Biography - William J. Eddy

WILLIAM J. EDDY, a leading physician of Shelbyville, Shelby County, his native city, was born October 13, 1857. His father, the late William Eddy, a former well-known citizen of this county, was a native of the county of Cork, Ireland. His father was born in the same county as himself, and was derived from Scotch ancestry. He was a shoemaker by trade and spent his entile life in Ireland.

The father of our subject early acquired the shoemaker's trade of his father, and followed it in his native land until his emigration to this country in 1847. He landed at New Orleans, and coming directly to Illinois, located at Galena, and was actively engaged in the manufacture of shoes in that city for several years. In 1856 he came to Shelbyville and worked at his trade here until 1876, when he removed to his farm near Lakewood, and was prosperously engaged in agricultural pursuits from that time until death closed his busy career in August, 1890, and deprived the county of a most worthy citizen, who had contributed his quota to its advancement. he was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and as a man of upright character was in every way deserving of the respect accorded to him. He was twice married. The maiden name of his first wife, mother of our subject, was Mary J. Roberts. She was a woman of many excellent qualities, and was a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Her birthplace was in Cornwall, England, and she was a daughter of John S. Roberts, who was a native of the same shire as himself. He came to America with his family in 1840, and first settled in Pennsylvania, after a residence there of a few years became one of the pioneers of Grant County, Wis. In 1856 he came from there to this county, and identified himself with its farmers, buying a farm in Dry Point Township, on which he made his home until his death. The mother of our subject departed this life in 1865. The father married a second time, and by each marriage had four children.

Dr. Eddy was given every advantage to secure a liberal education, laying a solid foundation in the city schools of Shelbyville. Three years' attendance at the Normal School, one year at Valparaiso, Ind. and two years at the State Normal at Carbondale, Ill. still further advanced him in his studies. During that time he taught two terms of school, and employed his leisure hours in studying medicine, he further prepared himself for the profession that he proposed to adopt for his lifework by becoming a student in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, at Chicago, from which he was graduated with a high standing in 1885. He at once opened an office in his native city, where he is well-known and popular, and soon won favor in his professional capacity, as he showed in his practice that he possessed in a full degree the requisites of a true physician — a sound knowledge of medicine, skill in diagnosing a case and in applying remedies, and true tact and courtesy in his intercourse with his patients, he is a member of the Shelby County Medical Society, and also of the Illinois State Medical Society, the American Association and of the Central Illinois District Medical Society. Religiously, he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

The Doctor was happily married in September, 1888, to Miss Carrie Chafee, a native of Ypsilanti, Mich., and a daughter of Dr. Noah F. Chafee, a well-known physician of this city, with whom our subject is associated in practice. We are pleased to incorporate in this sketch a brief account of the life of Dr. Chafee. He was born in Vermont, February 6, 1833, a son of Daniel and Miranda (Haven) Chafee, who were also natives of the Green Mountain State. His father was a farmer, and died in his native State in 1839, leaving a widow and three sons. The mother removed with her children to Wayne County, N. Y., and three years later took up her residence in Monroe County, Mich., where she married again.

Dr. Chafee grew to manhood in Michigan, and in 1862 came to Illinois. He stopped during the summer at Shelbyville, where, in the fall of 1862, he enlisted as assistant Surgeon in the Fourteenth Illinois Infantry, he having previously graduated from the Medical Department of the Michigan University in the spring of 1862, and he therefore went to the front well prepared for his duties, and there gained a valuable experience amid the trying scenes on Southern battlefields and in army hospitals during the two years that he remained in the service. In 1863 he was with Gen. Sherman. In 1864 he was in Georgia, and at Atlanta was taken prisoner while in the performance of his duties in caring for the wounded and dying, and was held in Libby Prison three weeks. After that he was returned to Springfield, Ill., and as nearly all the men in his regiment were still prisoners, he was discharged.

After the war Dr. Chafee returned to Michigan, and practiced medicine in Lenawee County until 1884, when he came again to Shelbyville, and for some years has been associated in his profession with his son-in-law, Dr. Eddy.

In April, 1864, while on a furlough, he was married to Miss Josephine McMath, a daughter of Samuel and Caroline McMath, and a native of Michigan. They have had five children, three of whom died in childhood, and the others are Carrie, wife of Dr. Eddy, and Laura, who lives with her parents.

Dr. Chafee is a sound Republican, and always takes interest enough in public affairs to vote, but does not give much time to politics. Religiously, he is of the Methodist Episcopal faith. He is a thorough temperance man, and is in all respects a person of high character and standing as a physician and a citizen. His record as a Surgeon in an Illinois regiment during the war is commemorated by his connection with the Grand Army of the Republic.

Extracted 11 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 311-313.

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