Pioneer Town showcases Panhandle physician

Panhandle Plains Historical Museum

As you walk into the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, going through the doors is literally like walking backwards in time to the old west of Pioneer Town.

On the corner of one of the streets is a small representation of a doctorâ??s office. The doctor, is William Warner. Born in 1864, he graduated medical school in Illinois, and moved to Claude in 1897 as the sole physician for pretty much the surrounding area. He got so busy he couldn't leave sent for his bride to be, Phebe to join him. Made of rugged stock herself, she traveled in the caboose of a cattle train and the two were married the night she arrived.

"But she had to get married in her traveling suit, because her luggage went on to Amarillo, you know as luggage does, it has a mind of its own."

Around the turn of the century, doctors were still scarce, and Dr. Warner, who helped in more than 2,000 births during his years of practice, also began to make an impact as a town leader. He set up his practice in the back of a drug store and was there just about every day, except for a two year period. Despite being in his 50's he enlisted in the Army during World War I.

"He was a great human being, actively enlisting in the army in his 50's to help take care of soldiers who were taking care of our country."

After he returned, he in 1919 constructed a new building on the place of his first office. To this day, if you use your imagination, you can still see where the building stood across from the county courthouse...but it was lost a few years ago after a big storm. That building also housed the drug store, the Claude newspaper, a barber shop, along with a lodge and the Warner's personal library which they made available to the public.

The fact that he often did so much to help the town, the county and do things on's one of those things where he cared more for the people than the bottom line. I think Claude should be very proud to have him as their primary physician for so long."

While the original Warner building was lost a couple years ago, you can find the Warner Community Memorial Center building near the school and you get the feeling Doc Warner is still keeping an eye on all his neighbors there in Claude.