Dr. Donald French presents to Big Rapids Lions Club

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HISTORICAL DENTISTRY: Dr. Donald French had a dental practice in Big Rapids from 1964 until his retirement in 1998. A lifelong history buff, Dr. French explored the history of dental health and more specifically, dental health at the Salisbury Confederate prison during the Civil War. Dr. French’s great-great-grandfather, William “Ferd” Bowdish, served in the Union Army and was a prisoner at the prison located in Salisbury, N.C. He traveled to the prison and was able to review prison records and some of the writings of his grandfather, which outlined the dire conditions the prisoners experienced during their imprisonment. Dr. French also shared the history of dentistry from the Civil War forward including the changes in equipment, medications and materials used to treat cavities and other dental problems. Pictured are Lion Jim Chipman (left) and Dr. Donald French. (Courtesy photo)

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