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"Coming with the practice" were their son, Dr. Paul Taulbee, Sr., and his wife, Lillian
(Lily Mae), a graduate nurse who assisted both and operated as a midwife, along with the three
very young grandchildren: Paul, Jr., four years old; Mary Anne, two years old; and Howard,
two months old. Their younger brother, William, was born in Benavides and was killed there
by a car at a very young age. Another son, James Taulbee, Jr., also came with the family.
Originally, the family lived right across the street from Pete Coronado. Dr. Alfredo
Saenz, former teacher, principal, and superintendent of Benavides High School, former
assistant superintendent in the Harlandale School District, San Antonio, now retired,
remembers the Taulbee family with fondness for they rented a house owned by the Saenz
family for about a year.
Dr. Taulbee's office and treatment room was originally over DeLeon's Drug Store
where it remained until the Heras Drug Store was built. Dr. Taulbee maintained offices there
until 1930 at which time they moved into the house owned and occupied later by the Charles
Dr. Taulbee then used the rooms that were attached to the main house as his office and
Howard remembers that when his grandfather moved to Benavides in the early 1920's,
he was confronted with an illness that he had never encountered in a colder country. Pellegra
(a serious skin disease) was prevalent. It is caused by a vitamin deficiency resulting in a steady
diet of corn tortillas and frijoles. He eradicated the disease through education in nutrition.
He also found cases of filarisis (elephantiasis) which was spread by mosquitoes that is
treatable at an early stage.
He taught basic child care for newborn babies, including sanitation and diet. Tetanus
(lockjaw) was fairly common when he first moved to Benavides, and he inoculated against this
and other diseases.
Howard also believes that the first school vaccination for smallpox was introduced by
Dr. Taulbee was also the doctor for the Tex-Mex Railroad that ran in front of the
house. He took care of railroad employees from as far as Hebbronville, Tex., in one direction
and San Diego, Tex., in the other. All members of the Taulbee family had a family pass to ride
on the train anytime any of them desired, and they could get a courtesy pass on other railroad
"My grandfather was a 'seat of the pants' physician," Howard recalls. "He had to
make do with what was available. Hospitals were out of the realm of possibility for most.
Howard remembers seeing his grandfather take an axe way out in the brush country to treat
someone with broken bones and with the axe, he would cut splints, set the arm or leg, and the
limb would heal straight and fine.
Howard recalls that many times his grandfather would get up in the middle of the night
to go miles in bad weather to a remote ranch to deliver a baby or set a broken limb. His
grandfather sewed up yards and yards of cuts and dug out a lot of bullets (especially at the
shooting celebrations at the fiestas).
Howard also mentions the rattlesnake bites that Dr. Taulbee treated must have
numbered in the hundreds, and Paul, Jr., does not remember anyone who ever died from a
snake bite after the patient went to his grandfather.
Howard remembers one unforgettable scene. Once he woke up by himself quite early
(he was a very young toddler at that time), went into the dining room downstairs, and saw a
stillborn baby on the dining room table. Some couple was passing through Benavides to
Hebbronville after attending the fiesta in Alice when the wife went into labor.
Texas State Genealogical Society. Stirpes, Volume 34, Number 1, March 1994. San Antonio, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth39868/. Accessed May 23, 2013.