Dr. B.F. Edgington, Physician in Chattanooga, Ohio

Ok. I admit it. I am still haunted by the mystery surrounding Carrie (Edgington) Eichhorn Friedell and her mother Eliza (Bobo) Edgington.

Regular readers will recall those names and that I devoted four blog posts last summer to these two women who are buried in Zion Chatt’s cemetery. [See Zion Chatt’s Mid-Summer Mystery, Parts 1-4, beginning 28 August 2015.] In those four posts I told about my research to determine the two women’s connection to Zion Chatt. I learned a lot about Carrie but in the end I simply learned that she was buried beside her mother Eliza (Bobo) Edgington.

Questions still remain. How did her mother come to be buried in Chatt? By all accounts the family had always lived in the Huntington County, Indiana, area. Yet Carrie, who died in 1965, is buried beside her mother Eliza, who died about 1878. Who knew to inter Carrie in the Chattanooga cemetery 85 years later, next to a broken stone that is no longer legible?

Carrie & Eliza (2015 photo by Karen)

Carrie & Eliza’s tombstones, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Ohio.  (2015 photo by Karen)

I just can’t get this family off my mind. As I lay in bed at night, trying to get to sleep, or trying to get back to sleep at 3:30 a.m., I try to think of new places to look and new research strategies that might help me find more information about them and to eventually learn how Eliza and her daughter Carrie ended up in Chattanooga, Ohio.

I am addicted to this mystery and I don’t give up easily.

Eliza’s husband Benjamin Franklin Edgington was a physician and last summer I came up with the theory that the family may have lived in Chatt at one time or another, that Eliza died in Chatt during that time, and that she was buried in our cemetery. But I had no proof of that and local records from that time are sketchy.

The other night I could not sleep and once again I started thinking about the Edgington/Friedell mystery. At about 3:00 a.m. I decided that I should research in another direction and see what I could find out about the life of Dr. Benjamin Franklin Edgington, Eliza’s husband and Carrie’s father. Perhaps there was an obituary written for him or his second wife.

According to Find a Grave.com Dr. Edgington died on 13 September 1930 [1] and his second wife Malinda died 20 May 1937. [2] Newspapers.com has some images of Indiana newspapers and I hoped that there might be some mention of Dr. Edgington in the news.

I am very very happy to report that this idea paid off. I solved part of the mystery and I did the Happy Dance! I now know how Eliza (Bobo) Edgington came to be buried in Zion Chatt’s cemetery.

During my search for information about Dr. Edgington I found a lengthy article about him in a 1929 edition of The Huntington Herald. The article was an interview of Dr. Edgington, written when he was 79 years old and still practicing medicine. He passed away about a year and a half after the article was published.

I was delighted to learn about Dr. Edgington and at the same time read a little about Chatt. You never know where you will find information about a place. You might think you need to search close to home but information sometimes pops up in places farther away.

The Huntington Herald, 6 April 1929, p.1.

The Huntington Herald, 6 April 1929, p.1.

Below are highlights from the interview with Dr. Benjamin Franklin Edgington.

Dr. Edgington Tells of Trials and Tribulations of Old Time Physicians
“…[Dr. Benjamin Franklin Edgington] was born in Adams County, Ohio, and came with his parents to Delaware County, Indiana, when he was eighteen months old and grew up on a farm a few miles from Muncie. After reaching adult years he was taken down with typhoid fever…During this long convalescent period he loafed around the office of Drs. Manzer and McIlwain, in the town of Eaton…Those doctors prevailed on me to read medicine with them…After giving it some thought, I decided to do so and stayed with them two years, after which I attended lectures. But that’s how I came to be a doctor…

Slim Picking At Geneva
The first place at which I hung out my shingle was at Geneva, over here in Adams County. I rather think that was in 1876, and the summer following my location there it rained incessantly for two months until the head waters of the Wabash and overflowing Limberlost marshes just ruined about all the crops and brought hard times to Geneva and the surrounding country. I had practice enough but couldn’t collect a penny from anybody. I never saw a time like it here in Indiana…

