Biography - John Cummins

JOHN T. CUMMINS, a reputable dentist of Metropolis, was born in Johnson County, Ill., August 30, 1851. His father, Lewis Cummins, was born in Trimble Country, Ky., December 27, 1824, to Thomas Cummins, who was a native of Virginia. Zachariah Cummins, father of Thomas, was, from the best information obtainable, born in England. Upon coming to America he at first settled in Virginia close to Richmond, and after residing there some years he removed to Kentucky with Daniel Boone and was one of the first settlers in Trimble County, Ky. He secured there a large body of land, which he at once improved, and lived upon it until 1836, when he sold all his possessions, came to Illinois and settled in Pope County. After living a few years in Pope County he removed to Johnson County and made his home there among his children until his death, at the age of seventy-nine years. He had been a soldier in the War of 1812. The maiden name of his wife was Lydia Arnett. She was a native of North Carolina and was a practicing physician, riding horseback on her visits to her patients. She died in Johnson County, Ill. having reared nine of her thirteen children.
Thomas Cummins, the grandfather of our subject, was reared in Virginia and remained there one year after his parents had removed to Kentucky, for the purpose of settling his father's business. He then joined the family in Kentucky, where he followed the trade of a carpenter and also practiced medicine, remaining in Kentucky until 1836. At that time, in company with his parents, his wife and three sons, he made the removal to Illinois on a flatboat, bringing along the household goods and livestock. He landed at Metropolis when there were but six houses in the place, and when the surrounding country was very sparsely settled and much of the land was in the possession of the Government. He settled in what is now Grantsburgh Township, Johnson County, bought forty acres of land and entered one hundred and twenty acres of Government land adjoining. There was a hewed-log house on the forty acres purchased, into which the family moved, sharing it for a time with another family. Mr. Cummins cleared up the farm and resided there until his death, which occurred when he was nearly eighty years of age. The maiden name of his wife was Sarah Gabbert. She was born in Mercer County, Ky., was of German ancestry and died in Trimble County, Ky.
Lewis Cummins, the father of our subject, was but eighteen months old when his mother died, at which time he went to live with his maternal grandparents. His grandfather owned a large tract of land which he cultivated and operated by slave labor, and at sixteen years of age Lewis was made an overseer on this immense plantation, remaining with his grandparents until he was twenty-one years old. He then went to Trimble County, engaged in the manufacture of tobacco for a short time and then came to Illinois, settling in Johnson County. At that time there were no railroads, and Smithland, Ky., was the principal market and depot of supplies. At the time of his marriage he purchased forty acres of land covered with timber in what is now Grantsburg Township, and there he built the log house in which the subject of this sketch was born. He was more than ordinarily successful in his farming operations and bought other land at different times. He remained on the farm until 1865, when he removed to Metropolis, where he had previously purchased a home, and much of the time since he has been engaged in mercantile pursuits. He married in September, 1849, Mary J. Comer, who was born in Halifax County, Va., and is the daughter of John E. and Martha (Epps) Comer, both natives of Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Cummins have reared four children: John T., Zachariah; America Belle, wife of J. C. Howell, and Lewis G. The mother of John T. Cummins is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and his father is a Democrat in politics. Our subject received his early education in the pioneer schools of the day. The little log schoolhouse in which he was instructed was only 16x18 feet in size, but the second one was a more pretentious structure, being 20x22 feet on the ground, otherwise it was similar to the first one. He began early to assist his father on the farm, and attended the public school at Metropolis for a while. He then took two terms at the seminary for higher branches, and finally located at Metropolis, where he assisted as clerk in the mercantile store of his father. He at length turned his attention to dentistry and in 1875 began the practice of this profession, which he has continued up to the present time.
Mr. Cummins maintains an office in Metropolis, and also at Golconda. He was married in 1875 to Miss Luella Rankin, a native of Massac County, Ill., a daughter of Capt. Benjamin and Mary Rankin. The Doctor and his wife have had two children born to them, both of whom died in infancy. Our subject is a member of Chosen Friends Lodge No. 86, I. O. O. F., and of Orestes Lodge No. 1,864, K. of H., of Golconda, Ill. He is a member of Orestes Lodge No. 268, K. of P., and is connected with the Illinois State Dental Society, the Southern Illinois Dental Society, and with the United States Post-Graduate Society. Politically, Mr. Cummins is a Democrat.

Extracted 16 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 445-446.

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