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December 1, 2016

1861 Charles O. Ozias, M.D. Cancer Cure Doctor, Born in Ohio - Doctor in Warrensburg and KC

Emma Ozias (Whitsett) Birthdate:October 29, 1866 Death:Died April 24, 1895

Immediate Family: Wife of Charles Othello Ozias

CHARLES OTHELLO OZIAS, M. D., is a leading physician and surgeon of Warrensburg, and a specialist on chronic diseases. He is a young man possessing much more than ordinary-ability, and had the advantage of a five years hospital service in Kansas City, this experience probably being of more benefit to him than ten years of ordinary practice would have been. He has been very successful in the treatment of cancers, tumors and other obstinate and difficult forms of disease, as he has made a particular study of these difficulties. In order to better fit himself, he went. East and took a course as a specialist, and soon afterwards, in 1892, opened an office in this city. His patients are not limited to this immediate locality, as his reputation is wide, and his clientage comprises people from all parts of the state.

The Doctor was born in Lewisburg, Preble County, Ohio, November 16, 1861, on a farm, where he lived until seven years of age. In the spring of 1868 he moved with his parents to Center View Township, about six miles west of this place. He received a good education, and at the age of eighteen years entered the State Normal, where he pursued his studies for two years. He then traveled some in the East, and on returning home engaged in farming for a few years. About 1887 he took up the study of medicine under Dr. J. H. Kinyoun, of Center View, and Dr. J. D. Griffith, of Kansas City. In 1891 he was graduated with honors from the Kansas City Medical College, and after practicing a short time with his brother at Roseburg, Oregon, opened an office in Warrensburg. From the first he has succeeded beyond his most sanguine expectations, and is rapidly coming to the front ranks in his profession. Besides being Medical Examiner for a number of fraternal societies, he is also examiner for ten insurance companies and mutual organizations. December 24, 1884, Dr. Ozias married Emma, daughter of Hon. Thomas J. and Mary Etta Whitsett. The former came from old pioneer stock of Johnson County, and his father was one of the first ministers of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of this section. The Doctor's wife was born in this county, October 29, 1866, and completed her education in the seminaries at Bowling Green, Mo., and in Holden (Mo.) Female Seminary. By her marriage she has become the mother of four children: Mary Myrtle, born February 15, 1886, and Ollie Sophronia, August 22, 1889, both of whom were born in this county; Charles Ralph, who was born in Kansas City, February 5, 1892; and Ernest Martin, whose birth occurred in Warrensburg March 9, 1895. The mother of this family was called to her final rest April 24, 1895. A Christian with 


many noble qualities, she was a faithful worker in the cause of religion, and her death was widely mourned.

The Doctor has at all times been interested in agricultural matters, and has a fine orchard of fifty acres, containing five thousand "Ben Davis" apple trees, besides other small fruit. The orchard is conveniently located, being about five miles from Warrensburg. He is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and is a teacher in the Sunday-school. Politically he is a Democrat, as is also his father, but his paternal grandfather was a Republican.

The first of the Ozias family to settle in America located in North Carolina, being one of four brothers who lived in that state for a number of years. One brother emigrated to Pennsylvania and was never again heard from, while the other three moved to Preble County, Ohio, and from them are descended all persons who bear the name in the United States. For several generations they have led agricultural lives and have been honored and representative citizens in the several communities in which they have dwelt. Joseph P. Ozias, the Doctor's father, a retired farmer of this county, is now living in Warrensburg.

He was born in Preble County, Ohio, September 6, 1838, being a son of Jacob and Sarah (Potter) Ozias. The former, a native of North Carolina, moved to Preble County, Ohio, when a boy, about 1805, with his father, Peter Ozias. The mother of our subject, formerly Sophronia Pretzinger, was a daughter of J. M. and Sarah (Martin) Pretzinger. The former was a noted physician, being very well known in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, and three of his sons, as well as four of his daughters' husbands, became famous practitioners. Dr. J. M. Pretzinger was of German descent, and in 1836 settled in Darke County, Ohio, where he commenced practice. He was married in Greenville, and a few years afterward removed to Euphemia, where he passed the rest of his life. When pressed into the German service, he became a surgeon, having studied with that end in view, but as soon as he obtained his diploma he sailed for the New World.

Jacob Ozias, the grandfather of the Doctor, started out in life a poor man, but in time became the owner of nine hundred acres. His son J. P. received a fair education in the old log schoolhouse of that period, and was trained to agricultural pursuits. When about twenty-two years of age, February 12, 1861, he was married, and two years later moved to a piece of ground belonging to his father. He cleared the land, built a good frame house, and lived there until 1868. In the winter of that year he came to this county, whither his brother had preceded him, and as he liked the country, bought a farm of one hundred and sixty acres. Returning home, he sold out everything at auction, and as soon as possible moved his family to his new prairie farm, located about a mile north of Center View. He built a good house, improved his farm and increased its boundaries until he had about five hundred acres. For the first tract he paid at the rate of $16 per acre, and since then has given as high as $50 an acre. He is now living retired from business cares in Warrensburg. His wife died in March, 1874, leaving three children: Dr. Charles O., Dr. Newell J., who was born in Preble County, Ohio, and is married and engaged in practice at Roseburg, Oregon; and Oscar Eugene, who was killed at the age of fifteen years by accident, a six-horse drag running over him. In November, 1875, Mr. Ozias married Sarah Conard, who was born in Licking County, Ohio, in 1853. To this union there were born four children. August died in infancy; Harry was shot and killed when seven years of age by a little playmate; Marie was born in this county, August 6, 1886; and Ruby, also a native of this county, was born January 31, 1891.