Well, I needed money so badly that I decided to leave there and go where people would pay promptly, so I jumped on my horse and rode over into Ohio to do a little prospecting for a location. I stopped in a village called Chattanooga, tied my horse and left my pill-pokes (saddlebags) on the horse while I would look around. I hadn’t a red cent in my pocket. I was simply destitute of funds. I was a total stranger to everybody, but people could look at the pill-pokes on the saddle and guess that I was a doctor. I found there was a resident doctor in the place but he imbibed liquor so freely that people told me they were afraid to take his medicine for fear he was drunk and might not know what he was doing.

A fortunate circumstance just then came to me. A man hunted me up and showed deep concern when he said he saw my pill-pokes on the horse and wondered if he could get me to call and prescribe for a man who had taken down with a high fever. I responded promptly and found the patient had malarial fever. I likewise learned that he was the leading merchant of the town and a man with strong influence. I put up at the hotel and remained to see what might happen. The fact that I was treating the merchant spread all over the neighborhood and I was soon as busy as I could be. When the merchant recovered he gave me a fine send-off to all who came to his store. I was soon on my feet in money matters and the result was I remained at Chattanooga several years…

Dr. Edgington was twice married, first to Eliza Bobo, of Blackford County, in 1872. To this marriage two children were born, Nettie, now of Montana, and Carrie Wren Friedell, who resides in Warren…the first Mrs. Edgington died at Chattanooga where the family was living at the time of her fatal illness. On February 13, 1879, occurred Dr. Edgington’s second marriage…Miss Malinda Blake of Blackford County, to whom three children were born, namely, Charles Wilson Edgington, of Montpelier, Ind.; Susie, wife of Victor Greene, of Toronto, Canada, and Gertrude, wife of Harvey Howard, of Hodgeville, Canada…” [3]

Unfortunately Dr. Edgington did not give the precise year they lived in Chatt or when his wife died, but it appears he was in Chatt about 1876-78. Perhaps they attended Zion Chatt, although the church records do not indicate that.

I found it interesting that Chattanooga provided more paying patients than Geneva. Also of interest is the mention of the hotel. It sounds like Chatt was quite a thriving community at that time. I wonder who Chatt’s merchant was at that time?

The article also gives additional information about Dr. Edgington’s daughter Carrie Wren (Edgington) Eichhorn Friedell:

“…[Mrs. Friedell] is a teacher and writes poetry for publication. Mrs. Friedell wrote a poetical tribute to [Admiral Byrd’s dog] Chinook, mailed a copy to Byrd and in the course of time received a fine letter of appreciation…[and] a fine picture of Chinook…” [3]

Carrie’s struggle for an education apparently paid off and she eventually became a teacher and writer. You may recall that her first husband divorced her because she went back to school to get her high school degree.

I am so happy to add more pieces to the Edgington/Friedell puzzle. Bit by bit the story is coming together. At some point I will probably make a trip to the Huntington area and see what I can uncover there. For now I am content to learn what I can from here at home.

You gotta love these on-line newspapers.


[1] Find A Grave (www.findagrave.com : accessed 1 Dec 2015), B. Franklin Edgington, memorial #72918097. Dr. Edgington and his second wife Malinda are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Warren, Huntington County, Indiana.

[2] Find A Grave (www.findagrave.com : accessed 1 Dec 2015), Malinda J. Edgington, memorial #72918075.

[3] The Huntington Herald, Huntington, Indiana, 6 April 1929, p.1 & 7; digital image by subscription, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 1 Dec 2015).


    • Sharon Schaadt Cowen on June 12, 2017 at 11:09 am
    • Reply

    Hi Karen,

    I stowed this article away about Dr. B.F. Edgington of Chatt until I had time to read it. What great information! I’m wondering if you have access to the Zion Lutheran roster for 1870-1872 and can tell me if John and Sarah Sitterly are listed in the congregation.

    Thanks for your help!

    Sharon Schaadt Cowen

    1. I looked but there are no Sitterlys in the records.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.