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AUTOBIOGRAPHY James Gilbert Lyerly - page 4 / 8





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medals were obtained honestly without cheating. I remember one student I found cheating, who I did not report, but I went ahead and won anyway.

After graduating at Roanoke with an A. B. Degree, I looked for a job as a High School Principal, but none were available. I should have applied for a teaching job in Mathematics, Latin or Greek, which I was qualified to do.

In the Fall of 1915, with my failure to get a job, I looked for something else. My older sister, Sophia, had married Paul Seaford, about her age, from Granite Quarry. He got a job with the Dupont Powder Co. of Wilmington, Del who was building plants at Carney’s Point, N.J. and he would get me a job with the Duponts in the Engineering Dept., checking materials coming in by carloads used for building powder making plants. I went there and took the job for the year after college graduation. After building the powder plant, it would be turned over to the operating dept. to make powder used in large shells shipped to the Allies in Russia in the First World War. I was saving some money and I thought a lot of studying medicine, following up on my desire to be a family doctor like the old Dr. Coleman of my childhood days.

In the Spring of 1916, I wrote to the A.M.A. Office of Chicago asking them to send me a list of Medical Schools they would recommend. I got a list of all the Medical Schools that were classified as A+, A-, B, etc. I wanted to pick out the best nearby with the least living expense. There were no Medical Schools in N.C. Virginia had two, one at Charlottesville where the University of Va. was located. It was classified with an A rating. The Medical College of Va. in Richmond was given a class A+ rating because of the clinical teaching material. I decided I could live cheaper in Richmond and probably get Summer work, helping out in the expenses. Therefore I applied to the Medical School of Va. for admission in the School of Medicine. I was accepted as a freshman in the Fall of 1916. I might mention the Medical College of Va. was a State supported school which taught four years of medicine, four years of dentistry, three years of nursing and three years of allied sciences, all with degrees. Now the Medical College of Va. is joined with the Va. Commonwealth University. I entered the school in 1916 with the expectation of graduating in the class of 1920, which I did.

At this point I would like to remark about work I did, mostly in the Summer while I was in Med school. We entered World War One when President Woodrow Wilson declared war on Germany in 1917. Congress passed a bill to register for draft into the armed forces all young man. I received a notice from Salisbury, my home area, to apply for a physical exam. I wrote them that I was a Med student in school and asked for a delay until I graduated in Medicine in 1920. I was then put into the Enlisted Medical Corp and told to stay in school until graduation in 1920 when I would go on active duty. I stayed in school as a civilian and did not have to put on a uniform or live as a soldier. When Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, soon thereafter I was called up to get an Honorable Discharge since I was supposed to be on active duty for thirty days with a pay of $60.00 as a private and $300.00 bonus, for a total of $90.00. That helped my budget.

In the Summer of 1917 I got a job with the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Richmond to help make steel shells the size of a man’s body to be filled with powder for the Allied Forces in Europe. The money I made helped with my expenses. In 1919 during the influenza epidemic, I was a third year medical student. Dr. Ennion G. Williams was the professor of Preventative Medicine and also the Va. Commissioner of Health. He wanted the third and fourth year students to go out in areas of Va. where the flu epidemic was bad and help the local doctors treat the patients. I was sent to Pennington Gap, Va., a coal mining town to work with the doctor there. I would have a satchel filled with medicine such as cough syrup, medicine to dry mucous secretions and digitalis, a cardiac stimulant. I would stop at every house and frequently find everyone in the family sick with the flu, some in bed, some lying on the floor and some dying. I was there about a month when I had to return to the Medical School. During

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