Prior to the founding of Littleton, NH in 1784, there were no physicians residing in the area. According to the Gazetteer of Grafton County, Dr. White, a physician from Newbury, VT, rode into town on horseback two or three times each year to treat patients by bleeding and blistering, the vogue back in the day. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a number of physicians came to town, with medical educations ranging from tutelages from relatives or physicians in practice, to Ivy League medical school educations. Dr. Adams Moore stood out among these early physicians. He had a reputation as a true scholar not only in medicine, but in the fields of science, literature, politics, and current events. It was common knowledge that Dr. Moore knew more about his adopted town of Littleton than any other person; during the last years of his life, he devoted himself to preparing a history of the town. There were other physicians who had practiced in Littleton who were known well beyond the limits of the North Country of New Hampshire.
Dr. William Johnston Beattie arrived in Littleton in 1889. Beattie graduated from Bellevue Medical College in New York City in 1888, and spent the following year gaining practical experience as a surgeon at Bellevue Hospital. As the town of Littleton had a long standing reputation for having high quality professional men in the areas of medicine, law, and religion, Dr. Beattie had the self-confidence to stand tall beside these professionals. Although not obvious at the time, Dr. Beattie's decision to practice medicine in Littleton, NH would profoundly impact healthcare in the Littleton area.
The first trained nurse in the Littleton area was Charity Elliott, who was born in October of 1869 in Jemseg in the province of New Brunswick, Canada. She was the ninth nurse to graduate from the Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Hanover, NH in 1898. Upon graduation, she worked with Dr. William Beattie for five years.
Child, Hamilton. Gazetteer of Grafton County, 1709-1886. pps. 476-481.
Littleton Hospital archives
Photo and calling card of Charity Dykeman Elliott courtesy of John Bigelow and family