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In Memory of
Russell A. Salton
March 7, 1921 - December 20, 1992

Mt. View Memory Gardens, Maher, Mingo County, West Virginia

Williamson, Mingo County, West Virginia
Physician and Surgeon
Founder of Williamson Memorial Hospital in Williamson, WV

Mar. 7, 1921
Mingo County
West Virginia, USA

Death: Dec. 20, 1992
Mingo County
West Virginia, USA

Son of Russell Sr and Ella Robertson Salton

Dr Salton was a physician and surgeon for almost 50 years. He was a former owner and operator of Williamson Memorial Hospital. His Father had co-founded the 1st hospital in Williamson WV, on Logan Street. The hospital on College Hill was built in part by Dr. Salton Sr, and dedicated in 1928. Dr. Salton Jr, later assumed operation of the hospital in 1949 in partnership with Dr. Woodrow W. Scott. After Dr. Scott left, he began operating with Dr. Robert J. Tchou. Dr. Tchou was later killed in a plane crash in 1977. Salton sold the hospital to Hospital Management Associates in 1978. HMA later built the new hospital on the old Williamson High School football field.

Dr. Salton was a pilot and chairman of the Mingo County Airport Authority. A graduate of WHS, a varsity football player and later the team physician for the Wolfpack. He received his degrees at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 1942 and served his residency and internship there. He met and married Cornelia Thomasson, who was an RN over the newborn nursery at the University of Charlottesville Hospital.

Served 3 yrs on the US Air Corps and was chief surgeon at the Suisun Air Force Base (now Edwards AFB) in California. Member of the Presbyterian Church. President and Medical Director of the R.A. Salton Clinic Inc., that was named in honor of his late Father.

RUSSELL A. SALTON, M. D., who is engaged in the gen- eral practice of his profession at Williamson, Mingo County, has demonstrated in ability and effective service the con- sistency of his choice of profession. The doctor was born at Walton, New York, August 12, 1887, a son of Robert E. and Margaret (Henderson) Salton, the former of whom was born in the State of New York and the latter in North Carolina. Robert E. Salton gained much of success in the raising of and dealing in live stock, especially horses, and became a leading representative of these lines of enterprise in his section of the old Empire State. He served a num- ber of years as county superintendent of roads. The public schools of his native place afforded to Dr. Salton his preliminary education, and after his graduation from high school in 1905 he was for one year a student in the University of Syracuse, New York. During the ensu- ing year he was employed, and he then began preparing himself for his chosen profession. In 1911 he was gradu- ated from the Baltimore Medical College, Baltimore, Mary- land, and after thus receiving his degree of Doctor of Medi- cine he became house surgeon in the West Virginia State Hospital at Welch, McDowell County, this being Miners Hospital No. 1. After an effective service of eighteen months at this institution Dr. Salton established his resi- dence at Williamson, judicial center of Mingo County, and here he has developed a successful and representative gen- eral practice, the while he has gained specially high repu- tation as a skilled surgeon. His private practice was inter- rupted when in June, 1917, shortly after the nation became involved in the World war, he became a member of the Medical Reserve Corps of the United States Army. On the 4th of January, 1918, Dr. Salton was called into active serv- ice and assigned to duty at the base hospital at Camp Stu- art, Newport News, Virginia, where he remained, with the rank of first lieutenant, until the 18th of the following Oc- tober, when he was assigned to duty with the Forty-eighth Infantry, Twentieth Division, at Camp Sevier, Greenville, South Carolina. His command had orders to sail for France, but the outbreak of the great epidemic of influ- enza caused the entire command to be quarantined, and be- fore this quarantine was lifted the armistice was signed and the war came to a close. Dr. Salton remained at Camp Sevier until January 23, 1919, when he received his hon- orable discharge. He was commissioned captain in the Med- ical Reserve Corps, and is still an active member of this or- ganization. Soon after his return to Williamson Dr. Salton initiated the vigorous and well. ordered campaign that resulted in the establishing of the Williamson Hospital, and though he encountered many obstacles and difficulties he has the satisfaction of knowing that the county seat of Mingo County can now claim one of the best equipped and most effectively conducted hospitals in this section of the state, an institution whose benignant service stands to his en- during credit and honor. In the conducting of the hospi- tal he has as his able and valued coadjutor Doctor Hatfield, who is engaged in practice in the City of Huntington. Doe- tor Salton is a member of the Mingo County Medical Soci- ety, West Virginia State Medical Society and the American Medical Association. He is affiliated with the American Legion, is a Knight Templar Mason and affiliated also with the Mystic Shrine, and he holds membership in the Presbyterian Church in his home city. The doctor is a wide-awake and progressive citizen, and is essentially one of the leading physicians and surgeons of Mingo County. On both the paternal and maternal sides the ancestry of Doc- tor Salton traces back to staunch Scotch origin. His pa- ternal great-grandfather came from Scotland in 1837, with wife and seven children, and established his residence in the State of New York. On the maternal side the doctor is a scion of the Henderson and McDonald families, which were early established in North Carolina. In his native town of Walton, New York, in the year 1912, Doctor Salton wedded Miss Ella Robertson, daugh- ter of Alfred and Mary (King) Robertson, both natives of the State of New York, whence they eventually removed to California, where Mr. Robertson engaged in ranch en- terprise. Doctor and Mrs. Salton became the parents of three children: Virginia, Robert (deceased), and Russell A., Jr.

