wonder whether three doctors in the Baytown
area got together and compared notes on the Civil War.
Ashbel Smith, Nicholas Schilling and Asa Morgan had fought in the
War Between the States but not all were on the same side. Schilling
and Morgan wore the dark blue Union Army uniforms while Smith -
a Connecticut Yankee -- suited up in the Confederate gray.
What the Civil War vets shared in common was the fact that, in spite
of their northern heritage, all three chose to live in Texas. And
all three had graduated from top medical schools of the 19th century.
he had been Surgeon General of the Texas Army and was a renowned
physician, with a degree from Yale Medical School, Smith didn't
practice medicine as a Confederate Army officer. He was more involved
in fighting a war than in treating war wounds.
He trained the Bayland Guards in his own backyard on Evergreen Road
and led the local boys off to war. His recruits came from eastern
Harris and western
Schilling, born in Bavaria, came to America with his parents when
he was three months old. The Schilling family first lived in Maryland
and later relocated to Illinois and finally, Iowa.
A few years after the Civil War, Schilling graduated from the Chicago
Medical College, the present-day Northwestern University Medical
Born in Ohio, Morgan moved with his family moved to Indiana and
then to Iowa.
Before the Civil War, Morgan graduated from medical school at Keokuk,
Iowa, considered at the time to be one of the best in the country.
He served as a surgeon in an Iowa Cavalry Unit.
Morgan and Smith didn't know each other then, but both were involved
in one of the bloodiest battles in the history of the war, at Shiloh
Smith suffered severe wounds in the battle as did Sam Houston Jr.,
a member of the Bayland Guards.
Although never injured on the front lines, Morgan became ill with
pneumonia and, after the battle at Shiloh, his commanding officers
sent him home to recuperate.
Schilling, as far as we know, never knew combat. He enlisted in
the Union Army a year before the war ended and served as a shoemaker
for the troops. (His duty brought a whole new meaning to the words
Much older than Morgan and Schilling, Smith had the longest tenure
as a Texan. He came to Baytown
in the formative days of the Republic of Texas and, in addition
to being a medical doctor, was a trailblazer in government and education.
Schilling had trouble finding work as a doctor when he first came
so he did menial labor in the Cedar Bayou brickyard. His skill as
a doctor became surprisingly evident when he treated an injured
After that, Schilling set up his medical practice.
We've never read or heard why Schilling came to this particular
area. It was rumored that he had been jilted by his girlfriend up
north, but why did he choose this corner of Texas, a long way from
his home up north.
We know why Morgan chose this area. While in Houston,
after discharged from the Union Army, Morgan traveled to Cedar Bayou
with a friend and reportedly fell in love with the location. Right
there and then, his descendants tell us, he decided Cedar Bayou
would be his home.
Schilling's home and office stood on the west banks of Cedar Bayou.
Morgan's home was located on the east bank of the bayou north of
of present-day Interstate 10.
Smith's Evergreen Plantation, overlooking Tabbs Bay, was near the
mouth of Cedar Bayou. (Tabbs Bay first was called Baker's Bay in
reference to Evergreen's original owner Moseley Baker.)
So, that's another thing these three local doctors from up north
had in common. They liked living near the water.
Of the three, Smith is the most famous. A building is named after
him at the University of Texas Medical School in Galveston,
and a statue of the doctor serves as the focal point of Baytown's
Republic of Texas Plaza.
Schilling probably is better known today in Baytown
for a street named after him. More honor actually has been paid
to his memory in Chambers
County than in Baytown,
but that's understandable. Technically, he belonged to Chambers
County, living on the west side of Cedar Bayou, the eastern
boundary line between Chambers
Several years ago the Chambers County Historical Commission moved
office to Anahuac
to restore and preserve it.
Schilling and Smith may not have been close pals, but we know they
had a doctor-patient relationship. Smith was Schilling's most prominent
patient, and he was at his bedside at Evergreen when Smith died.
© Wanda Orton
Baytown Sun Columnist
1, 2016 columns
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