Sunday, April 26, 2009

Namesakes 2: Joseph Stillson Webb

(This is part 2 in a series of posts on famous monikers in my family tree and the famous people who influenced my ancestors so much that they named their children after these movers and shakers of the day.)

Everyone knows who the famous Joseph Stillson is, right? Right?! Okay, so this moniker isn't so much nationally famous as regionally so. Dr. Joseph Stillson was a prominent and important physician in Lawrence Co., Indiana in the mid-1800s and an early settler to that place. You won't find him in any history books or national rolls of honor but to the people of Marion Twp. he must have been a very important figure and pillar of the community. The book "History of Lawrence and Monroe Counties, Indiana" has this to say about Joseph: "a native of the East, located here in the forties and practiced his profession probably forty years, dying about 1878. The book "Transactions of the Indiana State Medical Society" offers a better biography:

"After obtaining a good general education in the East, he came to Bedford in 1836 and taught school, and at the same time pursued his medical studies with the late Dr. Foote. In 1839 he attended medical lectures in the University of Louisville, and in 1840 began practice in Nashville, Brown Co., Ind.. and while there was admitted to the bar, and was afterward admitted to the Lawrence county bar. In 1840 he settled in Harrodsburg, but in 1841 he returned to Bedford and remained there until his death.

Dr. Stillson did a laborious practice, but ever kept abreast with his confreres in the study of the advancing science of medicine. He was a member of the Lawrence County Medical Society, the State Medical Society, and the American Medical Association. He was devoted to the interests of education and was active in all local enterprises of this kind.

In 1840 he married Miss Eliza Reddick, who, with two sons and two daughters, survive him. He was a member of the Christian Church."

The article also mentions that he was born in Newtown, CT on 8 Aug 1815 and died in Bedford on 15 Sept 1885.
My great-great-grandmother's brother, Joseph Stillson Webb, was born in Marion, Lawrence, IN on 9 Feb 1850. Since the person Joseph was named after was a doctor, I have always wondered if he was delivered by Dr. Joseph Stillson. In any case, it is known that he was named for the local doctor. Joseph Stillson Webb left Indiana with his family and lived with them from Illinois to Kansas to Colorado. When Joseph's father, Andrew left for Oregon and California, Joseph stayed behind in Colorado and resided in the Durango area. He married Sarah "Sadie" Dandridge in the early 1870s and they had a son, Lewis, in 1873. Lewis is thought to have died young and nothing beyond the age of seven is known about him. Joseph lived until about the 1920s and Sarah's death date was also probably around the same timeframe.

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