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CATLIN, Archibald M. & Edward P.

Biography of Archibald M. CATLIN
Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 243-244  (Portrait p 242)

Archibald M. CATLIN is without doubt the oldest physician in the State of IL today, having been in active practice in Rockford for the past sixty years.  He was born in that part of Litchfield which is now Winfield, Herkimer County, NY, 08 Sep 1801.  Roger CATLIN, his father, was a native of CT, as was also his father, Roger CATLIN Sr., who wa a soldier in the Revolutionary War.

The latter-named gentleman was of English ancestry and removed from CT to NY, where he passed his last days in Herkimer County.  His son, the father of our subject, was reared and married in CT, and later became one of the pioneers of Herkimer County, NY, where he purchased a tract of timber land in what is now the town of Winfield.  He there erected a log house, in which our subject was born, and which consisted of but one room on the ground floor and one room above.  It was located in the center of the township, at the junction of five roads, and as he was often obliged to entertain travelers to different parts of the county, Mr. CATLIN later established an hotel.   As there was no church in the vicinity, meetings were often held at his home until a building could be erected upon the ground donated by Mr. CATLIN.  He later erected a good frame hotel and continued to act as host, at the same time superintending the operation of his farm until his death, which occurred in 1813.  The maiden name of his wife was Sarah CLARK; she was born in CT and was the daughter of Deacon CLARK, a pioneer of South Tompkins County, NY.  After the death of her husband, he mother of our subject was a second time married, and depated this life in Winfield, NY.

The original of this sketch was but 12 years old on the death of his father and remained with his mother on the old home farm until her second marriage.  He then resided in the town of Plainfield with an uncle, whom he assisted in the farm work in summers and attended school during the winter season.  He continued to be thus employed until 1820, at which time he started with a company of friends to the then Far West.  As there were then neither railroads nor canals in the vicinity of his home, he walked to Olean Point and from there went down the Allegany River to Pittsburg, thence by way of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to St. Louis, which was then nothing more than a village.   He was accompanied by a comrade, Amos NOBLE, and was in MO when that Territory was admitted into the union as a State [1821].  Later he came to Madison County, IL, where he resided for a year, and then going to MO, was engaged in the lead mines until 1823, when he returned to NY.  His desire had been to fit himself for a physician, and having read medicine previous to coming West, he devoted his time and attention to that study, attending lectures at Fairfield Medical College in Herkimer County.  He later read under Dr. CLARK of Winfield, then, going to Castleton VT, attending a course of lectures at the college there in the winter of 1825-26.  In January of that year he again became a student of Fairfield College, from which institution he was graduated with the class of 1827.

Soon after receiving his degree of Doctor of Medicine, our subject commenced the practice of his profession in partnership with Dr. Nathan HARWOOD, of Winfield, NY, with whom he continued for five years.  At the expiration of that time, he went to Chester, Geauga County, OH, where he practiced medicine until 1832; then removing to [p 244] Lorain County, he resided there until 1838, the date of his advent into Rockford.  The present enterprising city was at that time little more than a hamlet, and the surrounding country, which was very sparsely settled, was owned by the government.  Dr. CATLIN purchased property on the East side where he built a home.  He has been actively engaged in the practice of his profession for the past 60 years.

In 1828 Miss Miranda HARWOOD, who was born in Winfield, NY, became the wife of our subject.  She was the daughter of Dr. Nathan HARWOOD and departed this life in 1846, after having become the mother of three children, two of whom, Benjamin and Edward P. [whose biography follows], are living.  Dr. CATLIN was married the second time in 1847, his wife being Sarah MORRILL, who was a native of Meriden, NH, and a daughter of Deacon Daniel MORRILL . [The second biography below gives his name as Rev. John MORRILL.]   To them were born two daughters:  Mary, deceased, and Alice.

In early life a Whig, Dr. CATLIN now votes the straight Repbulican ticket.  He acted as president of the first medical society ever organized in Winnebago County, where he is regarded as one of the most prominent and skillful physicians.  With his wife, he is a member of the First Congregational Church, and his life in this community has been such that he will be held in loving rembrance long after he shall have passed away.

