Remember When: City’s 1st chiropractors arrived in ‘23

Published 12:50 am Saturday, May 25, 2019

’Daisy Bell’ is a song still popular today although it was written in 1892 by an English composer. On songwriter Harry Dacra’s first visit to the United States, he brought with him a bicycle for which he was charged import duty tax. His friend remarked, “It’s lucky you didn’t bring a bicycle built for two, otherwise you’d have to pay double duty!” Dacra was so taken with the phrase “bicycle built for two” that he soon used it in a song first performed in a London music hall.     

“Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do. I’m half-crazy all for the love of you. It won’t be a stylish marriage. I can’t afford a carriage, but you’ll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.”

  The song soon made its way to America and has been a favorite sing-a-long in assembly song books. A great number of additional verses have been added, such as the “answer” chorus.

  “Michael, Michael, here is my answer true. You’re half-crazy if you think that will do. If you can’t afford a carriage, there won’t be any marriage, because I’ll be switched if I’ll get hitched on a bicycle built for two!”

  There has been a lot of conversation on social media lately about the rules for riding a bicycle on city streets.  Does one need to wear a helmet in Alabama? Which side of the road does one ride on? Is it legal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk? A memorable story of old Andalusia came to mind.

From The Andalusia Star News Weekend Edition, May 25-26, 1985, an article reporting a donation to the newly established Three Notch Museum appeared.

“When the first chiropractor clinic opened in Andalusia, the city had gained not one doctor but two. The year was 1923. Dr. Henry Herbert Martin, a native of Fort Deposit, and his wife the former Lillian Pauline Drake of McKenzie had received their degrees the year before from Carver Chiropractic College in Oklahoma City, Okla. The Story of Oklahoma City calls the school, “the first chartered college of this character in the world.”

At the request of several Andalusia businessmen, tired of driving to Montgomery to see a chiropractor, time and expense, they recruited the couple to move to Andalusia to open a clinic.”

Dr. Martin was born January 15, 1887. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Martin. Born and reared in Fort Deposit, he was one of four sons and one daughter.

His wife was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. P. H. Drake of McKenzie. She was the only daughter of six children.

Dr. Martin was educated along with his wife to practice chiropractic skills. They both received their degrees in 1922.

Among the local businessmen to urge the Martins to locate their practice in Andalusia were M. A. Malcomb, a scales salesman; Will Hudson, a merchant; P. Lewis, a jeweler and optician; and J. M. Taylor, an automobile businessman.

Thus, the Martins moved to Andalusia and became Andalusia’s first chiropractors. For 27 years, the Martins occupied offices over Covington Stores on the second floor of the Milligan Building on Court Square (Attorney Mark Murphy’s present day building).

During the Great Depression, Dr. Martin would ride his bicycle to the office from his home at 403 River Falls Street. This became quite a familiar site around town, Dr. Martin riding his bicycle to work!

His last six years, they practiced in their home at 219 Dunson Street purchased in 1952 (Ofelia Quesada’s mother’s present day residence, Mrs. Logia Allen’s Fantasy Bridal Shop).

In Dr. Martin’s younger days, he taught in the Alabama public schools, conducted singing schools, and served in the army during World War I. Throughout his life; he played the violin and composed lyrics setting them to music. Many of his gospel songs were published by Stamps-Baxter Music Co. of Dallas, Texas.

Dr. Martin was part of a popular quartet that sung for various church and community events for a number of years. Other quartet members were W. C. Boutwells; W. O. Bozeman; Robert Ham; W. N. Rushton; Morrell Dozier; and Dr. H. H. Martin. Mrs. Robert (Louise) Barrow was their accompanist. Mr. Bozeman helped to organize the Covington County Singing Convention and was its chairman for 36 years, without missing one of its semi-annual meetings. In 1940, he served as chairman of the Alabama State Singing Convention.

Mr. Joseph C. Wingard was the founder of a group back in the Bicentennial days of 1976, the Andy’s Dandies Revolving Barbershop Quartet. That quartet evolved from “the quartet of old!” Some of those quartet members of the Wingard group were L. C. Mullins, Bill Benson, Don Lingle, and Dr. Morgan Moore.

Dr. and Mrs. Martin were both members of the First Baptist Church. He was also a member of the American Legion and the Masons receiving his 50-year pin. Dr. Martin died at home in August 1958 at the age of 71 after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage on the golden anniversary of his dear friend, W. O. Bozeman

After Dr. Martin’s death, Mrs. Martin was active in the affairs of her church, served as a substitute teacher, and later joined the Covington Historical Society where she offered the biographical information about her husband along with the photo to display during the early years of the establishment of the local history museum.

There don’t seem to be as many young bicycle riders out in the neighborhoods in the afternoons like there used to be back in this writer’s day. It was the thing to do back in the 1950s and 1960s to come in from school, get on the bicycle, and ride with friends all over the neighborhood up and down one street and another!  To my knowledge, the only tandem bicycle out on the streets today seem to be the cute couple Guy and Pam Wyche who ride the county roads on their “bicycle built for two!”

     Sue Bass Wilson, AHS Class of 1965, is a local real estate broker and long-time member of the Covington Historical Society. She can be reached at