McIntyre, Daniel William (1847–1913)


By: Mari Nicholson-Preuss

Type: Biography

Published: September 12, 2021

Updated: September 12, 2021


Daniel William McIntyre, early Big Spring doctor and druggist, son of a Scottish immigrant, Donald W. McIntyre, was born on August 14, 1847, in Glengary, Canada. McIntyre grew up in New York and began his medical studies there. In 1877 he graduated from the Bennett College of Eclectic Medicine and Surgery located in Chicago, Illinois. The 1880 U. S. census listed McIntyre in Oxville, Illinois, with his wife Sarah, daughters Anna (age five) and Gertrude (age four), and his mother-in-law Louisa Rossiter. Following the death of his wife, in 1883 he relocated to Big Spring, Texas, with his daughters and his mother-in-law. McIntyre purchased the town’s only drugstore and opened his practice there. In addition to general medicine, he practiced dentistry, focusing primarily on extractions. McIntyre’s drugstore was originally located on First Street before moving to Main Street. The Main Street location also housed Big Spring’s first post office along with a soda fountain. McIntyre sold his drugstore in 1898 to the McCamant Brothers who later sold it to Bascum Reagan who eventually sold the business to the Cunningham & Phillips Pharmacy.

Medical calls came into the drugstore by telegraph or messenger. At night, the messengers went directly to McIntyre’s house to wake him. If a call coincided with the freight or passenger timetables of the Texas and Pacific Railway, the engineer would wait on the doctor and take him as far as he could. The railroad made it possible for McIntyre’s practice to extend as far as Monahans. The doctor’s patients living to the north and south had to wait for him to arrive by buggy. On occasion he had to travel seventy-five or more miles to see a patient. In such cases, McIntyre often stayed overnight on his remote visits, especially when the patient’s condition proved precarious or the weather made it unsafe to travel.  There were some instances when the distance did not matter because there was little to be done for the patient, for example rattlesnake bites. Without medical facilities and only the instruments he carried at his disposal; McIntyre often resorted to creativity. To ensure the survival of a low birth weight baby born on the U Ranch, the doctor fashioned a homemade baby incubator out of a wooden box, some cotton, and a couple of whiskey bottles filled with lukewarm water. The child grew up to be blacksmith.

Author, druggist, and Big Spring resident Shine Philips described McIntyre as “a sawed off, wiry little character, short in stature, long on keeping his mouth shut. He tended to his own business and forced everybody else to leave his business alone. He had side-whiskers and the inevitable frock tailcoat and a heart as big as a wagon wheel—too big for his small body—but he carefully tried to conceal the fact.”

McIntyre was a charter member of the Methodist church in Big Spring and lived with his mother-in-law and daughters in a home on Scurry Street. He kept in contact with Bennet College, and the school’s journal referred to him as “a strong man in the South.” He did not belong to the county medical society, however, he still participated in scholarly aspects of his profession. In 1900 he authored an article that appeared in the American Medical Journal on the suitability of Big Spring’s climate for the health of tubercular patients. McIntyre practiced medicine in Texas from 1883 until 1909 when his health started to decline. He died from a stroke on May 31, 1913, and was buried in Mount Olive Cemetery in Big Spring. His daughter Gertrude remained in Big Spring for the rest of her life. Her insights as “a pioneer citizen” and memories of her father appeared in the Big Spring Herald throughout her life.

Big Spring Herald, July 23, 1931; September 20, 1953. Shine Philips, Big Spring: The Casual Biography of a Prairie Town (New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1942).

Categories:
  • Health and Medicine
  • Pharmacists
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • Dentists
  • General Practitioners
Time Periods:
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
  • Progressive Era
Places:
  • West Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Mari Nicholson-Preuss, “McIntyre, Daniel William,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/mcintyre-daniel-william.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 12, 2021
September 12, 2021

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