Daniel E. Baughman, D.V.M., Founder of Fort Dodge Laboratories.
“ A pioneer in veterinary medicine

               By Kenneth E. Baughman[1]

 

“ Few companies today talk about putting roots in a community. But Fort Dodge Animal Health did just that, 86 years ago when Dr. Baughman planted the seed here, where it took root and grew into one of the world’s leading manufacturers of veterinary pharmaceuticals and biologicals. Today, the Fort Dodge name is carried to more than 54 countries throughout the world on products that benefit both humans and animals.”

                  …… Fort Dodge Animal Health, The Messenger, Oct. 29, 1998.

 

    Fort Dodge Laboratories, the largest industry in Fort Dodge, Iowa, now known as Fort Dodge Animal Health, a subsidiary of American Home Products, employing over 750 individuals, was founded by a boy raised in the Mennonite faith who attended the Flanagan Mennonite Church. Dr. Baughman in his career was a leader in animal serum and vaccine manufacturing, was president of the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association in 1931 and was considered one of the most influential Republican financial contributors in the State of Iowa. Dr. Baughman also enjoyed helping veterinary students finance their education at Iowa State College in Ames. The county veterinarian of Tazewell County, Illinois, in 1965, recounted how he loaned him the money in 1933 in order to complete his training at Iowa State during the Depression. Iowa State College established the first Land Grant veterinary college in the nation. During World War II, he was a member of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Industry Advisory Committee to the War Production Board.

    Daniel E. Baughman (1867-1960) was born April 18, 1867, on the homestead of his parents, John Baughman (Bachmann) [2](1833-1914) and Catherine Naffziger Baughman (1836-1914) located in Panola Township, Woodford County, Illinois. He attended the Flanagan Mennonite Congregation, which was cofounded by his parents in 1876 as an alternative to the long buggy ride to attend the Waldo Mennonite Church. His first money was earned helping a neighbor drive cattle to market—the 50 cents a day he and his siblings earned in doing farm work was kept by his father.

    Being the fifth of the twelve children, he also lived in the same household with his grandparents, Jacob and Barbara Naffziger.  Jacob Naffziger (1798-1888) was an early Amish minister and brother of Peter “the Apostle” Naffziger, both natives of Hochheim in Hesse bei Worms. Jacob Naffziger died in 1888 and is buried next to his wife in the Baughman Cemetery located on the farm. Jacob Naffziger and his wife Barbara Krehbiel Naffziger (1797-1876) migrated to Butler County, Ohio, in 1830 upon the recommendation of brother Peter    Naffziger.[3] Barbara Krehbiel was a member of the family that settled in the region of Weitersweiler-Weierhof-Dreisen, migrating from Switzerland in the 1600’s to the Palatinate, (now being part of the state of Rheinland-Pfalz) some 30 kilometers west of Worms. Dr. Baughman’s younger sister, Lena Baughman, (1869-75) who died of diphtheria on July 7,1875, at the age of 6 years, was also buried in the same cemetery after her funeral was held in the barn.

    In his youth he met Anna King, (1867-1959), daughter of John King and Mary Rinkenberger King, also a native of the Flanagan Mennonite Congregation. The couple were married on Christmas eve, 1889, by the Reverend ‘Father’ Joseph Stuckey at Danvers, an Amish Mennonite minister who is known for the 11 congregations in central Illinois which were named after him. This marriage would last 70 years. The couple had one daughter Ethel Baughman (1896-1976) who married Dr. Vearl Heater, a star athlete and recent graduate of the Iowa State College School of Veterinary Medicine, who was also a manager in the business. He died unexpectedly in 1925 of an infectious disease, which turned into pneumonia. As a result of his unfulfilled dream to turn the business over to his son-in-law, Dr. Baughman had to run the business himself until he was 78 years old until it was sold to American Home Products in 1945.

    He decided to attend veterinary school in Chicago against his father’s wishes. He graduated in 1892 with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree from a two-year course of training at the Chicago School of Veterinary Medicine, one of the premier veterinary schools of its day. He then set up practice in the community of Danvers, Illinois, where his grandparents, John Bachmann (1800-1880) and Anna Staker Bachmann, (1805-1890) and aunts, Barbara Bachmann Schertz and Francis (Fanny) Bachmann Augsburger had moved with their families from Butler County, Ohio, in 1874.  All are buried west of Danvers in the Stout’s Grove Cemetery. Most of them were followers of Peter Naffziger’s “Button Church” or  “Hessan Church.”  Dr. Baughman, being fond of horses, became a sought after veterinarian in the area, but conflict with the Amish ways caused him to look elsewhere. He engaged in the verboten conduct of purchasing life insurance. There was a belief common to both German and Scandinavian immigrant farmers that the purchase of life insurance was a sin because one was in effect gambling with one’s own life.

