Catawba County, NCGenWeb

Dr. Fred T. Foard


Approximately 12 miles Southwest of Hickory on Highway 10--in the Banoak Section--stands an interesting memento of the past. It is the home of the late Dr. Fred T. Foard, one of Catawba county's most noted country doctors.
Although this dignified old residence-built about-1878 has now passed its prime, it is well remembered for its sturdy structure, pleasing Southern architecture and the cordial hospitality that was to be found there. The addition of some porches has been the only change in its original style.
Over the front door of this historic old residence painted in gilt letters was affixed the name plate so familiar to the community: "F. T. Foard, M.D."

5,600 Deliveries

Dr. Foard had his office in a small wooden building adjacent to his residence. Here thousands came in time of medical needs. It is recalled that this beloved family-type physician was responsible for bringing into the world 3,600 babies during his 57 years of practice in the county. The first of these was the late Miss Lynn Workman, who died some years ago at the age of 65.
A son of the late Osborne G. Foard, a prominent man of affairs in Rowan county; Dr. Foard was born on his father's plantation Sept. 3, 1855, near the present town of Cleveland. The elder Foard had been a friend of Peter Stuart Ney, declared, by many to have been the celebrated Michael Ney, Marshal of France who is said to have escaped to this country and taught school for many years in Rowan county. A deep attachment developed between Foard and schoolmaster, and the two kept in touch with each other through life. About the year 1840 Ney went to live in the Foard home, and remained there until his death.

Lost Fortune

Dr. Foard's father established the Rowan mill on his plantation, which he operated for' many years. He was twice elected to the legislature, serving in 1851-52, and again in 1866-67. During the War Between the States he is said to have lost; a fortune when large amounts of cotton and other goods he had sent to Mobile, Ala., for safe keeping, fell into the hands of Sherman and his army on the Southern march.

Dr. Foard was still a lad when his father moved to Olin, near Statesville, so the children, could attend school. He was only 16 when the family moved to Newton; and he entered Catawba College.

Later he .taught school, and later still attended the South Carolina Medical School at Charleston: - He received his medical degree from the Louisville Medical College in Kentucky.

Returned To Catawba

Returning to Catawba county to set up practice, Dr: Foard settled in what was then known as the Jugtown neighborhood. His wife was the former Miss Frances Hudson, ,whose home was in the Jacobs Fork River area section of the county, about two miles distant.

The land on which he had his spacious home built was thickly wooded and was purchased from Mrs. Annie Baker; for the nominal sum of $5 per acre. Alfred Baker was in charge of construction, and the lumber that went into the building was carefully picked; heart pine being used largely, in the, dwelling. All of the door frames, mantels, and other accessories were made by hand. The living room fireplace was outlined by panels of wood painted to resemble marble, as was the mantel, resulting in pleasing and authentic effect. Later this room, which extended across one side of the house, was painted with murals, with a design on the ceiling done by a passing artist.

Seven Children

Dr. and Mrs. Foard were the, parents of seven children, two of whom died in infancy. The others were Annie (Mrs. G. M.. Chapman of Morven) ; Bertie, (Mrs. George Penton), Dr Frank O. Foard, Valdese, deceased; Dr. Fred T. Foard, Jr ., recently retired, from United States Public Health work; and Lizzie Kate (Mrs. Hiram S. Balch).

Mrs. Penton and Mr. and Mrs. Balch have a residence on the original Foard plantation.

It is interesting to note that two of Dr. Foard's sons followed him in the medical profession.

A third physician brought up in the Foard home was Dr. C. K. Lynn, who is practicing medicine in Valdese. He and another orphan, Mary Finger Rhoney (Attley) were proteges of Dr. and Mrs. Foard.

Dr. Foard was humanitarian to the core, And many remember "Uncle" Gus Finger who was taken into the home when he was only two years old and reared by the doctor and his wife. Gus was a staunch friend of the Foards, and helped look rafter the children as they were growing up. He also accompanied Dr. Foard on his rounds visiting patients, driving over country roads through all kinds of weather, season in and out.

Twice Married

Following the death of his first wife, Dr. Foard later married the former Miss Mattie Hoover of Lincoln county. Their two children were Thomas, deceased and Mrs. Helen Yount of High Point.

At his death in February, 1933, Dr. Foard was the last of the "country doctors" in the community. For 57 years he answered calls for the rich and poor alike. He is, said to have never asked for financial rating, and if anyone needed a doctor, he answered the call for it, whether he received pay or not.
As a physician, Dr: Foard kept well posted on all modern medical methods, reading the latest textbooks and medical magazines: He also took post graduate courses in New York City.

Dr. Foard was not only well posted in his own profession, but kept himself informed on all current affairs. He was greatly interested in the advancement of education, and his memory was honored when the Fred T. Foard consolidated school was built and named some years ago.

Died 'In Harness'

The beloved physician passed away following a two-hour illness--thus actually dying as had been his wish--"in the harness." He had continued active in the service of humanity almost up to the very end of life's journey. As was pointed out following his death 33 years ago: "The passing of Dr. Foard not only ended a very colorful career, but it removed from this area one of the last vestiges of what once was a flourishing American institution--the 'country doctor'."

[Hickory Daily Record, January 18, 1966; by Mabel Miller Rowe]

Derick S. Hartshorn - 2008-present
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