The Geiger Surname and Homeopathy

The Geiger surname originated in Germany and immigrated to America to provide a great many homeopaths, many of them becoming pioneers of homeopathy.

The Geiger surname is linked to homeopaths from Germany in 1832, and also to a German Pharmaceutical company at this time.

Charles A Geiger 1862 – 1907 was a homeopathic physician to the Court of the Sultan of Morocco and Court Physician to King Menelik of Abyssinia. Charles A Geiger was a friend of Laslo Szechenyi, the husband of Gladys Vanderbilt Szechenyi.

Charles A Geiger graduated from Allentown Academy in 1851. He was a graduate of the University of Virginia, and also of the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1855. Charles A Geiger taught Leslie Jacob Coombs:

the first homeopathic physician to come to Atlanta was Dr. Charles A Geiger

In 1906, Geiger returned to Beaufort to live at the Sea Island Hotel for over two years, consulting daily with his broker James H Oliphant. Geiger was suffering from sciatica and jungle fever he contracted in Africa. He lost money in the financial panic, but recovered his health and his spirits well.

Charles A Geiger was the son of a homeopathic physician in Baltimore, and his mother was Helen H Barnwell. His sister Carrie Geiger lived in New York, but he had no other living relatives.

Charles Edwin Geiger 1853 –  the son of William Geiger junior:

Charles Edwin Geiger spent a large part of his life in Oregon and therefore needs no introduction to the readers of this volume.  He is widely and favorably known both as a citizen and a physician, and is now successfully practicing in Forest Grove.

His birth occurred on the farm near Forest Grove, March 20, 1853, a son of Dr. William Geiger, Jr., who was born in Angelica, N. Y., in 1816.  His father, a native of Germany, came to America at the age of sixteen years, locating in New York, whence he afterward removed to Michigan and later to Kansas, where he died at the advanced age of ninety three years, while his wife was eighty five years of age at the time of her demise….

Charles Edwin Geiger was reared in Washington county and pursued his education in the Tualatin Academy and the Pacific University.  His resolution to become a member of the medical fraternity caused him to begin study under the direction of his father and later to enter the St. Louis Homeopathic College, where he remained for a year.

Later he further read and practiced with his father for eighteen months and in the fall of 1878 he matriculated in Hahnemann Medical College of Chicago, where he was graduated in 1879 with the degree of M.D.

He then practiced in Portland through the summer and September of that year started for Victoria, British Columbia, where he practiced for two years.

Returning then to Portland, he remained in general practice in that city from 1881 until 1896, and in August of the latter year he located in Forest Grove to take up his father’s practice and the name of Geiger has thus been continuously associated with medical work in this city for many years.

Charles Edwin Geiger was also made administrator of his father’s estate which is now almost entirely settled.  In his profession he displays ability and comprehensive knowledge and successfully copes with the intricate problems which continually arise in dealing with disease.  He owns an interest in the old home and some fine Beaver Dam land.

In Salem Dr. Geiger was married to Miss Alice E. Shirley, who was born in Salem, a daughter of James Shirley, one of the pioneers of Oregon, who traveled across the country in 1847 and settled in the Willamette valley.  The doctor and his wife have a daughter, Constance Louise.

The parents hold membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church and are prominent in social circles, the hospitality of the best homes being extended them.  The doctor votes with the Republican forces and for three years he has served as a member of the school board, during which time the schools were regraded after the Portland system.

Fraternally he is connected with the Odd Fellows Lodge, of which he is a past noble grand and has been a representative to the grand lodge.  He is also connected with the Artisans, the Fraternal Brotherhood and the Ancient Order of United Workmen, for which he is medical examiner.  He also belongs to the Oregon Pioneer Association and was the vice president of the Oregon State Homeopathic Medical Society.  His interest in his profession is deep and sincere and he keeps in touch with the progress and improvement which is continually advancing the medical science toward perfection.

Charles William Geiger practiced in Chicago in 1896.

Forest Grove Geiger is recorded as a homeopathic physician in The Medical Visitor in 1885.

Henry Geiger – 1898 practiced in Chicago.

Jacob Geiger senior was a friend of Fred Martin who acted as his locum.

Another relatively early introduction (of homeopathy) came in Maryland (1836) where a German pastor, Rev. Mr. Jacob Geiger, had brought it to his eight congregations in Carroll County, having had contact with the teachers at the Allentown Academy, and had produced nine descendants who graduated from homeopathic colleges since 1851….

Homeopathy had been introduced to Maryland by Rev. Mr. Jacob Geiger who served eight congregations, primarily in Carroll County. He learned his homeopathy through contacts with principals of the Allentown Academy.

