William Worrall Mayo

William Worrall Mayo

William Worrall Mayo (May 31, 1819 – March 6, 1911) was an English born medical doctor and chemist, best known for establishing the private medical practice that later evolved into the Mayo Clinic. His sons, William James Mayo and Charles Horace Mayo, joined the private practice in Rochester in the U.S. state of Minnesota in the 1880s.

Early life

Dr. William Worall Mayo was born in Eccles, near Salford, Lancashire, England and studied science and medicine in Manchester, Glasgow, and London before leaving for the U.S. in 1845. His first work in his new country was as a pharmacist at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, though he soon moved westward.

Mayo spent a brief period of time in Buffalo, New York before settling in Lafayette, Indiana where he worked as a tailor (one of the jobs he had practiced while in England). He returned to medicine in 1849, assisting in a cholera outbreak and then attending courses at Indiana Medical College in La Porte, Indiana where he received his medical degree. While the training there would be considered poor by modern standards, the school did have a microscope, an uncommon tool at the time. Knowledge of this instrument proved to be useful in Mayo's future practice. He received his degree on February 14, 1850.

Migrating west

In 1851, Mayo married Louise Abigail Wright (1825-1915), and two years later, they had their first child, Gertrude. Around this time, Mayo left for a winter to work as an assistant at the University of Missouri's medical department. He returned in 1854, but contracted malaria and decided to leave the Lafayette area, saying, "I'm going to keep on driving until I get well or die." Mayo found his way to Minnesota, which he thought to have a more healthful climate at the time (whether this account is or was actually true is questionable). He settled in Saint Paul, and returned to Indiana a short time later to bring his family to the territory. Still, Mayo didn't stay for long, and soon found his way to the present-day area of Duluth where he worked as a census-taker.

He brought his family to a village named Cronan's Precinct (near Le Sueur) along the Minnesota River where he became known as the "Little Doctor" because of his 5-foot, 4-inch (163 cm) stature. Mayo tried his hand at a number of different activities including farming, operating a ferry service, and serving as a judge in addition to occasional medical duties. By this time, he had two more daughters in his family, Phoebe and Sarah.

After a flood in 1859, the family moved to a home on Main Street in Le Sueur. There, he set up his first official medical practice, but the flow of patients was too low to support the family. Mayo took to publishing a shortlived newspaper, the "Le Sueur Courier", though it only lasted about three months. He also spent time working on a steamboat. The family saw its first male addition, William James Mayo, in 1861.

As the American Civil War began that same year, Mayo attempted to get a job as a military surgeon, but was rejected. Nonetheless, he soon found his way into military medicine as the Dakota War of 1862 erupted in southwest Minnesota in late 1862. Organizing a group of people from Le Sueur and St. Peter, he headed out to New Ulm, where some of the worst fighting had occurred. Makeshift hospitals in the city cared for people injured in the conflict and refugees driven by fear from farms in the area. His wife opened her home and a nearby barn to host eleven refugee families back in Le Sueur.


In 1863, Mayo finally got a job with the military, as an examining surgeon for the draft board in Rochester, Minnesota. He once again left his family for this job, but soon found the city to his liking, so they joined him there in early 1864. A year later in 1865, Charles Horace Mayo was born.

William W. Mayo opened a medical practice in Rochester, also spending time as a city mayor, alderman, and member of the school board. Here, the number of patients was large enough to support the family, so he never had to take on additional jobs again. He spent some time in New York and Pennsylvania in 1869 studying surgical techniques, although the doctor had become quite successful on his own.

The event where the Mayo Clinic story usually begins happened 14 years later in 1883, when a tornado devastated Rochester. With the assistance of his sons, other doctors who came to help, and the local Sisters of Saint Francis of Rochester, Minnesota, he organized treatment of the injured. Mother Alfred Moes of the Sisters of St. Francis convinced him to help her establish a a new hospital under her direction, forming St. Marys Hospital in 1889. At the time, only three people were on the surgical staff: William Worrall Mayo as chief, and his two sons as the medical practitioners (their father was 70 by this time). No other doctors accepted invitations to join at the time, perhaps because St. Marys was a Catholic Hospital. The alliance between the Episcopalian Mayos and the Roman Catholic Franciscan religious order caused some controversy at the time.

Mayo Clinic

In 1892, William Worrall Mayo asked Dr. Augustus Stinchfield to join the Mayo practice, as a partner sharing in the profits. Once Stinchfield accepted the offer, W. W. Mayo promptly retired at age 73. As the practice grew, Drs. Christopher Graham, E. Starr Judd, Henry Stanley Plummer, Melvin Millet, and Donald Balfour were also invited to join the practice as partners. In 1919, the remaining partners of the private practice created the Mayo Properties Association and established the Mayo Clinc as a not-for-profit entity.

Dr. W. W. Mayo died in 1911, with his wife passing away four years later. They are buried next to each other at Oakwood Cemetery in Rochester.

The family's home in Le Sueur was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969. Carson Nesbit Cosgrove and his family later lived in the home. Cosgrove went on to help create the Minnesota Valley Canning Company, later named Green Giant. His son and grandson also headed the company in later years.


* [http://www.mayohouse.org/mayo_story.htm Mayo Family Story]
* Clapesattle, Helen. "The Doctors Mayo", University of Minnesota Press (1975). ISBN 0-8166-0465-7
* Hartzell, Judith. "I Started All This: The Life of Dr. William Worrall Mayo", Arvi Books (2004). ISBN 0-9703569-1-9
* Mayo, Charles W. "Mayo: The Story of My Family and My Career," Doubleday and Company (1968)

External links

* [http://www.mayoclinic.org/tradition-heritage/ Mayo Clinic History]
* [http://www.mayohouse.org/ W. W. Mayo House]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

См. также в других словарях:

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  • William Worrall Mayo — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Mayo. William Worrall Mayo …   Wikipédia en Français

  • William James Mayo — Infobox Scientist name = William Mayo box width = image width =300px caption = BG William Mayo in the Army Medical Reserve birth date = June 29, 1861 birth place = death date = July 28, 1939) death place = residence = citizenship = nationality =… …   Wikipedia

  • William James Mayo — US Briefmarken zu Ehren William Worrall Mayo und William James Mayo, 1964 William James Mayo (* 29. Juni 1861 in Le Sueur, Minnesota; † 28. Juli 1939 in Rochester, Minnesota), genannt Will Mayo, war ein US amerikanischer Chirurg und Mitgründer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William James Mayo — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Mayo. William James Mayo Naissance 29 juin 1861 Le Sueur Décès 28 juillet 1939 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Dr. William W. Mayo House — Not to be confused with Dr. William J. Mayo House in Rochester, Minnesota Dr. William W. Mayo House U.S. National Register of Historic Places …   Wikipedia

  • Dr. William J. Mayo House — Not to be confused with Dr. William W. Mayo House in Le Sueur, Minnesota Dr. William J. Mayo House U.S. National Register of Historic Places …   Wikipedia

  • Mayo Clinic — Type Non profit organization Industry Health care Founded Rochester, Minnesota …   Wikipedia

  • Mayo-Klinik — Mayo Clinic Unternehmensform Non Profit Organisation Gründung 1889 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mayo — may refer to: Contents 1 Places 2 People 3 Fictional characters 4 Other Places Ireland County …   Wikipedia

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