Bivingsville/Glendale Medical Providers and Their Facilities

The following story about  Health Care in Glendale was furnished by Rev. Clarence Crocker, a life long Glendale resident.
   The Early Bivingsville Physicians
Though they were referred to as Company Doctors, I know of no records showing that any Doctor was actually on the payroll of the Company at any time. The company simply recruited them and furnished an office. Basically, they were General Practitioners providing medical attention to the families of the community. They would take care of injured employees, do employee examinations when needed and would bill the Mill Company for the patient’s care.

To my knowledge, no records  exist  which shows  exactly who served as the first Mill /village Physician but logic reasoning tells us that the founder and builder of the Bivingsville Mill and village, Dr. James Bivings, was the most likely one. Records tell us that though he was a partner with two other men in the construction and operation of the Lincolnton Cotton Mill, Lincolnton, N.C. before coming to Bivingsville, he also practiced medicine, enjoying a large practice.

A brief history of the early Spartanburg Region Medicine providers ** which held it’s initial organizational meeting  on January 12, 1866 shows that Dr. Bivings was a charter member of the Spartanburg County Medical Society and was listed at that time as a Physician at Crawfordsville (Fairmont) which he founded after leaving Bivingsville. I have little doubt but that he did the same while at Bivingsville. It seems that it was customary for him to operate a business and practice medicine at the same time. Records show that he was very active and highly respected in the Medical Society. He was a very forceful speaker and of great influence in the field of medicine and politics of the Up-country.

Incidentally, of some 100 biographies which I have of Doctors serving in Spartanburg County, many who served in the 1800s and early 1900s had other sources of income other than their medical practice. According to a county map of 1869, only seventeen Doctors were listed as serving the county medical needs at that time. City of Spartanburg Doctors were not listed. Some city doctors treated patients outside the city and some of the seventeen County Doctors treated city patients. 

Among those seventeen of the County which included Dr. Bivings at Crawfordsville, were two listed simply as Doctor Walker and Doctor Russell who were shown as living and practicing in the Bivingsville/Glendale area. I have found no other record referring to a Doctor Walker in any way except this one reference simply showing that he was located at Glendale. Numerous references to a Dr W. T. Russell are found in this medical history ** of which I have a copy.

The following records regarding Dr. W.T. Russell makes me feel almost certain that he was the one who was listed as living and practicing medicine in the Bivingsville/Glendale area.
First, He was the only Dr. Russell listed as practicing medicine in the county in 1869.

Second; Dr. James Bivings and Dr W. T. Russell were two of the seven Charter members of the Spartanburg Medical Society. They helped frame and form the first medical “Fee Bill” showing approved charges for medical services. Dr. Russell was secretary. Obviously, they were acquaintances and friends.

Third; Dr. Russell came to South Carolina in 1854 from New York where he was practicing medicine, following the invitation of  an acquaintance. Could this acquaintance have been Dr. Bivings?

Fourth, Records show that he had a keen interest in cleaning up the waters of Lawson Fork. For those who might not know, Lawson Fork, running through the Bivingsville/Glendale area was the only source of energy the mill had for the first sixty or so years of it’s existence.
Fifth; He was a friend of Albert H. Twitchell who was bookkeeper at Bivingsville Mill and lived in the mill village at that time. Mr. Twitchell later became President. Mr. Twitchell and Dr. Russell were both organists at the First Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg. Dr. Russell also became Choir Director. He and Mr. Twitchell, were credited with inaugurating the musical heritage of Spartanburg in the 1860s which is still being celebrated as a music festival annually.
Records show that Dr. Russell was both a Medical Doctor and a Dentist and practiced both in his office until his medical practice became so large that he dropped dentistry. Incidentally, pulling a tooth cost 50 cents back in those days. Indications are that he practiced in Spartanburg as well as Bivingsville. Russell died in 1899 at the age of 72. I have been unable to find a copy of his obituary since the papers of 1899 were lost in a fire.

