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Robert Wesley Erwin (1842-?)
Born in Laceyville, OH, practice medicine in Bay City, MI.

1905 biography. (Added July, 2009)

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


Robert W. Erwin, B. S. M. D., who enjoys the distinction of being the third oldest physician in practice at Bay City, Michigan, has been identified with the interests of this city for the past 30 years. Dr. Erwin was born at Laceyville, Harrison County, Ohio, May 24, 1842, and is a son of Robert and Rebecca (Law) Erwin.

Dr. Erwin is descended on the paternal side from Scotch Presbyterian ancestors, who came to America prior to the Revolutionary War. His mother was born in Ireland of English ancestry. The family is well represented in clerical life, both in the Church of England and among the followers of John Wesley.

The enforced industry of life on a farm gave our subject energetic habits and to this exercise Dr. Erwin attributes much of his sustained vigor, and a long continued capacity for hard work. His education was pursued through the winters at the district schools, but the summers found him hard at work on his father's farm. When but 17 years old, after five months in a neighboring academy, and three months in the Hopedale (Ohio) Normal School, he was accepted as a teacher through the winters until after the outbreak of the Civil War, when he enlisted for service in the 170th Regiment, Ohio Vol. Inf., in which he served until the expiration of his term of enlistment.

After his honorable discharge, he returned to his studies, entering the Ohio University, at Athens, where he took the full course and was graduated in the class of 1868, with the degree of B. S. For some time had been reading medicine with the intention of adopting it as a profession, and, after leaving the University, immediately entered Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York City, where he was graduated in the class of 1870. In order to satisfactorily pursue his medical studies during this time, he filled the chair of geometry at Cooper Institute.

Dr. Erwin settled for practice at Athens, Ohio, where he continued for three years. In 1873 he came Westward, seeking a wider field and chose Bay City for his permanent location. Here Dr. Erwin met with great encouragement from the start and soon built up a lucrative practice. His life has been devoted to his profession and the eminence to which he has attained is the just reward of faithful effort. He has taken advantage of special courses and has attended noted clinics, continually supplementing his previous knowledge with all that could be secured in the leading medical organizations of the country. He is a member of the Michigan State Medical Society, American Academy of Medicine Society and is also affiliated with the medical bodies of Bay County and the Saginaw Valley. He has been zealous in his efforts to uphold the honor of the profession and raise the standard of its requirements.

Dr. Erwin was married on April 19, 1870, to Julia E. Carpenter, a daughter of Dr. E. G. Carpenter, of Athens, Ohio. Mrs. Erwin died January 10, 1902. Two daughters were born to them, namely: Mrs. Edwin C. Horn, of Washington, Pennsylvania; and Roberta Julia, who lives with her father and presides over his home. The family residence is a beautiful modern one, situated on the corner of Sixth and Monroe streets; the Doctor still retains his office in the old place, on the corner of Fifth and Adams streets. He is a member and a trustee of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which Mrs. Erwin was a member in her lifetime.

Dr. Erwin has never taken any very active part in politics, giving all his attention to medical matters. He served as a member of the Board of Health for seven years part of three terms. He still practices, but chiefly at his office. Personally, he is held in the highest esteem throughout Bay County. His portrait accompanies this sketch.

Additional Notes:

    1880 - Census: Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • Erwin, Robert Wesley - b. 1842, Ohio
  • Julia E., wife - b. 1847, Ohio.
  • Mary Louise, daughter - b. 1871, Ohio.
  • James A., son - b. 1867, Mass.
  • Kaufman, Jose, other - b. 1846, Ohio

    1887 Bay City Directory:

  • Erwin, Robert W, Physician, 308 5th, res 620 Monroe.

    1900 - Census: Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • Erwin, Robert W. - b. May, 1842, Ohio.
  • Julia E., wife - b. Mar, 1847, Ohio
  • Roberta J. - daughter - b. Jan, 1883, Mich.
  • Bicke, Annie, servant - b. Jul, 1872, Canada

    1906 Michigan Marriages: Bay City.

  • Roberta J. Erwin (age 22) married Ernst E. Frank (age 30), on Jan. 17th, at Bay City, MI. Groom's parents: Ernst & Emma (Scheurmann) Frank.

    1893/94 - Directory: West Bay City, Mich.

  • Irwin, Robert W.

    Herringshaw's National Library of American Biography, 1909

  • Robert W. Erwin served as United States examining surgeon for Ohio.
  • He was professor of the practice of medicine in the Saginaw valley medical college of Michigan.
Related Pages/Notes

R. W. Erwin, M.D.

Related pages:
Frank, Ernst
Civil War History
People Referenced
Bickes, Annie
Carpenter, E.G.
Carpenter, Julia E. (wife)
Erwin, James A. (son)
Erwin, Mary L. (dau)
Erwin, Robert (father)
Erwin, Robert W. (subject)
Erwin, Roberta J. (dau.)
Frank, Ernst
Frank, Ernst E.
Horn, Edwin C. Mrs. (dau)
Kaufman, Jose
Law,Rebecca (mother)
Scheurmann, Emma
Wesley, John
Subjects Referenced
170th OH Inf.
American Academy of Medicine
Bay City, Mi
Bay Co., MI
Bay Co. Bd. of Health
Bellevue Hospital Col., NY
Civil War
Cooper Institute, NY
Methodist Episcopla Ch.
Michigan Medical Society
New York, NY
  • 170th Reg., Vol. Inf.
  • Athens
  • Harrison co.
  • Hopedale Normal School
  • Laceyville
  • Ohio University
    Revolutionary war
    Saginaw Valley, MI
    Washington, PA
  • WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.