March 1, 2006
    Hopedale History
    No. 55
    Country Doctor

    Anyone want to volunteer to organize a Hopedale Pond ice-out contest? If so, contact Rick, or email
    me and I’ll pass it along.

    The Friends of Adin Ballou annual lecture will be held at the Unitarian Church in Hopedale on March
    26. The title of the talk is An Intimate Look at War and Peace.

    I’ve had a couple of responses to the pictures I’ve added to the website recently. Dick Grady and
    Dennis Bishop gave me some names for the photo of the kids at the pond, and Charlie Dennett had
    some names for the Boy Scout pictures.

    In 1950, the Worcester Telegram ran an article about Dr. Kleber Campbell of Hopedale. Below you’ll
    see a somewhat shortened version. Click here for the complete article with several pictures of the
    doctor. (If you go to the article on the website, and you know who the kids are in the pictures, please
    let me know.)

            Hopedale’s Kleber Campbell Has Been Country Doctor Fifty Years

                                                                    By Lillian D. Archibald

    If Hopedale were to name its man of the half century, a leading candidate would be Kleber A.
    Campbell, M.D.

            The year 1950 represents two special milestones in the physician’s life. This summer, he and
    Mrs. Campbell celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. This fall marked the 50th anniversary of his
    practice in the small industrial town of 3500.

           Dr. Campbell waited 16 days after his arrival in Hopedale for his first patient, a man whom he
    later treated for smallpox. Now, a half-century later, he still treats members of the first patient’s family.

           Upon graduation from Albany Medical School in 1900, Dr. Campbell went to Upton to substitute
    for the late Dr. Edward C. Traver, who was then in Europe. While in Upton. Dr. Campbell received
    word he had passed his state board examinations and he immediately returned to Albany to marry
    the former Miss Mary Brewster Safford.

           When Dr. Traver, who had originally intended to sell his practice, returned to Upton, he had
    changed his mind. This left Dr. Campbell without a medical practice and with a new wife to support.

           After visiting several communities in central Massachusetts, Dr. Campbell decided to settle in
    Hopedale. He and Mrs. Campbell spent three weeks in attic rooms on Union Street, then lived three
    years in what is now the Legion Home on Hopedale Street. They moved into their present home at 82
    Hopedale Street 47 years ago.

           Dr. Campbell also had an office in Mendon. His first house call there had to be entered on the
    red side of the ledger. Coming out of a house where he had diagnosed a youngster’s ailment as
    typhoid, he found his horse ill. Veterinarian’s treatment and overnight board for the sick horse, plus
    the hire of another to take him back to Hopedale came to $5.

           Not disheartened, Dr. Campbell continued to his next call – a Mendon housewife.

           “I felt pretty good,” he smiled, “for I now had two patients in Mendon.”

           He returned to one Mendon home the next morning to find another physician’s buggy departing.
    The family reported that fear of typhoid caused them to summon another doctor – but gave the young
    Hopedale physician a dollar for his trip.

    Typhoid, malaria, scarlet fever, and even smallpox were not rare diseases to the doctor of 50 years
    ago. However, Dr. Campbell had never encountered malaria before coming to Upton. His first case
    appeared to respond to treatment, but on the third day when the patient’s temperature rose again, he
    was baffled. He asked the druggist if anyone had ever had malaria in that town and was surprised to
    learn that it was not uncommon. Armed with this information and some quinine, the doctor cured his
    patient. Dr. Campbell recalled that he himself had had malaria in 1913.

           When a case of smallpox was discovered in Hopedale in 1902, the patient was isolated in a
    building on Route 140 near the Upton line. “People would drive miles out of their way just to avoid
    going past the pesthouse,” Dr. Campbell said.
    Everyone was advised to get a vaccination. The doctor inoculated Kleber, Jr., his three week-old son,
    and as an extra precaution, always changed his clothes in the corn crib before coming into his own
    home.

           A native of West Rutland, Vt., Dr. Campbell lived only 25 miles from Coolidge. After he bought a
    one-cylinder 1908 Cadillac, he took his horse Rob, a gift from his father, back to Vermont. Rob was
    very dear to the doctor who had had bad luck with horses – first a sick one and then another which
    was killed by a streetcar’s snowplow. Rob often brought the doctor home from Mendon while he slept.

    Pasteurized mild was a cause for which Dr. Campbell fought ardently. The late Freeman Lowell, then
    head of a Mendon dairy, lent support and delivered pasteurized milk for three months before labeling
    it on his bottle caps, the doctor related.

           “The first morning the new caps appeared there were many complaints. But the dealer just told
    his customers they’d been using pasteurized milk three months. He explained that he just hadn’t
    wanted to waste all his old labels,” Dr. Campbell smiled.
           
           Shelves of the doctor’s inner office have a fascinating array of bottles of all shapes and colors.
    Many of the bottles contain products now seldom used.

           Kleber Campbell, Jr. or Grafton is now a Worcester attorney. Dr. Campbell’s daughter, Katharine,
    wife of Joseph S. Seville, and a grandson Richard W. live at 18 Germain Street, Worcester.

           His namesake grandson, 2nd Lt. Kleber Campbell, 3rd, is in the Korean area.

           Dr. Campbell is looking forward to many more years of service. He has had a full and rewarding
    life but he still feels his work is not done. He looks to the years ahead with ever-increasing interest
    and enthusiasm. Work and helping others is a way of life with Dr. Campbell. He has found it a happy
    way of life.

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