Added by: James Carroll Wheeler
“Ella Green Ware was born to Calvin A. and Sarah Ann Ware on May 13, 1870, in Karnes County. Later, the family moved near Stockdale. Being the eldest, and a female, in a large family with eight younger siblings led to many caretaking responsibilities.
Ware was astonished when her father suggested she become a doctor rather than a nurse, not realizing that a woman had the possibility of becoming a doctor.
The first state medical school in Texas, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, founded in 1891, never officially denied entrance to women as did many medical schools across the country well into the early 1900s. Although there was still some opposition, Ware was overwhelmingly accepted and admired at the university.
Being one of the top students in her class of over 40 men, Ware was offered a prestigious professorship at the university. At the time, this would have been considered the more natural position for a woman, as she would be acting as a teacher. Ware declined the offer in favor of returning to serve her community, saying “her people” needed a doctor, and that was why she had attended school.
Practicing in Stockdale and other rural areas in Texas, which usually had a rather large percentage of low-income residents, was not always lucrative. Ware was often paid with goods such as wood, hogs, turkeys, chickens, garden produce, and sometimes even land. She would generally charge as much as she felt a family could pay, meaning nothing in some cases. Often, just a warm meal was considered payment for a birth.
Ware practiced for 50 years until the age of 79, when she fell and broke her hip. After this, she met with patients at her bedside for two years. Stockdale residents highly respected Ware and wanted to do something for her. In 1954, they held a “Dr. Ware Day,” at which hundreds of “Dr. Ware babies” and other patients, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston classmates, medical associates, friends, and family turned out to honor her.
A quote in an editorial after her death on Oct. 29, 1958, portrayed Ware’s feelings well: ‘She died not a wealthy woman, but she was richer than any millionaire.’ ”
Source: From “Dr. Ella Ware, ‘The Country Doc’: Early Female Physician Educated and Practicing in Rural Texas” By Texas Lutheran University Senior, Kassie Dixon.
James Carroll Wheeler Record added: Jul 17, 2008