Buchanan County, Missouri
Biographies
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Lafayette
Isly, M. D. Formerly president of the Kansas City. Eclectic Medical College and now successfully identified with general practice and management of a hospital at Excelsior Springs. Doctor Isly belongs to a family of pioneer activities in this section of Missouri, and his father was a factor in the development of Excelsior Springs as the famous health resort of the state.
Doctor Isly was born in Carroll County, Missouri, July 29, 1864. His father, Jeremiah C. Isly, was born at Jacksboro, Tennessee, in April, 1835, and died on a farm in Ray County, Missouri, at the age of fifty nine. The mother was Lydia Craven, who was born in Ray County, Missouri, July 3, 1836, representing one of the oldest families in this part of the state, and is still living hale and hearty, aged seventy-eight, at Excelsior Springs. Dr. Isly's grandfather, John Isly, was a native of Tennessee and died in that state. His maternal grandfather, Millard J. Craven and wife, Anna Campbell, were natives of Tennessee, and in the times when settlement and development of Northwest Missouri were just beginning, came to Missouri in a wagon drawn by an ox team. Dr. Isly was one of ten children, the three still living are: Lafayette; Miss Fannie, at home; and Joseph T., a physician and surgeon at Kansas City, Kansas. Dr. Isly's father left home when fifteen years of age, having borrowed a hundred dollars from a brother, and after reaching Ray County, Missouri, worked on a farm, also bought and sold butter and eggs, and finally laid the foundation of a substantial career. After his marriage he engaged in farming in Carroll County, but during the war left that county with an ox team and wagon and moved into Iowa. On that journey his wife had $5,000 in money secreted about her person.
After the war they returned to Missouri, settled in Ray County, and the father was a farmer and later in the general merchandise business at Fredericksburg under the firm name of Shackleford & Isly for many years. Jeremiah C. Isly had no small share in the activities which created the modern City of Excelsior Springs. In 1881, about the time the railroads opened this resort to the world, he purchased forty acres of land where the Superior Hospital now stands, $78 for the forty acres. He was offered an adjoining forty acres for $25, but refused to extend his investments that far. A little later, as Excelsior Springs began to grow, he platted Isly's Addition, the second subdivision of land for town purposes at Excelsior Springs. Another interesting fact is that he loaned Mr. Wyman $17 to send the first jug of water from Siloam Spring to St. Louis for the purpose of having it analyzed. That was in 1880, and practically the whole history of Excelsior Springs has been compressed into the following thirty-three years.
Dr. Lafayette Isly was reared on a farm, had country schooling, with a brief time at the university in Columbia, and at the age of eighteen took up the study of medicine under Doctor Robinson at Pratherville, Missouri. Subsequently he was in various lines of activity, and also has the distinction of having established the second bottling works in Excelsior Springs. His capital for that enterprise amounted to $28.50, but after four years he sold out and made considerable money in the venture. Doctor Isly finished his course in medicine in 1901, graduating from the Kansas City Eclectic College of Medicine, and took up active practice at Excelsior Springs. A little later he returned to Kansas City and bought half an interest in the college from which he had been graduated, was for six years secretary of the school, and for two years its president. In 1912 Doctor Isly sold his stock in that institution, returned to Excelsior Springs, and has since enjoyed a good general practice as a physician.
He has recently leased the Superior Hospital, and has opened it with new equipment and organization, and has thus given Excelsior Springs another excellent service for the benefit of the many hundreds who resort to this city and its healing waters yearly. Doctor Isly saw the last crop of wheat harvested on the land now occupied by the Siloam bathhouse, opposite his office, in 1881. For three years Doctor Isly served as coroner of Clay County, and also has been an alderman of Excelsior Springs. He is affiliated with the Masonic order, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Eagles and the Modern Woodmen of America. Politically his actions are with the democratic party. On September 18, 1888, Doctor Isly married Mamie L. Bailey, who was born in Kansas City, Missouri. Of seven children born to their union, the two now living are Hazel and Iona, both at home.
[A History of Northwest Missouri, Volume 2; edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1918; Donated and Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack]

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