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William Thomas Tilly, M. D. For nearly twenty years Doctor Tilly has been a prominent practitioner of medicine and surgery in old Indian Territory and Eastern Oklahoma, his home having been at Muskogee since 1907. Through his work as a railway surgeon, as president of the State Board of Medical Examiners, as the founder of one of the most modern hospitals in the state and in other relations he is easily one of the best-known members of the profession in the entire state. Doctor Tilly’s attainments and ability are only par with his reputation, and particularly as a surgeon he has few superiors in the Southwest.
William Thomas Tilly was born in Monroe County, Tennessee, April 17, 1864, a son of James L. and Sarah (McAfee) Tilly. His father was a native of Tennessee and his mother of North Carolina. The former was a farmer, and Doctor Tilly spent his early life in the rural districts of Tennessee. A common school education was supplemented by a thorough course in the Brown Hill Academy, and with this literary preparation he took up the study of medicine, and in 1894 was graduated M. D. from the Louisville Medical College in Kentucky. While his own practice and experience have made him a man of large attainments in the profession, Doctor Tilly has also taken advantages of some of the best post-graduate schools of the country, and has attended clinics and professional courses in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.
His first two years of practice was spent at Mineral Bluff, Georgia, and he then came west and located at Pryor Creek in Indian Territory, and was in a successful practice there until his removal to Muskogee in 1907. Doctor Tilly is a member of the Muskogee County Medical Society and the Oklahoma State Medical Society, of the American Medical Association, the Southern Medical Association and of the Southern Association of Railway Surgeons. Since 1910 he has been chief surgeon of the Missouri, Oklahoma & Gulf Railroad. He has won a wide reputation as a skillful operator.
Doctor Tilly was for two years vice president of the American Association of Medical Examiners for Life Insurance. He was the first president of the Oklahoma State Board of Health after statehood, and was president of the State Board of Medical Examiners, and in that capacity, under the State law, signed not only the licenses for practice to new physicians, but licenses for every physician then in practice in the State. This was an unprecedented incident in the history of any state so far as the medical profession is concerned. Doctor Tilly remained president of the State Board of Medical Examiners throughout the administration of Governor Haskell, by whom he was appointed, and resigned the office in 1911. In 1912 he founded what has since become one of the best hospitals in the state. It is known as the M. O. & G. Hospital and contains fifty rooms, all with hot and cold running water, and also a number of private rooms with private baths attached. Doctor Tilly is a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite and a Knight Templar Mason, a member of the Mystic Shrine, and also affiliated with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Knights of Pythias. On September 20, 1880, he married Miss Alice E. Hall of Tennessee. Their three children are named Ethel, Cecil H. and Oliver J.