Bl3 Thomas Eugene Bland

    Dr. Thomas Eugene Bland was the son of Thomas Pope Bland (Bl4) and Levicy Jane Harris (Ha4).
    He was born July 13, 1864 near Bagdad Shelby Co., Ky.
    He married Matilda Prather Nicholas (Ni3) on June 20, 1906, in the presence of Rev. Worden Nicholas (Ni3-4), Patrick Pope Nicholas (Ni3-7), George Nicholas (Ni3-5), Lawrence Nicholas (Ni3-9).
    He died in Nov 1943.
    They had two children:
    Bl2 Anna Pope Bland was born June 26, 1908, in Shelbyville, Ky.
    Bl2-2 Levicy Jane Bland, the second daughter was born August 28, 1910, and died in February 1985 unmarried and without issue and was buried in Shelbyville next to her parents.

    Thomas received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown College that had been founded as a Baptist denominational school in 1830. He then went o to receive his medical degree from the University of Louisville 1892. As a doctor practicing medicine in Shelbyville he had despaired at seeing countless children die of typhoid and diphtheria every year when heavy rains clogged the sewar system bringing  everything up onto the streets, which caused an annual epidemic. So he went up for election to the town council and became Mayor of Shelbyville, Ky., 1902-04, to force a bond bill through the town counsel to improve the city sewage system.

    picture taken about 1884

    picture taken about 1920

    The following letter by his colleagues and contempories best sums up his importantnce for his community:
    Shelbyville, Ky.
    December 4th, l943

    Mrs. T. E. Bland
    Bland Avenue
    Shelbyville, Ky

    Dear Mrs. Bland -
    At the last meeting of the Shelby County Medical Society a motion was made and carried that the President appoint a committee to draw up resolutions on the death of Doctor Bland, a copy to be sent to his family and one to be spread on the minutes of this society.
    I am enclosing a copy of the memorial that was prepared by the committee.
    Very truly
    C.C. Risk, Secretary

      Shelbyville, Ky.

    The grim reaper, death, has again entered our ranks and taken one of our oldest and most esteemed useful members in the person of Doctor Thomas Eugene Bland.
    It is indeed, no difficult task to find either in words or deeds in the life of Doctor Bland upon which to express our eulogies.
      For over a half century he labored among us and fully proved his fitness for the true family physician. It was his fortune to be called into the homes of scores of our families and endeared himself to them always and became beloved by them all.
    This we know to be the highest compensation to any physician.
    Doctor Bland tried always to keep abreast with the progress of his profession. He showed this by his devotion to this society. He very rarely missed a meeting and always took part in its deliberations and discussions.
    He was the first Doctor in this County to equip his office with apparatus for giving intravenus (sic) arsenical anti-syphilitic treatments. We recall the double syphon apparatus that mixed the arsenical solution and distilled water as they flowed into the vein.
    There were many accidents that happened with that treatment yet Doctor Bland had no untoward results other than a few severe reaction. He was the second doctor in this county to give dephtheria (sic) antitoxin. The late Doctor Ray being the first.
    Aside from being an outstanding physician Doctor Bland was also an outstanding Citizen. A man of sterling character and civic pride. He was for some years a member of our City Council and finally our Mayor. His achievements here were history making for our City. Like one of our great State Governors, who was also a great physician, Doctor Blackburn, whose first thought and act was to promote the health of his people. His first act was to have a survey made of the state owned institutions and finding them, from a sanitary (sic) standpoint in a very deplorable condition. He went before the legislature and demanded an appropriation sufficient to do away with this state of affairs or he would open the doors and turn every inmate loose. He accomplished his purpose.
    Likewise when Doctor Bland took the executive office of our City he found our sanitary conditions deplorable.
    We had a water system, but no purification equipment to make the water potable. The City was honey-combed with vaults and dry wells to take care of sewage. In wet seasons these would overflow in places and sometimes onto the street. There were seasons when our main street was ankle deep with mud mixed with animal and in places human excrement. So Doctor Bland took the matter up with many citizens and succeeded in getting a bond issue sufficient to build our sewer system and did away with the vaults and dry wells, and then began in a street building and cleaning crusade.
    Prior to all this we had each year epidemics of typhoid fever and other enteric infections especially among children and several deaths occurred each year from these causes alone. We all know that since adequate sewer desposal (sic), pure drinking water and more sanitary streets, we have for more than two decades had practically no deaths from this source. We have Doctor Bland to thank for starting this crusade and carrying into effect a great portion of it during his administration.
    At the request of many citizens the City Council changed the name of the street of his residence from Caldwell Avenue to Bland Avenue. This was a fitting tribute to him for his accomplishments. Indeed memory of this good man will not grow dim for many generations in this city.
    There are many more points in Doctor Bland�s life that can be eulogized especially his work of charities (sic). He did a vast amount of this both in and out of his profession. Doctor Bland will be sadly missed by this Society."