All indications are that these three, Dr. Bivings, Dr. Walker and Dr. Russell were the Physicians who served Bivingsville Mill and village for the first fifty years of it’s existence.
Glendale Physicians:
Records tell us that there were no less than eight Doctors who served the mill and village from 1889 until the mill was closed in 1961.

Doctor William Asia Smith was a native of Union County, having been born and reared in the West Springs, S.C. area. Having graduated from the Medical College of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C., he opened a practice at Glendale in 1889 serving the Glendale/Clifton area for some 46 years before retiring in 1935 due to ill health. He boarded in the Hayes house located on the Glendale/Clifton highway approximately one half mile from the mill.


Dr. Smith was considered the Company Doctor for the D. E. Converse Co. which included both Glendale and Clifton Mills and took care of mill injury patients for all three plants as well as village patients. Though he maintained an office in the Company Doctors office, he would see patients at his home and would make house calls when needed.

His first means of travel was a horse and buggy. He later purchased a T Model Ford which I remember seeing him in on numerous occasions. Matter of fact, the day when my  Grandmother Crocker died, November 29, 1930, my cousin came into the yard in his new car, blew the horn which startled me causing me to scald my foot with boiling water. Dr. Smith came to our house in his shiny new Ford and cut my shoe off in order to dress it. Dr. Smith endeared himself to the hearts of his patients and their families by his homely care, compassion and attention. He was considered as a member of the family by most of the residents of the area. He was the attending physician at the birth of my only sister, all my brothers as well as myself.

Dr. Williams A Smith of Glendale poses in 1922 with his 1913 Model T Ford runabout that he purchased new from the E.F. Bell Ford agency in Spartanburg, SC. He used the car at least through 1922.

(Editor's Note: We were contacted by Mrs. Elizabeth Waters of Charleston. She and her husband had recently visited the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. They were interested to see a photo of Dr. Smith and his Ford car on display in the museum. It was the  same photo pictured above.)

According to his obituary published April 12,1938 in The Spartan, Dr. Smith died about 8;30 PM April 11, 1938 at the Hayes House where he had boarded for years. Funeral services were held at the home of Haynes P. Smith, his brother, in West Springs, S.C. April 12, 1938. I have been to this house many times, it was a beautiful two story spacious plantation style home located on a large farm. He was buried in the Putman Baptist Church Cemetery which was just a short distance from his birth place. To my knowledge, Dr. Smith was never married. He was survived by two brothers and one sister.

Doctor A.M. Allen practiced medicine in numerous places in the vicinity of Spartanburg for a number of years. He attended patients at Glendale for a short while during the mid 1920s, about the time Dr. Smith became ill, retired and died. Dr. Allen had retired to his home near Whitmire S.C. where he died. His obituary which was published in the Spartanburg Herald and Journal stated that from early manhood he had been an active member of the Baptist Church having served as a Deacon. He died on August 25, 1936 and was survived by his wife (name not published) and six children. Two were Doctors. His funeral was held at the Walnut Grove Methodist Church. Place of interment was not published.

Doctor Robert Earl Poole was also a native of Union County, having been born and reared in Buffalo, S.C. just a few miles below where Dr. Smith was reared. He moved to Spartanburg in 1921 graduating from the Spartanburg High School and Wofford College in 1928. He graduated from the Medical University of S.C. in 1932. He also completed post graduate studies at Grady Memorial, Atlanta, Cook County Hospital, Chicago, IL. and the Walter Reed Hospital. Shortly after graduation, he set up practice in Spartanburg as well as at the Glendale Mill Doctor’s office where he took care of employee injuries and other patient needs.

He, like most Doctors of that era. made house calls when requested and also saw Glendale patients in his Spartanburg office by appointment. He was not only a beloved medical Doctor, he was also a very popular Surgeon. He operated on numerous persons from Glendale and the surrounding communities. While most of his surgery was preformed in the Spartanburg General or Mary Black hospitals, he did certain procedures, (called out patient surgery today) at his clinic. Matter of fact, he preformed a tonsillectomy on this writer at his clinic back in 1939. Leaving Glendale and Spartanburg in the mid forties, Dr. Poole entered active military service at Camp Croft during WW2 continuing to serve in Italy, Africa and Japan. Returning to Spartanburg following the war, he continued his medical practice in the Spartanburg area. He served one term as President of the Spartanburg Medical Society and was very active in other civic organizations.

