William Frances Strait (1854 – 1898) Rock Hill’s first trained surgeon arrived in Rock Hill following medical training with his uncles in Chester County, the Medical College of Charleston, and later extensive surgical training elsewhere. He became associated with Dr. Thomas Crawford and for years they maintained a small hospital, which was on Hampton Street, across from what is now the Rock Hill City Hall. Dr. Strait and his family resided numerous places in Rock Hill, as most young people rented homes, during that period. They lived for several years at 153 Johnston Street and his widow later constructed a home on the corner of Oakland Avenue and Strait street. Numerous stories tell of Dr. Strait saving the lives of patients, one or more of which he operated on using a kitchen table. But one of the most interesting was, that of of young man, a distant kinsman of both Dr. and Mrs. Strait, a young man by the name of Roddey Reid. His deep appreciation for Dr. Strait’s training and care was exhibited even some seventy years later. Mr. Reid, who resided on Myrtle Drive, as an elderly gentleman told one of Dr. Strait’s grandsons, “Dr. Strait had saved his leg from being amputated after an accident with Rock Hill’s trolley car in downtown Rock Hill.”
A great deal of Rock Hill’s 20th century medical community migrated to Rock Hill due to his influence with other young physicians, to whom he could easily claim kinship. A few of these included his two grandsons; Frank Strait Fairey & Wm. Frank Strait, and also kinsman Dr’s. Gaston, Fennell, Quantz, Hicklin, and Lyle.
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