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James Milton Bonham, M. D. The pioneer physician of Hobart, where he has been engaged in practice since 1901, Dr. James Milton Bonham is known as a leader in the professional life of Kiowa County and as a citizen who has contributed materially to his community’s welfare and growth. He belongs to a family which, originating in England, was founded in this country by an emigrant who came here prior to the Revolution, taking up his residence in the Colony of Virginia. Doctor Bonham was born at Osceola, Iowa, May 25, 1870, and is a son of L. L. and Mary Elizabeth (Welch) Bonham.
The paternal grandfather of Doctor Bonham, Rev. Smiley S. Bonham, was born in 1812, and died in Clark County, Iowa, in 1881. He passed his life as a farmer and stock raiser, and also was a local preacher in the Christian Church, and became prominent as a member of the old greenback party, which sent him to one of the earliest legislatures of Iowa. L. L. Bonham was born at Iowa City, Iowa, in 1842, and removed from Clark County to Osceola, then to Wilson, when his son James M. was still a child, and to Creston in 1885, all these cities in the State of Iowa. During his active career he devoted himself to the lumber business, in which he was successfully engaged at various places, and was well known in business circles, but is now living a retired life. During the period of the Civil war he enlisted in Company H, Forty-fourth Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry, in which he served for four years, and made an excellent record as a soldier. In political matters Mr. Bonham is a prohibitionist, his fraternal connection is with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and religiously he is connected with the Christian Church. Mr. Bonham married Mary Elizabeth Welch, who was born at Riverton, Iowa, in 1844, and ten children have been born to them, namely: Irvin W., who died at the age of eighteen years; Fred, who resides at Beaconsfield, Iowa, and is a telegrapher; Dr. James Milton, of this review; Florence, who married Charles S. White and resides at Omaha, Nebraska, where Mr. White is foreman for a railroad company; Novella, who married Willis McFarland and resides on their Iowa farm; Laura, who is the wife of Edgar P. Todd, a real estate and loan dealer of Selma, California; Carrie, who is the wife of William Myers, of Omaha, Nebraska; LeRoy, who is a merchant of Creston, Iowa; Edward, who is connected with an automobile factory at Omaha, Nebraska; Ethel, who is the wife of Joseph Hamilton, foreman of the electric light plant at Creston, Iowa; and Ray, who is connected with an automobile concern of Omaha, Nebraska.
The foundation for James Milton Bonham’s education was laid in the public schools of Osceola and Weldon, Iowa, and when he entered upon his career it was as a telegraph operator for the Western Union Telegraph Company, a line in which he came into connection with the Associated Press, with headquarters at various points in Nebraska, Wyoming and Kansas. However, during this time he had merely used the telegrapher’s calling as a means toward an end, for it had been his ambition from his youth to follow a medical career, and only waited until he could himself earn the means necessary to take him through college. In 1898 he entered the Kansas City Medical College, Kansas City, which is now the medical department of the University of Kansas, and was graduated therefrom in 1901, with the degree of Doctor of Medicine. Later he pursued courses of a postgraduate nature at the New York Post-Graduate School, in 1904, at Rochester, Minnesota, with the Mayo brothers, and at the Chicago Polyclinic and other Chicago hospitals.
Doctor Bonham began practice in 1901 at Hobart, as the pioneer physician of the place, and has since built up a very gratifying professional business, having at this time well-appointed offices in the Neff Building, on Fourth Street. The high place which he occupies in the esteem and confidence of his fellow-practitioners is evidenced by his incumbency of the position of secretary of the Kiowa County Medical Society, having been the first to hold that office. He is also a member of the Oklahoma State Medical Society and the American Medical Association, and of the latter was counselor of his district for several years. A republican in his political views, Doctor Bonham’s only public office has been that of health officer, which he held under the territorial government. Fraternally, he belongs to Hobart Lodge No. 198, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Hobart Chapter No. 37, Royal Arch Masons; Hobart Commandery No. 10, Knights Templar; and Hobart lodges of the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen of America. He has been successful in a material way, being the possessor of a high order of business ability, and is president of the Tucumcari Ice Company, of Tucumcari, New Mexico, and a director in the Home State Bank, Hobart, in addition to having other interests.
In 1892, at Kansas City, Missouri, Doctor Bonham was united in marriage with Miss Priscilla Haigh, of that city, and to this union there has been born one child; William L., who is now a freshman in the Hobart High School.