William Halliday Fraser, M. D., one of the leading physicians of LaSalle for more than a quarter of a century, was born in the town of Perth, in the county of Lanark, Canada, March 26, 1839, and is a son of Archibald and Mary (Halliday) Fraser. The paternal grandfather, James Fraser, was a house builder by occupation, and was a native of Inverness, Scotland. The family sprung from Norman-French antecedents and came to Scotland with William the Conqueror. The Frasers took a prominent part in the Scottish struggle for liberty. James Fraser died in Canada, leaving an only child, Archibald, the father of our subject. Archibald was a lad of ten years when his father moved from Scotland to Canada. Here he grew to manhood, and tilled the soil until the age of thirty-nine years, when his career was cut short by accidental death. Surviving him are the wife, four sons and four daughters. The maiden name of his wife was Mary Halliday. She also was a native of Scotland, and was five years of age when her parents established their home in Canada. Her father was chosen by the Colonists and employed and paid by the British government to teach the Colonists in Canada. He was the only teacher in Canada paid by that government. He was sent out in 1815, with three ship loads of colonists, who were sent to counteract the influence of the French in Canada. While they were en route the battle of Waterloo was fought, and from that time French power was on the wane, making it unnecessary to send more colonists. Grandfather Halliday passed his ninety-second year, and at his death left eight sons, four daughters and one hundred grandchildren, all living. Mrs. Fraser, the mother of our subject, is now in her ninetieth year and is still a resident of Canada.
William Halliday Fraser was one of the younger members of the family. He passed his boyhood and youth on his father's farm and attended the country schools, his Grandfather Halliday being his first teacher. At the age of seventeen he went to Toronto to attend the Provincial Normal School, from which he graduated. When eighteen he received a class A normalschool provincial diploma. After spending four years in teaching he entered McGill university, Montreal, graduating in 1867 and going at once to Edinburgh, Scotland, to continue his medical studies. In the summer of that year he received his diploma from the Royal College of Surgeons, being the first from the Dominion of Canada to graduate from the institution. Returning he located in Nova Scotia, opening an office in Liverpool, where he practiced two years, and then moved to Chicago, where he remained until after that city was swept by the great fire of 1871. The following summer was spent in the northern part of Canada, and then he again took up his residence in Illinois. In 1873 he came to LaSalle, where he has practiced since, and he enjoys an extended patronage, which embraces a large territory and has been most lucrative. He is painstaking and careful in diagnosis, skillful and efficient in practice, and brings a sympathetic heart to soothe the sufferer.
Dr. Fraser was married in 1869 to Miss Lydia M. Watterman, of Milton, Nova Scotia, whose ancestors came over in the Mayflower. Nine children, five sons and four daughters, have been born to them, and have been reared in accordance with the teachings of the Congregational church, of which the Doctor and his wife are members. These children are Halliday Mary, wife of B. F. Pay, of Mankato, Minnesota; Caroline E., wife of Daniel W. Cole, of Melrose, Massachusetts; Millera L., wife of W. S. Mason, of LaSalle, Illinois; W. A. Gordon Fraser, master mechanic at the Michigamme mines of the Cleveland Clift's Iron Company; Henry P. Fraser, United States Express messenger on the Rock Island road; and Edward S., Annabell, Malcolm and Kenneth, who are students.
In politics the Doctor affiliates with the Republican party, but has given little time to politics, his attention being centered in his profession. He was made a Master Mason in 1894, and became a member of the Scottish Clan in 1891, — Clan Fraser, of LaSalle, being named in his honor. In 1893 he was made physician-in-chief of that order in the United States and Canada, an office which he has held ever since. He is a prominent member of the State and County Medical Associations, and of the Eastern Illinois Valley Medical Association. He comes from a family of remarkable longevity, and has the promise of many added years of usefulness in this community, where he has won the respect and esteem of every one.
Extracted 26 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 2, pages 460-462.