Sangamon County ILGenWeb © 2000
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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

JOHN W. CANTRALL, M. D. - The life history of John W. Cantrall can not fail to prove of interest to many readers of this volume, for he is one of the native sons of Sangamon county and has so directed his labors and energies here as to win for himself the good will of the community, while his work has proven of benefit to his fellowmen. His paternal grandfather, Levi Cantrall, was the seventh son in a family and was born in Virginia on the 1st of October, 1787. He married Fannie England and they became the parents of thirteen children, twelve of whom reached adult age and had families of their own. After the death of his first wife, Levi Cantrall wedded Ann Barnett on the 27th of May 1836 and they had five children, but three died in infancy. Levi Cantrall served his country in the war or 1812, and he died on the 20th of February, 1860, while his first wife passed away on the 10th of September 1835. Among their children was Charles S. Cantrall, who was born in Sangamon county, Illinois, January 6, 1826. His parents had become early settlers of this portion of the state, casting in their lot with the pioneers who reclaimed thi purposes of civilization and instituted the work which has led to the present development and prosperity of the county. Here, amid the wild scenes of the frontier, Charles S. Cantrall was reared. He married Emily Van dagrift, who was born October 6, 1830 and they had two children: Mary Eleanor, born June 13,1848; and McDonald, born August 20, 1851 The daughter was married January 25, 1866, to S. 0. Price, by whom she had two children: Emma and William, who are living in Logan county, Illinois. McDonald married Margaret Peden, and they have four children: Maude, Augustus, Bruce and Joseph. Mrs. Emily Cantrall passed away January 29, 1852, and on the 20th of June, 1852, Charles S. Cantrall wedded Lucy A. Swearengen who was born October 15, 1828. They had one child, Minerva A., who was born March 25, 1853, and died on the 20th of August of the same year, while the mother passed away on the 14th of April of that year. On the 26th of April, 1855 Charles S. Cantrall was married the third time, Harriet A. Graham becoming his wife. She was born April 17 1836, in Athens, Illinois, and by this marriage became the mother of ten children: Charles H., of Athens, who is married and has two children; Thomas D., of Athens, who also has two children; Alice, a resident of Illiopolis, Illinois; John W., of this review; Levi G., who is married and has three children, making his home in the town of Illiopolis; William H., who is married and lives in Springfield; Fanny A., the wife of William Sacket, of Christian county, by whom she has two children; Homer E., who is married and has three children; Ida May who died at the age of three years; and Ira who is living in Springfield.

Charles S. Cantrall was a leading and influential citizen of his community and was a stanch advocate of temperance who did much for that cause through many years. For two Years after the organization of Fancy Creek township he served as its assessor. He also held office in Illiopolis township, acting as collector for three terms. For many years be was a devoted member of the Christian church and did everything in his power to promote its growth and extend its influence. He died in 1885 leaving to his family an untarnished name, and, his widow, who still survives him, is now a resident of Illiopolis.

Dr. Cantrall was born April 8, 1862, on his father's farm near where the town of Cantrall now stands. His early education was acquired in the district schools of Sangamon county, and reading and observation have largely added to his knowledge. After leaving school he engaged in clerking for a time, but, desiring to make the practice of medicine his lifework, he went to St.Louis, Missouri, and matriculated in the Physicians' and Surgeons' Medical College of that city, in which he was graduated with honors on the 27th of March, 1894. He immediately began the practice of his chosen profession in Mount Auburn, Illinois, where he remained until 1896, when he removed to Buffalo, this state. There he was located until 1898 when he opened his office in Rochester, where he has now lived for five years. His practice has already reached extensive and profitable proportions, and he is widely acknowledged to be one of the skilled and leading young physicians of this part of the county. He engages in general practice and keeps in touch with the progress of the profession through broad reading and through membership in the Sangamon County Medical Society. Fra ternally he is connected with the Modern Woodmen of America, the Farmers' Federation, the Yeomen of America, the Royal Neighbors and the Knights of Pythias.

On the 6th of May, 1896, the Doctor was united in marriage to Alma Prophater, a daughter of J. E. and Lvdia E. Prophater. Mrs. Cantrall was born August 6, 1872, in Missouri, and is the second of three children. She has a sister living, Mrs. E. L. Smith, of Mount Auburn. Mrs. Cantrall pursued her education in the common schools and afterward entered the high school at Mount Sterling, Illinois, where she continued her studies until she had reached the senior year. In Illiopolis she gave her hand in marriage to the Doctor. Both are consistent members of the Christian church and the Doctor is a stanch Republican in his political views. He has never been an officeseeker, however, preferring to devote his time and energies to his business affairs, and in a profession where merit depends upon strong mentality, close application and individual effort he has already gained a creditable position.

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