Remembering Dayton’s Dr. Tadlock

One of Dayton’s early and much beloved medical doctors was James Thomas Tadlock, born on May 14, 1872 in Elba, Alaa.  At the age of 4, he came to Texas with his family who settled in Willis where he received his early education. 

He continued his schooling at Danville, Texas, in Montgomery County, then spent one year at Sam Houston Normal Institute at Huntsville, Texas, where he also worked as a convict guard on the night watch at the prison. 

In 1901, he began his medical studies in the medical department of Kentucky University at Louisville and graduated in 1903. The year 1903 was a landmark one for Tadlock as he came to Dayton to establish his practice and also married Miss Mattie D. Ferguson at Dayton’s First Methodist Church. The Tadlocks had two children:  James T. Jr., who died at the age of 5 months and Donald Herbert who died in 1970.

This slab of concrete was removed from the front sidewalk of Dr. James Tadlock’s medical office located at the corner of Cook and Main Streets in Dayton. Tadlock moved into his side-entrance office at that site in 1919 upon the completion of the Dayton State Bank building. Tadlock Family descendants who still live in Dayton, Tammy Tadlock Landrum and her husband Carl, recently donated this piece to The Old School Museum where it is on display outside behind the museum. 

Dr. Tadlock spent all of his 42 years of active medical and surgical practice in Dayton.  He was one of the oldest and most prominent practicing physicians in Southeast Texas at the time of his death in 1946.  During most of the years of World War II, he was president of the South Texas District Medical Society. 

He was the first president of the Liberty-Chambers County Medical Society, and was one of the founders, a former director, and vice-president of the post-graduate medical assembly of South Texas.  At the time of his death, he was serving as president of the staff of Kersting Hospital.

For many years, he had been an active member of the American and the Texas State Medical Association.  For 10 years, Dr. Tadlock was Mayor of Dayton, deciding two years before his death not to seek re-election because of a siege of ill health at that time. 

He was one of the founders and directors of Dayton State Bank, a past president of the Dayton School Board and Dayton Rotary Club, formerly City of Dayton and Liberty County health officer and a charter member of Arabia Temple Mystic Shrine, Houston.  He held practically all Masonic offices in the Dayton Lodge also.  Dr. Tadlock is buried at Linney Cemetery in Dayton next to his wife who passed away in 1960. 

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