Transcribed by: Mary Ann Kaylor
ALBERT ATHERTON, M.D. Dr. Albert Atherton is now practically living a retired life in Pleasant Plains after long and active connection with the medical profession and with other business interests. He is a native son of Illinois, his birth having occurred in Morgan county on the 23d of October, 1828. His father, Jonathan Atherton, was born in Dutchess county, New York, in 1803, and was a son of Rev. Theophilus Artherton, who was likewise a native of the Empire state. The family is of English lineage and was established in New York at a very early epoch in its history. They were relatives of the Harpers, so well known as publishers. Rev. Theophilus Atherton, on removing westward about 1820, took up his abode in Pickaway county, Ohio, where he was engaged in the work of the ministry as a pioneer preacher of the Presbyterian church. He also engaged in teaching school and opened up and carried on a farm. Under the parental roof Jonathan Atherton was reared, and after arriving at years of maturity he wedded Ann Johnson, a native of New York, born in Dutchess county. Her father was Richard Johnson, another of the early settlers of Pickaway county, Ohio. The marriage occurred about 1824 and in 1826 Jonathan Atherton removed with his wife to Illinois, becoming one of the first settlers of Morgan county. There he carried on farming on a tract of wild land, which he developed into a good farm, and upon that place he reared his family and spent his remaining days. His death occurred there about 1862. His wife survived him for several years and spent her last days with her son, the Doctor, at Pleasant Plains. She had three children who reached mature years, the surviving members of the family being Dr. Atherton and his sister Alice Jane, who is now the wife of B. Howard, of South Dakota.
In the county of his nativity Dr. Atherton was reared to manhood and at the usual age he entered the common schools, while later he attended the Illinois College at Jacksonville. In early manhood he engaged in teaching for several terms, but regarded this merely as a preliminary step to other professional labor. Wishing to make the practice of medicine his life work, he began studying in Arcadia and afterward pursued a course of lectures in St. Louis in the winter of 1851_2. On completing the course he was graduated with the class of 1853, and he then located for practice in Sangamon county, Illinois, establishing his home in Cartwright township. He has since remained in this county and for twenty years was in active practice. In the early days his patronage extended over a wife territory and he made long drives in order to alleviate human suffering and aid in the restoration of health. He was one of the active and successful members of the medical fraternity of the county until about 1870,w hen he largely put aside professional cares.
During the time of the Civil war Dr. Atherton was a stanch and loyal defender of the Union cause. He has been an earnest Republican since the organization of the party in 1856, yet has never been an aspirant for office. After coming to Sangamon county he purchased land, made improvements thereon and developed a good farm near Pleasant Plains, where he now has an excellent and valuable property, comprising one hundred and sixty acres of good land. He also established a drug and grocery store in Pleasant Plains and continued in that business for several years. About 1880 he became one of the organizers of a bank, which was conducted under the name of Tracy, Beekman & Company, but is now carried on under the firm style of Atherton, Richardson & Company. They do a general banking business, this being one of the solid financial institutions of this portion of the state. Whatever Dr. Atherton undertakes receives his earnest consideration and the assistance of his well directed labors, and, as a result, is carried forward to a successful completion.
The Doctor was married on August, 1856, to Miss Sarah Ann Hayes, a native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who was reared and educated there. Her father, Augustus Hayes, was a native of that county and became one of the early settlers of central Illinois. Unto the Doctor and his wife have been born seven children, who are yet living: Elma C., the wife of Robert Zane, of Jacksonville, Illinois; Albert, who is married and is a business man of Jacksonville; Mary Alice, the wife of George Harnett, of Springfield; Augustus, who is married and lives on his father's farm; Edward, who is married and holds a responsible position in the bank at Pleasant Plains; William, who is married and carries on a farm; and Mabel, the youngest, at home. They also lost two children: Franklin, who died at the age of four years; and LeRoy, who died in infancy.
Dr. Atherton is an active and devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal church at Pleasant Plains. He and his wife have been residents of this county for more than half a century, being identified with its growth and development in many ways. In his profession he won distinction and success and in the conduct of his business affairs he has displayed excellent ability that has result in prosperity.