Byford, William Heath
- William K. Beatty
Byford, William Heath (20 March 1817–21 May 1890), gynecologist and advocate of medical education for women, was born in Eaton, Ohio, the son of Henry Byford, a mechanic, and Hannah Swain. Henry Byford moved his family to southwestern Indiana shortly after William’s birth and died there nine years later. Young William did odd jobs to help out, but about 1830 Hannah Byford had to move the family to her father’s farm in Crawford County, Illinois. During the next few years William often asked to be allowed to learn a trade to help support the family and improve his own prospects. He finally became apprenticed to a tailor, who moved away two years later. At this time William decided on medicine for his career, although he never mentioned the reason. His reading and studies in chemistry, physiology, and natural history may have steered him in this direction....