JOHN MCGINNIS, M.D. , a well known and capable member of the medical profession of Sangamon County, has practiced in Dawson for a period of thirty-four years and is the loved and trusted family physician in many a household in this part of the state. He is an old settler of Sangamon county, dating his residence here from June, 1858. He was born in Connecticut, near Hartford, on the 28th of August, 1843, and is a son of Thomas McGinnis, whose birth occurred on the Emerald Isle. There he was reared and married and on leaving Ireland he crossed the Atlantic to the new world, locating in Connecticut, where he carried on agricultural pursuits for a number of years. All of his children were born in that state and in 1858 he left New England and came with his family to Sangamon county, Illinois, settling on a farm in Williams township, where he continued to cultivate his land for a number of years. He spent his remaining days in this county, dying near Williamsville about 1890, where his wife passed away in 1873. Dr. McGinnis is one of a family of two sons and four daughters who reached years of maturity.
When a lad of fourteen the Doctor accompanied his parents on their removal to Illinois. He was educated in the common schools and was trained to farm labor, assisting his father in the operation of the old family homestead until after the outbreak of the Civil War, when his patriotic spirit was aroused and he enlisted in August, 1862, and joined Company B of the One Hundred and Thirtieth Illinois Infantry. This regiment was assigned to the Western Army under the command of General Grant, and Dr. McGinnis was first in battle at Port Gibson, Mississippi. Later he participated in the engagements at Champion Hills, Black River Bridge and the siege of Vicksburg. He was also in the siege of Jackson and later went down the Mississippi river to New Orleans and participated in the Red river expedition under General Banks. He was taken prisoner with the others of his command at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, and incarcerated at Tyler, Texas, for thirteen months, when owing to the close of the war he was released. He then proceeded to New Orleans and was sent up the Mississippi river to St. Louis and on to Springfield, where he received an honorable discharge in July, 1865.
Dr. McGinnis at once returned to the home farm and engaged in teaching school through the following winter. He took up the study of medicine in Williamsville in 1867 under the direction of Dr. J. Y. Wynn, one of the pioneer physicians of Sangamon county. He pursued a course of lectures in Rush Medical College in 1867-8 and the following year continued his studies under the guidance of Dr. Wynn. He then again entered college and was graduated with the class of 1869. Dr. McGinnis at once located in Dawson, where he entered upon the practice of his profession, which soon extended for miles around. He has by reading, observation and study kept abreast with the advanced ideas concerning the science of medicine, and his labors have thus been rendered very effective in coping with disease. His work has been attended with success when viewed both from a financial and professional standpoint and he has long maintained a place among the foremost physicians of the county. In addition to his practice Dr. McGinnis has bought and sold some land and now owns four valuable farms, two in Sangamon county and two in Tazewell county. He also has land in Vernon county, Missouri, an improved farm near Nevada, that state.
Dr. McGinnis was married in 1873 to Miss Mary L. Broad, who was born in Trimble county, Kentucky, and was reared and educated there, a daughter of Colonel Broad of that county. They have three living children, Mary, Cora and Lulu, all at home. They lost their first born, a son, who died in infancy. Mrs. McGinnis and daughters are members of the Methodist Episcopal church.
The doctor is a stanch Jeffersonian Democrat in his political views, having supported the party since casting his first presidential ballot for General Hancock. The honors and emoluments of office, however, have had no attraction for him, and he has preferred to give his undivided attention to his professional duties. The Doctor is a member of the Masonic fraternity in Dawson City, has filled all the chairs and was master of his lodge for six years. He was also its representative in the grand lodge for four or five terms. In a profession where advancement depends upon individual merit he has gradually worked his way upward and his success has come because of his own ability and his marked devotion to the ethics of the profession. He is very careful in diagnosing disease and is rarely, if ever, at fault in his judgement about a case. He commands the respect of his professional brethren and enjoys the confidence of his fellow men in all walks of life.