Joseph M. Stephens, M. D. The first physician and surgeon to locate permanently at the new Town of Hastings was Dr. Stephens, whose relations with that community as a capable doctor and an enterprising citizen and business man has been almost continuous for fifteen years, having been absent only a year or two while he conducted a hospital at Waurika. Dr. Stephens has contributed to the resources of this community for the care and treatment of disease and afflictions, and now maintains a well equipped and well patronized sanitarium, which he looks after in addition to his large private practice.
His work as a phvsician began more than twenty years ago in his native State of Texas. Joseph M. Stephens was born in Denton County, Texas, February 1, 1872, a son of A. J. Stephens. The Stephenses came to Virginia from England in colonial days. A. J. Stephens was born in Missouri in 1827 and died at Aurora, Texas, in 1901. He came to Texas and located in Denton County in the pioneer times before the war, and enlisted from that state for service in the Confederate Army. He was in the war four years, and one time was wounded and taken prisoner, but was later exchanged and rejoined his command. He removed from Denton County to Aurora, in Wise County, in 1874, and lived there until his death. Most of his active career was spent as a cattle buyer. He was a democrat, and a member of the Masonic fraternity. His wife was Miss Alla Holford, who was born in Arkansas and now resides at Rome, Texas. A record of their children is: George, a stockman at Hardiville, Arkansas; Lulu, wife of John Smith, who is a stockman at Amarillo, Texas; Dr. Joseph M.; Walter, who was a young attorney and at the age of twenty-five was killed in a railroad accident at Fort Worth; Thomas, a fruit grower at Woodward, California; and Hattie, wife of Pink Boyd, a stockman at Boyd, Texas.
Dr. Stephens acquired his early education in the public schools of Wise County, Texas, where he lived from the age of two years. Graduating from the Aurora High High School in 1887, he then became a student in old Trinity University, at that time located at Tehuacana, but now at Waxahachie, Texas. He was graduated from Trinity with the degree Bachelor of Science in 1890, and followed this with a course in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of St. Louis, where he was graduated M. D. in 1893. Few physicians have been more industrious in the study of their chosen calling and in pursuing their studies since leaving college than Dr. Stephens. In 1897 he took post-graduate work at the New Orleans Polyclinic, another at the Chicago Polyclinic in 1905 and 1910, and by these studies and by his own practice is regarded as a specialist in surgery and gynecology. His first practice was done at Denison, Texas, in 1893, where he remained nine months, and he was afterwards located at Decatur and Alvord until 1901. In the latter year he came to Hastings as the pioneer physician and surgeon, practically with the founding of that town, and has built up a large medical and surgical practice. In 1903 he established at Hastings the Stephens Sanitarium, which he successfully conducted until it was burned in 1910. He thereupon built a modern hospital at Waurika and conducted it for two years in person, but in 1912 returned to Hastings and has since re-established his sanitarium on the second floor of the Hastings National Bank Building, where his offices are also located. His sanitarium has accommodations for eight patients and is equipped with many superior facilities in addition to the skillful direction of its proprietor. Dr. Stephens also owns the hospital at Waurika, but it is operated under lease. He is a member of the County and State Medical societies and the American Medical Association. Dr. Stephens has served as health officer at Hastings. In politics he is a democrat, is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and is affiliated with Oak Camp No. 163, Woodmen of the World, with Hastings Camp of the Modern Woodmen of America, with the Woodmen Circle at Hastings and with the Royal Neighbors at the same place.
At St. Louis in 1893 Dr. Stephens married Miss Bertha M. Bickley, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. E. Bickley, her father having been a dry goods merchant, but now deceased, while her mother resides in Waterloo, Iowa. Dr. Stephens and wife have one child, Earl Winifred, born May 1, 1895, a graduate of the Hastings High School and now attending the pharmaceutical department of the State University of Oklahoma.