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De Laniel and Fielding Yost Biographies



Dr. DE LANIEL LEE YOST, B. S., M. D., M. E., the subject of this sketch, who is a leading physician and surgeon of Fairmont. West Virginia, prefers that we refer to ancestral achievements and history than to personal endeavors. We find no more interesting study in heredity than the evidence: that to be well born gives a force of character and energy that no amount of cultivation can give the less fortunate.

The paternal great-grandfather, John Yost, came to the American Colonies from Bavaria, Germany, before the Revolution, and soon after landing in New York married a young woman from Holland, -Katie Suuiche, whom he met on board ship en route here from the Fatherland. While living in Elizabeth, New Jersey, he joined the Colonial Army, fought against the British during the long Revolutionary War, and many incidents have been related in history that concerned the commands of which he was a member in their operations about Trenton. After the war, they trekked across the Alleghanies by way of Cumberland station, on the old Braddock Road, finally locating near Indian Creek, where they homesteaded valuable lands. There John Yost died and was buried about 1815. There were seven sons in the family,—Henry. John, Aaron, William, Peter, Jacob and David, the grandfather of Dr. Yost,— and five were born at the new home. This was in the day of disputed frontiers against savage beasts of the forest and the still more savage aborigines.

David Yost, our subject’s grandfather, homesteaded nearly 1000 acres of forest land at the head of Pawpaw Creek, the present site of the thrifty inland town of Fairview and the present center of the oil field’s wealth and new coal industries. At the time of the second war with England, grants were made good by paying back taxes on patents that had been many years neglected and much of the land, through this procedure, cost less than $1.50 an acre. From trading stock and trapping, the money was saved. There were many incidents of overland trips afoot through the forests, with silver wearing and chafing in the pockets on his person, to make payments on his land at Morgantown, then the only post office and the only place where there were record offices in that section since Virginia was a colony. No greater evidence of hardihood and indefatigable will and industry could be shown than the life and accomplishments of this sturdy, temperate man. He was born in 1799 and died in 1856 from typhoid fever. From his marriage there resulted 11 children, some of whom are still living, past 86, in the West. Of the sons, James Yost died recently at 84; Jehu D. and Nicholas were both practitioners of botanic medicine.



Fielding H. Yost, the youngest son of David Yost, and father of our subject, was born August 4. 1827. He was the idol of his parents in their declining years. He was given every advantage of education, was favored with private tutors, and attended Rector College in 1846-47, then one of the most noted schools of the section. He was remembered in that day for his fascinating oratory and patriotism in his speeches, at the musters of militia for the Mexican War with companies organized by his brother. Dr. Jehu D. Yost. His devotion to the good and uplifting of the communities made him prominent in the organization of the Sons of Temperance, the Sunday-school work, and the first lodge of Freemasonry in Fairmont. He was devoted to the practice of medicine and was intensely in earnest in his support of the new school of reforms then coming up against the heroic, antiphlogistic and depleting effects of mercury, blue mass, antimony, blood-letting, etc., then the prevalent system of treating diseases. After several years of association with his brothers in the practice, he graduated with the degree of M. D., from the Eclectic Medical Institute, Cincinnati, in 1860. In the war between the States, he took the side of Virginia’s defense, and was made a surgeon in Lee’s army, and was a personal associate of General Lee in camp in the early part of 1861; he took charge of the field hospital at Monterey, Virginia, and there served both Federals and Confederates, was captured, served in prison, was afterward neutral throughout the remainder of the war, and taught submission and forgiveness at the fateful end of that then necessary struggle.

From 1864 to 1867 he was located at Morgantown in practice, being sought from far and near for his skilled services in surgical operations, performing laparotomy and lithotomy for abscess and for stone, in the days when but little was known of antiseptics, more than the need for absolute cleanliness. Many who were living 30 years after his death owed the prolongation of their lives to his skill. He died May 13, 1872 in the time of his brilliant achievements. His services were sought even during the two years when he was stricken with paralysis of the throat, affecting speech, though he would write from a clear brain and fertile mind for the many that came from afar for advice from this source of fruitful knowledge.

Personally, his was a life of genius, overwork and sincere and unselfish devotion to the service of needful humanity.

In appearance, the late Dr. Fielding H. Yost was a man of medium stature, straight and wiry as an athlete; his commanding though gentle bearing was magnetic and inspiring to the sick and the distressed. He had dark wavy hair, long beard, high forehand, soft yet piercing blue-gray eyes that met yours in language that pierced deeper than words and inspired sincerity of a friend, especially those in need.

