Charles Elmer SawyerBrigadier General Charles Elmer Sawyer M.D. (24 January 1860 – 23 September 1924) was the White House Physician to President Warren G. Harding and his wife Florence.

President Harding appointed Sawyer as Chairman of the Federal Hospitalization Board and gave him the rank of Brigadier General.

Charles Elmer Sawyer was also the homeopath of Hardin’s successor, President Calvin Coolidge.

C. E. Sawyer was a personal friend of homeopath Florence Nightingale Ward.

Charles Elmer Sawyer contributed a chapter entitled “War Activities of Organized Homeopathy” to Frederick Myers Dearborn‘s 1923 account of American Homeopathy in the World War.

Charles Elmer Sawyer of Marion, Ohio, was born in Nevada, Ohio, January 24, 1860, son of Alonzo N. and Harriet Matilda (Rogers) Sawyer.

He acquired a high school education and was graduated from the Cleveland Homœopathic Hospital College in 1881. He practiced medicine in La Rue, Ohio, from March 26, 1881, until December 10, 1893, when he was appointed surgeon to the H. R. Allen Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana.

He opened a sanitarium at Marion, Ohio, May 1, 1895, and on March 26, 1900, organized the Dr. C. E. Sawyer Sanitarium Company, for its operation. On January 14, 1904, he organized the Ohio Sanitarium Company for the operation of the Dr. C. E. Sawyer Sanitarium, at Marion, and the Park View Sanitarium at Columbus, Ohio. He is President of the company and surgeon-in-chief to both institutions.

He also is Surgeon for the Erie & Hocking Valley Railroad Companies; chairman of the American Surgical and Gynecological Association; ex-President of the Ohio Medical Society; President of the Marion County Medical Association; ex-President of the Northwestern Ohio Homœopathic Medical Society; member of the American Institute of Homœopathy, Indiana Institute of Homœopathy, and of the Erie Railroad Surgeons’ Association.

He also is President of the Marion Masonic Temple Company, ex-vice-President of the Marion Commercial Club, and trustee of the Marion Young Men’s Christian Association.

He married May E. Barron, August 11, 1879, and has one son, Carl W. Sawyer.

Charles Elmer Sawyer had become President Warren Harding’s homeopathic physician after he interceded to assist Harding’s mother and then cured his wife of a serious illness. Harding also took medical advice from another homeopathic physician, Joel Thompson Boone, who reported how uncooperative Harding was at taking adequate rest.

Charles Sawyer and Boone were both present at Harding’s death, but only Sawyer was criticised afterwards by allopaths who attempted to character assassinate him, even though several other doctors were with Harding in his final few days. None of those other doctors present at Harding’s death attracted the slightest trace of criticism.

After Harding’s death, Sawyer was reappointed as one of President Calvin Coolidge‘s personal medical attendants.

Among his many positions of responsibility, Sawyer was at various times President of the American Institute of Homeopathy and a member of its Board of Trustees, a member of the Ohio State Medical Board, and a Fellow and Governor of the American College of Surgeons.

Charles Elmer Sawyer died on 23 September 1924, aged 63. At the time of his death he was chairman and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Executive Committee of the Harding Memorial Association that he had helped establish.

At his funeral, the “Sawyer creed” that he had recently penned was read aloud:

“We believe in the principle of honesty, in the policy of fair dealing, in earnestness of purpose, persistence of endeavor and community of action, hostility, generosity, economy, thrift and industry.
“We believe in the value of education, the importance of favorable association, the effectiveness of the church and fraternal relations.
“We believe in the constitution of the United States and in supporting and obeying our country’s laws.
“We believe in the home and home influences as fundamental to the maintenance of our nation.
“We believe in charity to the deserving; sympathy for the afflicted, and in supporting whole heartedly any cause which aids the general welfare of mankind.
“We oppose all influences which tend to lower standards of living, effect the unity of government or take from the individual his right of citizenship.
“We stand first, last and always for an America for Americans, for a United States ever prepared for its own defense, for a policy which extends to all the people of the world a helping hand when actual need or dire emergency arises. Such are the convictions of those who register under the banner of the Sawyer family.”

Of Interest:

Sawyer surname The Sawyer surname contributed one Chair of Obstetrics and Surgery at University of Michigan and the President of the Michigan State Homeopathic Society; one orthodox doctor who converted to homeopathy to become the President of the American Institute of Homeopathy; and one White House Physician and Brigadier General in World War 1.


Carl Walker Sawyer M.D. (30 May 1881 – 22 February 1966), son of Charles Elmer Sawyer, was an American neurosurgeon, psychiatrist, secretary of the C. E. Sawyer Sanatorium, and President of the Harding Memorial Association. Carl Sawyer succeeded his father as Florence Harding’s personal physician and practiced in Marion, Ohio.

Benjamin Edward Sawyer M.D. (11 August 1811 – 1 August 1879) [no evident relation] was an American orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy. Benjamin Sawyer was the homeopath of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s wife, Sophia Peabody, and his daughter, Annie Sawyer Downs, was a friend and fellow botanist of Henry David Thoreau. Benjamin Sawyer practiced in Concord and later Haverhill, Mass.

Alfred Isaac Sawyer M.D. (31 October 1828 – 7 May 1891) [no evident relation] was an American homeopathic physician who practiced in Ohio and Michigan. He was a graduate of the Western College of Homeopathic Medicine in 1854, and the Cleveland Homeopathic Hospital. In 1854, Alfred Sawyer first set up in practice in Marietta, Ohio, with Dr. Ephraim Craig Beckwith (1824 – 1880). He subequently practiced in Ann Arbour and in Monroe, Michigan.

Decatur Mowry Sawyer (1 February 1849 – 7 January 1931) [no evident relation] was a wealthy American businessman who consulted and supported homeopaths.