From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and
Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing
Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 144-145, a reprinted by Stevens
Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County
Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
Mortimer Ayers, M. D., a leading member of the medical
fraternity in Schuyler county, Illinois, has been a resident of
Rushville since October 1, 1873. He was born at Springfield, Illinois,
June 25, 1848, a son of Grover and Jane (Stockdale) Ayers. The father
was a native of New York state, born near Penn Yan, May 21, 1818, and
emigrated to Wapakoneta, Ohio, with his family at an early day. There
he was married, and in 1844 he emigrated to Illinois, and settled at
Springfield; here he embarked in a general mercantile trade, which he
carried on until 1862, when he retired from active life; he removed to
Vermont, Fulton county, in 1876, and there passed the remainder of his
days; his death occurred in 1880; his wife survives him, and is a
resident of Vermont, Illinois. He was very prosperous in business and
accumulated a competency. In his religious faith he was a Baptist. The
family consisted of five children: Bryon W., died in Springfield,
Illinois; Ada is the wife of George W. Whitney; Sylvanus resides in La
Fayette, Indiana; the fourth born is the subject of this sketch; Grover
died at Springfield, at the age of twenty years.
Dr. Ayers passed his boyhood days at Springfield, and attended
the public schools until he was fifteen years of age. He then entered
the United States Navy as midshipman, and served in this capacity for
three years; the greater portion of this time was spent at Annapolis,
Maryland, although he made several cruises. In 1866 he returned to
Springfield, and began the study of medicine, soon afterward going to
St. Louis, where he continued the pursuit of the sciences under the
direction of Prof. T. G. Comstock. He entered the Homeopathic Medical
College of Missouri at St. Louis, and was graduated in the spring of
1868. He then located at Pana, Illinois, where he engaged in practice.
He had not yet attained his majority, being only twenty years of age,
and he soon decided to enter the navy; when he reached New York,
however, he went on board a merchant vessel as surgeon, sailed to South
America, and was absent three years. Returning to the United States at
the end of that period, he located at Rushville, Illinois. He has taken
several special courses in medicine, the last of which was at the Royal
Ophthalmic Hospital, London, England; he has been a close and careful
student of all topics pertaining to the science and practice of
medicine, and has made his mark as a skillful physician. He is the only
member of the Homoepathic school in Rushville.
Dr. Ayers was united in marriage, July 15, 1874, to Miss Dora
Hill, a daughter of Major William Hill, and a native of Littleton
township, Schuyler county. Two children have been born to them, Ethel
and Olive. In his religious faith the Doctor is a Presbyterian. He is a
member of the Masonic order, belonging to the blue lodge, chapter and
commandery; he has held the office of Commander of Rushville
Commandery, No. 56, K. T.
Major William Hill was born in Lancashire, England, June 27,
1825. At the age of twenty-one years he emigrated to America, and
became one of the pioneers of Schuyler county in 1846. He was a
cabinetmaker by trade, and followed this vocation for ten years. He
married Rachel Knowles, a daughter of Joseph Knowles, who came to the
United States with his family aboard the same vessel with the Major.
After abandoning his trade he was interested in a flouring mill, but
when the Civil war broke out he was one of the first to respond to the
call for troops; he raised a company, which was mustered into the
service as part of the Engineer's Regiment of the West; he was elected
Captain, served through the entire conflict, and was mustered out with
the rank of Major. After the war he became a member of the firm of J.
& J. Knowles & Co., and was connected with this firm until his
death, which occurred March 25, 1877. His wife died April 12, 1877.
They had a family of five children, four of whom lived to mature years:
Maria, wife of C. M. Cowan of York, Nebraska; Mary A. is Deputy County
Clerk of York county, Nebraska; Dora is the wife of Dr. M. Ayers; Laura
was the wife of the late Luther Jackson, of Rushville.
Major Hill was a staunch Republican, and took a prominent part
in local affairs. He was a man of plain and unpretentious manner, true
to his convictions, and worthy of the esteem in which he was held.