On the Porch

Dr. John Banks Robertson was one of several Lyon County residents who served in World War I, either stationed in the United States or fighting in the trenches overseas. When the United States entered the war, Dr. Robertson was one of the first from Lyon County to enlist. He was given the rank of captain. Thirty days after enlisting, he was ordered to the training camp, Fort Riley in Kansas, later transferred to Camp Dodge, then to Fort McKenzie in Wyoming to take charge of Post Hospital where he served until camp was discontinued. He then transferred to Camp Lewis where he was stationed until his discharge in 1919. After his discharge, he returned to Cottonwood to resume his medical practice.

Dr. Robertson was born in Freeborn County on Dec. 4, 1866. He was left an orphan when he was 6 years old. He received his education at Carleton College and attended the University of Minnesota for study of medicine. He finished his last two years at Rush Medical College, graduating in March 1892. He moved to Cottonwood in 1892 and became the first licensed physician in Cottonwood. The following year, he purchased a drug store. He was one of the first physicians to introduce chloroform anesthesia in childbirth, which at the time was in the experimental stage and practically unheard of in country practice,

On April 7, 1893, he married Rose Marsh, and they had two children. Rose passed away on Nov. 30, 1896. On Jan. 1, 1898, he married Olga Paulson and they had two children. Dr. Robertson was very involved in civic affairs of Cottonwood. He served as mayor for two years and also as a councilman. He was also involved with the board of education, the Presbyterian church, the Masonic and Eastern Star lodges, and served as coroner of Lyon County for 13 years. He passed away on Sept. 19, 1953.

We are looking for WWI artifacts, photographs, and stories from Lyon County to include in a WWI exhibit at the museum. If you would like to donate or loan items, please contact the museum. The Lyon County Historical Society is a nonprofit, member-supported organization. For more information on membership, research, volunteering, or the museum’s collection, please contact us at 537-6580 or director@lyoncomuseum.org. Like our page and follow us on Facebook.