According to his obituary published January 28, 2005 in the Spartanburg Herald and Journal, Dr. Poole retired  in September 1992 after some sixty years of medical practice. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Spartanburg. Doctor Poole died on Monday January 24,2005 at the Spartanburg Regional Hospital. He was 100 years of age. Funeral services were held at Floyd’s Greenlawn Chapel with interment being at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens with Military rites. Dr. Poole was the widower of Beulah Robinson Poole and was survived by one son.

Doctor James L. Duncan Sr. was a General Practitioner and maintained an office in Spartanburg as well as at the Glendale Mill Doctor’s office in the early to mid forties and only stayed here about four or five years. While he made house calls when requested, his practice was primarily limited to the Doctor’s office in front of the mill and his office in Spartanburg. He served as president of the Spartanburg Medical Society and was Chief of Staff of Spartanburg General Hospital for a period. He served as a Captain and Physician in the 98th medical battalion in WW2.
He was a member of First Baptist Church of Spartanburg where he served as a deacon for more than 50 years and taught a Sunday School class for many years. Doctor Duncan’s obituary, published August 18, 2009 in the Spartanburg Herald and Journal, stated that he died in the Spartanburg Regional Hospice Home, Wednesday August 12, 2009. with funeral services being held at Floyd’s Greenlawn Chapel, Saturday, August 15, 2009. Burial with military honors, followed at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens. Dr, Duncan was survived by his wife of 63 years, Lena Lawson Duncan, two sons and one daughter.

Doctor Thurman  (unfortunately I don’t have first name) followed Dr. Duncan in the late forties as company Doctor and community Physician. About the time he came to Glendale, the Doctor/nurse office was moved back into the mill store building. It had made a full circle in 100 years. It opened about 1859 in the old store building and closed for the last time about 1959 in the new store building. Dr. Thurman maintained his main office/practice in Spartanburg. The mill being sold shortly after his coming to Glendale, his practice was for a very short period. He did make house calls and delivered a few babies among his patients of the Glendale community. To my knowledge, Dr. Thurman was the last to serve in the local Mill Doctor’s office and my understanding was that he left Spartanburg, returning  to his home state.

Doctor Herman William Koopman was born September 20,1895 in Eutawville, S.C. and was a graduate of the College of Charleston in 1916 and the Medical College of S.C. in 1820. Coming from Elloree, S.C. where he began his practice, he opened an office in Clifton, S.C. becoming the company Doctor for the Clifton Manufacturing Co. and  did house calls. While he was never connected with Glendale Mills, he made house calls in the community where he had a large number of patients.

Previously married to the late Minnie Shuler Koopman, he later married a  Glendale lady, Nora Rush, of a very prominent family of the community.Dr. Koopman became a very popular and beloved Doctor in the Glendale area.

His obituary published October 13, 1972 in the Spartanburg Herald & Journal stated that he was honored as Doctor of the Year in 1951 and had retired after forty years of medical practice in the Spartanburg area. He was a Captain in WW1 and received a Presidential Citation for services rendered during WW2. He was a past Master Mason and Shriner. He was a member of the St. John’s Lutheran Church.

Doctor Koopman died on Thursday October 12,1972 at the Spartanburg General Hospital after a brief illness at the age of 77. His funeral was held on the following Saturday at Floyd’s Greenlawn Chapel with burial following in the Greenlawn Memorial Gardens. Dr. Koopman was survived by his wife, Nora Rush Koopman and four sons, one sister and one brother.

