Biography - Jacob Clearwater

JACOB CLEARWATER, M. D. The subject of the present writing is the oldest physician of Litchfield, having come here when there were only three houses in the place. He is the son of Reuben and Jane (Miller) Clearwater, and was born in Highland County, Ohio, December 27, 1820. His father, a farmer by occupation, was originally from North Carolina, and, for a time, made his home in Tennessee, where he married, and thence removed to Ohio. He was reared a follower of George Fox, and a member of the Society of Friends, but he saw reason to change his belief, and became a preacher in the Methodist denomination. He was cotemporary with, and a companion of Peter Cartwright, and these good and self-sacrificing men worked together for many years. Our subject well remembers seeing them together, and the visits he made to the home of the good but erratic old divine. Reuben Clearwater lived to be eighty-six years old and passed away after a ministerial life of sixty-two years. His last days were spent in McLean County, Ill.
When nine years old our subject accompanied his parents to McLean County, Ill., and he well remembers the time when, with his father, he attended the first sale of town lots at Bloomington, this State. When he reached a proper age he began to read medicine with Dr. Moran, of Leroy, Ill., and afterward was with Dr. Wakefield, of Point Isabella, Ill. Some five or six years later he entered into partnership with Dr. Lemon, and that connection continued for ten years. In 1854, Dr. Clearwater came to Litchfield and opened an office for the practice of his profession. He soon won his way, for in those times the physician was the friend as well as the healer, and no call was disregarded though it came from many miles away. The good Doctor has traveled over the prairie as far distant as St. Louis and Mattoon on his errands of mercy. In those early days he was obliged to make many journeys on horseback, no doubt, and probably often over Indian trails instead of good country roads.
How many changes the Doctor has seen in his long life here. The school and church bells peal over the land where, in his early pioneer life, was heard the war-whoop of angry savages. Rich meadows and fattening flocks meet the eye where once grew wild prairie grass or the trees of natural growth. All these changes have been very apparent to the country physician in a growing community, and with the improvements in every direction our subject took a deep interest. The active practice of Dr. Clearwater did, not close until he was himself attacked, and by one of those mysterious maladies which have always baffled the skill of the most learned. He was paralyzed in his left side in 1886, and this caused him to restrict his attention entirely to office practice. His patients would not give him up, but he was stricken a second time. Since that calamity he has recognized the affectionate wishes of his patients, and opened an office in his home for those who feel that they can have no one else.
The first marriage of Dr. Clearwater united him with Miss Susan Stansbury, of McLean County. They became the parents of one child, that died four days after the death of its mother. Later the Doctor married Miss Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel Brickey, and to them nine children have been born, of whom three are still living. Susan is the wife of John Mundon; Hester M., is the wife of Thomas Tolly, of Wilmington, Del.; and Napoleon lives in the residence adjoining that of his father. Our subject built his present home in 1872, and has lived in this place ever since. Socially, he affiliates with the Masonic fraternity, and Elliott Chapter No. 2. He and his family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Extracted 10 Jan 2017 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 452-454.

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