Why did they call him "Doc" ?
By Sandy Garrison,
Friends of History Center for Aransas County
There are still some longtime Rockport folks who call Albert Bruhl by the affectionate nickname “Doc”- and yet he was a pharmacist, not a physician. He was not just a druggist, but a very special one, a man who kept his pharmacy license renewed for 55 years and who was one of the youngest ever to pass the Texas license exams at the age of 19.
When Rockport was a much smaller town, access to a doctor was sometimes limited or impossible. The people turned to Albert Bruhl, whom many called “doctor.” He was called upon to “remove fishhooks from throats, to cut out fish hooks, cure ring worm, put splints on broken legs, and at times assist a doctor with an operation or amputation,” according to an article in the April 5, 1973, Rockport Pilot. He prepared some of his own medicines, and many people swore by his Athlete’s Foot remedy, Ring Worm Cure, All Healing Salve, and Iodine Drawing Plaster.
Albert Louis Bruhl was a civic leader, serving as mayor of Rockport several times. In 1925, he was a member of the first Navigation District Commission. He ran a successful drugstore in downtown Rockport for more than 50 years, selling it in 1946.
Bruhl was linked to pioneer families in area history. In November 1894, he married Harriet “Hattie” Fulton, daughter of James Fulton and granddaughter of George and Harriet Fulton who built the Fulton Mansion. The Bruhls had a son who died in childhood and a daughter, Gladys Bruhl Gibson, who was a community leader in Rockport from the 1960s through the 1980s.
Albert Bruhl was also a musician. He studied violin and had played with the Waco Symphony Orchestra. After the premature death of Hattie in 1910, he married Miss Mary Harrison, “a pianist of note.” A music room adjoined the parlor on the right side of the entry hall to the Fulton Bruhl House at 409 N. Broadway. Many friends recalled evenings there with Albert Bruhl playing violin accompanied by his wife on the piano.
From 1896-1907, Albert Bruhl owned the Bruhl-Paul-Johnson House, which is now the History Center for Aransas County. After current renovation is completed, the History Center will serve as a place to celebrate the rich history of Aransas County and its people such as “Doctor” Albert L. Bruhl.