For a number of years the subject of this sketch ranked among Hancock countys leading physicians and surgeons, but since 1900 he has been living a life of honorable retirement in the city of Greenfield. By no means an old man, being at the very zenith of his physical and intellectual powers, his success in life has enabled him to rest from his former activity and enjoy the fruits of his toil. Though not actively engaged in the practice of his profession, he is a forceful factor in all that pertains to the interests of the city and county and in the public eye occupies a position which commands the esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens. The Doctor is a son of Joseph and Sophia (Sells) Boots, a sketch of whom will be found elsewhere in these pages. He is the oldest of three children born to this couple, the other two being Franklin, a farmer of Center township, and Austin P.., who died in Shelby county, Indiana, in the year 1865.
Dr. Samuel S. Boots was born in Brown county, Ohio, August 12, 1846, and when a young man accompanied his parents to Indiana, locating in the county of Shelby. He received his preliminary education in the common schools of his native state and about 1864 entered the Union Christian College, at Merom, Indiana, where for one year he pursued the higher branches of learning. His early tastes and inclinations led him to choose medicine for a profession and in 1866 he entered upon a course of private reading in the office of J. W. Parish, a prominent physician of Shelbyville, under whose able instruction he continued until some time the following year. Determined to leave nothing undone in the way of preparing himself for his life work, the Doctor in 1867 entered the Eclectic Medical Institute at Cincinnati, where for three years he pursued his studies and investigations under some of the most distinguished professional talent, graduating from that well-known and popular institution on the 18th day of February, 1870. Dr. Boots qualified himself for the profession of medicine through his own untiring energy and brought to the practice a mind strengthened by long and laborious discipline, intellectually and in the line of his chosen calling. Shortly after completing his course he opened an office in Greenfield, where he soon took high rank among the most successful practitioners of the city and county and it was not long until his name became familiar throughout a large area of territory. His practice from the beginning proved lucrative beyond his expectations and for some years was more extensive perhaps than that of any other medical man in the city of Greenfield. He won more then local distinction as a physician and surgeon and always displayed the utmost confidence in his ability to diagnose and successfully treat the prevailing diseases to which the people of this section of the state were subject, a confidence shared alike by his brethren of the profession and the patients under his care. In 1868 he was one of the incorporators of the Indiana Eclectic Medical College at Indianapolis, in which he held the chair of material medica for a period of twelve years, or until the organization of the Eclectic Medical College of Indiana, in which he held the same chair one year. The Doctor, in company with Dr. John L. Morris, in 1879 established the Indianapolis Medical Investigator, which was the original of the Indiana Eclectic Medical Journal.
Dr. Boots continued to minister to suffering and afflicted humanity until 1895, in the fall of which year he retired from the medical practice and turned his attention to an enterprise which became identified in July of 1893. This was the Herald Publishing Company of Greenfield, organized the latter year with a capital of ten thousand dollars, of which the Doctor furnished all but twenty dollars, thus becoming in fact the real promoter and executive head of the concern. The Greenfield Herald, the immediate outgrowth of this enterprise, was a sprightly, well-edited newspaper, a model of neatness typographically, and, under the management of the Doctor, the equal of any local sheet in this part of the state in point of ability displayed in its editorials. He proved a graceful as well as a trenchant writer and made the Herald so popular that within a few years it had a large circulation. A liberal advertising patronage and became one of the best family newspapers the county has ever known. The other business of the company increased in like ratio and resulted in liberal pecuniary gains to the projectors.
Dr. Boots continued as editor and general manager of the Herald until November, 1900, when he disposed of his interest to other parties and retired from active life. His marked talents and well stored mind will not permit him to live passively, consequently he takes an active interest in public affairs and is ever ready to encourage all enterprises having for their object the general welfare of the city of his residence. He has been successful in the accumulation of worldly wealth, being the possessor of an ample competence, including valuable real estate as well a money and personal property. Not the least of his possessions is the elegant home on Tague Street, erected in 1900 at a cost of four thousand dollars; it is furnished with all the comforts that money can procure, supplied with modern conveniences, and is one of the most attractive residences in the city. He also operates in connection a farm of one hundred and forty-one acres, and owns a fine farm of two hundred and twenty-one acres in Center township which is highly improved and successfully cultivated; it is a model place in many respects and gives evidence of the thrift of the owner, the fields being in excellent condition, the buildings and fences in fine repair; the whole premises bespeaking the owner to be a man of enterprise and good taste. The Doctor, in company with Charles Barr, has recently incorporated the Greenfield Brick Works with a capital stock of twenty thousand dollars, the capacity being forth thousand brick daily and giving employment to thirty men.
Dr. Boots is a member of the State Eclectic Medical Association and for several years served as secretary of the Hancock county board of health. He was also a member of the state board of health for ten years, two years of which time he served as its president. In matters local he was honored by the common council of Greenfield at one time by being elected a member of the city board of education. In the discharge of his various duties the Doctor displayed good judgment and tact and proved himself worthy the confidence of those by whom such trusts and honors were conferred.
Dr. Boots is a man of strong common sense, positive character, great perseverance and strength of will. These, with other equally meritorious qualities, have enabled him to prosecute successfully his profession and manage to the satisfaction of all concerned important enterprises. In politics he is an ardent supporter of the Democratic party, but is more of a student of political questions than a professional partisan. Fraternally he has risen high in Masonic circles, holding membership with Blue Lodge No. 101, chapter and commandery, in all of which he has been honored with important official stations. His religious views are of a liberal character, while his wife belongs to the Methodist church. The Doctor is a pleasant gentleman socially, with fine conversational powers, and as a man and citizen he has ever maintained a character of strict integrity and stands high in the respect of all classes of people.
Dr. Boots wife was formerly Miss Mary S. Zike, of Shelby county, this state, daughter of William and Mary (Ferris) Zike. The marriage, which was solemnized in the year 1867, has been blessed with four children, the oldest of whom, Samuel, died when but six months old. Austin P., the second, was for several years editor of the Greenfield Tribune, but at the present time is owner of the South Side Printing Company, Indianapolis. He married Miss Jennie Marts and is the father of two children, Joseph Samuel and Kate. Lenora, the third in order of birth, is the wife of Dr. R. B. Ramsey, of Greenfield, and has had three children, Katie, deceased, George B. and Susan Lois. Ralph, the youngest, is a printer by trade and lives with his parents.
Transcribed from Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Logansport, Indiana, 1902 Pages 243-246.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI June 3, 2002.
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