WILLIAMSON, W.Va. – For more years than most people can remember, the motto of Williamson Memorial Hospital has been “your friends on the hill who care,” what most people don’t remember is the hospital wasn’t always located “on the hill”. Research reveals, the first hospital, was opened by Dr. Russell A. Salton and George T. Conley, but a discrepancy as to the location and time varies, some articles state it was opened in 1914 and located on Logan Street in a building which is more commonly known as the Alvon Hotel, other achieved articles and most popular information obtained suggests the hospital was actually started in a building on Pike Street in 1921, this source of information also indicates a third person, Dr. Henry D. Hatfield (who had served as West Virginia’s governor several years earlier) was reportedly a joint owner in the hospital, however, shortly after, Salton and Conley purchased Hatfield’s interest, after Hatfield left the area to form the Doctor’s Hospital in Huntington. In the winter of 1926 the hospital was destroyed by fire. On March 3, 1928, a 50 bed facility was erected at the College Hill, this building served as the hospital for 60 years. The hospital was built with funds from selling bonds to the business owners in Williamson, the bonds were paid off in 1939 and reportedly Salton and Conley burned the last bond at that time. Most residents can remember taking that long winding walk down the side of the building to the basement area of the hospital where the emergency room, radiology department, cafeteria and the lab were located. The intensive care unit was located on the first floor, obstetrics was located on the second floor of the facility, while the third floor houses the medical and surgical floor, and the fourth floor of the hospital was used for the pharmacy. Through the years changes took place and the emergency department was later moved to the first floor of the hospital. The first Nurses Training School Superintendent was Mary Hatfield; she served in her position until resigning in 1924. Including Hatfield, a total of nine Nursing Directors/Superintendents were employed at the College Hill location over the years, Mary E. Brown, 1924-1928, Georgia Lyles, whose husband Charles Lyles was the hospital administrator, 1928-1933, Mary Alexander 1933-34, Myrtle Weddington Allen, who was the wife of Allen Funeral Home operator Frank F. Allen served from 1934-1938, Blanche Young proceeded Allen in 1938 and served for four years, Mary Witten followed Young and remained until 1946. In 1946 Ethel B. Thorton took over the Director of Nursing position until 1950. Thelma Clay became Director of Nursing and remained in the position for 21 years; she was replaced by Gladys Cantees in 1971 who retired around 1999. The original nurses training quarters were located on the third floor of the hospital, in 1937 a modern building, for the times, was constructed next to the hospital and in August of that year the nurses were able to move in to their new housing facilities. In 1939 a laundry was installed in the basement of the nurses’ quarters. In 1949, the nurses’ training school was discontinued because of the lack of a local college for students to attend. The laundry department remained in the basement of the building, however, the rooms which once housed the nurses, the hospital moved the business offices, and medical records to the building. Throughout the years several other doctors held administrative positions at the facility, including Dr. G.B. Irvine who served as vice-president in 1928, Dr. George W. Easley, a physician and surgeon operated the hospital for a number of years, he left to serve as Chief of Staff at the Louis A. Johnson Veterans’ Administration Hospital in Clarksburg until his retirement. Dr. W.W. Scott, who had previously worked at Williamson Memorial, returned from Oak Hill to co-operate the hospital along with Dr. R.A. Salton, then in 1963, he moved to Mesa, Az., at that time Salton was joined by Dr. Robert J. Tchou as co-operator of the hospital, Tchou served in that capacity until his untimely death in a plane crash in 1977. Dr. Salton was sole proprietor of the hospital from the time he purchased Conley’s interests in 1977 until he sold the facility on June 2, 1979 to Hospital Managements Associations, Inc. After the sale, the hospital remained at the College Hill location until 1988, when a new, more modern 76 bed facility was constructed at the top of the hill on Alderson Street. The “old hospital” was then renovated and utilized as physicians’ offices over the next 26 years, since 2014 the building has been used for storage. Kendra Mahon is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News, she can be contacted at or 304-235-4242 ext. 2278.