Dr. M. N. McNaughton: Pioneer Physician

Obituary - June 27, 1912

Villisca's Pioneer Physician and Wealthiest Citizen Passes Away at His Home In This City After Short Illness--Was Here Before Railroad

Dr. M. N. McNaughton died at his home on Upper Third avenue in Villisca Sunday evening, June 23, 1912, at ten o'clock.  Death came as the result of chronic Bright's disease and a complication of diseases, and followed an illness of about three weeks' duration, although the doctor's health had been gradually failing during the latter years of his life.  Dr. McNaughton was 63 years, 2 months and 22 days of age.

Funeral services were held at the home in this city Tuesday at half past two o'clock under the ministration of Rev. W. J. Ewing, pastor of the Presbyterian church, and in charge of Montgomery Lodge No. 270 A. F. & A. M.  The interment was in the Villisca cemetery.

Malcolm Ney McNaughton was born at Caledonia, New York, April 1st, 1849, his parents being P. P. and Flora McNaughton, who were farmers.  As a boy he attended the village school and then the academies at Riga and Leroy in western New York.   He began the study of medicine at the age of 15, entering the Buffalo Medical college, from which he graduated before he was 19.  He was considered one of the brightest students in his class, and the fact that he was but eighteen was unknown to his instructors who refused to graduate any one under twenty-one.  He received his degree on February 23, 1868, and straightway started for the west.

His parents had moved to Galesburg, Michigan, and the young doctor followed them, and then came to Omaha.  That was in the day before railroads had spread a network over Iowa.  Finding Omaha overrun with doctors the ambitious young doctor started for Red Oak in company with a friend, but he missed catching the wagon and had to walk nearly all the way.  At Red Oak he entered into partnership with Dr. Sperry, and was associated with him during the summer of 1868.   The Burlington had not yet reached this section of the country, and Red Oak, it is said, was virtually on wheels waiting to see where the depot was going to be located.   In the winter of 1868-69 Dr. McNaughton came to Villisca, then a new frontier village, entered into practice and has remained.  He retired in 1905.  He was married to Isadore Lynch at Galesburg, Michigan, September 21, 1869.

During his first year in Villisca he bought a lot and built a residence on the corner where J. L. Palmquist and family live now and as time went on he accumulated wealth and property all of which he invested in his own community.  As a builder and booster for his home city there have been few to equal Dr. McNaughton and none to excel him.  He bought land extensively and at the time of his death his farm possessions aggregated some 975 acres of the best of Iowa land.  He has owned the farm north of town since 1877.  He purchased 160 acres of the John Van Horn estate nineteen years ago, and there are 320 acres lying north of Sciola and 80 acres on the Bottom road north of Villisca.

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The McNaughton Block (the building on the far right).

In 1890 he and Dr. D. W. Jackson built the Jackson block in Villisca, and the two had offices in the same building.  He sold out to Dr. Jackson in 1905, and two years later began the erection of the McNaughton block, the largest and most modern structure in the city for many years.  The building is 75 X 120 feet, two stories and basement, and cost approximately $20,000.  It stands today as Dr. McNaughton's most enduring monument, a tribute to his enterprise and his genius.   With it began the era of bigger and better buildings in Villisca, and to Dr. McNaughton as much as to any other man is due the credit of making Villisca modern.    He has always been a builder and a booster.  He was in favor of a sewerage system for the city and he signed one of the first petitions for paving.  He was a member of the Villisca Industrial Association and subscribed to its funds in an effort to get factories for the city.

He built the present home on Upper Third avenue in 1875, and some fifteen years later caused two homes to be erected for his daughters and their families.

For a time Dr. McNaughton had engaged in the drug business with his brother in law, Dr. L. J. Lynch, the latter being in active charge of the store, which was located on the corner now occupied by the Woodward Bros. Investment company.

At the time the First National bank was organized, in the year 1882, Dr. McNaughton became the principal stockholder, and was at the time of his death and had been the bank's vice president since its organization.  He was the holder of 200 shares of the capital stock of this institution.  He also helped to form the Adams County bank at Nodaway, and owned 100 shares of the stock of that institution.

Although public spirited to a very marked degree Dr. McNaughton was averse to public office of any kind, and there is no record of his having held any other office than that of school director.  He was a life long Democrat, but it was his belief that business and politics do not mix very satisfactorily, and he devoted his time and attention more strictly to the former.  He had been a mason since 1870, when on April 20 he was taken into the membership of Montgomery Lodge No. 270 at Villisca.   He was the second member to join after the lodge was organized.  He served as Worshipful Master during the year 1897, and was a charter member of Villisca Chapter No. 80, O. E. S., which was organized September 11, 1890.

In addition to the three degrees in masonry of the blue lodge, Dr. McNaughton belonged to Royal Arch Chapter at Red Oak, to the Bruce Commandery of Knight Temlars of Red Oak and to the Tangier Temple of Shriners at Omaha.

Besides his wife Dr. McNaughton is survived by two daughters, Mrs. C. W. Breisford and Mrs. D. E. Lomas, both of Villisca, and two brothers, M. G. McNaughton of Leavenworth, Kansas, and John P. McNaughton of Galesburg, Michigan.

The funeral services, which were Masonic, were attended by hundreds of people, the entire city and community uniting in paying their last respects to a citizen highly esteemed in life and universally mourned in death.  Masons from Corning, Nodaway and Red Oak attended the services in a body.

The pall bearers were:  F. E. Shane of Nodaway, W. S. Alger, B. F. Fast, J. L. Neill, D. Whitmyer and F. B. Fryer.

Among those from out of town who attended the funeral Tuesday were: Mr. and Mrs. M. G. McNaughton of Leavenworth, Kansas; John P. McNaughton of Galesburg, Michigan; Dr. and Mrs. L. J. Lynch of Ames, Iowa; and Mrs. John McKee of Burlington, Iowas, a sister of C. W. Brelsford.

Those from Red Oak were: Sheriff O. E. Jackson, F. P. Greenlee, C. P. Liegerot, H. T. Thomas, A. S. Ellis, C. D. McElvain, A. M. Hawkins, O. P. Worley, C. W. Larson, County Recorder S. E. Pryce, Roy Illingworth, Prof. J. A. McLean, Samuel Neill, Wm. Boll, County Superintendent Clara Cowgill, Mrs. W. S. Ellis and Mrs. E. A. Platter.

Those from Stanton were:  Dr. C. W. Hine and Mayor T. J. McCormick.  Those from Corning:  D. H. Meyerhoff, Dr. Mary Johnson.  Others were: C. H. Hall of Benson, Nebraska, Mr. and Mrs. D. G. Burleson and Mrs. Minnie Wilson of Clarinda, Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Collier of Lincoln.

Article courtesy of the June 27, 1912 issue of the The Villisca Review.

Photographs courtesy of the Villisca Review Illustrated Supplement,
Thursday, December 20, 1906



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