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Josiah Little Ambrose (1857-1931)
Native of Lee Co., medical practine in Bay City, MI

1905 biography. (Added July, 2009)

History of Bay County, Michigan, Augustus H. Gansser, 1905


Josiah Little Ambrose, M. D., who has a substantial medical practice in Bay City, and holds the office of county physician, was born in Lee County, Illinois, September 16, 1857. He is a son of George H. and Elizabeth M. T. (Little) Ambrose, pioneer settlers at Amboy, Lee County, when that district was a wilderness. The father died in 1884, and the mother passed away at the home of her son, Josiah, in 1904. They were the parents of five children, namely: Mary, of Chicago, Illinois, deceased:; George, of Bay City, ex-city comptroller, deceased; Charles of Bay City; Mrs. Walter D. Young, of Bay City; and Josiah Little.

The subject of this article received his primary mental instruction at Evanston, Illinois, and graduated from the University of Michigan in the class of 1880, with the degree of Ph. B. He afterwards entered Rush Medical College, in Chicago, from which he graduated in the class of 1883, with the degree of M. D. While in Chicago, he took a special course of study in eye, ear, nose and throat diseases.

In 1883, located in Bay City, where he has practiced continuously ever since. Soon after his arrival the old Bay County Medical Society was reorganized, Dr. Ambrose being one of eight young physicians who were instrumental in reviving it. They formed what was known as a “Quiz & Quest Club,” which resulted in the reorganization of the medical society. The subject of this sketch has always taken an active part in the affairs of this body, as well as in those of the Michigan State Medical Society.

Aside from his extended practice, Dr. Ambrose has been closely identified with the improvement of the city, having erected about 20 houses here, and Ambrose street in the First Ward is name in his honor. He is the medical examiner for nearly all the old-line insurance companies, and for all the fraternal orders except the A. O. U. W. He has served as county physician for eight consecutive terms.

The entrance to the office of Dr. Ambrose is a picture gallery, representing almost every play on the American stage. His main office is filled with a collection of pictures, calendars, portraits of actors and reproductions from some of our great artists. The Doctor has saved many cuts from the Chicago papers, and takes delight in ornamenting his rooms with every nice picture that he can procure. Advertisements of all kinds are to be found hung on the walls. This seems to be the Doctor's hobby. Another peculiarity is that he always wears a silk hat, which he utilizes to carry memoranda of his daily work, keeping a regular diary.

Dr. Ambrose was married to Grace S. Wilkins, a native of Bay City and a graduate of the Bay City High School. She is a daughter of John H. Wilkins, a native of Philadelphia, who came to Bay City about 1870 and served as mayor of Bay City two terms and is now serving as chief city assessor. He formerly engaged in the abstract and real estate business, but finally disposed of those interests. The Doctor and his wife have one son, Charles Wilkins Ambrose, who is a student in the engineering department of the University of Michigan, in the second year of the course.

Dr. Ambrose is a member of the Masonic order, Modern Woodmen of America, Royal Arcanum Maccabees, Royal Archers, Royal Neighbors, Foresters and several other fraternal organizations.

Additional Notes:

  • Dr. Ambrose died Jan. 9, 1942 and Grace died Mar. 26, 1947, both are buried at Elm Lawn Cemetery, Bay City, MI.
  • Grace S. (Wilkins) Ambrose's diaries of daily life are housed at the Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.

    1897: - Bay City Directory:

  • Ambrose, Elizabeth M. T., (Wm George H.), bds 320 N. Van Buren
  • Ambrose, George F., City Comptroller, City Hall, res 1303 6th
  • Ambrose, Josiah L., phys, 7 Fay blk, res 320 N Van Buren

    Charles W. Ambrose, son:

  • 1907: Officially changed middle name from “Maynard” to “Wilkins.”
  • 1921: Birth/Death Records - Born 13 Feb. 1886, and married Helen L. Bronzfield on 1 Oct. 1921, at Bay City, MI.
  • 1931: Bay City Directory: Charles W. Ambrose (Mrs. Florence D., vocalist), res 2175 4th St.; bus. Wood Co., 408 Bay City Bank Bldg.
Reference Notes & Pages

Related Pages:
Wilkins, John H.
Young, Walter D.
People Referenced
Ambrose, Charles (bro)
Ambrose, Charle W. (son)
Ambrose, George (father)
Ambrose, George F.
Ambrose, George Jr. (bro.)
Ambrose, Josiah L. (subject)
Ambrose, Mary (sister)
Bronzfield, Helen L.
Little, Elizabeth M.T. (mother)
Wilkins, Grace S. (wife)
Wilkins, John H.
Young, Walter D.
Subjects Referenced
Amboy, IL
Bay City, MI
Bay City Bank Bldg.
Bay City High School
Bay Co., MI
Bay Co. Medical Soc.
Chicago, IL
Evanston, IL
Lee Co., IL
Michigan Medical Soc.
Philadelphia, PA
Rush Medical College
Univ. of Michigan
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.