    Picture taken about 1905/06 of Matilda Prather Nicholas on the right,
    It is presumably Thomas E. Bland center who seems to be teasing his
    fiancée, Matilda Nicholas, with some remark about or to her DAR 
    friend on the left.

    Patricia March's grandfather, William Squire Bland, managed the Nicholas farm after Matilda Nicholas moved into Shelbyville (probably on their wedding night), until he was hit by a train on the way home to Harrington Mill Road.  As Patricia reports: "This was about 1916.  The mule and the milk wagon was destroyed.  And almost Grandpa Sig had it not been for your Dr. Eugene.  There was a whole in Grandpa's head and Dr. Bland put a metal plate over the hole and sewed in place.  It is amazing Grandpa survived.  He had a long recovery but  was finally able to farm and milk his beloved cows."  Patricia's father, Nelson, and her grandmother were able to keep the new farm in Clark Station going until he could walk in a straight line and function.  Her aunts, Martha Eugene (named for your grandfather) and Nancy Virginia had finished high school and were married by this time."
    Patricia is trying to search the newspapers in case there was mention of the accident. 

    Back Row Left to Right: Martha Bland, Lou Ellen Bland (Sleadd), Mary Beatrice Bland (Busey), and Sarah/Sallie Bland (Sanford).
    Front row Left to Right: Thomas Eugene Bland, William Leland Bland, and John Henry Bland. 
    Judging from the dates of birth above this picture was taken between 1889 and 1895.


    Picture taken Mar. 1985 of the house built by Dr. Thomas Eugene Bland about 1903. A second floor was added shortly after his marriage in 1906.
    From left to right: Dr. William Griffith Hester, Jane Ann Hester Latty (now Thomas) and George Nicholas Hester.

    As reported by Leland Bland in 1985, Thomas Bland's grandparents moved to Missouri  after emigrating from Virginia (that would be from Fauquire Co., Va. to Garrard County, Kentucky, with gr. grandparents, Charles Bland and Phyllis Ann Pope (Po6)) together with the Truman family, who had first settled on a farm near Bagdad which was between the Harris house and the Bland house on the road from Bagdad to Shelbyville. 

    By uncanny coincidence the Bland house looks almost identical to the the birth house of President Harry Truman, for about 1840 the grandparents of Thomas Eugene Bland went West with his parents'neighbors, Harry Trumans grandparents, to settle in Missouri. But they died shortly afterwards and their son, Thomas Pope Bland, was returned to Bagdad to be brought up by the great grandparents. Both houses were built about the same time by men who never met, but whose grandparents had been long time good neighbors and migrated together from Kentucky to Missouri. The coincidence is to be explained in part by the prevailing architectural style of the the 1890's. But the same layout of a porch swung around the left front corner is really surprising.f Thomas Pope Bland and Levicy Jane Harris (Ha4), whose families settled near Bagdad 

    The four grandchildren of Thomas Eugene Bland: William, Jane, Thomas and George Hester

    Section on Thomas Eugene Bland included in Volume V page 166 of the History of Kentucky, edited by Judge Charles Kerr, publ. 1922 by the American Historical Society.
    As this five volume work was obviously sponsored by prominent Kentucky citizens of Kentucky living about 1922, whose biographies fill the last two volumes, it seems that either he himself was confused about the names of his grandfather and great grandfather, or the interviewer simply dropped the grandfather's name after taking down that of the great grandfather and his origin correctly.

    Unidentified pictures taken February 1921

    This seems to be a picture of Dr. Thomas Eugene, his mother, Levicy Jane Harris Bland and one of his sisters, either Sarah or Martha Bland.

    Below is a different view of the same house.

    If this was the house of Thomas Pope Bland, then this side of the house faced out on a 50 yard drive between two rows of Elms that were still there in 1985, although the house had been replaced. Unusual about the style of the house are the floor to ceiling high windows, which must have made the rooms very bright.

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