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Below is a family biography included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published by Biographical Publishing Co. in 1894.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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W. W. ESSICK, M. D., has since 1885 engaged in the practice of medicine in Murphysboro, and has been eminently successful in his profession, winning a high reputation, which has placed him in the lead among the medical practitioners of southern Illinois. He well deserves representation in the history of his adopted county, and with pleasure we present his record to our readers. He was born near Duncannon, Perry County, Pa., October 16, 1854. The family was originally of German descent. Many years ago the name was spelled Essig, and its meaning was vinegar. The grandfather, John Essick, was born in Chester County, Pa., followed farming in Dauphin County, and later near Liverpool, on the Susquehanna River. He served as First Lieutenant in the War of 1812, and afterward received a pension for his services. He died at the advanced age of ninety-nine.

Rev. John Essick, the Doctor’s father, was born in Dauphin County. He was reared on a farm, for some years carried on farming in Perry County, Pa., and in 1868 removed to Richland County, Ill. He there carried on agricultural pursuits for a time, but subsequently engaged in missionary work as a local minister of the United Brethren Church. His work was always performed without financial remuneration. He died on his farm in 1882, at the age of sixty-eight years. When he removed to his farm it was an unbroken tract of land, but he at once began its development. There were no churches near, and within six months he had organized a church and Sunday-school. Now within site of the old home two churches stand. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Julia A. Smith, was born in Snyder County, Pa., and was a daughter of Jacob Smith, a native of Dauphin County, Pa. He was a distiller and an extensive farmer. Mrs. Essick spent her last days in the Doctor’s home, passing away in 1884. In the family were four children, but only two are now living, the brother being Samuel T., a farmer near Pomona.

The subject of this sketch came with his parents to Illinois, and was reared on a farm in Richland County until 1869. He then engaged in driving a stage for two years between Carmi and Grayville, also carrying the mail. He made three trips each week. On one night an attempt was made to rob him, but he escaped and saved the mail and express. Subsequently he purchased forty acres adjoining the old home farm, which he operated for two years. In 1875 he entered the normal school of Carbondale, where the succeeding three years of his life were passed. He has also taught school to some extent. In 1876 he began reading medicine under Dr. R. P. Lightfoot, of Carbondale, and in 1878 took a summer course of lectures in the medical college at Nashville, Tenn. Returning, he passed the examination before the State Board, and at once began practice in Pomona, where he continued until the autumn of 1881, when he again went to Nashville. The following spring he was graduated with the degree of M. D., and received the first prize faculty medal, valued at $50. He at once resumed practice in Pomona.

On the 5th of June, 1883, Dr. Essick wedded Miss Mattie E. Reeves, who was born in this county. They have one son, Raymond B. In June, 1885, the Doctor was appointed on the Board of Pension Examiners by President Cleveland. The following year, however, he came to Murphysboro, where he has since engaged in practice with a marked degree of success. For the past five years he has been surgeon for the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, and is the consulting surgeon and physician for the Gastside Coal Company. He belongs to the Southern Illinois Medical Association, the State Medical Association, and the National Association of Railway Surgeons. He ever keeps abreast with the discoveries and theories concerning his profession, and his large practice is well merited by his ability. In 1890 he took a post-graduate course at the St. Louis Medical College.

The Doctor is the owner of two hundred and eighty acres of land in Kinkaid Township. When it came into his possession it was covered with timber, but he cleared the tract, has planted it in fruit, and now has the largest fruit farm in the county. Socially, he is a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Uniformed Rank. In December, 1893, he was elected surgeon of the Sixth Regiment, K. P., for a term of four years. While living in Pomona he served as a member of the Board of Trustees. For two years he has been a member of the Board of Education, and was elected its President almost unanimously, there being only six opposing votes. In politics he was formerly a Democrat, but is now a stalwart Republican.

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This family biography is one of 679 biographies included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published in 1894.  View the complete description here: The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois

View additional Jackson County, Illinois family biographies here: Jackson County, Illinois Biographies

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