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A Doctor Comes To Town, Or Not

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Catalog Information

Title
A Doctor Comes To Town, Or Not
Accession Number
2017.024.0085
Date Added
6/28/2020 6:43:39 AM
Type
Event
Gift of
Robert Underhill
Collection Title
Misc
Collection Description
Misc
Source
Robert Underhill
Format Description
*
Search Engine Type
Event
The April 5, 1929 Rutland Daily Herald article below announced Dr. Joseph A. Choquet's leasing of the Clarendon Flats home that had been owned by Cornelia (Emery) Lawrence (1860 - 1939), granddaughter of Timothy K. Horton (1814 - 1896) and great grand daughter of Hopkins Horton (1793 - 1890).  This structure had been Hopkins Horton's home for many years. 

Dr. Choquet was a naturopathic physician as noted in the article, having been trained at the Naturopathic College of New York in NYC.  His recurring problem in at least Vermont was he could not legally refer to himself as being a doctor at the time.  Choquet moved a lot as a child from RI to NY to MA to RI and upon coming of age joined the military.  Following the military he married for the 1st time in 1917 in New Haven CT to Emma Von Hausen (1893 - 1930) with whom he had one son Joseph Rollin Choquet (1920 - 1944).  In 1920 they were in Somerville, MA where he was working as a scheduler in a packing facility and in 1921 was back in RI where he worked as a deputy health officer.  When he went to school to become a naturopath is not clear but it may have been triggered by the combination of his interest in health sciences and Emma's tuberculosis that developed about 1925.  A 1931 article concerning a court trial he was in the midst of said he had worked as a linotype machinist at the Rutland Herald from the fall of 1927 to May 1929 and that he had been a linotype machinist in Waterbury, CT previously.  There clearly were many chapters in his life prior to coming to Clarendon in April 1929. 

What went wrong in Clarendon is not clear.  After the initial announcement the only record found was an item in the June 27, 1929 Rutland Daily Herald:

There will be a free lecture on biochemisty at the Clarendon health center on Wednesday evening

By Oct. 1929 he was operating on Grove St. in Rutland where he plead guilty to a charge of using the title of doctor and was fined $50 and costs.  The Clarendon Health Center was thus very short lived.  On Jan. 7, 1930 there was a Rutland Daily Herald article concerning non-payment of rent to the new owner of Locust Lodge:

Mrs. Edith Whitcomb of Clarendon has entered suit in Rutland County court to recover $500 from Josephus A. Choquet of this city.  The plaintiff claims that Mr. Choquet rented her home at Clarendon Flats and that she made repairs on the place at his request.  The defendant owes her for rent, Mrs. Whitcomb alleges.  The law firm of Jones & Jones appears for her

His wife Emma died as a result of her tuberculosis April 4, 1930 and on March 30, 1931 in NYC he married Frances Elizabeth Mason of Rutland with whom he subsequently had 8 children.  From Rutland the Choquets relocated to Bristol, VT in July 1931.  By Dec. of that year he had been tried again in Middlebury for posing as a doctor and was found not guilty much to the surprise of the prosecutors.  In Nov. 1933 he had again been charged in Bristol.  That trial turned into somewhat of a circus atmosphere with cheering spectators, Choquet apparently being popular with his patients and others.  How that trial ended is not known but it was quickly followed the next month by another trial in Middlebury at which patients spoke to his having cured them of their ailments. 

An article in the March 7, 1934 Rutland Daily Herald noted the Vermont Healthatorium which had operated in Bristol for 3 years had closed.  On May 12, 1934 there was an article noting the Choquets were moving.  From VT the family went to RI to FL to MA and back to FL.  At the time of the 1940 census they were recorded as operating a rest home and had 4 elderly people living with them.  Dr. Choquet passed away in FL in 1979 and Frances in MA in 1988.  Whether he ever got the recognition or success he sought as a naturopathic physician is not known.  What is certain is that he pursued his dreams at great personal cost.  

See the Locust Lodge entry in the Homes collection for the rest of the known history of this property. 

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