The Lost Doctor

Another physician-related story I have encountered during my research is that of Dr.  Edwin Boots.  Born in 1900, Edwin (seen above on a photo from the 1924 Indiana University Arbutus)
was a West Terre Haute success story.  The son of a timberman in a West Terre Haute coalmine, he strove for achievement.  After attending Indiana State Normal (now ISU) he graduated from Indiana University and later the medical school.  He  set up a practice on North Market (3rd) Street in West Terre Haute.  Married and living in Terre Haute he seemingly had a quite respectable career as small-town doctor ahead of him.  But by 1940 something had gone wrong.  Perhaps his practice was failing.  Perhaps his life was unraveling in some way.  Early in 1940 a patient came to his office looking to buy narcotics.  Obviously he went there because Dr. Boots had developed a reputation on the underground for dealing in drugs.  The man, an undercover federal agent, purchased morphine tablets from Booth. 

Soon there were headlines that a West Terre Haute doctor had been arrested and charged with selling dope.  On September 25, 1940 Boots pled guilty to the charge in federal court in Indianapolis.  He was ordered to appear in court at Terre Haute on October 7 to hear his verdict.  Dr. Boots did not appear at the hearing.  Court officers were sent to bring him in.  They found him in his office, dead from suicide, a gun lay beside him.

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