Notwithstanding the fact that Dr. McManus rightfully laid claim to pioneership in the practice of homœopathy in Maryland, his honor in that respect must be shared with Rev. Jacob Geiger, a Maryland pastor of German extraction and Pennsylvania parentage and birth, who had frequently been brought under the beneficent teachings of Allentown Academy and thus acquired a fair understanding of the principles of Hahnemann’s school of medicine.

In 1836, contemporary with Dr. McManus, Rev. Geiger took up the practice of medicine in connection with the pastoral charge of his flock, and continued both until the time of his death in 1848. This allusion to Pastor Geiger’s medical endeavors is important when it is mentioned that nine of his descendants were graduates of homeopathic colleges and practitioners of medicine….

Rev. Jacob Geiger introduced homeopathy in Carroll county in 1836

Jacob Geiger junior was Dean of the Homeopathic Medical College of Missouri in 1903.

Louise Geiger McMahon is recorded as a homeopathic physician, continuing the practice of her deceased husband, in Marion, Ohio in 1882.

Portland Geiger is recorded as a homeopathic physician in The Medical Visitor in 1885.

Theodore S Geiger – 1863 graduated from Allentown Academy in 1854, where he sketched his classroom.

William Geiger junior 1816 – 1901 the father of Charles Edwin Geiger:

Dr. Geiger, the father of our subject, was reared in the Empire state and in Michigan and began preparing for missionary work in Quincy, Ill., where he remained for a year.  He then went to Missouri, where he engaged in teaching school, and in 1839 he came to Oregon.  It was his intention to make the trip sooner, but he found that before that time he could not meet the American Fur Company’s men, which were to pilot him through.

By pack horses, in  1839, he proceeded rapidly from Independence, Mo., to eastern Oregon, and under the direction of Dr. Whitman he took up the study of medicine, continuing his reading with that physician until the spring of 1840, when he came to the Willamette valley, settling in Washington county.

Later he decided to go to San Francisco, Cal., but it was necessary that he should go first to the Sandwich Islands in order to secure a passport which would enable him to land in California.  He made the journey across the Pacific waters in a sailing vessel and for a year he remained in the Sandwich Islands, there engaging in teaching.

Having secured his passport in February, 1841, he arrived in San Francisco in due season, and from that point started to return east by the overland route, planning to travel with mule teams.  He took with him provisions for ten days, expecting there would be plenty of buffaloes by that time to replenish his food supply, but the party reached the desert where it was impossible to obtain buffalo meat, and for three days Dr. Geiger had no food.

He then caught a sand hill crane, which was killed and eaten, and after about twenty days of travel he could secure the meat of buffaloes and antelopes, but he learned that the Indians were numerous on the plains and decided to return to Oregon.

Carrying out this resolution the doctor secured a donation claim at Salem, but afterward gave it up to the Salem Methodist Episcopal Church, who wanted it for their mission.  Later he secured a donation claim of six hundred and forty acres, south of what is now Cornelius.

He was married in this state in 1847 and then engaged in farming, and he further continued the study of the homeopathic system of medicine under Dr. W. N. Griswold, beginning practice at Forest Grove in 1864.  He continued in active practice until eighty years of age, when he retired to private life, his death occurring in Forest Grove, June 16, 1901.

In the meantime, however, in 1848, he had made an overland trip to the gold mines of California, and through the succeeding winter engaged in placer mining with success, taking out $5,000.

He served as county clerk of Washington county for a year while Oregon was still a territory and was afterward county surveyor for several years, having excellent ability in that line.  He surveyed and laid out Forest Grove and the Buxton cemetery and from the time of his first arrival in the northwest he was not only a witness of the wonderful development of this section of the country, but bore an important part in its upbuilding and went through all the hardships and many of the exciting experiences of frontier life.

In the practice of medicine his labors were particularly beneficial to his fellowmen and he was an honored member of the State Medical Society of Oregon, of which he served as the president.

William Geiger was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Cornwall, a southerner by birth, a daughter of Rev. Joseph Cornwall, who was born in the south and was a minister of the Presbyterian Church.

He removed to Arkansas and in 1846 came to Oregon by the overland route, traveling by way of the Applegate cutoff.  The part lost their cattle, had some terrible experiences and their supply of provisions becoming exhausted they had to spend the winter in the Umpqua valley, and venison was their chief article of diet.

In the spring they came on to Yamhill, where Mr. Cornwall secured a donation claim four miles south of McMinnville.

