December 3 2009

Press Release: WCHS Agriculture Award to "Flying Vet"

Doc Watson

The Wayne County Historical Society has announced that this year's recipient

of the coveted "People Who Make a Difference in Wayne County Agriculture" Award is Dr. James P. "Doc" Watson. Born in 1918 on a small dairy farm in Preston Township, Dr. Watson earned his RN degree from Bellevue Hospital in New York City and then entered the veterinarian program at Cornell University, graduating in 1945. After a brief stint in Montrose, he returned to Preston Township, where he served the local farmers from 1945 to1987. Dr. Watson and his wife and partner Louise worked out of a veterinary office in Orson, but much of his business was treating dairy cows, so most of his patients had to be reached by car. His practice required travelling farther and farther from home, and in 1960 he purchased a helicopter, large enough to hold two passengers and his medical equipment but small enough to land on farmers' fields. Many herds were saved from infectious diseases such as mastitis, dysentery and pneumonia because of the speed with which Doc could treat them. Retired since 1987, Doc is writing his memoirs, which will be richly illustrated with photos from his career as "The Flying Vet." The award will be formally presented to Dr. Watson at the J. B. Park Museum fairgrounds on Friday, August 7. For more information, contact the Wayne County Historical Society, 570-253-3240 or