Isaac Harrison REEDER, M. D., of Lacon,
with one exception, is the oldest practitioner in
The tract secured by Jacob REEDER comprised
about three hundred acres of government land, which he proceeded
to improve and where he remained with his family until 1837,
when he sold to the Fenn Colony, which came to this locality
Jacob Reeder was a man of home tastes and habits, caring little or nothing for the applause of the world. For almost his entire life he engaged in tilling the soil, planting and sowing with an abiding faith that God would give the increase. He never sought, nor would he accept public office, although a man of strong political views. In early life he was an advocate of the principles of the whig party, but when that party, which numbered among its leaders such men as Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, passed out of existence, he affiliated with the republican party, being by nature and education a strong anti-slavery man. In his religious convictions he was a Presbyterian, strongly rooted in the peculiar views held by that old and highly conservative body of people. In his family relations, while tender and considerate, he was yet firm in his discipline and required perfect obedience from his children. He was what might be termed an ideal man. For many years he was an elder in the church, and was one of the first members of the Presbyterian church of Lacon. His good wife was also a member of that denomination, and was a worthy helpmate of such a man. She preceded him to the better world some ten years, dying in 1865.
Jacob and Frances REEDER were the parents
of eight children, all of whom grew to maturity. Of this number
Addison was a machinist by trade, and died at
The subject of this sketch remained with his parents until seventeen years of age, attending subscription schools of the neighborhood in winter months, and assisting in the cultivation and improvement of the farm the remaining seasons of the year. He was then apprenticed to Mr. BURLINGHAM, of Lacon, to learn the blacksmith’s trade, with whom he remained until twenty-one years of age, receiving for his services during the entire period only his board and clothes. Being of a naturally studious nature, while engaged in learning his trade, he borrowed and eagerly read a number of valuable books, thus storing his mind with useful knowledge. From Dr. BOALS he borrowed a chemistry, which he carefully studied, and from another he secured a grammar. For months he almost continually had his books on the forge before him, which he read and studied as he blew the bellows.
When his four years’ term of service was up, our subject commenced life without a dollar, receiving no assistance whatever from his employer. His trousers were out at the knees, his shirt ragged, his coat hardly fit to be worn, but he had grit and determination, and at once commenced work at his trade as a journeyman, continuing as such until he had laid by enough money with which to purchase a set of tools, when he opened a shop at Metamora, Woodford county, where he operated some three or four years. He was then taken sick and his physician, Dr. WHITMIRE, now, as well as then, residing at Metamora, decided that he must abandon his trade. While convalescing he read some of his physician’s medical works and became greatly interested in a skeleton which the doctor had in his office. For some two or three months he continued to read such medical works as were at his disposal, with only the thought of passing away the time.
Consulting with his physician as to what calling or profession he should adopt for the future, Dr. WHITMIRE, much to his surprise, advised him to continue the study of medicine and qualify himself for a physician. The idea struck him as amusing, as he had never given the subject any serious consideration, but later he decided to follow the doctor’s advice. Selling his shop and tools, he entered the office of Dr. WHITMIRE, and under his instruction pursued his studies. Being a good vocalist, he taught singing school, thereby securing the means with which to pay his board. He also saved enough to pay his expenses through one term of Rush Medical college, which he attended in the winter of 1848-9.
At the close of his first course of
lectures, he returned to Metamora without a cent in his pocket.
His old preceptor then advised him to locate at some good point
and enter upon the practice of his profession, thus gaining some
practical knowledge before completing his course. This he
decided to do, and therefore located at
Returning to college in the fall of 1851,
our subject pursued his studies and graduated with honors in
February, 1852, receiving his diploma from Rush Medical college.
About the middle of the term, however, he came very nearly
leaving the college, and possibly abandoning all thought of ever
continuing in the profession. His funds were about exhausted and
he had no other source of supply. A roommate, Abner HARD, late
The firm of Boal & Reeder succeeded in
building up a fine practice, but in October, 1862, Dr. REEDER
was commissioned surgeon of the Tenth Illinois Volunteer
Infantry by Governor Yates, and joined the regiment at
On returning home the doctor at once
resumed practice, and has since continued to reside at this
place, and for a period of almost half a century has ministered
to the physical wants of the people of this vicinity. His
experience in the army and his recognized skill as a surgeon has
given him a reputation not only throughout
Dr. REEDER was united in marriage with Miss
Dorcas LUCAS, at
While a strong republican and very pronounced in his views, Dr. REEDER has never sought office, and has devoted his entire time to his professional, social, educational and religious duties. For years he was a member of the school board, and for some time was its chairman. Realizing the difficulty in his own case of securing an education, he strived to give a more favorable opportunity to others, and by his active interest and wise counsel much of the success attained by the Lacon public schools is due. A lifelong member of the Presbyterian church, he has given much thought to the Master’s work. He is also a member of the Masonic fraternity, blue lodge and chapter. All in all it may be well said that the life of our subject has been such as to reflect credit upon himself and honor to his fellow-citizens.
Extracted March 2011 by Norma Hass from The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois, 1896.