William Worthington Samuell was born 13 January 1878, in Georgetown, Kentucky, the son of Capt. Hazael O. and Sallie (Worthington) Samuell. His parents moved to Dallas County, settling in the vicinity of New Hope when he was a year old. After education in the Dallas schools, he attended the University of Texas and took his medical degree from Tulane University, following which he studied in Europe for two years. Upon his return, he lived in Mississippi, then came to Dallas the next year and began his practice. Everyone knew him as Dr. W. W. Samuell.
In 1914, Dr. Samuell joined with other doctors to form a clinic. Early doctors kept few records, but the new income tax law changed all that. Dr. Samuell hired C. C. Hayley of Marshall, Texas, as business manager. The latter was sent to Mayo Brothers in Rochester, Minnesota, to learn how their records, medical histories, and bookkeeping systems worked. On their business card, the clinic was originally designated as “The W. W. Samuell-Surgeons” with offices in Suites 316 to 319 and 323, Wilson Building. Their telephone numbers were SW. M-3191, AUTO. M-2106. Office hours were 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Listed were Dr. W. W. Samuell, Surgeon; Dr. A. R. Thomasson, Surgeon; Dr. S. M. Hill, Diagnostician; Mr. C. C. Hayley, Business Manager. Not listed on the business card but part of the office staff, were Miss Georgia Hulsey and Miss Hassie Owens.
At the beginning of the association of the doctors, Dr. Samuell was the “owner” of the medical offices while the other doctors were on salaries. When business picked up, in fairness to the others, Dr. Samuel] decided to arrange a profit sharing plan including the doctors and the business manager.
During the years between 1914 and 1920, then were other doctors, technicians, and office staff who were valuable additions to the clinic: Drs. W. E Crow, Edward B. Brannin, U. P. Hackney, O. W. Gibbons, Trumbull, Tomiki, Block, and technician Emil Boettcher, and Misses Carpenter, Holmes Watson, and others.
A story from the early years was told by Mr. Hayley. In his early practice, Dr. Samuell was single, well liked and esteemed by all who worked with him. He, with Dr. Arthur Thomasson, acquired a dwelling on Worth Street near the hospitals where they lived bachelor fashion with a private gym for exercise. With them were technician Emil Boettcher and a German chauffeur and mechanic named Gus Harding. Morning exercise workout often included a boxing match. Gus was too rough for Boettcher, but Dr. Samuell handled him with ease. Boettcher was born in Lodz, Poland. His parents, with three boys, came to America and to Dallas. They became members of the German Baptist Church of German Street. There was a tradition that this family was from a group of Baptist refugees of the Minsk area.
One of the responsibilities of the bookkeeping department was maintaining records on properties owned by Dr. Samuell. A list still existing records 50 different properties giving legal description or location, the nature of the property and the revenue received from the rental properties. Among streets named were Main, Commerce, Harwood, Hickory, Thomas, Hall, Live Oak, Royal, Trinity, Horton, Elm, Collins, Carter, Trunk Ry., and others.
Dr. Samuell died in 1937. Many of these pieces of property may have been among those included in his will which read, in part, “Real estate to City of Dallas Park Board for park purposes. Not to be sold. Balance to Park Board as permanent foundation.” Dr. Samuell gave himself unstintedly to the poor and the underprivileged as well as being a public-spirited citizen with foresight far ahead of his day.
In 1991, Emil Boettcher’s son recalled that, for a time the clinic occupied a three-story house on Live Oak Street. Boettcher Senior was working at Baylor Hospital when Dr. Samuell hired him and trained him to work for the clinic. Boettcher learned to give anesthesia and go on ambulance calls with Gus Harding, who drove the clinic’s Model T ambulance. Boettcher learned enough to handle injured persons until they reached the clinic doctors, and thus, was probably the first paramedic in Dallas. Boettcher retired from the clinic in the 1960s and died in 1974.
By Miriam Hayley Dougherty