By Basil A. Hayes
Sometimes a dream is born deep in the recesses of a boy's mind, transfixing his life and causing all subsequent actions to be unconsciously built around it. The roots of this dream may go back to an ambitious ancestor whose life plans have been thwarted and who passes his ambitions on to a bright and energetic youngster; sometimes they arise out of the hopes and aspirations of a patient and gentle mother; sometimes they begin as a vague and youthful admiration for a national hero; while at other times the dream is simply the flowering of a character which has been developed upon an intense desire to serve his fellow man. Whatever be its origin, if it is a true inspiration, it holds the boy's attention and he watches, fascinated by its brilliance as day by day it develops in his mind until be is like a wanderer in a strange country gazing upon a star twinkling and glowing in a beautiful sky. At times it may be temporarily obscured by clouds or murky atmosphere but when these pass, it ever returns to charm him with its serene and constant light. As he grows older his vision improves, and he seems to apprehend its image clearer and clearer; and in spite of himself, he begins to prepare to fit into the universe which is revealed by the light which it shines about him. In this way he becomes more and more attuned to the inspiration which is peculiarly his until inevitably there comes a day when opportunity unfolds, and he becomes a man of action instead of one of dreams.
Such a boy was LeRoy Long. In the days when this nation was first beginning to wake up, stretch its arms, and recognize its own strength, his grandfather was a husky young farmer living in Maryland. This was already an old and settled community, and land hungry pioneers were beginning to turn westward and southward in the search for less crowded territories where virgin acres were to be had for the asking. Indians were being pushed back into the interior and everyone knew that there were more and better lands to the south and the lure of the open road was ever strong. So one day the farmer packed his belongings and began to travel away from the coast and into the interior. He kept going until he finally landed in a fertile valley of North Carolina, where he found a land which pleased him because it possessed the qualities and attributes for which he had been searching. Here he settled, halfway between
the Appalachian Mountains on the west and the seacoast on the east, and began clearing away trees for a homestead which should last as long as he might need it. However happy he may have been over the new location, he was destined not to enjoy it for long because be died at thirty years of age, leaving a widow and six children. The oldest of these was a boy named William Thomas Long, who was a responsible lad and who thus early became head of the household and protector of five younger brothers and sisters. The hard and back breaking struggle for food and clothing which ensued produced in this boy a clear and definite idea of values. He could see all around him men who worked with their hands and feet and backs, and other men who worked with their brains and money. He wished many a time that he could have been born under a lucky star so that he might have been called an educated man. This was not true, however, and since he had neither time nor money to complete his schooling, he managed by natural shrewdness and hard application to acquire sufficient knowledge of reading, writing, and numbers to hold his own in the ordinary business of farm and village. He was still a mere boy when the turmoil of Civil War days dragged him from home and marched him back and forth for four precious years. During this time his reliability and responsibility attracted notice, and he was made a sergeant. He was wounded in the Battle of Antietam; and when at the close of this struggle, he returned home penniless and discouraged, he was still more impressed that men of learning were the ones who settled the destiny of all others.
After a time he married Mary Elizabeth Burch, a girl whose people had lived in North Carolina for three generations or more. He and his bride had no other idea than to cultivate the earth and make it feed and clothe them, so they settled themselves in a house built on the west bank of the Catawba River in Lincoln County, North Carolina. This was about eighteen miles from Charlotte, and was on beautiful and historical ground because it had been the battleground of Cowan's Ford during the Revolutionary War. Those who wish to look up the matter will find that here the colonists had attacked Cornwall's soldiers while he was retreating from the Battle of King's Mountain. Here they lived and reared their family in a spot ideal for growing children to develop into first-class Americans. On all sides of their home the undulating earth rolled away from the rich red soil of the river bottom, while in the far distance the blue peaks of the mountains could be seen shimmering in the clear atmosphere.