Years afterward, about 1864 or 1865, he went to California and died near Ventura, that state, while his wife died in Eugene.  Mrs. Geiger still survives her husband at the age of seventy five years, and three hundred and twenty acres of their original donation claim is still in possession of the family.

There were nine children:  William C, a farmer of Eastern Oregon; Sarah E., the wife of Captain Magee, of Coos Bay; Charles Edwin, of this review; Millard F, who was a physician of Forest Grove and died in 1881; F. Lincoln, a farmer of Cornelius; Wolcott W., a resident of Salem, Ore.; Ella, the wife of S. B.Huston, of Hillsboro; Laura B., now Mrs. Wells, of Forest Grove; and Hubert H., a dentist of Montague, Cal.

Few men were more familiar with the history of the settlement and improvement of the Pacific coast than Dr. William Geiger, Jr.  He was born in Angelica, Allegany county, N.Y., September 15, 1816, and was a son of William Geiger, a farmer by occupation.

In his native town he was reared and attended a private academy.  When he was about seventeen years of age he removed with his parents to Oakville, Monroe county, Mich., where he remained from 1833 until 1837, when he started for Quincy, Ill., proceeding by steamer to Cleveland, Ohio, thence by canal boat to Portsmouth, on the Ohio river, by steamer to St. Louis and by a small boat to Quincy, arriving at his destination after four weeks of travel.

About five miles from Quincy was the Mission Institute and therein Dr. Geiger became a student, and in 1838 he made plans to cross the plains to the Pacific coast, accompanied by a schoolmate by the name of Benson.

After two weeks spent in St. Louis, they proceeded by steamer to Westport, Mo., where they purchased their outfits and started to the mission on the Kaw river, hoping to catch the American Fur Company’s outfit before it left there, but in this they were disappointed.

While there, however, Dr. Geiger became acquainted with the Rev. Harvey Clark and the Rev. Mr. Allen, both independent Congregational missionaries.  Rev. Mr. Clark and Rev. Mr. Renshaw accompanied Dr. Geiger and Mr. Benson to the Kaw mission, expecting to go across the plains,
but the party’s guide, John Gray, a quarter Iroquois Indian, insisted that it was too dangerous to attempt the journey with so few in the train and the party therefore returned to Westport.

Dr. Geiger then taught school in that locality through the winter, receiving $3 per quarter for each pupil and having from fifty to seventy five pupils.  The schoolhouse was built after he was employed and was constructed of logs, with an immense fireplace in one end of the room.

In the spring of 1838 Dr. Geiger met the Rev. J. S. Griffin and they went to Independence to see Rev. Mr. Clark, who arranged to go to California the following spring with a colony,
while Dr. Geiger was to go through and meet the party, having in the meantime decided upon a good location for the colony.

In the spring of 1839 he made the long journey across the plains and had no trouble with the Indians, reaching the present site of Hubbard, Ore., September 13.  Two or three days later he proceeded to the mission on the river bank.  With two companions he rode down to where Oregon City now stands and took a skiff for Vancouver.

Dr. Geiger taught the Indian children at the Methodist mission during the winter of 1839-40 and then started to California on a sailing vessel in the spring, stopping at the Russian settlement on Bodego bay, but the Russians would not allow any one to leave by land from that place unless they started northward.

Dr. Geiger continued on to San Francisco but the authorities refused to allow him to land because he had no passport.  He then went to Honolulu, where he taught school for about eight months, receiving $30 per month.

In February, 1841, having procured a passport, he left Honolulu on the American ship Lausanne for Monterey, and later went in a coaster to San Francisco, which was then a small place.  The Hudson Bay Company had a double log house there, and there was a combined saloon and billiard hall and a partly finished hotel, containing about one hundred people, fully half of whom were transients.

After a short time at San Francisco, Dr. Geiger went across the bay to a point opposite the embryo city and securing some cattle took them up the river to Sutter’s Fort, where he remained until the spring of 1842, and in the meantime surveyed Captain Sutter’s claim for him and had charge of the fort while the captain went to Monterey for supplies.

He gave to Dr. Geiger for his services land three miles square, situated in the forks of the Yuba and Feather rivers, but in the spring of 1842 he traded everything he had to Captain Sutter for horses and mules and started for the states.

The party with which he was traveling determined to go by the northern route and as he wished to go by the southern route he left the party at Bear river and proceeded to the head of Salt Lake and then to Fort Hall, but danger from Indians and lack of food caused him to turn back.

In August, 1842, Dr. Geiger went down the valley.  He sold many of his horses and mules to the emigrants, but took the remainder down the Willamette valley and for a while he lived with Alvin T. Smith, near Forest Grove.