Doctor Andrew Tillman Martin, being a resident of Cowpens, maintained an office in the Cowpens Drug Store for many years where he practiced family medicine. Doctor Martin never set up office in the Glendale Community but was the family Physician for many in the village and surrounding communities making house calls when needed and seeing patients in his Cowpens office. He was the attending Physician at the birth of many babies in the Glendale community including my first two children. He was from the old school and delivered most of the babies in the homes. I shall never forget how calm he was that day while everyone else was all excited and anxious. Sitting down with a cup of coffee and a newspaper in hand, he looked around and said, “Don’t look so worried, when the fruit gets ripe, the apple will fall.” It was said that Dr. Martin never turned a patient away for any reason and would extract an aching tooth for a patient when requested. Dr. Martin was of the Methodist faith.

Doctor Martin’s obituary, published June 19, 1979, stated that he died Sunday June 16th. in the Campheaven Nursing home following a long illness. He was 86. years of age. Services were held at the Salem United Methodist Church in Cowpens with interment in the Daniel Memorial Gardens. Dr. Martin was the widower of Anna Elizabeth Gorse

Doctor Robert H. Crow, a native of Woodruff, was born August 20.1907 and was a graduate of the Citadel and the  S. C. Medical College. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. He also served on the Board of Trustees for School District 3 for many years. In 1966, he was honored by the Spartanburg County Medical Society as “The Doctor of The Year” He operated the Crow Clinic in Cowpens, S.C.

He received a Presidential Commendation for exceptional service to others. Like some of the other Doctors, he never maintained an office at Glendale but made house calls and had a large number of patients in the community and surrounding areas who made regular visits to his office/clinic in Cowpens. After Doctor Martin and Doctor Koopman retired, Doctor Crow became a primary Physician for the Cowpens, Clifton and Glendale areas and was the attending Physician at the delivery of my baby daughter.

According to his obituary published Thursday May 27, 1982, Dr. Crow died on May 26 in the Mary Black Hospital having served as a General Practitioner some 45 years. Funeral services were held in the First Baptist Church of Cowpens where he had been a member for many years. Interment followed in the Greenlawn Memorial Gardens. He was survived by his wife, Juanita Gregory Crow and two sons.

Glendale Nurses
In addition to the fine Doctors which served the employees and residents of Glendale and the surrounding areas, the community was fortunate to have three of the finest Nurses to live in and serve the people when needed. They not only worked with the Doctors, they also would go into the homes where they were needed with the sick. They also worked with the school in conjunction with physical and mental health programs, vaccinations, eye exams and hearing tests. etc.


Mrs. Lillie V. Hayes, to my knowledge, was the first nurse with formal training to serve the village. Coming to Glendale in 1905 from Columbia S.C. where she was born on July 24,1864, and received her nurse training, she was the owner of the large two story Hayes house which had a number of apartments. Dr. Smith boarded there while living in Glendale. The house has been torn down and replaced by other buildings.

Though she was referred to as the Company nurse, I have no records indicating that Mrs. Hayes was ever employed by the Mill Company. Like the Doctor, she was most likely paid per case where the Company was involved. Some employees had 5 or 10 cents per week taken from their pay envelope to be given to Mrs. Hayes for her services. Though she was given small tokens of money by some for her medical services in their homes, it is obvious that her services in the community were mostly volunteer humanitarian assistance. She was a wonderful, kind lady and would help anyone at any time she could.
Mrs. Hayes daughter Ella, married a news columnist while her son George, served in the United States embassies to several different countries.

Mrs. Hayes had two parrots, a male and a female. Both talked some. Earl Crocker, the writer’s cousin, lived in a house just a short ways below Mrs. Hayes. Sometimes, as a young lad, I would stop by his house on my way from elementary school. Mrs. Hayes taught Polly, the parrot, to say our names. Some time when she had made ice cream, she would set Polly on the porch and tell her to call us. The parrot would say, Earl....Clarence...Mrs. Hayes, Earl...Clarence....Mrs. Hayes. When we heard Polly calling, we would go up to her house and she would serve us some of the best ice cream one could ever eat.

