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WEBSITE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Doneen Hollingsworth, Secretary of Health
South Dakota Department of Health

125 Years of Health in South Dakota - Health Pioneers

 

Fellow South Dakotans,

     As we celebrate the 125th year of statehood for South Dakota, it is important to reflect on those individuals who, through the decades, have helped make this a great state. At the Department of Health we are particularly interested in noting those who have played key roles in advancing the health of the citizens of our state. In the coming weeks we will be featuring some of those individuals and health milestones on this site. Any such listing will inevitably be incomplete but it is our hope that these brief snapshots will introduce South Dakotans to some of the health pioneers whose efforts have helped create the quality of life we enjoy today.

Doneen Hollingsworth

Secretary of Health

 

Dr. Abbie Jarvis

Dr. Abbie Jarvis

Medical Doctor

1854 - 1931

  • Was the first woman licensed to practice medicine in South Dakota

  • Was also a licensed pharmacist

  • Owned and operated a drug store with her husband in Faulkton

  • Served as the vice president of the State Board of Pharmacy

  • Honored with a U.S. Postal Service stamp issued commemorating her contributions to the medical profession

 

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)


Dr. Fredrick Spafford

Dr. Fredrick Spafford

Medical Doctor

1855 - 1922

  • Came to Dakota Territory in 1884 to establish a medical and surgical practice in the Flandreau area

  • Served on the South Dakota Board of Regents for two terms, serving as president for 10 of these years

  • Was the regent in full charge of the Agricultural College in Brookings, now SDSU

  • Continued his medical practice for 38 years until his death in 1922

 

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)


Doane Robinson

Jonah (Doane) Robinson

Historian

1856 - 1946

  • As superintendent of the State Department of History, realized the need for additional state services and established the State Library, Census and Vital Statistics Bureaus, and the Legislative Research Division

 

 

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)


Dr. Charles Eastman

Dr. Charles Eastman

Physician, Missionary, Writer, and Speaker

1858 - 1939

  • Raised by his American Indian grandmother and learned native medicines

  • Graduated with a medical degree in 1890, from Boston University, perhaps the first American Indian to do so

  • Served as the government physician at the Pine Ridge Reservation where he cared for the injured after Wounded Knee

  • Served as the government physician at the Crow Creek Agency

 

 

(Information: South Dakota Hall of Fame and Akta Lakota Museum website; Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)


 

 

(no photo available)

Elizabeth Dryborough

Nurse

1864 - 1948

  • Served as the first president of the South Dakota State Nurses Association of Graduate Nurses (later named the South Dakota Nurses Association) in 1916

  • Served as secretary / treasurer for the South Dakota Nurses Board of Examiners

(Information Source: South Dakota Hall of Fame and Dryborough Family History website)


Theresa McKinstry

Theresa McKinstry

Self-trained Practical Nurse and Midwife

1864 - 1931

  • Administered to the sick in the Bison, South Dakota, area when there was no doctor available

  • Delivered babies and even buried the dead when necessary

  • Cooked, cleaned, washed and generally kept households running while the ill convalesced during the influenza epidemic of 1918

 

 

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)


Dr. Hampton Kenaston

Dr. Hampton Kenaston

Medical Doctor

1870 - 1937

  • Provided medical care to the citizens of Rosebud Territory for nearly four decades

  • Established his medical practice in Bonesteel, South Dakota, in 1898

  • Served 21 years, starting in 1912, on the South Dakota Board of Health and Medical Examiners where he was charged with licensing physicians moving into the state

  • Appointed the first coroner in Gregory County in 1904

 

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)


Jean May Kenaston

Jean May Kenaston

Pharmacist, Optometrist, Nurse

1870 - 1958

  • Came to South Dakota in 1899, where she was one of the first teachers in Gregory County

  • After marrying physician Hampton Kenaston, Sr., worked with her husband as an optometrist, nurse and pharmacist

  • Became a registered pharmacist

  • Helped implement many of South Dakota’s child welfare laws

  • Appointed to the South Dakota Child Welfare Commission by Governor Peter Norbeck and served as the chair

 

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)


Dr. Silas Hohf

Dr. Silas Hohf

Surgeon

1872 - 1953

  • Was chiefly instrumental in the establishment of Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton which opened in 1897

  • Performed the first major surgery at Sacred Heart Hospital

  • Served on the faculty of the University of South Dakota School of Medicine for 29 years

  • Authored many articles and papers on medical subjects

 

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)


Sr. Juliana Graf

Sr. Juliana Graf

Nurse

1873 - 1959

  • Became a registered nurse in 1910 and was the first registered nurse at Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton where she became the assistant superintendent

  • Served as a member of the committee of nurses who drafted the South Dakota Nurses’ Act

  • Was active in the South Dakota Nurses Association from its beginning in 1916

  • Was the first director to add Public Health Nursing to the curriculum of a 3-year South Dakota nursing diploma school

  • Introduced psychiatric nursing in the Sacred Heart School of Nursing in 1930

 

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)


Dr. Theodore Riggs

Dr. Theodore Riggs

Medical Doctor

1874 - 1962

  • Received his medical degree in 1903 and became a “horse and buggy” doctor making house calls in remote areas

  • Helped the Benedictine Sisters transform the old Park Hotel into St. Mary’s Hospital in Pierre

  • Assisted the Benedictine Sisters in organizing a nursing school which granted registered nurse degrees

 

 

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)