Biography - William Fern

WILLIAM J. FERN, M. D., claims Johnson County as his birthplace, and has since made it his home. He was born in November, 1846, to Lawrence W. Fern, whose biographical sketch appears elsewhere in this volume, and who is a native of Derby, England, but was reared and educated in New York State. The father of our subject was born January 14, 1814, and was an attorney-at-law for many years; he also taught school when a young man. His father, James Fern, was a farmer, and came to the United States in 1820, settling in Oswego County, N. Y., where he died a very old man. He reared a family of six children, of whom Lawrence W. was the youngest.
Lawrence Fern came to Illinois in 1843 from Texas, where he followed civil engineering and surveying three years, and after coming to Illinois he served as County Surveyor for some years, but has been retired from this profession as well as from the law some fifteen years. He now lives on his farm in Simpson Township. He has living three sons and four daughters, of whom Dr. William J. Fern is the eldest. Dr. Fern was reared on the farm up to his sixteenth year, and received a good education in the district schools. He afterward attended the College Hill Seminary, and Rush Medical College, Chicago, graduating there at twenty-one years of age. He began the practice of medicine at Grantsburg, Johnson County, in 1868, and on October 14, 1869, was married to Miss Sarah J. Poor, daughter of S. D. and Sarah J. (Mount) Poor, who were from the South, coming to Illinois about 1825. Mrs. Fern was born in Johnson County, and is one of four daughters now living. She lost one brother, J. N. Poor, who died in February, 1889, at the age of thirty-five years, leaving a wife and two children.
Mr. and Mrs. Fern lived in Grantsburg five years; in Vienna two years, and removed to Tunnel Hill about 1876, buying their pleasant home, and here the Doctor has an extensive practice and a good drug store, the only one in the town, which was established in 1886. They have buried one infant son, Charles, and one infant daughter, Cora, and they have now three sons and one daughter living. Nora, the daughter, and Lawrence D., a young man of seventeen years, are attending the Haywood College at Fairfield, Wayne Country, this State. They are both doing well in their studies, the daughter making a specialty of music, which she is teaching. William J. is fifteen years old, and Roy is eight; both are at home and in school. The Doctor is a Royal Arch Mason, and has represented the order in the Grand Lodge. He is also an Odd Fellow, and is free and untrammeled both in politics and religion.

Extracted 16 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, page 417.

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