Her obituary published Nov. 23,1955 states that Mrs. Hayes died November 22, 1955 in the Mary Black Hospital at the age of 91. Services were held at the J.F. Floyd Mortuary with interment being in the Greenlawn Memorial Gardens. According to her obituary, at the time of her death, she was the oldest member of the Glendale Methodist Church. She was survived by one son and one daughter.

Mrs. Emma R. Cudd was a native of Mt. Carmel Pennsylvania. She was serving as a registered army nurse in Germany during WW1, when Joe Cudd, a native resident of Glendale S.C. became one of her patients. Joe was seriously ill, having been gassed on the battlefield. After long months of treatment, Joe was about to be discharged and sent home. Looking at Emma, he said, “You have been so good to me, I just wish I could take you home with me” To which Emma replied, “Well that just might be able to be arranged”. From those humble statements, they moved into courtship ending in marriage moving to Glendale in December 1920 with Emma becoming known as the mill/village nurse. She helped take care of injured employees and their families. It has been said that she delivered many babies in the village. She also worked with the school which was being operated by the mill.

For a number of years they lived in a mill house at #133 Church street just two doors down from the Glendale Baptist Church. (now listed as 170 Church street) The company installed a bath room in the house for them which included a crowfoot cast iron bath tub. Theirs was one of only 3 or 4 houses that had a bath room with hot and cold water at that time.

For a short while the Company paid her a small fee but when times got tough,(the depression began to set in) she was informed by the Company that it could no longer pay her. Again, employees had 5 and 10 cents taken from the weekly earning to give to her. Buying a two room house on the Bethesda road, remodeling and adding additional rooms they moved to where they remained until their deaths.The road was renamed the; “Emma Cudd Road” in her honor

Mrs. Cudd was loved dearly by all who knew her. I never heard an ill word spoken against her. She too, sought to help anyone in anyway she could. She was a fine Christian lady of the Methodist Faith and a member of the Glendale Methodist Church.  Her nephew, Vannie Cudd, related to me in a recent visit, how she would always walk to church (approx. 1 mile) on Easter Sunday for the Easter Sunrise service regardless of the weather. Asking her why they had to walk, she told them that “Jesus walked all the way to Calvary to die for them, surely they could  walk to the Sunrise service to worship Him”.

She and Joe had been married 44 years when he died in 1964. When Mrs. Cudd took sick, her nephew Vannie and his family moved in to help take care of her until she was admitted to the Veterans Hospital in Salisbury, N.C. where she died on August 29, 1970. She was 82 years of age. She and Joe had no children.

Her obituary published August 30, 1970 in the Spartanburg Herald and Journal, shows that her funeral services were held at the M.W. Bobo Funeral Chapel with interment following in the Greenlawn Memorial Gardens. No surviving family members were listed.

Her nephew Vannie, remodeled the house, adding more space, and today, he and his wife occupy the residence. .

Miss Dorthy Earline Bates was a native of Glendale, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Bates who lived for many years in a house at #1 Mill Street (first called Main) directly in front of the mill office before moving to their new home on the Glendale/Whitestone highway. She moved to New York as a young lady and became a registered nurse having received her training at the Belleview Hospital of New York where she worked for many years.

Returning to Glendale in the late forties, she was employed by Glendale Mills as the company nurse. While her responsibility was assisting the Doctor with mill employee injuries and sicknesses, she also assisted in the community, including the school, where and when needed.

Earline had returned to the old family home on the Glendale/Whitestone highway. Earline died at the Spartanburg Regional Hospital after a brief illness on September 22, 1976 at the age of 71. Grave side services were held at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens. She was a member of the Church of The Advent. Her obituary published in the Spartanburg Herald and Journal September 24, 1976 showed that she was survived by one sister and one brother.

                    Other Medical Helpers
In addition to the three registered nurses listed before, there were three ladies who became gracious benefactors to the people of the Glendale community. To my knowledge, none had any formal training, yet they were of great assistance in the homes when sickness, death and other needs arose. They were:

Emmie Tew of whom very little has been recorded. Her picture appears in the Glendale Pictorial Directory along with brief comments. She was a white lady who  seems to have been an domestic helper in Mr. Jervy DuPre’s home. I have found no reference among my mill files regarding this lady but what little I have read and heard about her tells me that she was a very kind gracious lady who volunteered to help the sick and needy back in the early 1900s.

