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Dr. David Denman Bramble
IT IS not always easy to discover and define the hidden forces that move a life of ceaseless activity and large professional success; little more can be done than to note their manifestation in the career of the individual under consideration. In view of this fact, the life of the late Dr. David Denman Bramble, for many years a distinguished physician and surgeon of Cincinnati and dean of the Cincinnati College of Medicine and Surgery, affords a striking example of well-defined purpose with the ability to make that purpose subserve not only his own ends but the good of his fellow-men as well. He long held distinctive prestige in a calling which requires for its basis sound mentality and intellectual discipline of a high order, supplemented by the rigid professional training and thorough mastery of technical knowledge with the skill to apply the same, without which one cannot hope to rise above mediocrity in ministering to human ills. In his chosen field of endeavor, Doctor Bramble achieved success such as few attain, and his eminent standing among the leading medical men of Ohio was duly recognized and appreciated not only in his own city but also throughout the State.
Doctor Bramble was born in Montgomery, Hamilton County, Ohio, December 11, 1839. He was a son of Thomas C. and Effie M. (Denman) Bramble, both long since deceased. The father was a native of Virginia. He devoted the earlier part of his life to blacksmithing, later engaging in mercantile pursuits at Sharonville, Ohio.
David D. Bramble received his early education in the common schools, and during vacations worked at whatever he could find to do to earn an honest penny until he was fourteen years of age, at which time he had accumulated what most boys of that age would regard as a fair-sized sum of money. This he wisely used to defray the expenses of a course at Farmers College at College Hill, Cincinnati. After finishing there he was employed as a teacher at Montgomery, Ohio. He had applied himself closely to his text-books and had well equipped himself for an educator, so it was not surprising that he was appointed principal of the school after he had been teaching eighteen months. However, he felt that his true bent was in another direction, and during this period he spent all his spare time reading medicine under the preceptorship of Dr. William Jones, and when twenty years old he entered the Ohio Medical College at Cincinnati where he made a brilliant record, taking two courses, and from which institution he was graduated with the class of 1862. He was at once appointed house physician in the Commercial Hospital of Cincinnati, serving one year to the satisfaction of all concerned. In 1863 he located for general practice in Broadway, Cincinnati, and was soon appointed district physician of the Thirteenth Ward. A few months later he was appointed pest-house physician, which office he held four years. In 1866 he accepted the chair of anatomy in the Cincinnati College of Medicine and Surgery and was treasurer of that institution until 1872, in which year he was transferred to the chair of surgery and wa also made dean of the college. During the flood and smallpox epidemic of 1884, he was appointed health officer and served one year in this capacity. He discharged his duties in all the above-named positions of trust with a zeal, ability and fidelity that reflected much credit upon himself and to the eminent satisfaction of all concerned. He was always a close student of all that pertained to his profession and kept well abreast of the times in every phase of the medical world, being a man of progressive ideas and a fearless and original investigator. He did much to increase the prestige and high standing of the Cincinnati College of Medicine and Surgery while he was connected with it an won a wide reputation as an educator in this particular field. All the while he enjoyed an unusually large and lucrative practice among the best people of Cincinnati and he was often consulted by other physicians and surgeons regarding baffling and obscure cases, his advice being invariably followed with gratifying results. He was universally regarded as standing in the very front rank of eminent medical men of the Middle West in his day and generation.
Doctor Bramble was a member of the American Surgical Association, the Ohio State Medical Society, and the Cincinnati Academy of Medicine. Fraternally he belonged to the Knights of Pythias, the Seven Wise Men, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, having filled all the chairs in the latter. He was also a thirty-third degree Mason, was trustee of the Scottish Rites for a period of twenty-five years, and was a member of the committee that purchased the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Cincinnati, and later he was treasurer of this order. He was one of the prominent Masons of the State for many years.
Doctor Bramble was married in 1864 to Celestine Rieck, a daughter of John Rieck, a pioneer merchant and one of the wealthiest citizens and largest tax payers of Sycamore Township, Ohio. Mrs Bramble received good educational advantages and is a lady of many commendable characteristics, according to her many friends. She as a beautiful home in Avondale.
Three daughters graced the union of Doctor Bramble and wife, namely: Emma E. is the wife of John C. Kunz, a successful physician who was associated in practice with the subject of this memoir for many years, and who is still actively engaged in the practice at the old quarters; Jessie M. is the wife of W. L. Shigley, treasurer of the Weir Frog Company at Norwood, Ohio; Mary R. is single and lives with her mother. These children were given excellent educational training and are cultured and refined, popular with the circles in which they move.
Doctor Bramble, although a very busy man, having no time for hobbies, yet was a great home man, and delighted in supplying every want of his family. He always took his wife with him when attending medical association meetings and the annual gatherings of the lodges to which he belonged. He always wanted his family with him as much as possible, and on Sunday afternoons he insisted that the entire family get together, including his sons-in-law, and enjoy an old-fashioned visit.
He was a member of the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he was a trustee, and he never failed to attend its services when his practice would permit. He was a man who believed in carrying his religion into his every-day life and was therefore greatly esteemed for his honesty, charity, benevolence and kindness to all, and when his death occurred on September 2, 1910, a feeling of genuine loss and sorrow invaded hundreds of homes into which he had brought cheer and sunshine at one time or another during his long years of successful practice.
Doctor Bramble's only vacation was in 1892, when he took a trip to Europe; although ostensible for pleasure, he visited the leading hospital of Vienna and Berlin, in an effort to learn hew methods in alleviating human suffering.
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