In this house beside the river was born an infant on January 1, 1869, who was later to grow up and become the greatest figure in Oklahoma medical history. Six months later in that same year at Ogden, Utah, a golden spike was driven into a cross tie, symbolizing the meeting of two great railway systems, one having been
started on the west coast and the other having been pushed outward from frontier, settlements of Missouri. This transcontinental railroad brought the two halves of the American nation together and united a continent, making it only a matter of time until the great unknown plains country in the center would be filled with settlers from the hustling, expanding nation on the east. During that same year General George Custer and his soldiers rounded up the warring Cheyennes from the plains of the Texas Panhandle, brought them back and placed them on a reservation at El Reno. Likewise in that same year the word Oklahoma first was uttered, being embodied in a bill in Congress, requesting that Congress form a territory of the land west of Indian Territory under the name of Oklahoma. Thus as this North Carolina babe was being clasped to his mother's heart and reared in a simple farm home, a stage was being set for the scene of his future labors far out on the dangerous frontier.
They named him LeRoy, meaning "the king." Is it too much to assume that the young mother as she crooned him to sleep in his cradle had such high hopes for her first born that she thought he might someday live up to this name? Or is it too much to believe that the stern, young father gave him the name LeRoy out of an inexhaustible faith in American democracy, which assured him that his son could grow up and become a leader of men in contrast to the hard and laborious life he himself had been forced to follow? There may be nothing in a name, but even as George Washington's mother lived and taught greatness to her son, we cannot but feel that some such thing happened in the life of this North Carolina child.
Following him came a brother, William Thomas Long, Jr., who still dwells some fifteen miles from his birthplace. Other brothers and sisters kept coming until there were eight in all, two of whom died during infancy. The forth of these children was a boy, who later studied medicine and came west following the lead of LeRoy.
As the babe developed, he became a silent, serious child. Perhaps the strained and anxious look on his father's face when he reached home of evenings contributed to this. Perhaps the worried, fearful expression on his mother's face as she went about her household tasks through the day played a part. Life was hard and grim for people of meager means during the days immediately following the Civil War and along with all the southern states, North Carolina suffered greatly from the rule of the carpet-bagger. These gentry passed back and forth across her acres, inventing new forms of taxation, building up jobs for themselves and their kin to harass proud but downtrodden people. Hordes of freshly freed slaves went trooping over the countryside, looking for "forty acres and a mule" as promised them by their carpet-bagger friends. Negroes were elected as members of the Legislature and so recog-
nized by Federal authorities. The final outcome of it was that the whites could no longer suffer such degradation and organized the famous Ku Klux Klan, which in a few short years rid them of the black menace which was imperiling their safety and happiness. Born in the midst of such an uproar, hearing rights and privileges and justice and injustice talked about continually by those in charge of his rearing, it is small wonder that the boy showed an unusual and early desire for study and a great reverence for learned people. In spite of the fact that his family and associates were people of the soil, who had few or no books, he seized every opportunity to read and write and to learn about things from far away. To him a book was a treasure; a professional man was a hero of divine stamp, and he accepted without question what such a man told him. While other boys were out hunting opossums and raccoons or fishing and swimming in the mill pond, his mind was actively taking in information concerning the great events which were happening during his boyhood.
In addition to the turmoil of reconstruction days in North Carolina, expansion was going westward by leaps and bounds. Indian wars were being fought on the plains. California was a name to conjure with; Pike's Peak and Grand Canyon were merely phrases which tempted and inflamed the imagination of a growing boy. Indian Territory extended from the small settlements of Texas on the south to the Canadian border on the north. It is small wonder that the bright and active offsprings of families lying prostrate under the rule of military governors in eastern states would reach out and think of traveling westward into this new and exciting country where they would be free to develop into men of strength and power. There was a seething unrest among the younger generation even as there is today. Then, as now, from across the waters came exciting news. A Franco-Prussian war had just been fought with resultant dislocations in Europe. England was becoming a mighty empire of cotton and colonies. Mexico had just been delivered of a European monarch and was establishing her own form of self government. Fragments of all these exciting bits of news reached the ears of the country boy and caused him more than ever to feel that one must study and learn in order to cope with the new and strange forces which were molding the destinies of mankind.
