The years following the change from Tri-State Sanitarium to Tri-State Hospital in 1929 were filled with challenges and opportunities for Drs. Willis and Knighton along with other Tri-State physicians and surgeons. First came the Great Depression of the 1930 and then the War Years of the 1940s. Many younger doctors served in the military while the older ones were fighting the battle on the home front. Their biographies are the history of their Time and Willis-Knighton Health Systems very earliest years.

Dr. Samuel Kerlin


Claiborne Parish provided many early Willis Knighton doctors.  Two were Drs.  William S. Kerlin and his brother Dr. Douglas Ledbetter Kerlin.  Both were born in Summerfield, Louisiana, and both would work at the Tri-State and later at Willis-Knighton Memorial Hospital until their retirements.

Dr. William Kerlin was born in 1888,  graduated from Tulane University Medical School in 1913 becoming an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Tulane in 1915.  When the United States entered World War One, the elder Kerlin brother joined the United States Armed Forces.

Dr. Kerlin then relocated to Shreveport and began his practice.  He was one of those physicians who purchased shares in the new Tri-State Hospital along with his father-in-law Dr. Joseph E. Knighton.   Dr. Kerlin would stay with Tri-State and later Willis-Knighton Memorial Hospital through his entire medical career.

Dr. Kerlin was bound to Tri-State and Willis-Knighton not only by professional, but personal ties.  Dr. Kerlin married Ruth Knighton, Dr. Joseph E. Knighton's daughter. 

He ended a long and distinguished career in internal medicine ending as senior internist at WK having celebrated fifty years of his practice in Shreveport-Bossier City.   He died in 1983 aged 95.

Location in Museum

Talbot Museum Digital Archive


Mid-20th Century

100 Years