EARLY DOCTORS OF PRINCEVILLE
By Laura C. Sentz, 1928Excertp from History and Reminiscences - Old Settlers' Union of Princeville and Vicinity Vol IV
Dr. Thomas Waters, according to notes made by S. S. Slane, was the first doctor in Princeville and vicinity. He was a relative of the Morrow family. The Peoria county records show that he received a patent from the United States government August 1, 1836 for the West V2 of the S. E. % Section 19, Akron Township, 80 acres. This land now belongs to the Kuntz estate. Dr. Waters sold his claim and went to Iowa. He was sometimes called a "water and herb doctor, chiefly water."
One of the Morrows about this same time was sometimes called in to attend a neighbor but he could not be called a regular physician.
Dr. Oscar Fitzalen Mott, a native of New York state, came to Princeville the fall of 1837. He wa,s an "herb doctor" and practiced his profession, taking what pay his patients were willing to give. He was very successful in treatment of the commoner diseases of his time, most of which were chills and fever. He was the father of Washington Mott and Josephine Mott, well known in Princeville for two generations.
Dr. Moss (first name unknown) came from New Orleans. It is not known why he left New Orleans to come to this locality, for it was said he had a very extensive practice there?all that he could possibly take care of. Many still living know about the Moss liniment. Dr. Moss gave each of his friends a receipe for it and one of these old recipes has been dug up at this time, as follows:
Recipe for Moss Liniment
1 oz. origanum
1 oz. oil cedar
1 oz. gum camphor
1 oz. hartshorn
1/2 pint turpentine
1/2 pint alcohol
1 oz. oil of spike
1 oz. olive oil
1 oz. chloroform
1 teaspoonful sassafras oil
Dr. Moss said this would knock H--l and d-m-n-tion off the hinges.
Dr. Chas. Cutter came to Princeville some years before 1850, a graduate of Harvard Medical school. Of his work, his son at one time wrote as follows: "His practice sometimes extended from Lawn Ridge, in one direction, to French Grove in the other; and his meager remuneration, when there was pay at all, sometimes taking the bulky form of corn in the ear, and even of labor in his own fields, as return for successfully ushering into the world infant Princevillians, and for other professional services." He was remembered also for his activity as an abolitionist and assistance to runaway slaves. His house in fact was considered a station of the underground railway.
Next in order was Dr. Israel G. Harlan. Dr. Robert F. Henry also came to Princeville before 1850, one historical epidemic of smallpox in the Clussman and McGinnis families, having been handled by him in July 1849. After further study, and graduating at Rush Medical College, Chicago, in 1853, he practiced medicine in Princeville for over fifty years. As one biographer has said: "The pioneer physician needed to be a man of consecrated energy, for his patients were often many miles away. The country was wild, and thinly settled, and as no trained help was to be had in the sick room, the doctor's resourcefulness met these conditions successfully."
Dr. Luther M. Andrews practiced in Princeville from about 1855 to 1875, during that period serving three years as Assistant Surgeon in the 47th 111. Volunteers.
Dr. John E. Charles came to Princeville in 1861 and was a resident of the Village until 1881. He had been a "Forty-niner" in California, and had made a second trip across the plains to California in 1852, but lost all he had in these ventures. When he landed in Princeville his worldly possessions were his medical books, surgical instruments, household goods and less than $25 in cash. With the self reliance and courage which had carried him through many previous discouraging situations he set about making acquaintances and incidentally friends which he held through his life. His son Haller E. Charles is still living in Peoria, his daughter Alice Maud was married to John Jay Hull, and their only child June Hull Bird, wife of Wm. P. Bird died at St. Petersburg, Florida, on May 11, 1925.
Dr. Geo. W. Emery was probably next in order, a relative of the Riel family and coming to Princeville from Canada.
Dr. R. H. Raney substituted for Dr. R. F. Henry, while the latter resided in Galesburg a few years.
Dr. Thomas E. Alyea practiced in Princeville beginning in the 1880's, for some twenty or thirty years and he is still living in Earlville, Ill.
Dr. Milton S. Marcy covered about this same period, 1881 to 1891, his office and residence having been on the corner now occupied by the C. H. Wilcox store building, (used by Citron Department Store) ; and Dr. Marcy recently died in Peoria.
Dr. Watkins Warren was located in Princeville from about 1885 to 1899. He was a native of Virginia, a typical southerner in many ways, and an ex-surgeon in the Confederate army. He was graduated from both William and Mary College, and the Medical Institute at Richmond, Va. He was peculiar at times and strong in his likes and dislikes, but very highly educated and capable in his profession; also a very genial friend to those whom he chose for friends. Desiring milder winters for himself and Mrs. Warren, he moved to Mt. Vernon, 111., in 1899, where Mrs. Warren died in 1900. The doctor died at Thomasville, Georgia, Jan. 3, 1903, and was buried at Mt. Vernon, 111.
Dr. Collin H. Wilcox, Dr. Walter J. Price, Dr. Elsie B. Merritt, Dr. E. E. Henson and Dr. M G Cutler, besides a few of more temporary residence, have brought the list down to date.