Come Back to Our Valley

It is rather fitting to write about Dr. Trotter in my last column about Mancos doctors. He was the doctor here for the generation before me and for my generation.

Dr. J. R. Trotter came to Mancos in the spring of 1903. He set up an office on north Main St. across the street from where the Mancos Valley Bank is located. He is said to have come into town in a beautiful buggy pulled by a big black horse. Could be, but more than likely he came in by train and unloaded the horse and buggy at the depot.

Not long after he had set up office, Dr. Trotter left town and came back with his petite wife, Joyce. She was dressed in fashionable clothes and it was all capped off with a big red hat.

Dr. Trotter was present for my motherís birth and it took place at the home of my great grandmother, Lavina Hammond, the only great grandparent I knew while I was growing up. In those days a woman didnít go to a hospital to give birth but stayed at home where the babies were delivered. Women also stayed in bed for ten days after a baby was delivered.

My Decker grandfather was very sick with the flu of 1918 and it was claimed he would have died had it not been for the medical attention he received from Dr. Trotter. My Decker grandmother had three operations and four children so Dr. Trotter was not only considered the family doctor but also a close friend and helper.

In 1919, Dr. Trotter purchased the tall and expansive George Bauer house. He converted it into a hospital with a few rooms taken up as a residence. He used nine rooms for his hospital and hired trained nurses to assist him. The first patient in that hospital was Platt Hammond, my motherís uncle. Platt had fallen and had a badly broken arm.

Dr. Trotter came to my parentís house in July of 1934 to assist in the delivery of a baby my parents named Darrel. That was not hard on the doctor but he also came through the mud and snow three years later in the middle of March to deliver my brother Jede. Iím sure there are a good number of stories that arose because Dr. Trotter assisted a family in one way or another.

While Dr. Trotter was performing an operation, he had a glove on that had a small tear. That was bad enough but he also had a scratch where the tear was and infection set in. His arm became badly infected and he had to have it amputated. Nonetheless he was soon out making house calls and delivering babies. He delivered me and my brother with only one arm.

After practicing medicine in Mancos for fifty years, Doctor Trotter passed away in February 1953. Known to even more of us was his son, Walter ďdocí Trotter, who passed away in 1989.