< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >
Waughop, Dr. John Wesley (1839-1903)
HistoryLink.org Essay 5641
: Printer-Friendly Format
Dr. John Wesley Waughop is the eponym of Waughop Lake in Lakewood's Fort Steilacoom Park. He was the superintendent of what in past times was called the Washington State Hospital for the Insane. It is known today as Western State Hospital.
Waughop, a Scottish branch of the Wauchope clan, is pronounced "Wah-op." The gh is silent.His road to immortality started in Tazewell, Illinois, where he was born on October 22, 1839. Waughop's life passed by in small-town schools without many noteworthy events. He entered Eureka College in 1860. The school has another famous alumna, former president Ronald Reagan.
Waughop's schooling took a sideline when his professor rallied volunteers to fight for the Union in the Civil War. Waughop saw action in the battles of Shiloh and Vicksburg. He mostly worked as a surgeon's assistant. The medical equipment of the time meant that he probably held a screaming soldier down while a doctor sawed off a limb or removed a bullet without painkillers. After his discharge, he returned to academia by entering University of Michigan and then transferring to Long Island College in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated in 1865.
Dr. Waughop opened a private medical practice in White Cloud, Kansas, where he also served a stint as mayor. On February 1, 1866, he married Eliza Susan Rexford. They quickly had one son, Philip Rexford Waughop. The Waughop family wagon-trained to Olympia in 1871, where the doctor practiced medicine for nine years.
A Doctor for the Mentally Ill
In 1880, Waughop accepted the superintendent's position of the state's only hospital for the mentally ill, located just outside of Steilacoom in what is now Lakewood. Waughop managed the hospital for 16 years. He was interested in the new science of psychiatry during the early age of Sigmund Freud's theories.
Waughop and his wife are responsible for planting the rare trees, including an Empress tree from China, located around the hospital grounds. The nearby lake was part of the hospital grounds at that time. At the time many called it Mud Lake because one end is shallow and constantly muddy.
On To Hawaii
Waughop gave up the Northwest in August 1897 during a vacation to Hawaii. He visited the islands and decided to stay. By September, Waughop and his son, also a doctor, opened an office located in the Masonic Temple building in Honolulu.
Waughop decided to return to Washington in 1903 because of his failing health. He, his wife and son steamed across the Pacific on board the S.S. Moana. Waughop would never see land again. He died at sea on August 31, 1903.
After his death, the name Mud Lake was changed to Waughop Lake in his memory.
Clara Cooley, "The Western State Hospital, Fort Steilacoom, Washington History, 1871-1950," historical report dated 1950, Fort Steilacoom Museum research library, located on Western State Hospital grounds; "Trees of Western State Hospital: a Centennial Project by the Western State Hospital Historical Committee," typescript dated 1989, Fort Steilacoom Research Library located on Western State Hospital grounds.
< Browse to Previous Essay
Browse to Next Essay >
Civil War in Washington |
Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that
encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both
HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any
reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this
Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For
more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact
the source noted in the image credit.
Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided
By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins
| Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry
| 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle
| City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach
Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private
Sponsors and Visitors Like You