In the midst of their humiliation and poverty, the martyrdom of Abraham Lincoln stood out fresh in the minds of the southern people, who believed that basically he was their friend and that had he not been killed, the Reconstruction days would have been less harsh and severe. They believed that because he had been their friend, he had died a hero's death and their admiration for him soared to the heights. His life story typified all that the growing American youth could ask for. A humble beginning, a
penniless boy, who had reached the pinnacle of fame and had gone down as an American saint. Every country school was filled with ambitious boys and girls who felt that there was hope for them because Lincoln had succeeded.
LeRoy was tall, gaunt, and spare of build, and as he grew to young manhood he possessed a striking facial resemblance to the pictures of Lincoln. So remarkable was this that his boyhood friends nicknamed him "Abe," and the resemblance was further increased when he showed an early tendency to be a public speaker. By reason of this he was frequently called upon to make announcements and short speeches in church or school affairs, and on such occasions his deep voice and tall, dignified bearing were most effective. Even as a boy he used to reach the end of the cotton row before the others and would sit and read until they caught up with him. And since his personal inclinations for study were similar to those which had been attributed to Lincoln, it is easy to see that he gradually began to build up this great president as a boyhood ideal.
By the time LeRoy was old enough to enter school, his father had purchased a farm of seventy-two acres, known as the McDowell Farm, near the small village of Lowesville in the southern end of Lincoln County. This move offered the boy no better educational facilities than he would have had at the original homestead. Schools were few and far between and usually consisted of a one room building in which one teacher taught all subjects for a short period during the winter.
The first school attended by LeRoy was a one teacher subscription school. The teacher was an ex-Baptist minister named David. The building was made of logs equipped with seats made by boring holes in slabs and using pegs driven in these holes for bench legs. During the next year he attended the first public school established in the lower end of Lincoln County. It was taught only three months during the year but the building was better, being made of lumber and being heated by a fireplace in the end of the room. The teacher was named Rogers, and LeRoy's father was a member of the school board. Mr. Rogers was succeeded the next year by Mr. Haywood Lowe, who taught LeRoy during the next two years. The next year Mr. Lowe departed and another teacher, Mr.Will Randolph, was employed at a salary of eighteen dollars per month for three months. He boarded around among the families whose children attended the school.
As conditions improved, the school gradually grew and soon required two teachers. LeRoy continued to attend until he was almost twenty years old, studying at night by the light of pine knots. Following this he placed himself under a private tutor for one summer and acquired a teacher's certificate, which was a common
stepping stone of ambitious youngsters desiring to go further in their educational progress. He then taught school for three years in a Country Public School similar to that from which he had graduated. Between terms he sold books, and lectured for the Farmer's Alliance.
A scant amount of education, we say, as we look upon our present twelve-year-old children in their second year of Junior high. We can hardly imagine them standing up before men and women and handing out words of wisdom or deciding matters of judgment—all of which once more points out to us that the genius or the man of destiny cannot be measured by scholastic curriculum or by hours spent in the classroom. LeRoy Long's education sprang everywhere, from people with whom he talked, from chance books he read, from rumors and ancient legends, from native intuition and natural shrewdness, even from the name which was given him at birth. It was no mere coincidence that his name was derived from a French word meaning "the king" and that his restless nature never stopped acquiring knowledge until he became fluent in the reading and writing of the French language! Whatever be the explanation, the fact is that he was a well educated man. In comparison with the boys with whom he grew up, he was a well educated boy; and in the words of one of his associates "he spent all his time reading and writing".
A potent source of inspiration and information for him was the church. He was deeply religious and early joined the Methodist Church. He attended church and Sunday School with great regularity, listening carefully to the words of ministers and storing them away in his capacious memory. He was extremely moral in all his conduct and was never known to get into an escapade of any kind. Serious, conservative, modest, even to the point of shyness—these were his characteristics. Also he was silent, never speaking unless he was called upon; but when he was called upon, he stood upon his feet and talked with the ease and fluency of an experienced orator. These characteristics drew him to ministers, lawyers, and other educated people in the community even as a magnet draws steel; and with each association, however brief, his own mental capacities grew more extensive.
