Lee County Biography

J.B. Merriman

J. B. MERRIMAN, M. D., (deceased), a prominent early settler of Lee County, Ill., was born in Hartford County, Conn., May 2, 1814, of English extraction. Nathaniel Merriman, born in England in 1614, was the founder of the family in America and settled in New Haven, Conn., in 1639. Anson Merriman, father of Dr. J. B. Merriman, was born in Hartford County, Conn., and died at the age of thirty-two years. J. B. Merriman was the second child in his father's family and obtained a good education in his youth, deciding at that time to become a physician. Graduating from the medical department of Yale College in 1837, he began practicing in Berkshire County, Mass., where he rose rapidly in his profession, but after ten years of steady service his health failed and he removed to Long Island, N. Y. His large and increasing practice at the latter place wore so rapidly on his physical powers that, six years later, he determined to abandon the medical profession and seek a new home on the western prairies with the hope of restoring his impaired health. Coming to Lee County in 1855, he located on a quarter section of unimproved land in South Dixon Township, to which he made subsequent additions until he owned between 700 and 800 acres of valuable land in that locality. He also purchased large tracts of land in Iowa, which he later disposed of. The doctor first married in Berkshire County, Mass., Miss Eliza Curtis, who bore him one child, Grace (Mrs. E. W. Curtis, of Chicago), who died March 3, 1893. His second wife was Elizabeth Smith, a native of Long Island, N.Y. who died at the age of twenty-one years, leaving one son, Walter B. His third marriage was with Angeline Judd, who died Sept. 2, 1891, aged seventy-four years. When Doctor Merriman came to Lee County he intended to abandon the medical profession, but his reputation as a skillful physician had preceded him, and thus many demands were made upon him for his services. In 1884 he left his home in South Dixon to reside with his son Walter B., whose home is now in the suburbs of Dixon City, where he died in 1898. The Doctor was a well-informed man, possessing excellent business qualifications, and made many friends during his long and influential career in Lee County. In political sentiment he was a Republican and served his township as a member of the Board of Supervisors and two terms as Justice of the Peace.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1904 History of Lee County Illinois edited by Mr. A.C. Bardwell

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