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Historical Dentists Called Dr. Doolittle

Satire about the practice of rich people of the 18th century paying for teeth to be pulled from poor children and transplanted in their gums.
Satire about the practice of rich people of the 18th century paying for teeth to be pulled from poor children and transplanted in their gums.
Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827)

Recently I did a supplemental application to the Daughters of the American Revolution for my ancestor Amzi Doolittle. He was a Lieutenant in the American Revolution and married a woman named Jerusha Smith and had nine children with her.

Jerusha Smith Doolittle left Amzi for a married man named Amos Marsh who was also married and had children with a woman named Beulah Leonard. Amos and Jerusha left town in 1778 and the story goes that were later apprehended for adultery in New York. Amzi and Jerusha divorced after that.

Amzi later hooked up with Hannah Barber, in some narratives of the events there. She was the wife of Thomas Barber. Some sources say Amzi and Hannah married but there is no proof of that but with all the partner switching going on in Warwick at that time there is bound to be confusion.

Writers have blamed all the divorces on a Minister Hix who came to Warwick, Massachusetts and helped the divorce rates start to rise when he ran off with one of Amzi and Jerusha's daughters and preached about "spiritual wife-ism". With all this dysfunction I figured a dentist had to be spawned in the family from these two somewhere.

Sure enough one of Amzi and Jerusha's grandsons named Amory Doolittle became a dentist.

  • Amory Doolittle was born in Townsend, Vermont on Oct 15, 1801 to Origin and Hannah Doolittle. He first married Sophia White and they had two children; Sophia and Edward. Sophia died on March 22, 1839 after giving birth to her son Edward Spencer Doolittle only 15 days earlier on March 7th in Hennepin, Ohio. Amory Doolittle then married Emily Severance on Nov 7, 1839. This was only seven and a half months after his first wife Sophia died. Amory and Emily's first child Ella Marie was born on Sept 9, 1840 in Chicopee, Massachusetts. They had two more children together named Caroline and Amoret. Amory Doolittle worked for a time as a dentist in New York City and later lived in Hennepin, Ohio. He was said to be the station agent in Chicopee, Massachusetts at the time of his death. He died on March 31, 1872. There is not much else about him.

Dr. Doolittle is a film that was made in 1967 and remade more recently. It is about a vet who finds he can talk to animals. I thought it might be interesting to find other historical dentists named Dr. Doolittle.

  • Ephraim Doolittle was from Marshall County, W.Va. He was born to Thomas Doolittle and Sarah McCausland in Monongalia County, Va. (part now in Marion County, W.Va.) on November 7, 1834. Aside from being a dentist, he was also a minister and a member of West Virginia state senate 2nd District from 1869-70. Ephraim married Kizziah Echols and had seven children with her. He died in Marion County, W.Va., February 28, 1918 (age 83 years, 113 days). He is buried at Doolittle Cemetery, Fairmont, W.Va.
  • E. Doolittle of Schuylerville was the President of the New York Fourth District Dental Society according to a book called "A History of Dental and Oral Sciences in America" published in 1876.
  • L.F. Doolittle was Vice-President of the Connecticut Odontological Club and was located in New Haven, CT in 1914.
  • L.T. Doolittle was named as a dentist from Meridan, CT in the Dental Cosmos. He was a donor to place a memorial tablet on Dec 11, 1894 to honor the memory of Dr. Wells, the discoverer of anesthesia.

In 1914 in the Polk Directory of Dentists in the United States and Canada there were 13 dentists named Doolittle in the directory:

  1. Alvin W. Doolittle - Torrington, Litchfield Co., CT.
  2. C. VanRenselaer Doolittle - San Bernadino, CA. Graduated in 1886 from Minnesota Hospital College Dental Department in Minneapolis.
  3. Daniel A. Doolittle - 266 Superior Ave N.W., Cleveland, OH
  4. Edgar J. Doolittle - Schuylerville, Saratoga Co., NY, also practiced in Lyons, Wayne Co., NY. Graduated in 1912 from the University of Buffalo Dental Dept. in Buffalo, NY.
  5. Ephraim Doolittle - Rural Delivery #28, Catawba, Marion Co., WV.
  6. Fred Doolittle - 151 54th Ave E. Los Angeles, CA
  7. F.W. Doolittle - Eaton, Weld Co., Colorado. Graduated 1901 from Ohio College of Dental Surgery in Cincinnati, OH. (An F.W. Doolittle was President of the Tri County Dental Society in San Bernadino, East L.A. and Riverside, California from 1918-1919).
  8. George Pierson Doolittle - (b. Jan 3, 1867) Practiced in Albion, Orleans Co., NY. Graduated in 1895.
  9. Horace B. Doolittle - Albion, Orleans Co. , NY (died at age 80 in 1915 at his home in Albion)
  10. James H. Doolittle - 10403 St. Clair Ave N.E., Cleveland, OH
  11. Lewis T. Doolittle - 103 Grand Ave., New Haven, CT.
  12. Martin J. Doolittle - Paulsboro, Gloucester Co., NJ. Graduated in 1886 from State University of Iowa College of Dentistry in Iowa City.
  13. Wilford D. Doolittle - Ellsworth, Pierce Co., WI. Later he and his wife and children moved to California. He died there. Wilford went to dental school in Cincinnati, Ohio and graduated in 1900.

Every Doolittle in America (unless adopted or indiscretions occurred) descends from Abraham Doolittle who was born in England in 1619. Abraham died in Connecticut in 1790 after having 13 children with two wives. Many of his descendants have turned out to be dentists.

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