It is not definitely known just when or where the first idea of studying medicine entered the life of this young man. During the earlier years of American history, the national heroes were almost altogether warriors or statesmen and no doubt as he revolved in his mind the things he would like to do, the concept of greatness, based on the lives of Daniel Webster, Patrick Henry, Abraham Lincoln, and other statesmen was uppermost. In pursuance of this thought, he early adopted Abraham Lincoln as his
ideal character, which caused him as he grew older to shape his life somewhat along the lines of this great president. This being the case, his studies were inclined to be heavy in history and rhetoric rather than in mathematics or science. As he learned to make speeches and as he associated with ministers in church work, this tendency was still further increased. Probably it was not until he began to teach school and thereby was forced to spread his interests over a wide variety of subjects that he awoke to the possibilities of other fields of activities.
The transition was slow but powerful. Doctors are not ordinarily orators nor do they usually delight in public appearances. Their minds are more of the encyclopedic type, containing and dispensing large amounts of wisdom but putting it out a small amount at a time. It was necessary, therefore, for his ambitions to grow away from the dramatic and spectacular greatness of national heroes and fix itself upon the lesser but none the less important greatness of an individual career of service. Almost invariably when such a transition occurs in the life of an individual, it is because some one personality with whom the boy or girl comes into contact. So it was here.
In the neighborhood where he lived there happened to be a highly educated physician named Robert McLean. Dr. McLean had traveled widely and had read extensively, and was possessed of considerable means. He was an unusual character and as was common at that time lived on his own country estate. This consisted of a many-acred plantation devoted principally to the raising of corn, cotton, and tobacco. He lived in a large white, two-story frame house, sitting well back from the road, and surrounded by chestnut and oak trees. A wooden fence enclosed it together with an extensive area of ground, and the doctor's office was a small frame house inside this enclosure partially hidden by the trees. Not only was Dr. McLean the medical advisor to the Long family, but he was a man of great personal charm and a universal favorite among the young people of the entire community. This aristocratic old gentleman was descended from a family of wealth, radiated an air of dignity and cleanliness, had traveled over the world and had seen things which made him the object of great admiration by all the boys of the community. He had never married and perhaps for this reason took special pleasure in associating with the younger people inspiring them to be ambitious and to strive for better things. Apparently he took a missionary's delight in stirring them up, and so far as is known he is the first man who implanted the idea of studying medicine into LeRoy's mind, lending him books and teaching him anatomy as the fundamental course which must be learned before becoming a physican. One can imagine the earnest featured young man, spending long hours in conversation with
the mature and distinguished physican as they sat beneath the chestnuts and oaks or in the office, while he learned of the miracles of science just beginning to unfold. He eagerly listened to descriptions of European cities and of great new hospitals in New York, Philadelphia, and other American centers.
One can hear the doctor describing to this eager boy the appalling loss of life following the Battle of Gettysburg. Even children of the nineties can recall hearing old Confederate soldiers tell about how peritonitis used to develop following gunshot wounds of the abdomen and how arms and legs used to become gangrenous and give off a foul odor on the battlefield. It was just during these years that Lister was taking the discoveries of Pasteur and applying them to the healing art and was bringing out of the age of superstition a great and miraculous new science, the science of aseptic surgery. Only a few years before this, the mystery of tuberculosis had been dispelled by Koch; and the beginnings of all the modern application of physiology, chemistry, and bacteriology to the treatment of disease were being laid down. Dr. McLean was a nearby source of real and accurate information, a source both scientific and friendly; and the story was fascinating to a boy whose mind was eagerly bent on acquiring knowledge of every possible kind.
