On October 27, 1897, Arthur Gillette, MD, met 10-year-old Royal Gray and his parents. The Gray’s had traveled south more than 65 miles from Pine City, Minnesota searching for answers to help their son and improve his life. According to historic records, Royal Gray had Pott’s Disease that was acquired by drinking milk from a tuberculosis-infected cow. His parents were desperate and spent what little money they had looking for answers for their son. Finally, they found Dr. Gillette who was among the first orthopedic surgeons in Minnesota. Dr. Gillette assured the Gray’s that their son would receive the best medical care. Royal Gray spent 536 days in the hospital along the shores of St. Paul’s Lake Phalen. When he was released, he headed back to Pine City and lived a full life. In a 1920 letter Royal Gray wrote to Dr. Gillette he explained that, thanks to the medical care provided, he continued his schooling, became a rural mail carrier in Pine City and eventually started his own taxi business in Virginia, Minnesota. He married and had two children.

#089 | Royal Gray

November 3, 2022

Excerpt from a letter Royal Gray wrote to the hospital in 1920 to express gratitude for his care.

“…I have often thought of the time I spent with you all. Well, to begin with, I went to school after I left the hospital until I was 19 years old. I then started working for myself…At present I am running a taxi business of my own in Virginia, Minnesota and am doing pretty good…I sure have lots of praise for Dr. Gillette and have told people about him all over the country.”

--Royal Gray, first patient admitted on October 27, 1897.

Back in 1897 Dr. Gillette searched for the answers to questions, found solutions, and pushed the boundaries to help Royal Gray transform his life. It’s this same focus that is the foundation of what Gillette Children’s does today.


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