Lee County Biography


Little more than a generation ago woman had no place in the business world. She was supposed to be concerned only with the duties of the household, save that she was given the instruction of the young as a teacher in the schools--a work but little removed from the household and family cares. Today there is practically no avenue of activity closed to her and she has proven herself equal to the representatives of the sterner sex in all that calls for intelligent comprehension and skill, safe, perhaps, only in the point of physical strength. None today deny her prominent place in the medical profession and among the more successful physicians of Dixon is Dr. Harriet E. Garrison, who was born in Lee county, on, October 28, 1848. Her parents, William and Amelia (Omen) Garrison, were both natives of Pennsylvania, but left the east in 1845 and made their way to Illinois, with Lee county as their destination. They traveled overland by team, bringing with them their seven children, the eldest at the time being ten years of age. They were also accompanied by Mathias Garrison, brother of William Garrison. Their route lay at times through dense forests or over open uncultivated prairies and they saw much wild game while upon the way and after their arrival in this county. On reaching Illinois, Mr. Garrison obtained a tract of government land upon which not a furrow had been turned or an improvement made. With characteristic energy he began its development and converted it into productive fields from which he annually gathered good crops that enabled him to provide a comfortable living for his family. He continued upon his farm until death called him. At one time he removed to Ogle county, Illinois, where he operated a sawmill for a brief period and then returned to Lee county, where his remaining days were passed. After the arrival of the parents in Illinois four more children were added to the family, making eleven in all. Dr. Garrison was trained to the usual household duties but the parents were ambitious to give their children good educational opportunities and she was anxious to take advantage of such. Accordingly she supplemented her public-school course by study at Mount Morris, Illinois, and also in the Rock River Seminary. By this time she had determined to engage in the practice of medicine and pursued her studies at the Women's Medical College of Chicago, from which she was graduated with the class of 1876. She also took a six months' hospital course and thus gained the broad knowledge and experience which only hospital service can bring. O

On the 5th of October, 1876, Dr. Garrison came to Dixon and opened an office and has since engaged in practice here, although she went to New York city in 1890 and again in 1891 for postgraduate work. In this and other ways she has continually broadened her knowledge and increased her skill. She traveled in Europe with a party of physicians in 1897. She was the only general practitioner among them and when Dr. Senn, a noted surgeon of Chicago, became ill she was called upon to attend him. Her trip was made for the purpose of attending the International Medical Association at Moscow, Russia, and in 1900 Dr. Garrison again went abroad attending the International Medical Association at Paris. She has attended five different meetings of the American Medical Association and she is also a member of the Lee County and the Illinois State Medical Societies. She has largely specialized in the treatment of diseases of children and is a recognized authority on many points relative thereto. Articles which she has written have appeared in various leading medical journals of the country and many prominent men of the profession have borne testimony as to their merits. She has ever held to the highest professional standards and step by step has advanced to a conspicuous, prominent and honorable position in the ranks of the medical profession in Illinois.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.


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