In the beginning this study may have been pure curiosity but in a short time it became a total obsession and for a whole year the boy read anatomy, going to Dr. McLean twice a week for quizzes. Only those who have studied anatomy in medical school can realize how dry and uninteresting the subject is and how difficult to grasp without actual cadavers and demonstration specimens upon which to fix exact descriptions. Lack of equipment was not a sufficient barrier to stop a mind such as was possessed by LeRoy Long. He was a country boy with a capacious mind, hungry for knowledge, studying all his spare time for an entire year on the driest of subjects, yet on a subject which, once learned, placed a great gulf between him and ordinary mortals. At the end of the year he finally decided to become a physican. Though he did not possess the means to take him through a college course, he possessed a spotless reputation in the community and for this reason was able to borrow two hundred dollars from one of his neighbors named Cherry. With this money he planned to go to Louisville, Kentucky and enter a medical school. It is said that on the trip to Louisville, he met up with a stranger, who upon reaching Knoxville, Tennessee, proposed that they share a room together in the hotel. LeRoy decided that this would be a good idea since it would save money for each of them. Being an untraveled country boy, however he was afraid that he might lose his money and confided to the stranger that be hoped no burglar would take his two hundred dollars! Fortunately, the stranger was honest and did not take the tip, so that LeRoy was able to enter the Louisville Medical College on March 2, 1891.
Louisville at this time was one of the leading medical centers of the United States; and since there was still considerable bitterness of feeling between the North and the South, most southern students did not even consider going into New England to study medicine. Moreover if they did consider it, they did not have the money with which to go. This being the case, vast numbers of southern and western doctors traced their medical ancestry to Louisville or one of its schools.
At this time there were no laws governing the study of medicine. It had just emerged from the apprentice system, wherein a man simply attached himself to a practicing physican, stayed with him for a greater or less period of time, then started on his own. The course of study consisted of two years time, and the subjects covered were principally anatomy, physiology, materia medica, and the practice of medicine. Surgery and obstetrics were very sketchily handled, and the surgical books of that day concerned themselves mostly with amputations and other operations on portions of the body not connected with the peritoneal cavity. Since anesthesia had barely been introduced, operations could not be long in time; and the elaborate procedures which have been developed during later years were impossible. Specialties were just beginning and outside of New York City and other large centers, they were unknown. It is said that at this time there were five medical schools in the city of Louisville; and they were turning out doctors in great numbers, running the schools as a business for the revenue that was in the annual crop of ambitious youngsters.
The dean of the Louisville Medical College was Dr. C. W. Kelly, a noted anatomist of the time, who was Professor of Anatomy not only in this school but in the Kentucky School of Medicine. Many students did not remain for the full two years but imbibed as much training as they felt able to finance, then started out and practiced medicine the best they could in their various communities. Almost all of them practiced between the first and second years in order to make a little money to come back and take the second year.
LeRoy remained for the entire two years, graduating on March 2, 1893, during which time his mind ripened and developed. The lure of the city meant nothing to him, and in his quiet, mature way he worked very hard so that at the end of his first year he was appointed Student Junior Instructor in Physiology and won a gold medal which Dr. Kelly donated annually to the best student in anatomy. Thus he distinguished himself in both the great fundamental branches of medicine and entered his second year the unquestioned leader of his class. This leadership he held during his senior year and on graduation received a medal for the highest honors the school could give. He received these honors in competition with many bright men, one of whom was Robert V. Coffee of Portland, Oregon, whose name has ranked high in medical litera-
ture for the past two decades and who was finally killed in an airplane crash. Another classmate was Dr. O. H. Weaver, of Macon Georgia, who upon reading of Dr. Long's death wrote the following letter:
"In the fall of 1892 I matriculated as a first-year student at the Louisville Medical College. A few days afterward I was attracted to a quiet unassuming, and dignified second-year student, LeRoy Long, of North Carolina. He was a tall, lean chap, reminding one of the type of Abraham Lincoln. Prior to his entering into the study of medicine, he had taught school a while in his native state and also had been a lecturer on behalf of the Farmers' Alliance, an organization, established in the interest of agriculture, which wielded a powerful influence, particularly in the South. On our first meeting there was something in his expression and manner of speech that impressed me with the feeling that there was a man whom I could trust and whose friendship I should cultivate. Soon we arranged to room together, and my first impressions grew stronger as his character yeas revealed to me throughout the years. He was an ardent student. This with his native mental vigor and tenacious memory placed him as a leader of the student body.