When J. P. Ozias cast his first ballot, in 1860, for Douglas, his father, who went to the polls in a carriage, cast his last vote for Lincoln. Though reared a Methodist, Mr. Ozias is now a member of the First Presbyterian Church. He belongs to Corinthian Lodge No. 265, A. F. & A. M., of this city. He has traveled a great deal, having visited every state and territory west of the Missouri, with the exception of Wyoming and South Dakota. Twice he visited the Pacific Coast, once went as far as the Gulf of Mexico, and has traveled in a number of the Eastern States. At the New Orleans Exposition he spent ten days, attended the World's Fair at Chicago, and among other sights which he has witnessed was a very exciting bull fight at Paso del Norte.

Cool Things - Better Health Sign

A quack doctor claimed to have developed a serum to cure cancer.  His clinic operated under this sign. 
"Dr. Ozias can truly tell the world he has a cure for cancer. May this message cheer those afflicted with cancer in any form."
—Mrs. J. J. Totty, Journal of Better Health, 1925
Cancer is a serious disease whose cure has long evaded the medical community. There is encouraging news about its treatment today, but not so long ago, cancer patients had little hope of survival.
Research was left up to individual physicians in the days before government-funded institutions (the National Cancer Institute was founded in 1937). Without federal regulation or oversight, almost anyone could claim he'd found a cure for cancer. One self-proclaimed savior was Charles Ozias, a physician who attracted patients from across the Midwest to his clinic in Kansas City.


Modern physicians must obtain a license from the state in which they wish to practice. States require applicants to pass a comprehensive exam, typically preceded by years of rigorous study. But in the late 19th century it was comparatively easy to obtain a medical license. Charles Ozias graduated from the Kansas City Medical College in 1892 after just two terms (less than two years). He received a Missouri license almost immediately, and put out his shingle just southeast of Kansas City in a town called Warrensburg, where he spent about two decades in general practice.
According to a biographical sketch from one of his own promotional pamphlets, Ozias began experimenting with hypodermic injections directly into diseased parts of the body while he was practicing medicine in Missouri. When the physician himself became ill with tuberculosis (he claimed as a result of intense study and research), he self-treated by the injection method. Eventually, Ozias applied this technique to cancerous growths in his patients and deemed it "effective."
Ozias moved to Kansas City around 1915, probably seeking a wider audience for this "cure." Daughter Myrtle obtained a medical license and joined her father in opening a downtown clinic. A few years later, Ozias outlined his cancer treatment in a paper read before physicians in St. Louis, and in 1922 he offered to treat 100 patients free-of-charge if doctors would send him their incurable cases.
The 1920s were the heyday for the Ozias clinic, which also operated under the name of the Better Health Association. The sign pictured here dates from that era. Charles Ozias attracted new patients by circulating pamphlets such as the Journal of Better Health. Filled with glowing testimonials, the Journal claimed the Ozias treatment conquered all sorts of conditions and diseases. The clinic was filled to capacity, and Ozias was obliged to look for "outside space to care for the sufferers who are begging for help and arriving daily in increased numbers." Plans were drawn up for a modern multi-story clinic to be built in Kansas. The future seemed rosy.

D. Ozias Office, Unknown location?

The only problem, of course, was that the serum didn't work. Although Ozias proudly proclaimed, "We invite investigation," his practices did not stand up to inspection. Patients who so blithely wrote testimonials for the Journal--some of them prominent citizens--died of cancer. An Iowa businessman who'd marketed Ozias' serum over the radio waves was revealed as a fraud. Time magazine published an expose referring to Ozias as a "quack." Old patients continued to die, potential patients sought treatment elsewhere, and plans for a grand new clinic vanished like a pipe dream.
It's difficult to say whether Ozias' intentions were mercenary or simply misguided. He may actually have believed in the powers of his serum, which according to one source was nothing more than glycerine, carbolic acid, and alcohol mixed with tea. At any rate, Ozias continued to market his cancer cure despite a steady professional decline. Arkansas revoked his medical license in 1936 for "advertising special ability to treat or cure chronic and incurable diseases." Missouri pulled its license in 1938 on grounds of "soliciting patients by false and fraudulent books and pamphlets." That left Kansas--the only state that would still allow him to practice medicine.
Discredited and decrepit (by then in his 80s), Ozias opened a practice in Kansas City, Kansas, in the early 1940s. When the American Medical Association inquired of the Kansas medical registration board if Ozias was still licensed in the state, the secretary replied:
"We regret to admit that he is [a] legally licensed practitioner of medicine in Kansas. . . . Advertising such as he does is unethical . . . but it is not unlawful in the State of Kansas. . . . We are hoping to find sufficient evidence soon so that we can bring revocation charges. If your legal department can show us a way in which we can proceed in the case, we shall greatly appreciate it."
By Kansas law, Ozias' license could be revoked only if he'd committed a felony, engaged in "gross immorality," or been declared unfit due to alcohol or drug addiction. Guilty of none of these crimes, he retained his license, but not for long. Charles Ozias died in early 1944 at his Kansas City home at the age of 82. He was buried in Warrensburg, Missouri, where his long and eventful medical career had begun.
The Better Health Association sign is in the collections of the Kansas Museum of History.  © 2016 Kansas Historical Society

The H.D. Lee Building's location at 20th & Wyandotte 
Lee Building