Thursday, May 25, 2017

Boise Veterinarian, Horse Breeder and State Veterinary Surgeon George Noble [otd 05/25]

Dr. George Edward Noble, Idaho’s first State Veterinarian, was born May 25, 1868 in Nashua, Iowa. (Nashua is about 100 miles west and a bit north of Dubuque.) There are conflicting accounts of his early education, but as a youth he apparently completed a business program at Upper Iowa University (in Fayette, a tiny town about sixty miles northwest of Dubuque).
Vet students learn about horses. Kansas State University Archives.

After “nine terms” of teaching school, George began studies at the Chicago Veterinary College and “qualified for practice as a veterinarian” in 1890. The following year he graduated with a Doctor of Veterinary Surgery degree. Dr. Noble opened a practice in his home town and then, after three years there, married and set up in Osage, Iowa.

He moved to Boise in 1902. For several years, Dr. Noble was the only graduate veterinarian in the state of Idaho. That led to his appointment, in 1905, to the first of three terms as official State Veterinary Surgeon.

The doctor had his work cut out for him, right from the start. Some sheep ranchers objected to his decree that they should dip their sheep a second time, in the fall. Noble’s intent was to eradicate sheep scab, which is highly infectious, and can cause severe weight loss or even death. Dissenters, who disliked the extra cost, claimed a second treatment would damage the wool. But they got no relief from the Governor, Frank R. Gooding, a major sheep raiser himself and considered an expert on the business [blog Sept 16].

And the Vet’s vigilance paid off. Five years later, he returned from a statewide inspection and told the Idaho Statesman (November 29, 1910), “I find conditions most favorable. There is little disease and the stock is looking fine.”

Initially, there was some confusion about his position: Dr. Noble had to take the State Auditor all the way to the Idaho Supreme Court to have his salary paid. In creating the office, the legislature did away with the office of State Sheep Inspector. They intended to transfer those duties – and the relevant compensation – to the Veterinary Surgeon. However, the wording left some doubts. Noble finally did get paid.

In the course of his duties, George naturally traveled all over Idaho. By this, he displayed a highly profession presence to the state’s stockmen and “raised the bar” for the delivery of veterinary services. A 1932 biographer noted that “no man is more familiar with the live stock industry here.”

Dr. Noble led professional development in Idaho by organizing an association of veterinary surgeons. In 1913, he helped found the Idaho Veterinary Medical Association, and served as its first president. For many years he acted as resident secretary for Idaho for the American Veterinary Medical Association.

George also took an active role in the Boise business community, starting with the founding of the Boise Veterinary Hospital. He became a member of the Boise Commercial Club and invested in real estate in and around the city.
Shires in harness. Snake River Shires photo.

During his time in Iowa, George got interested in breeding and racing fine trotters and pacing horse. He decided to continue that in Idaho and soon bought a ranch in Canyon County. He also began to raise registered Shire horses, with which he won numerous State Fair awards. He also bred registered shorthorn cattle.

Dr. Noble later bought more ranch property. At some point he began running sheep, and also devoted part of his property to raising certified alfalfa seed.

George Edward Noble passed away in January 1963, having almost reached his ninety-fifth birthday.
                                                                                 
References: [Defen], [[Hawley]
“Noble, State Veterinary Surgeon vs Bragaw, State Auditor,” Pacific Reporter, Vol. 85, West Publishing Company, St. Paul (1906).

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