    In 1892 his father, John Baughman, and older brother, Jacob N. Baughman, (1861-1959) purchased 720 acres near Manson, in Calhoun County, Iowa, becoming the first Mennonites to locate in this area. Dr. Baughman upon a visit to Manson in the fall of 1897 discovered an opportunity in nearby Ft. Dodge to move his veterinary practice. Thus, he moved his wife Anna and daughter Ethel Baughman to Ft. Dodge from Danvers in the following January of 1898. He thereupon became the first licensed veterinarian in the northern half of Iowa to be a graduate of a veterinary college. His advice was sought from other veterinarians from a wide area. Dan and Anna became members of the Ft. Dodge Presbyterian Church whose benefactors they would both endow with substantial gifts before and after their deaths. He also was a prominent Mason and Shriner.

    Dr. Baughman was primarily a large animal practitioner with emphasis on horses. Small animal practice in those times was an anachronism. Cats and dogs were an unnecessary appendage to the typical Midwestern farming enterprise. They shared the same skim milk that was used to slop the hogs. The veterinary care they received was performed gratuitously to the delight of the children of the farm family.

    Dr. Baughman’s father was a breeder of Percheron draft horses in Manson, forming the German American Horse Company. A Percheron horse had the same value in the 1890’s as a 160-acre farm. The old “doc” enjoyed telling the story of a farmer in an agitated state coming to his residence and asking for immediate help in curing his ill mare. He recounted how he stopped his supper to saddle his horse to head out with the farmer to care for his seriously ill horse. When he arrived at the farm he asked the farmer where the ill horse was kept and he was surprised to hear the farmer say that he had ridden the ill horse behind Dr. Baughman all the way to his farm. This was the oft-told story of Dr. Baughman related to groups before which he appeared.

    In 1912 an opportunity arose to manufacture, retail and counsel with respect to a new serum to cure hog cholera. Hog cholera was one of the most costly diseases to the economy of the state of Iowa and it was for that reason that it financed the research on this disease at a farm near Ames, Iowa.  The anti-hog cholera serum was discovered by employees of the United States Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Animal Industry, in 1906 and was first used on farms in 1907. The process was patented by the government. Dr. Baughman bought the serum from the government and started injecting it in swine at Ames, Iowa, through a business he established with a former employee of the Bureau of Animal Industry, a Mr. Hamilton, which they called the Ames Vaccine Company. Dr. Baughman hired Hamilton because of his experience in working with the manufacture of the serum for the federal government. Within a year he moved the business to Ft. Dodge where he renamed it the Fort Dodge Serum Company. Hamilton stayed on for four years before moving west. Although there were other makers of the serum, Dr. Baughman became the dominant producer because of his excellent management capabilities. One of the keys to his success was the hiring of Howard Shore of the Bureau of Animal Industry to be his production supervisor in 1919. He held that position until his death in 1952. Shore, being a former employee of the Virus and Serum Division of the Department, played a key role in obtaining approval of the USDA of the serums developed by the company. In 1932, because of the addition of many biological and pharmaceutical products to its line, the Company’s name was changed to Fort Dodge Laboratories.

    In 1919 he also hired Scott Barrett from Cutter Laboratories in Chicago as sales manager, who subsequently became president of the company when Dr. Baughman sold it in 1945 to American Home Products. Additionally he hired Dr. H. P. Lefler in 1919, also formerly with the Department of Animal Industry as the director of the production of hog cholera serum and virus. These three men-Shore, Barrett and Lefler—with Dr. Baughman, directed the affairs of the company until 1945 when it was sold. The success of the vaccination effort nationwide was realized in 1969 when hog cholera in the United States was eradicated even though the highest vaccination rate at any time in the past did not exceed 60%.

