Hancock County ILGenweb

Dr. Samuel B. Mead

Transcribed by Marcia Siegfried Redding


      Dr. Samuel B. Mead—The parents of this gentleman were Jonathan Mead, born August 24, 1769, and Martha (Barnum) Mead, whom he married in 1798. She was a daughter of Dr. Samuel Barnum, of North Salem, New York, and died in June, 1812, leaving 4 sons and 3 daughters, our subject being the eldest, and was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, Oct. 18, 1799. A few days before her death her youngest son, Alfred, was born. He came to Augusta in 1836, but now resides in Colusa, Cal. The eldest daughter, Caroline, born early in 1801, now resides in Colorado. Jonathan Mead was married to his second wife, whose name was Betsey Bradley, of Greenfield, Conn., in 1817, by whom he had one son and two daughters. The second wife died at Augusta, this county, June 26, 1847, aged 65 years. Jonathan Mead died at Augusta September 11, 1851, aged 82 years and 22 days. He came to Augusta to live early in June, 1837.

      Dr. Samuel B. Mead lived on his father’s farm until about 15 years of age, receiving, during this time, a common school education. He then received a collegiate course and graduated at Yale College, New Haven, Conn., in 1820. He studied medicine and received his diploma to practice from the same college, Feb. 25, 1824. He emigrated to Illinois in the spring of 1833, living a short time at Rushville; the following August he came to Hancock county and located at Augusta, then called “Oliver’s Settlement,” and commenced the practice of his profession, which he continued till 1860, commanding an extensive practice. He was next to the first regular physician that practiced medicine in this county. In 1833 Dr. Isaac Galland was said to be the only practicing physician in the county, and probably was the first. In 1834 Dr. John F. Charles settled in Carthage. On Dr. Mead’s arrival at “Oliver’s Settlement,” now Augusta, he immediately selected a site for a dwelling; first had a well dug and engaged a hewed log-cabin built; this was in July. It was finished in August, and he moved into it, with his family. It was the first cabin built on the site of Augusta. In February, 1836, the town was laid out by the proprietors, William D. Abernethy, Joel Catlin and Dr. S. B. Mead. October 1, 1834, Dr. Mead was appointed “Surgeon Mate” in the regiment of militia for Hancock county, by Dr. Isaac Galland, Colonel; September 12, 1840, he was appointed Postmaster at Augusta; Nov. 14, 1840, took charge of the same and continued as Postmaster until Feb. 2, 1857. He received the first mail carried by railroad into Augusta, Feb. 6, 1856. He has kept meteorological observations for the Smithsonian Institution at Washington, D. C., nearly since its beginning—till it turned them over to the War Department, and he still keeps them. He has many years devoted much time to the study of botany, and has discovered several interesting plants. As a botanist he has a world-wide reputation, frequently receiving letters from Europe and other distant places, asking for information in matters pertaining to plants, etc. Several plants are named after him.

      Dr. Mead was married to Arietta Purdy Jan. 9, 1822, daughter of Ebenezer Purdy, Esq., of North Salem, Westchester county, N.Y. She was born July 27, 1804. They had 6 children. Only one is now living, Mrs. Velia Bredett, of Augusta. Mrs. Mead died May 7, 1865. April 18, 1866, the Doctor married his present wife, whose name was Martha Putnam, of Putnam, Ohio, and whose father was a nephew of Gen. Rufus Putnam, the founder of Marietta, Ohio. They had one child, Ora Mead, born Aug. 23, 1868. The Doctor is still living at Augusta, very pleasantly and comfortably situated, and is respected and honored by all. Although now nearly 81 years of age, he is still active, with his mental faculties unimpaired, and is prepared to enjoy life for many years to come; that it may be so is the wish of many friends. His portrait is found in this volume.

Page: 522 & 523

Title: 1880 History of Hancock County, Illinois

Author: By TH. Gregg

Published by: Chas. C. Chapman & Co.


Copyright 2007 Susan Cheney; all rights reserved.