society, and the Craighead
County Medical Society.9
Dr. S. W. Moreland died in April 1929 of a heart attack pursuant to pneumonia. He was 78 years old.
He had practiced in Craighead County for 46 years. He was a member of the First Christian Church
of Jonesboro, Arkansas. At his funeral, Dr. John Chrisenberry Howell was one of the pallbearers; Dr.
Moreland’s son, Dr. William Hubert Moreland, was married to Dr. Howell’s daughter, Octavia Caroline
Howell. “He possessed a host of friends and in his long career as a doctor he won for himself a place in
the hearts of many by the unselfish service he rendered. He was a good citizen and his loss is mourned
by hundreds.”10
Biography prepared by Ginger Ashcraft Terry, April 2020.