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Stuart, David Finney (1833–1909)


David Finney Stuart, physician and surgeon, son of William and Mary (Cummins) Stuart, was born in Brook County, West Virginia, on August 15, 1833. He attended school at Bethany College, West Virginia, before moving to Texas in 1850. He took two courses at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia in 1859 and subsequently attended the Medical College of Louisiana before returning to Texas to practice at Gay Hill. Stuart entered the Confederate Army in 1861 and served as assistant surgeon under Brig. Gen. Thomas James Churchill. At Arkansas Post on January 11, 1863, a shell from a federal gunboat exploded and killed several surgeons in the operating room; Stuart was wounded, captured, and imprisoned at Camp Douglas, Chicago. After his release he was surgeon of James Deshler's brigade of the Army of Tennessee and senior surgeon of Hiram B. Granbury's brigade. In 1866 Stuart moved to Houston, where he became chairman of the city board of health. He was chief surgeon for the Houston and Texas Central Railroad in 1872 and founded the Houston Infirmary in 1874. He was also chief surgeon of the Houston, East and West Texas Railway and local surgeon of the International-Great Northern and the Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe railroads. He was vice president (1871) and president (1873) of the Texas State Medical Association (later the Texas Medical Association) and was delegate to the International Medical Association at Philadelphia in 1876. From 1878 to 1895 he was head of Galveston Medical College (see TEXAS MEDICAL COLLEGE). He was also vice president of the National Railway Surgeons' Association. On September 17, 1867, Stuart married Ellen Dart, who died in 1879. He married Bettie Heath Bocok of Lynchburg, Virginia, on November 28, 1883. He had four children, two in his first marriage and two in his second. Stuart died in Houston on September 8, 1909.

Lewis E. Daniell, Types of Successful Men in Texas (Austin: Von Boeckmann, 1890). History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of the Cities of Houston and Galveston (Chicago: Lewis, 1895). Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). George Plunkett [Mrs. S. C.] Red, The Medicine Man in Texas (Houston, 1930).


  • Health and Medicine
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • General Surgeons
  • Military Physicians and Surgeons and Military Nurses
  • Military

Time Periods:

  • Civil War
  • Reconstruction
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas


  • Houston

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

Anonymous, “Stuart, David Finney,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 25, 2020,

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