Wagner established his Palacios practice as a ‘country doctor’

Above left, is Dr. Joseph Wagner and, above right, is the former Wagner General Hospital that was named for him.

   Joseph Ralph Wagner, born on May 16, 1870, in Newman, Illinois, was the son of Dr. John Marquand (Marquin) and Sarah Ellen Wagner He attended public school in Newman, and was graduated from Rush Medical College in Chicago. 
      He began his practice in 1895 in Newman. About 1902 he moved his family to Crowley, La., and farmed rice for a couple of years. 
   In 1906, they moved to Palacios and bought a farm, intending to raise rice. 
   He soon found that Palacios needed a doctor, so in June, 1907, he took the Texas Medical Examination and opened practice. 
   In the early days Doc had an ad each week in the Palacios Beacon, "DR. WAGNER'S PHONE IS #13," and, of course, his phone number was very important to a lot of people! 
   Doc was a typical "country doctor" of the era, beginning his practice with a horse and buggy, but advancing to an automobile in 1909.  
   At times his car would not go where he was needed, so someone would meet him with a buggy to take him over muddy roads to the sick person. 
   He said, "All of the roads around here were muddy in those days, and I have been stuck in every danged one of them." 
   He practiced in the days of the "house calls," and for much of the time, without the benefit of a hospital. 


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