Country Doctors Office
West Virginia State Farm Museum
Dr. Milton J. Lilly, Sr. was born on October 24, 1878, in Mercer County, West Virginia. As a little boy, he used to watch the trains pass by with their loads of coal and dream of the day when he would be a man behind the throttle of the big engine. But the dreams of small boys change, and by the time he passed through the one-room school of his day, he knew that he wanted more than anything to be a doctor. Achieving this goal was a long and difficult process for the country boy; yet in 1904, Maryland Medical College of Baltimore conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Medicine.
Dr. Lilly’s first practice was in the coalfields of West Virginia, where he was the company doctor for the Pocahontas Coal Company in McDowell County. Here he met and married a young schoolteacher, Retta Moore, of Roanoke County, Virginia. In July of 1908, Dr. and Mrs. Lilly, with infant daughter, moved to Upland, Mason County, where he was to take up the practice of Dr. James Rowsey, who was moving to Huntington. Dr. Lilly established his home in the community, raised a family of seven children, and lived there until his death in 1967.
This was the beginning of a practice that was to last for 59 years. The doctor lived and worked among the rural people, who came to regard him not merely as a physician, but as a friend, a counselor and a community leader in every sense. In economic development, in educational advancement, in the practical applications of new agricultural ideas, he pointed the way. He saw the need for improved roads, a telephone system, secondary schools, "tobacco pools," or Co-ops, and for keeping up with changing trends. But, above all, he loved people. His life was devoted to serving them.
During his long years of practice in Mason County, and parts of Cabell and Putnam counties, modes of transportation changed drastically. There was the capricious mule, the riding horse, the horse and buggy, the first Model-T in the area, and later automobiles, even the Jeep, not to mention the many miles he walked.
Pictures and information were provided by West Virginia State Farm Museum
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