George W. Goucher, MD (1820 - 1892) MP

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Birthplace: Parkersburg, Wood, Virginia, United States
Death: Died in Amity, Yamhill, Oregon, United States
Occupation: Physician
Managed by: Maria Edmonds-Zediker, Volunteer Curator
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About George W. Goucher, MD

George W. Goucher was born in Parkersburg, Wood County, Virginia on August 26, 1820. He studied medicine at Cleveland University, graduating in 1842. He began practice in Mississippi and then moved to Louisiana. He joined the Louisiana Volunteers as a Medical Officer in 1846, serving under General Smith, as Assistant Surgeon, and participated in the battles of Monterey, Molino, Del Rey and Buena Vista. He was discharged in the Spring of 1847 at Vera Cruz.

Returning to the United States, he continued practicing medicine in the southern states until about 1849, when he set off for the gold fields of California. He continued his medical practice in various cities and towns of Northern California and Oregon. The 1850 census has him in Stockton, California; the 1860 census shows Lafayette, California; the 1880 census shows Amity, Oregon, where he remained until death. Sonoma County California records show him as one of the doctors treating an epidemic in the camps there, in 1858, in what is now Healdsburg, California.

George also became an ordained minister and combined circuit riding as a minister with tending to the sick. It was common in those days for men to have multiple and simultaneous careers.

The 1890 Veterans schedule, shows George Goucher in Amity Oregon, for service in the War of the Rebellion. The first two pages of the schedule reflect the listing for the War of the Rebellion, and show all information on each solider listed. George is listed on the third page of three, showing as a special schedule, with only their name and rank as soldier, Post Office as Amity Oregon, no other information is listed.

There are four known wives for George after he came West. Some sources believe that there was a wife prior to his coming to California. The name given is Sophonia Phelps, with a marriage date of c.1839. This would have been a marriage when he was 19 and before he entered medical school. An 1841 census shows a GW Goucher and a Washington Goucher in Coahoma County, Mississippi. Both were married and Washington had children.

George married (1) Delilah Ann Morrison about 1855. She was born in Indiana, grew up in San Francisco, California, and died in Oregon in 1875. He married (2) Jane Lindsay who died in Oregon in 1877. He married (3) the widow Almira P Trumball Scherman. She was born in Vermont, married her first husband in Illinois and died in Oregon in 1886. Family lore says he made his medicines in her kitchen and married her later after she was widowed. He married (4) the widow Catherine E. Seltzer Sailing and she outlived him.

George's second son, Elmo, also became a doctor and established a practice in Yamhill County, Oregon. They were know as "Old Doc" and "Young Doc." George also raised his step-daughter, Minnie Sherman, after his marriage to Almira Scherman.

George W. Goucher died on April 8, 1892 in Amity, Yamhill County, Oregon and was buried in the Amity Cemetery.

Children of George Goucher and wife Delilah Morrison:

  • William Goucher, born c.1856
  • Elmo Everett Goucher, born c. 1858, who followed in his father's footsteps and became a doctor
  • Delpha Goucher, (c.1860-1870) who died just short of her 10th birthday, of typhoid fever.
  • Nora Goucher, married a Mr. Springer and settled in Crook County, Oregon
  • Emeline Goucher, who died young (1867-1878)
  • Delilah Goucher, (1869-1893) who married a Mr. Maddox and settled in Multnomah County, Oregon

This biographical sketch of Dr. Goucher was printed in 1963 in the Sonoma County Historical Society Journal

DR. GEORGE W. GOUCHER - PIONEER PHYSICIAN IN HEALDSBURG By Niles Porter

Dr. Goucher was among the first physicians in the Healdsburg region and the grandfather of Mrs. Porter. George W. Goucher was born in West Virginia in 1820, graduated from the Cleveland Medical College in 1842, began practice in Mississippi, and in 1846 was a medical officer in the Mexican War, spending some time at Vera Cruz.

In 1858 he came to California with his brother, an. attorney, and the latter was the person who found Mariposa County undeliniated on the south and southwest sides. Mariposa County was the most southern of the Mother Lode section, and no one cared anything about the rocks, sage, tules and desert south of where gold was found. However, through the efforts of this brother, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, etc. counties came into being.

Dr. Goucher found himself in the Mother Lode for awhile, staking out claims as did all people not confined to Yerba Buena (as San Francisco had been called) and also practiced medicine in the hill. Returning to the Bay Area he practiced in what is now Santa Clara County, then set up practice at Niles, then the largest settlement in what is now Alameda County, Oakland having remained an Indian settlement for a long period. (The town of Niles was established and named by Mr. Niles Porter's forebears.) At Niles, Dr. Goucher married a Miss Morrison of an affluent family of San Francisco. (Later, this family and "Insurance" were synonymous.) While at Niles, Dr. Goucher helped organize the county of Alameda and besides holding his practice, served as the first Assessor of Alameda County and the new Supt. of Schools.

Around 1857, there was quite a trek of migrants floating across the bay to what is Marin County, in flat-bottomed boats with "Lugger" sail. These people had become aware of the agricultural possibilities of what are now Marin, Sonoma, and Napa Counties, also learning of the vast empire of redwoods to the north. Their path north led across Santa Rosa Creek in the vicinity of the old adobe building out on the east side of town, (the Carrillo Adobe) thence northwest over what is now the high school and Junior College properties to the crossing of the Russian River up by Fitch Mountain at what is and was called the Indian diggings. (Bend)

It was customary for these trekkers to make camp and rest their animals, dry their clothes, etc. Improvised shelters of all types and a few shanties of logs and split stuff appeared. Quite a few had decided to stay in the area, (this in 1857-58.) An epidemic broke out. Some pox, but usually measles which in itself was quite serious with a high mortality rate because of no way to isolate and properly treat these cases.

Having learned of the seriousness of this situation, Dr. Goucher came to what is now Healdsburg in latter 1857 and took care of this epidemic. It was here that Elmo Everett Goucher was born in 1858


Dr. Goucher returned to Niles, and it was then that Alameda County was formed as stated above. In 1864 he migrated to what is now Eugene, Oregon, to the then enterprising community known as Amity, in Yamhill County, His son, Elmo Everett Gaucher, graduated in medicine and practiced in Yamhill County until he passed away December 26, 1935. Dr. George Goucher, while in practice in Amity, was also the minister in the community Methodist Episcopal Church. He died in 1903.

(Reference "The Doctor in Oregon" by O. Larsell, published by Binfords and Mort) Copyright 1947 by Oregon Historical Society.)

NOTE: The 1890 Veterans schedule, shows George Goucher in Amity Oregon, for service in the War of the Rebellion. The first two pages of the schedule reflect the listing for the War of the Rebellion, and show all information on each solider listed. George is listed on the third page of three, showing as a special schedule, with only their name and rank as soldier, Post Office as Amity Oregon, no other information is listed. The pension file, from the National Archives shows George W Goucher was born August 26, 1820, near Parkersburg Virginia.

(http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=5570hartsook&id=I0451)

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George Goucher, MD's Timeline

1820
August 26, 1820
Parkersburg, Wood, Virginia, United States
1839
September 3, 1839
Age 19
Wood, Virginia, United States
1842
1842
- 1846
Age 21
Mississippi, United States
1846
1846
- 1848
Age 25
Mexican America War
1855
1855
Age 34
California
1856
1856
Age 35
California
1858
1858
Age 37
Healdsburg, Sonoma, California, United States
1858
- present
Age 37
1860
1860
Age 39
1865
1865
Age 44