The quiz system was used in our colleges to a greater extent than at any I have ever known. This was especially true in anatomy and physiology. There were no lectures on these subjects. Doctors Clinton Kelly and Samuel Cochran, respective professors of these departments, were noted for their strenuous style of quiz, demanding prompt and accurate responses. I do not recall Long ever failing when called upon and that was often. Sometimes a quiz would be asked and repeated around the class without a correct answer. When as a last resort the Professor would say, "Tell them, Long", he was ever ready and correct in reply. The students at our house organized a quiz among themselves. Each one had a special subject to quiz upon. Long was chief quiz master and much drilling and grilling did he give us to our great benefit. He was also Captain of my Dissecting Section, a position appointed by the Demonstrator from second-year students who had previously proven their efficiency in this department. His knowledge of anatomy and ability to impart it to us was most impressive. It was a great privilege to be associated with him, an inspiration which I am sure spurred us to greater endeavor and accomplishment. It is an interesting fact and one due in great measure to Long's influence that each of the four students occupying our room graduated with honors.
While he was of serious mind and when at study nothing could divert him, it must not be thought that he did not take time for relaxation and enjoyment of things of lighter vein. He was a charming companion with a keen sense of humor, well informed on general as well as medical topics and with a masterful manner of discussion. He had a clean mind, and never during my intimate association with him did I ever know of his indulging in vulgar stories or doing any unfair or unkind act. At the same time he was as free of prudery as anyone I ever knew. He graduated with first honors, a distinction that I am sure the entire class approved. After graduation, he remained in Louisville and taught in his Alma Mater."
Thus he showed himself to be a superior medical student. When he graduated, he was twenty-four years of age, mature beyond these years, better equipped for practice than the great mass of medical men of his day, intensely ambitious, and possessing the priceless friendship of two of the greatest medical men of Louisville.
During all the time he was in the medical school, LeRoy continued to keep in touch with his first preceptor, Dr. McLean. There can be little question that this man's influence on his life was more vital possibly than that of any teacher under whom he sat at the medical school. Dr. McLean gave him sage advice in regard to habits of study and matters of health, the advisability of competing for prizes, and such other things as arise in a student's life. Letters still in existence that were written by him to LeRoy at this time are gems of philosophy and literature and reflect a character rooted in the wisdom which comes from experience and mature reflection.
On January 1, 1892, he wrote as follows:
* * * * * *
That you would make your stay in Louisville profitable I felt convinced and am glad to hear your surroundings are also pleasant.
In reference to competing for honors or medals, I may be wrong, but I think now as I did when a student, that it does not pay unless the prize is given for the best all around standing, for in the heat of the contest the student is compelled to bend the very best that is in him on one subject and in spite of himself will more or less neglect the others. I am satisfied you would win if you determined to do so, and had a fair showing, but the question of questions is would it pay.
As far as chemistry is concerned, you need not expect to get more than a smattering of it. In fact the chemistry of medicine has a large slice of humbug in it, for it takes years to acquire anything like a knowledge of it, and to expect a student to master it in the limited time given him is to look for the unattainable. A general and, I am constrained to confess, rather vague idea of it is all you need expect.
Now in closing allow me to impress one important truth on you. In your pursuit of knowledge remember the mental man can never grow to its full height unless the physical man is kept in good repair. Consequently while storing up the golden truths that fall from the lips of the sages at whose feet you sit, do not fail to take plenty of open air exercise and keep regular hours. This is true gospel if the Devil does preach it. I say this to warn you of the rock on which I foundered.
I will be glad to hear from you at any time for no one takes a stronger interest in your welfare and success than
Again a week later came another note from this most capable mentor.
