Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements

Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life

By: Ethelene Dyer Jones

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Respected mountain doctor, Herbert Monroe Edge

Dr. Herbert Monroe Edge (1892-1974) was a respected mountain doctor whose care for many people throughout Union County was memorable.

I remember Dr. Edge as a kindly man who attended my mother in the last period of her life. Making house calls was still in vogue in the years when he practiced. If he was at our house near mealtime, my father always invited him to eat with us. I can remember that I, as a "child cook," would feel that our country fare, and especially my inept cooking, would not be good enough for this noted man, our family doctor. But after he prayed the blessing, he always ate with relish and appreciation whatever we served him from our garden and farm.

I was often beset with sore throats (needing a tonsillectomy which I had several years later). My father would instruct me to get off the school bus at Dr. Edge's house and have him "paint" my throat with iodine, a procedure I dreaded with a passion. But with that treatment, and other medications Dr. Edge would administer, I would walk the distance to the high school from his house and my sore throat would be bearable. Dad would, in turn, stop later to pay Dr. Edge for my doctor's visit. It was just such a trusting relationship that Dr. Edge had with his patients and their families.

Dr. Edge was not born in Union County, but he had Union County ties. He was born in Lake City, Fla., September 21, 1892. His father was John B. Edge and his mother was Laura Ann Owenby Edge. John Edge was a businessman, operating a large store in Lake City. He also had business interests in Blairsville. It was at Ivy Log that John Edge met his second wife, Laura Ann Owenby. John Edge's first wife had died, leaving him with seven small children. When he married Laura Ann, she assumed the care of her husband's older children, five boys and two girls. John and Laura Ann had six children, Herbert Monroe (1892), Belle, Ethel, Johnnie (a girl), Mae, and Homer.

When Herbert Monroe was 6, the family moved to Union County, Ga., and settled at the Owenby farm in Ivy Log. Herbert Edge's first education was in the country school near Ivy Log Creek where he finished the fifth grade and then dropped out to help on the farm.

At age 20, Herbert Monroe Edge had the strong impression that there was more he should do in life than walk behind a plow. He enrolled in Blairsville Academy where he was the oldest student. He was willing to take the jibes his fellow students gave him at being so old and back in school. He graduated from Young Harris College and entered Emory University to study medicine. On June 7, 1921, he received the degree of Doctor of Medicine. He was then 29 years of age, not so old considering how many years he had been out of school and how much he had gained, educationally, in the past nine years.

Dr. Edge did his internship at Knoxville General Hospital, Knoxville, Tenn. There he met registered nurse Chloe Philmon, but she went a different way, to Denver, Colo. She married John Arrowood, and their son, John Arrowood Jr. was born. Then John, Sr. died in 1927. Dr. Edge and Nurse Chloe Philmon Arrowood were reunited and married. Dr. Edge reared her young son as his own, but never changed his name or adopted him.

Dr. Edge's medical career spanned over 50 years. He was a compassionate doctor and held the care of his patients as a sacred trust. He attended the birth of babies and stood beside a bed when a patient was near death. From 1936 through his death in 1974, he was a loving doctor to Blairsville and Union County, going when he was called to the humblest homes.

When Dr. Edge died May 31, 1974, he was laid to rest at Antioch Cemetery in Union County, near the graves of his parents, John B. and Laura Ann Owenby Edge, and his sister Mae who had died of typhoid in 1905 at age 20.

Dr. Edge enjoyed collecting antique clocks and had them scattered throughout his house. I can remember admiring some of them as I stopped by his office to get help for my ailing sore throat when I was a teenager. Much time has passed since those days in the 1940s when he cared for my sick mother and when the clocks ticked and chimed from rooms near his office in his home on Pruitt Circle. Time has moved into another dimension since then, and the days of the doctor making house calls has passed.

c 2007 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Jan. 18, 2007 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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