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Dr. George Emory Goodfellow

Dr. George Emory Goodfellow

1855 – 1910


Born in Downieville, California to doctor-turned-mining engineer Milton J. and Amanda Buskin Goodfellow, George Emory grew up around Gold Rush mining camps with a deep interest in both mining and medicine. In 1876, Goodfellow graduated from medical school and married Katherine Colt. Soon after they returned to the West, they rejoined Milton in Yavapai County where he was working as a mining executive for Peck Mine and Mill. George took a job as a physician for the company. When Tombstone boomed, most of the population including the Goodfellows relocated there.

Over the next few years, George made a name for himself in the treatment of gunshot trauma. He treated the Earps following the Gunfight at the OK Corral and pioneered the use of sterile techniques in removing bullets. He often served as coroner and testified in many of the most famous cases of the day. After noticing the effect of a silk pocket handkerchief in slowing a bullet, he developed the first bullet-proof vest. At the same time, he researched cures for tuberculosis and other diseases. His findings on the salubrious effects of a hot dry climate for victims of tuberculosis led to the development of sanitariums in Arizona.

In 1891, Dr. John C. Handy, a prominent Tucson physician, was shot. Goodfellow was called in to treat him, but Handy died before he could arrive. Goodfellow was offered his practice and moved to Tucson where he continued his research work until relocating to California in 1895.


Photo courtesy of Arizona Historical Society. Permission required for use.


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Taken on September 2, 2010