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The Memorable Dr. Harold Wilmot

Before the "M.D."

Dr. Harold Wilmot was born in 1898 in southern Minnesota. After graduating high school in 1915, Wilmot attended Hamline University. His studies were put on hold in 1917 when he joined the United States Army Ambulance Service after learning of the need for ambulance drivers in France. While in France, Wilmot and his Model T Ambulance were part of the battles and offensives at Champagne, the Marne, Oise-Aisne, and the Meuse-Argonne. He served for over a year, returning to the U.S. in May 1919.


Side note: World War I wasn’t the end of his military service. During the Korean War, Dr. Wilmot was the battalion surgeon for the Minnesota State Guard reserve duty.


Beginning his Career

Some of the items that once belonged to Dr. Harold Wilmot currently on display at the Meeker County Museum
Dr. Harold Wilmot artifacts

In the fall of 1919, Wilmot resumed his college studies. He graduated with a medical degree from the University of Minnesota in June 1924 and by August 1924, he had moved to Litchfield and joined Dr. G.A.C. Cutts’ practice. Their office was above the Anderson Drug Store at 204 N Sibley Avenue.


Wilmot’s younger brother Cecil was also a doctor and joined Harold in Litchfield in 1937. Together, with Dr. Donald Dille and Dr. Frederick Schnell, they formed the Litchfield Clinic.


Just imagine all of the changes Dr. Wilmot witnessed over his long medical career in Litchfield. Of course, there were vast advancements in medicine, but there was also the way he tended to his patients. When he started his practice, house calls were not uncommon, and in some cases expected. Off he would go, through the snow or mud in his Model T, often to farms with no electricity and no phone to call for backup.


Dr. Wilmot, the Author

Aside from his career, community involvement, and rounds of golf, Dr. Wilmot also had an appreciation for history. On the shelves of the Museum archives are two books written by the doctor. Medical Men of Meeker County to 1900 is exactly what it sounds like, a history of early doctors. After his retirement, Wilmot also wrote A Connecticut Yankee Comes to Minnesota, a family history of the Wilmot family.


Besides Dr. Wilmot’s books, the museum has some items that once belonged to the doctor, including his medical bag, prescription pad, and some wartime souvenirs he brought back from his service in World War I.


The End of a Long Career

After 56 years of practicing medicine in Litchfield, Dr. Wilmot undoubtedly had many ups and downs. There were the joys of marrying his hometown sweetheart and seeing their children Natalie and Edwin grow, not to mention the thousands of newborns he helped enter the world. And there were sorrows, including the inevitable losses of his patients alongside deaths in his family, including his first two wives and young son John.


Dr. Wilmot retired in 1980 at the age of 82 and died just a few years later in 1986. It seems only fitting to conclude with the words Dr. Wilmot left upon his retirement. “God bless you all and thanks for all past favors and kind words.”


For more local history stories, visit the Meeker County Museum at the G.A.R. Hall!

 

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