Dentists I Have Not Known: Dr. George Douglass Rouse

As far as I can tell, Dr. George Douglass Rouse, DDS (1870-1948), lived a quiet life in Charleston, South Carolina.

Although I have not been able to locate him among the graduates of Baltimore’s two pioneering schools of dentistry, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery and the University of Maryland’s Department of Dental Surgery, his obituary says that he studied dentistry at the University of Maryland and the University of Tennessee.

I did find a record, in a history of the dental profession in South Carolina, of George D. Rouse being admitted to the practice of dentistry by the South Carolina Dental Association in 1894 (History of the South Carolina Dental Association, 1869-1950, p. 146).

Dr. Rouse may not have been a ground-breaking dentist, but he did have something special: pedigree.

George D. Rouse could trace his lineage back to an ancestor who had fought in the American Revolution. His great-great-grandfather, William Rouse, joined the Continental army,  fought in the “Siege of Savannah” in 1779, and was taken prisoner by the British.

Thanks to the careful records kept by the Sons of the American Revolution, George knew that William Rouse was born in Leeds, England, in 1756 and died in Charleston in 1829.

According to the Preservation Society of Charleston, Rouse was a tanner, and served as the city’s “intendent” or mayor from 1808 to 1810. There is a plaque in the First Baptist Church of Charleston commemorating William Rouse’s service.

Dr. Rouse’s parents were Cordelia Lucretia Reeves (1849-1920) and George Washington Rouse (1838-1914), who was, according to his obituary in the Charleston News and Courier,  a Confederate officer and reputed  Confederate spy and, in his later years, a Charleston magistrate.  For a period, at least, he operated a restaurant in Charleston. He, his wife and his children, including Dr. Rouse, are buried in Charleston’s Magnolia Cemetery<.

According to Dr. Rouse’s obituary in the same paper, he held the rank of major in the Army Dental Reserve Corps and was for 40 years a member of the South Carolina National Guard (Charleston, South Carolina News and Courier, 4 November 1948, p. 2).

Blessing and Co. would have been a logical choice of photographic studio for a southern man. Though born in Frederick County, Maryland, John Philip Blessing (1835-1911) spent 25 years living in Texas with his brothers, where he operated photography studios in Galveston and Houston. and served with the Galveston Confederate volunteers and the Confederate navy.

According to his biography in The History of Washington County, Maryland, Blessing returned to Maryland in 1879 with his Texan wife, Mary A. A. Sterns, and opened a photographic studio in Baltimore at 214 N. Charles Street. His daughter, Rosa, married his partner, Henry Fenge. Blessing is buried in St. Lukes Episcopal Church cemetery in Brownsville, Washington County, Maryland.

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