Your note of 4th received today. As I understand, you are given your room rent and tuition fees but pay your board in the position offered you. As far as the financial aspect is concerned, each man is a law unto himself—but if you can see your way clear to accept, I think it will pay—for you get a continuous course of medical instruction, and you are brought in direct contact with the methods of the experts in the profession. There you will see the great importance of detail—the tremendous effect little things have on the result in medical practice. This is promising that your work will be under able men—men who will take an interest in your advancement in medical knowledge and who will see to it that your work is not simply mechanical.
The main point is, don't take on more than you can do thoroughly without overtaxing yourself. That, as I intimated in my letter of a few days ago, is the snag I ran my boat over, and if I am not much of an adornment to a tale, I at least serve to point a moral.
Very truly yours,
Immediately upon graduation the temptation was very great for the young doctor to remain in Louisville and teach while he built a practice. Doubtless he would have done so if he could have seen his way clear financially, but he owed money and his health was somewhat run down from hard work and confinement. It seemed best for him to return to North Carolina and practice for a time in the country where he was known. Accordingly he went back and located in the village of Lowesville, and remained there from the spring of 1894 until October of that same year. By this time he had recovered his strength, gained some experience and cash, and was beginning once more to long for the atmosphere of the city and medical school. On the strength of his friendship with the members of the faculty and his scholastic record, he had applied early in the spring for an instructorship in his alma mater; and on May 25, 1894, he received a letter from Dr. George M. Warner, Secretary of the Faculty, reading as follows:
Dr. LeRoy Long,
I have been in so much trouble lately (death having visited my family) that my correspondence has been sadly neglected. I have placed your name among the list of Demonstrators in the catalogue for 1894-95. You will assist Dr. Cochran, who is now Clinical Lecturer on Disease of the Genito-Urinary System.
Of course, as I told you, there is no money in it, but you will be placed among the leading men of the city and this association will get you "in the swim". You will have ample opportunities to see all the clinics you want for this department in the L. M. C. is now second to none in the South or West, and you will have work every morning.
Come on when you can perfect your arrangements and you can get in harness at once.
In October he felt able to make the trip, again to Louisville, and began his work in the school. In addition to this, Dr. Kelly, Dean of the school, allowed him to come into his office and begin building a practice. In such a way he was able to maintain himself in the city as well as to grow in skill and in knowledge. Had his health remained good, no doubt he would have permanently remained a citizen of Louisville, and would never have come to Oklahoma.
Unfortunately, however, once more his ambitions caused him to overreach his own strength. The life of study and teaching, associated with the environment of the medical school, was so appealing to him that he neglected his physical health. In addition
to the duties already outlined, the new science of bacteriology was beginning to loom on the horizon of medical science; and he became intensely interested in it, spending long hours in the evenings studying in the laboratory. He had never been a robust, outdoor boy but had always clung to books and study. The constant burning of midnight oil, the neglect of outdoor exercise, and the utter indifference to eating properly and regularly would have undermined the health of any man; and when one remembers that he was a tall, thin boy to begin with, it is not surprising that Dean Kelly became alarmed about his health. In the spring he broke down with an attack of pneumonia and even though he recovered, he began to feel that a city life would be too confining for him. So when at the close of the school year in the spring of 1895, a letter came to Dr. Kelly from Dr. J. S. Fulton of Atoka, Oklahoma, asking for a young man to come out west and relieve him on a locum tenens basis for three months while he went away and took postgraduate work, Dr. Kelly felt that it was an opportunity not to be overlooked. He wrote back, telling Dr. Fulton that he had the very man for the job. Not only did he do this, but he had other members of the faculty write Dr. Fulton letters of recommendation, praising the young honor student so highly that Dr. Fulton immediately offered him the place. After numerous conferences and much anxious consideration, Dr. Kelly insisted that at the end of school LeRoy go to Oklahoma, both for the sake of building up his health and of investigating opportunities in the West. Young "Abe" had not become so involved that he could not leave on short notice; and as he himself realized that he needed to get out into the open air, an appointment in the West and away from the city environment appealed to him tremendously. The offer was accepted and LeRoy Long made his first visit to Indian Territory.