    The company joined in the building of a plant in Spain in 1933, which was sold to the Spanish partners soon after American Home Products purchased the company in 1945. Dr. Lefler spent four years in Spain building that plant. This also necessitated Dr. Baughman spending some time there where he had to learn to drink beer as the alternative to the bad local water. (The company in recent years built a plant in Northern Ireland to try to break into the virtually closed European Common Market.) Dr. Baughman traveled by train and car and did some of his business out of a room in the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago. In 1935 he hired a young man, D.A.Peterson of Dayton, Iowa, as his private secretary and car driver. He was a frequent visitor to Mennonite communities where he and his wife’s families lived such as Milford, Nebraska, and Gridley and Normal, Illinois. The author remembers his many visits to his home in Ft. Dodge and of Uncle Dan to the Jacob Baughman farm near Manson.

    The business fell upon hard times in the Depression when farmers simply did not have the money to have their hogs vaccinated. But the company had the good fortune in 1938 to develop a vaccine for sleeping sickness in horses, a disease that was plaguing the draft horse population in Iowa and southern Minnesota. It was a virus that affected the brain of the horse, causing it to walk to one side in circles and eventually go down and die. This development secured the company’s future, but it marked the beginning of the end for the draft horse as farmers now had an excuse to buy their first tractor.

    There are few assosciates of Dr. Baughman still living, but many of those assosciates, including secretaries, who held even a few shares of stock in his company, which was eventually converted to American Home Products stock, became wealthy. One pharmaceutical publication described Dr. Baughman at the time of his death on July 8,1960, as “ a man of courage and unquestioned integrity.”

 

 

                             Dr. Daniel E. Baughman and his wife, Anna King Baughman


 

[1] Kenneth E. Baughman, a grandson of Jacob N. Baughman, is a member of IMHGS and resides at Monticello, Illinois, 61856. He may be reached at P.O.Box 166, or, kebaugm@aol.com, or 1-800-388- 6463.  The author desires to attribute sources as follows: Alpha E. Baughman (1888-1980) Normal, Illinois, Lydia Somer Baughman, (1891-1990), Meadows, Illinois, Ethel Baughman Heater, (1896-1976) Ft. Dodge, Iowa, D.A. Peterson, Ft. Dodge, Iowa, Dr. Baughman’s former assistant and company president from 1965-75, and Walter Stevens, Editor Emeritus of the Ft Dodge Messenger. This article was published in Illinois Mennonite Heritage, Winter, 1999, Vol. XXVI, No. 4.

[2]John Baughman came to Butler County, Ohio, with his parents at the age of 4 years in 1837.  He is believed to have been born in Saarburg, Germany. He married Catherine Naffaziger in Butler County, Ohio, on January 4, 1859, and their first child, John, was born on October, 31,1859, after they had moved to their homestead in Panola Township, Woodford County, Illinois. They would live there until they moved to Manson, Iowa in 1896. They lived in Manson, Iowa, until their deaths in 1914. Being native Anabaptist residents of the desolate Vosges Mountain region of France, few of them could afford horses. Thus, it became common for them to walk great distances. Consequently, John Baughman adapted to walking from Ohio to Illinois in 12 days. Dr. Robert Baecher of Pfasstat, Alsace, France, a researcher for L’Association Francaise D’Histoire Anabaptiste-Mennonite, stated that it was his belief that all the people with the name “Bachmann” who emigrated from the Alsace-Lorraine were descendants of Johannes (Hans or Jean) Bachmann who emigrated from Richterswil near Zurich, Switzerland in 1692 to Heidolsheim, Alsace, and as an Anabaptist minister participated in the great debate with Jacob Amman, also of Heidolsheim. There is evidence that some of the Bachmanns moved out of the Alsace to the Palatinate pursuant to the decree evicting all Protestants from France by Louis XIV in 1712. They subsequently returned to the Alsace after the death of Louis XIV in 1730. John Baughman changed his name from Bachmann to differentiate himself from the many Bachmann cousins who had settled in Butler County, Ohio.  The English “gh” was not a good substitute for the German hard sounding “ch” as most English speakers mispronounce the name “ Bauman.”

[3] See “Amish Emigration Through Le Harve: Two October 1930 Departures,” Illinois Mennonite Heritage March 1992, pp.5, and, “Letter from Peter Naffziger to Johannes Gungerich, July 25, 1829,” Illinois Mennonite Heritage, June 1998, pp.30.

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