In October of that year, in compliance with a letter from Dr. Whitman, he started to take charge of his mission, remaining there during a part of 1842-43, or until Dr. Whitman’s return in the fall of 1843.  Before this he had secured a donation claim where the town of Salem now stands, but gave it up later because it was wanted by a Methodist mission.

He next secured a donation claim of six hundred and forty acres south of what is now Cornelius.  He was married in this state in 1847, and then engaged in farming, also further continuing, under Dr. W. N. Griswold, the study of medicine, which he had first taken up some years before under the direction of Dr. Whitman.

He began the practice of Homeopathy in Forest Grove in 1864, and was undoubtedly the pioneer homeopathic physician of the Pacific coast.

Dr. Geiger served as clerk of Washington county while Oregon was still a territory, and was afterward county surveyor for several years, having excellent ability in that line. He surveyed and laid out Forest Grove and the Buxton cemetery, and from the time of his arrival in the northwest took an active part in its development.

He was an honored member of the State Medical Society of Oregon, in which he served as president.

Dr. Geiger was united in marriage with Elizabeth Cornwall, a native of the south, and a sister of Rev. J. A. Cornwall, a Presbyterian minister located at Sodaville, Linn county, Ore.  The father, a preacher in the same denomination, resided in Arkansas for many years and brought his family to this state in 1846, traveling by way of the southern, or Applegate route, as one of a large party, by ox-teams.

In the fall of 1847 he came to Forest Grove, taught school that winter, and in the following spring removed to Yamhill county.  He was accompanied by his wife and five children, and their supply of food becoming exhausted, they underwent intense suffering.

The party separated at Fort Hall, Idaho, some of the families going through to California, and the remainder accompanying the Cornwall family through Nevada and southeastern Oregon, traversing the Humboldt valley for some distance.  They spent the winter in the Umpqua valley and in the spring of 1847 Mr. Cornwall secured a donation claim of six hundred and forty acres four miles south of McMinnville, on South Yamhill river.

Mr. Cornwall afterward went to California and spent his last days near Ventura, where he died at the age of eighty one years.  He married Nancy Hardin, who was born in Davisonville, Ark.  Her father came from Kentucky and served as sheriff of his county, while her grandfather was a hero of the Revolutionary war and died at the advanced age of ninety years.  Mrs. Cornwall died in Eugene, Ore.

In her family were nine children:  Elizabeth; Joseph, a minister at Sodaville; Narcissa, of Walla Walla, Wash.; George, of Idaho; Laura, of Walla Walla; Angelica, wife of A. C. Shim, of Seattle, who was the first white child born at Forest Grove; Adamson and William, who are in Arizona; and Neal, a resident of Berkeley, Cal.

Mrs. Geiger was only seventeen years of age when with her parents she crossed the plains.  They were on the way for more than six months and spent the winter in the Umpqua valley, where they were without bread, but there was plenty of wild game and they had forty nine deer.  During part of the winter, however, they were without salt.

The father built a small cabin on Applegate creek and they remained there until spring, when in May they proceeded to the Willamette valley.  Indians would visit them and pry around the house and on one occasion the father showed them a trunk filled with books, and they did not then molest the other trunks, thinking, probably, that they were also filled with books, for which they had no use.

On the 5th of October, 1847, Elizabeth Cornwall gave her hand in marriage to William Geiger and unto them were born nine children: William Cornwall, who was born August 5, 1848, and now resides in Heppner, Ore.; Sarah Elizabeth, born May 1, 1850, and now the wife of Capt. James Magee, of Coos Bay; Charles Edwin, who was born March 20, 1853, and is a practicing physician of Forest Grove; Millard Fillmore, who was born April 14, 1857, and died August 23, 1881; Fremont Lincoln, who was born May 27, 1860, and resides in Cornelius, Ore.; Wolcott Webster, born September 23, 1862; Ella, born June 28, 1865, the wife of S. B. Huston, of Hillsboro, Ore.; Laura Belle, born September 18, 1869, now the widow of William Wells of Forest Grove; and Hubert Hahnemann, who was born August 9, 1875, and is a graduate of a dental college of Chicago, Ill., and now a practitioner of his profession in Montague, Cal.

Dr. Geiger and his estimable wife celebrated their golden wedding, having traveled life’s journey for a half century, in 1897.  Almost four years passed before they were separated by death and then Dr. Geiger was called to his final rest, June 16, 1901.

He was a consistent Christian who held membership with the Presbyterian Church and in many ways he aided his fellow men, so that the world is better for his having lived.  His wife holds membership with the Methodist Church, and no record of the pioneer women of Oregon would be complete without mention of Mrs. Geiger.

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