Following is my transcription of the biography of Dr. Oscar B. Steely from the Dictionary of National Biography.
Greater than the responsibility of almost any other line of human endeavor is that which rests upon the physician; the issues of life and death are in his hands, and the physician’s skill and power must be his own; not by gift, by purchase or inﬂuence can he acquire it. If he would retain relative precedence, it must come as the result of superior skill, knowledge and ability, and these qualifications are possessed in a marked degree by Dr. Oscar B. Steely, who is not only numbered among the representative physicians and surgeons of the state, recognition of this fact having been made by Governor McConnell in his “appointment as surgeon general of Idaho, but his executive ability, force of character and strong personal magnetism have caused his election and reelection to the responsible ofﬁce of mayor of the progressive city of Pocatello, where he resides.
Doctor Steely was born in Belleville, Pa., on August 22, 1862, a son of William and
Sarah (Baker) Steely, natives of Pennsylvania, to which commonwealth his early paternal German ancestors emigrated in the early Colonial days, as did the progenitors of his mother, who came from England at about the same period of time, and both his maternal and paternal great-grandfathers patriotically served in the long and bloody contest of the Revolutionary war.
Doctor Steely received his preliminary literary education in the public schools of his native place, thereafter continuing his studies in the Bloomsburg State Normal School and Literary Institute, from which he was graduated with a high standing, thereafter matriculating at the famous University of Pennsylvania, from which he was graduated in 1883, in the meantime engaging in pedagogic work in Philadelphia, where he held the office of supervising principal of the public schools of the city for four years, thereafter entering Jefferson Medical College, where he completed the prescribed course, being graduated therefrom with the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1891.
Thus thoroughly prepared and equipped for his profession, he served one year as surgeon in the Jefferson Hospital, and in 1892
located in Pocatello, Idaho, and entered at once upon a successful and far-reaching practice, being the oﬁicial physician and surgeon of the Oregon Short Line Railroad, of which he is still in incumbency, and he has been very successful both as a physician and a surgeon. His private practice in both medicine and surgery is one of the largest in the state, controlling a large clientele of leading citizens, and manifesting a liberality and generosity in his treatment of the poor and unfortunate which have bound them to him as with hooks of steel. He stands high in medical circles, was a member of the Pennsylvania State Medical Association and the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, while his papers and articles on medical and surgical subjects take rank as authoritative, and his incumbency of the office of surgeon general was marked by a careful, conservative, but at the same time progressive administration of the duties connected therewith.
A man of strong character and unbounded energy, he has ever stood true in all the relations of life and has acquired a high and well-deserved popularity. He was a candidate of the Progressive Young Men of Pocatello for
mayor of that city in I902 and after a stirring canvass was elected by a very complimentary vote, and he is now in the incumbency of the ofﬁce, having been elected on the Republican ticket in 1903 by a handsome majority to the second term, running far ahead of the rest of the ticket, and thus proving himself not only a very efficient but an exceedingly popular mayor, ever maintaining a high dignity and performing the duties of the position to the decided advantage of the city.
In county, state and national political affairs he has been an active force in the Republican party. discharging with ﬁdelity and advantage to the people every trust his party has reposed in him. In the last Republican state convention he was distinctively honored by being placed in candidacy for governor of the state, lacking only three votes of securing the nomination. In educational lines his inﬂuence and labors have been effective and far-reaching. and he is at present the president of the school board of Pocatello. and he has been an earnest and public spirited member of the board for the last six years. Fraternally he has attained the Knight Templar degree in the Masonic order, being the high priest of the
local chapter, and is affiliated with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Knights of Pythias, Woodmen of the World and the Eagles.
In Denver, Colo., on December 31, 1900, Dr. Steely was united in matrimony with Miss Bernice H. Smith. a native of Massachusetts, and a daughter of Edwin K. and Helen A. Smith, also natives of the old Bay state. They have one son, Hobart H., and their attractive home possesses a most pleasing atmosphere of cultured hospitality.
It is not too much to say of Dr. Steely. as has been said by several who are excellent judges of character. that his qualiﬁcations would dignify and elevate any office in the gift of the people of his state. He has held responsible positions with great ability, has adorned every walk in life in which he has been found, and is an inspiration and example to good men of all classes, while his advice is held most valuable in business and ﬁnancial circles, and his careful and conscientious execution of every duty has gained him high prestige.
Progressive men of Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Fremont and Oneida counties, Idaho. 1904.
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