Aunt Ella Dillard as most people called her in the early 1900s, lived with other members of her family, in a company farm house about a mile north of the mill just across from the Lewis Chapel Baptist Church and was used as a domestic helper in many of the homes. She was a black lady and in  times of sickness she would come into the home, cook, change the beds, bath the sick and help them with their medicine when needed. Of course, she was always under the watchful eyes of Doctor Smith who was the village Doctor through the 1930s. Though her work among the sick was  often voluntary, most families would give her a little money for her services. It was her basic means of living.

Reecy, (I don’t recall her last name) was another black lady who was of great help in times of sickness. Like Aunt Ella Dillard, she too would come into the home and cook meals, clean the house, bath the patient and give the medicine. She would also do laundry when needed. She was much younger than Aunt Ella and was able to do heavier work. This writer remembers back in the early thirties when the flu was raging in our area, both my parents, one of my bothers and myself were all in the bed with the flu. She would come to the house, do what was needed and then fix us a big heaping tablespoon of molasses with sulfa. Man, you had to hold your noise to take it down. It smelled like rotten eggs. Of course, we got castor oil when needed. Reecy lived in a little two room house on the backside of the community on the old Carrie Thomas place which joined the Mill property across the river on the north-west side. There was a spring not far from her house from which she would carry water to drink, bath and do washings for others.
Though it was oft times a very small amount, families always sought to give Reecy money for her services. It was her only means of support.

By the way, while four of us were sick with the flu, two of my brothers played football in the snow with two black boys who lived in the area, smoking rabbit tobacco and never came down with even a cold during that flu season. Rabbit tobacco was nothing more than the slender dried leaf of a common weed that grew in abundance in the cotton and corn fields of that day. If it had medicinal value, I don’t know, but it seemed to work for them. An old medical book which I have, tells us that it was once used in “sweat therapy” to treat certain disease and was referred to as, “life everlasting”.

Those of us from the old school (I’m 85 years old) will never forget our “Medicine Men and Women” of the early days when castor oil, croton oil, sulfa, turpentine, asafetida, calomel, carters little liver pills, black draught, Vicks vapor rub, crazy water crystals,  aspirin and other such, were the cure all miracle drugs of the day. They could all be purchased at the Glendale Mill Store drug counter. Hot knuckle-berry tea was given to bring the measles out. Wood splints were used to protect broken bones rather than plaster casts and brown paper soaked in vinegar was the answer for ankle and wrist strains. 

Of course, don’t forget the rabbit tobacco. And we called that “good old days”

Medical Facilities

Records indicate that for the first forty plus years, the Doctor’s office at Bivingsville was maintained in the old wooden mill store building which was opened for business during or before 1859.

When the Bivingsville wood store building was replaced by the new Glendale Mill Brick Store in 1902-03, (name changed in 1878), the Doctor’s office was moved to the second floor in  the new building which had an outside stairway leading up to the office. Stairs have been removed but porch remains.            


In the early 1900s, a small Doctor’s office was built at #4 Mill street (first named Main Street) directly in front of the mill, next door to Dr.  Biving’s house. This building  was utilized as the office of the Doctors and Nurses until the late 40s at which time it was moved directly behind the Bivings house facing Douglas Street, renovated and converted into a residential dwelling. The Doctor/Nurse’s office was then moved once again into the  Mill Store building, first floor, where it remained until it was closed when the mill was sold .

Medical Care in Glendale Today
Following the sale of the mill, the Doctor/Nurse office was closed and today there is no local medical Physician, nurse or facility. While some few Doctors still make house calls on a very limited basis, for the most part, the sick and injured of the community obtain their medical attention from the Doctors in Pacolet, Cowpens and Spartanburg.

** Reference; A Brief History of Medicine of Spartanburg Region by;
     Doctor Wm. Chapman Herbert, Jr.
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