One of these men in West Virginia, who stands at the head of his profession in the State is Dr. Henry Floyd Gamble, of Charleston.
Dr. Gamble is a native of the Old Dominion, having been born at North Garden, Albemarle County, Va., on January 16, 1862, right in the midst of the bloody struggle which culminated in the emancipation of the race. He is of mixed ancestors and represents in his own person a trinity of races, red, white and black. His father, Henry Gamble, must have been a man of intelligence and ability, as he was foreman on his master's estate. He was the son of an Irishman, who had settled in the Virginia Mountains and married a woman of Indian blood named Sarah. Dr. Gamble's mother was, before her marriage, Willie Ann Howard. Her father was her master and her mother Eliza Howard. So it will be seen he has in his veins the blood of the Indian, the Caucasian and the Negro.
Speaking of his early struggles for an education, Dr. Gamble says, "In 1875 the Flanagan Bank failed, my father had saved $500.00, which was then due on a small home he had bought. Having all his savings in the bank, he lost it all in the failure. The payment on his property and the support of a wife and ten children took all that father and children could make. For that reason I could not attend school, but hired a night teacher while I worked at the University of Virginia in the home of Dr. John Stage Davis, Professor of medicine in the University. The present Prof. J. S. Davis, Jr., the son of my employer used to teach me and really showed great interest in my progress, till his father prohibited him from giving me further lessons. Nevertheless from '79 to '82, I made progress under my night teacher. By 1882, I had saved about $50.00 and entered the preparatory department of Lincoln University. After two years in the preparatory department, he entered upon the college course which he completed in 1888, with the A.B. degree. He then matriculated in the school of medicine of Yale University and three years later in 1891, won his M.D. degree from that institution. The same year Lincoln conferred on him the A.M. degree. Both at Lincoln and at Yale he made his own way.
On completion of his course he returned to Virginia and began the practice at Charlottesville in 1891. The following year he located at Charleston, W. Va., when the city numbered only seven or eight thousand, so it may be said that he has grown up with the city. At first he did a general practice of medicine and surgery, but for the last ten years he has confined himself almost entirely to surgery. He has prospered and is recognized by all classes as being in the front rank of his profession. Something of his standing professionalty may be inferred from the fact that he was president of the National Medical Association from 1911-12. He is also identified with the State Association, which he organized.
In politics he is independent, in religion a Baptist. After his professional books he preferred reading covers a rather wide range, including philosophical works, poetry and agriculture.
He stands high as a business man and is one of the substantial property owners of Charleston.
Dr. Gamble has been married twice. First to Miss Elizabeth Gilmer, of Virginia, by whom there are two children, Katherine and Floyd; second, on June 27, 1917, to Miss Nina Hortense Clinton, daughter Celia Ann and Martin Clinton. She has borne him two children also, Howard Clinton and Ann Lucile Gamble. Mrs. Gamble was an accomplished teacher and was one of the Jubilee Singers at Wilberforce.
When asked for some opinion as to the promotion of the interests of the race, he said, "by striving and attaining to economic independence, combining savings, money and brains and establishing industries such as factories, and all other businesses that will give employment to our race group, then the race will have economic democracy."
History of the American Negro Index
West Virginia History Center