Biography - DAVID M. VOSBURGH, M. D.
David Martin Vosburgh, M. D.. is among the oldest and widely known citizens of Earlville, LaSalle county, and occupies a conspicuous place in the county, having been a practicing physician here for nearly half a century. He is a native of Evansburg, Crawford county, Pennsylvania, and was born July 28, 1826, his parents being Dr. David J. and Mary (Richards) Vosburgh. David Martin Vosburgh, the grandfather, was a descendant of the Hollander emigrants who settled in New York, of which state he was a native. The name was of Holland-Dutch origin. David Martin and two of his brothers were soldiers of the Revolution and participated in the battle of Bunker Hill, where both brothers gave their lives in the cause of American independence.
Dr. David J. Vosburgh was born in Washington county, New York, August 4, 1792, and was one of seven sons, of whom five became practicing physicians. He fought in the war of 1812, where he served as an assistant surgeon under Chief Surgeon Payne, who was afterward given a place on the staff of professors in the Albany (New York) Medical College, and General Pitcher, the noted fighter. Later he was sent out with Colonel (afterward General) Taylor to quell the Indians on the frontier. This expedition went by way of Fort Dearborn (Chicago) to Lake George, Wisconsin. With this company was Captain Jefferson Davis, who afterward was secretary of war and figured so prominently as the president of the southern Confederacy. Previous to enlisting in this war he had graduated at the University of New York city, and after returning he continued his studies, soon afterward locating in Crawford county, Pennsylvania, where he began the regular practice of medicine. Here it was that he became acquainted with Miss Mary Richards, and the friendship soon ripened into a love which culminated in their betrothal and marriage. They were the happy parents of three sons: John Jay, a farmer of Iconium, Iowa; Hiram Alonzo, a resident of Chicago; and David Martin, our subject. The mother died about 1827, and the father was again bound in matrimony, his second wife being Doris Wright, who bore him several children, five of whom reached adult years, namely: Sabrena S., wife of Joseph P. Howe; Horatio L.; Doris, wife of George Howe; and Edward and Eliza, twins, the latter becoming the wife of Amos Gilliland. Early in the '30s Dr. David J. Vosburgh moved from Evansburg to Penn Line, Pennsylvania, where he was a most skillful and successful practitioner until ill health compelled him to retire from practice, when he was about fifty-five years of age. His wife was called to her long rest in 1865, when in her sixty-eighth year, and soon after, in 1868, he went west and made his home with his son, John Jay, in Iowa. Here he quietly passed into his long, dreamless sleep on May 2, 1875, after a long life of usefulness and kindness. He was a Democrat in his politics and while a resident of Penn Line was given the unanimous vote of the convention as a nominee for congress. This was equivalent to an election, but the honor was declined by the Doctor, who felt that his poor health would not permit him to serve his constituents in the manner he thought incumbent upon a congressman. He was honest and sincere in all his actions and was respected and loved by all who knew him.
Dr. David M. Vosburgh lived the greater part of his early life in Penn Line, Pennsylvania, and received his education in Kingsville Academy, Ashtabula county, Ohio. His youthful ambition was to become a physician and follow in the footsteps of his father, and his first step in this direction was to enter his father's office to obtain the rudiments of the knowledge necessary to a successful practice of that science. Later he entered the office of Dr. C. E. Cleveland of Kingsville, Ohio, who had been a former pupil of the elder Vosburgh. Here he studied three years, obtaining valuable experience during the third year in the hospital of Ashtabula county. He then entered the University of Pennsylvania, at which he graduated in 1850. For two years he practiced at Custordville, Pennsylvania, and February 12, 1853, he came to Earlville, Illinois, where he has practiced continuously since. When he located here but two other doctors, Wylie and Badgly, were practicing here, and he is the only one of the trio remaining. He has worked up a large and lucrative practice, having brought many of his patrons into the world and attended them and their families in all their sickness. He has attended over five thousand births, and three of these were triplets. He is one of the most eminent and skillful physicians in the county, and has the confidence and affection of a large circle, who appreciate his sterling worth.
He was married June 21, 1853, to Mary M. Hubbell, who died November 2, 1854. He then chose as his helpmeet Miss Phoebe B. Breese, to whom he was joined in wedlock October 14, 1855, and who died October 18, 1898. after suffering four years from paralysis, during which time she was speechless and helpless. Her children were Mary E., wife of George H. Haight, attorney: Clara A., wife of G. A. Cope, of Earlville, now a widow; Martin B., who died June 30, 1861, at the age of fifteen months, the result of a scald; and Charles B., who resides in Chicago and is in the railroad business. Dr. Vosburgh has been connected with the drug business for a period of forty-two years and has been a prominent worker for the advancement of Earlville. He was a prime mover for the establishment of the graded-school system in this village and as a member of the board of education did all in his power to advance the cause of education. He was the president of the village board four or five years and three terms was mayor, 1881-2 and 1893-7. It was during his administration that the water-works was established here. He belongs to the county, state, and National Medical Associations, is a Knight Templar, and has filled all the offices in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which he was a department grand master. He was brought up in the Presbyterian church, to which his wife was devoted and to which he is a liberal contributor, although not a member. Any religious object is sure of his support and his generosity is never appealed to in vain for a worthy cause.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 283-285.