By Cilisa Irvin
Lomax Gwathney was born on November 5th, 1869 to parents William Watts Gwathney and Mary T. Gwathney in Norfolk, Virginia where he lived with his 5 siblings. W.W. Gwathney worked as a Com Merchant and his mother kept house. According to the 1870 United States Census, the family lived within Ward 3 in Norfolk, Virginia in a home their father owned. Lomax Gwathney’s father was able to provide a substantial education for him as he attended Norfolk Academy and studied medicine at the University of Virginia in 1889 and then Columbia University in New York City where he completed his medical degree in 1890. During his time as a student, he was inducted to Beta Theta Phi and Mystic Seven fraternities. While studying medicine, he served as a house physician at the Bellevue Hospital in New York City. He also studied overseas at universities in Heidelberg, Germany and Vienna, Italy for his post-graduate work. After returning home he began a medical and surgical practice located at 220 St. Christopher Clinic in Norfolk, Virginia. The practice also included other physicians and became a large practice in the city. In 1892 he withdrew from the practice to pursue his surgical work. 1892 also marked the year he became head of St. Christopher Hospital. Prior to his military service, he served as on the Norfolk County Medical Association, The Seaboard Medical Association, the American Medical Association, and Southern Surgical and Gynecological Association. To assist his country with his medical and surgical skills, Gwathney enlisted in the army in August 1918.
Lomax Gwathney enlisted in Norfolk, Virginia and received a rank of captain in the Medical Reserve Corp. (MRC). He trained in several different sites first at Rockefeller Institute in New York City, then Camp Green, North Carolina where he trained for 3 months, afterward he traveled to surgical school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and lastly Camp Sevier, South Carolina for 3 months as well. Prior to leaving for Europe, he was promoted from captain to major and the following year he left from New York to Glasgow, Scotland onboard the USS Scotian. Once he arrived he was stationed at St. Denis, France. Due to a shell wound injury on November 2nd, he was under medical care at Evaluation Hospitals 4, 7, and 41 until December 17, 1918. Fortunately, there were no permanent injuries. In May 1919 he was cited for unusually meritorious and conspicuous service and was discharged on January 17th, 1919 at Camp Lee, Virginia.
Lomax Gwathney returned home to his surgical career, and according to a directory published in 1920 for the city of Norfolk, he returned to St. Christopher Clinic. He married much later in life to Annette V. Vail according to the 1940 Census. Lomax Gwathney died of cancer on March 22nd, 1954 and was buried Elmwood Cemetery in Norfolk, Virginia.
United States Census, 1880-1940
Virginia Biography, pg. 717
Findagrave.com/memorial/10267786 Accessed 7/13/2018
Virginia Medical Monthly (1918-)., Volume 47., April 1920 pg. 179
Officers and Graduates of Columbia University, General Catalogue 1754-1900 pg. 572
World War I History Commission Questionnaire, Library of Congress