Marcus F. Wheatland Dr

Inducted: 2017
Born: 1868 - Died:

When Dr. Wheatland died in 1934 at the age of sixty-six, his obituary in the Newport Daily News newspaper lead off by noting “The life of the late Dr. Marcus F. Wheatland should be an inspiration to every boy, white or colored, who believes he has no chance to succeed.” In fact, Marcus Wheatland’s life was truly a success story; but, for a young person of color growing up in the time that he did it truly was an exceptional story. But then again Marcus Wheatland was an exceptional person.

Born February 16, 1868 in Bridgetown, Barbados in the British West Indies he was educated in private schools on that island before relocating in 1887 to Boston, Massachusetts. Shortly thereafter he attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. where in 1895 he graduated with a degree of Medical Doctor. Upon graduation he moved to Newport, Rhode Island where he set up his medical practice.

Why he came to live and practice in Rhode Island is anyone’s guess but most likely it was his relationship with George T. Downing, Rhode Island’s most prominent man of color at the time, who may have recommended the place. Within three years of his arrival Wheatland married Irene De Mortie, granddaughter of George Downing.

1895 was not only the year that Marcus Wheatland graduated medical school, but it was also the year that Wilhelm Röntgen invented the x-ray machine. This happy coincidence would prove significant because Wheatland became a leading expert in the United Sates on the use of x-rays to diagnose and treat patients. In fact, he owned the very first x-ray machine in Newport. As his medical practice grew so did his accomplishments and fame. In 1909 Wheatland lectured on the use of x-rays at the annual meeting of the National Medical Association in Boston, Massachusetts. Shortly thereafter he was elected president of that prestigious association and would later go on to sit on its Executive Board. He was the author of numerous articles published in various medical journals and was a member of the American Electro-Therapeutic Association, the American Medical Association as well as the Newport Association for the Relief and Prevention of Tuberculosis.

His service was not only in the medical field as he found time to serve on the Newport City Council. In 1994, in recognition of his many accomplishments the city of Newport renamed West Broadway the Dr. Marcus Wheatland Boulevard. He truly was an exceptional man.

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