Such a forceful intellect and fertile mind, with such integrity and devotion to hard work, burn out vitality in rays of genius, live years in a day, dying young, and their achievements live after them as an inspiration to those whose like ambition is to excel and be proficient.

Dr. Fielding H. Yost was married May 19, 1851, to Melinda A. Jones, who still survives him, and is now living at the old homestead in Marion County, West Virginia, hale and sprightly at the age of 72. Her grandfather, Joseph Jones, after serving three years in the War of 1812, under General Harrison, removed to Virginia from his home in New Jersey. Joseph Jones’ uncle served for seven years in the Revolutionary War. Her father, John Jones, kept an old landmark inn at Pleasant Valley, a famous resort in the historic days of wagon trains and stage coaches on the old State Road, long before the Baltimore & Ohio route was surveyed across the Alleghanies.

The father’s mantle has fallen on two of his sons, and on the same homestead, from which six others of the family name and three generations have entered the ranks of the same profession, was born De Laniel Lee Yost. November 7. 1861, the second son of a family of three girls and five boys. Born under such favorable heredity and ample patrimony and provisions for education in the will left by his father, he was expected to follow with advantage the profession of medicine, business virtually awaiting him. He attended the State Normal School at Fairmont and the State University at Morgantown, and graduated with the degree of B. S. from Central College, Danville, Indiana, in 1886. He finished his medical course at Indianapolis in the Eclectic Medical College, in 1888, in which city he located in the practice of medicine, later getting the advantages of postgraduate courses.

He practiced six years at Fairview, the old homestead, with profit, assuming all responsibility incident to medicine and surgery in an active oil town. He took up the further study of his profession in 1893 in the Post-Graduate School of Philadelphia, and in 1894 at the Post- Graduate School of New York. In 1895 he accepted the chair of eclectic theory and practice of medicine in the new American Medical College, Indianapolis, and the same chair in 1896 in the University of Medicine in that city, taking advantage of the ample clinic and hospital work in the other post-graduate schools there. With the rest and recuperation, thus derived, he returned to West Virginia and located at Fairmont in 1898, in the special practice of medicine limited to chronic diseases. His practice is limited to office consultation, and he rarely does any visiting, except in cases of emergency or when called to consult with other physicians. His office at No. 225 Jefferson street is thronged at all hours of the day with patients; Dr. Yost often prescribes for as many as 50 a day. but his record is 84. He still holds a chair in the Eclectic Medical College and goes to Indianapolis each winter from now on for the work.

By strict integrity, untiring energy and devotion he has built up and now enjoys a large practice that extends over several counties. His sources of information from almost every science, of men. mind and affairs of the world, makes him liberal, proficient and independent of sect, and gives him the confidence of all associates and the business that he deserves. He was among the first to see the unfolding advantages of Fairmont’s development and future, was wise in his investments, erecting several residence properties and a luxuriously appointed home, and was the pioneer in that city of the idea of resident flats. A five-story, pressed brick and stone, modern structure, recently erected by him on Main avenue, is a monument to his ambition, energy and integrity.

Dr. Yost is liberal in church and State, is social, modest and unassuming, whom to know you are assured of his utterly unselfish life and intense liberality of mind.

On May 21, 1890, Dr. Yost was married to Rose D. Youst. only daughter of the late Dr. Joriah Youst, of another branch of the Yost family, of the fifth remove, to which happy union two children have been born,—a son, Ernest Lee, now 12 years of age and a student in the Staunton Military Academy of Staunton, Virginia, and a daughter, who died a year old.

We have found no more hospitable home, void of vanity or sham, where a welcome is immediately felt. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows; the Encampment; and the Uniform Rank of the Knights of Pythias. He is an ex-member of the Indiana Eclectic Medical Association, and member of the Indianapolis Eclectic Medical Society and of the Indianapolis Academy of Medicine. He is a member of the West Virginia, State Eclectic Medical Association and American Association of Physicians and Surgeons. He is also a member of the New York Institute of Anthropology, Chicago Society of Psychological Research, and the National Medico-Legal Society in the study of criminology and heredity.

Men of West Virginia, Vol 2, Illustrated, Biographical Publishing Co, George Richmond, Pres.; C. R. Arnold, Sec’y and Treas., Chicago, Illinois, 1903. p737-742

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