Biography of Edward P. CATLIN
Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago Co., IL, C. A. Church.   Chicago: Clarke, 1905, pp 286-290

No history of Winnebago County [IL] would be complete without the life record of Edward P. CATLIN, for many years a physician of Rockford and a representative of one of the oldest and most prominent families of the city.  His father practiced here for many years, and thus the name of CATLIN has long been associated with the medical fraternity of Winnebago County.   Edward P.  CATLIN was born in Chester, OH, 01 Jul 1837, his parents being Archibald and Miranda (HARWOOD) CATLIN.  The father was born in that part of Litchfield which is now Winfield, Herkimer County, NY, 08 Sep 1801.  He is descended [p 289] from Revolutionary ancestry, his granfather, Roger CATLIN Sr., having been a soldier of the American army in the war for independence.  Roger CATLIN Jr., father of Archibald M. CATLIN, was a native of CT, and the father came originally of English lineage.  Roger CATLIN Sr. removed from the Charter Oak State [CT] to NY, spending his last days in Herkimer County, and Roger CATLIN Jr. became one of the pioneer settlers of that county, to which place he removed after being reared and married in CT.   In what is now the town of Winfield, Herkimer County, he purchased a tract of timber land, on which he built a log cain, containing one room on the ground floor and one above.  As it was located in the center of the township, at the junction of five roads, he was frequently called upon to entertain the travelers to different parts of the county, and this led him to establish a hotel.  His home too was often used as a meeting place when religious services were held, and later he donated the land upon which a little church was built, and he took an active part in furthering the intellectual, moral and material progress of his community.  He continued to conduct his hotel and also carried on farming interests until his death, which occurred in 1813.  He married Sarah CLARK, a native of CT, and a daughter of Deacon CLARK, a pioneer of Tompkins County, NY.  After the death of her husband Mrs. CATLIN was married again, and her death occurred in Winfield [Herkimer County], NY.

Archibald M. CATLIN was only 12 years old at the time of his father's death, and he remained with his mother until her second marriage, after which he lived with an uncle in Plainfield Township, Herkimer County, assisting in the farm work when not attending the district schools.  In 1820 he started for the west, walking to Olean Point, and thence going down the Allegany River to Pittsburg, and by way of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to St. Louis, which at that time was a small town.  He was in MO when it was admitted to the Union, and afterward he removed to Madison County, IL, but a year later returned to MO, where he worked in the lead mines until 1823.  He then went again to NY.  He had read medicine previous to his removal westward, and now resuming preparation for the profession, he attended lectures at the Fairfield Medical College, in Herkimer County.  Subsequently he became a student in the office of Dr. CLARK, of Winfield, and attended a course of lectures in the college at Castleton, VT, in the winter of 1825-26.  In January of the latter year he again entered Fairfield College, and was graduated with the class 1827.  After winning his degree he located for practice in Winfield, NY, and for five years was a partner of Dr. Nathan HARWOOD.  He then removed to Chester [Meigs County], OH, where he continued in active practice until 1832, when he became a resident of Lorain County, OH, making his home there until 1838, which year witnessed his arrival in Rockford.  He found a small village of little importance, standing in the midst of a sparsely settled district, in which much of the land was still owned by the government.  He built a home on the east side, where he purchased a lot, and from that time until his death continued as one of the most prominent physicians in this part of the state.  He was one of the earliest members of the profession in Rockford, and engaged in practice here for 70 years.  He was honored and respected by all by reason of what he accomplished, and the effective work which he did for his fellowmen in alleviating human suffering.  He was progressive in his methods, keeping in touch with modern progress in his chosen calling, and his life was indeed a busy and uselful one.  In his earlier years he bore the hardships which always fall to the lot of the pioneer physician, but later his practice was more largely confined to the city, and brought to him remunerative return which was his just due.   He died 28 Aug 1892, at the very advanced age of 92 years, and his name was then added to the roll of Winnebago County's honored dead.

In early manhood he had wedded Miranda HARWOOD, of Winfield [Herkimer County], NY, a daughter of Dr. Nathan HARWOOD.  His marriage too place in 1828, and she died in 1846.  The following year Dr. CATLIN married Sarah MORRILL, a native of Meriden, NH, and a daughter of Rev. John MORRILL [name given as Deacon Daniel MORRILL in the above biography], who was the first minister of the First Congregational church in Rockford, he and his two brothers organizing the church here.  Mrs. Sarah CATLIN survived her husband until 1902, passing away at the advanced age of 84 years.  Dr. A. M. CATLIN gave his early political support to the Whig party, and afterward became a stanch Repbulican.  He acted as president of the first medical society ever organized in Winnebago County, and he and his wife held membership in the First Congregational church.   The world is better for his having lived, for his influence was ever on the side of right, progress, and improvement, and his influence was a potent factor in promoting the moral and intellectual development of his community. 

Edward P. CATLIN was brought to Winnebago County in 1838, when only about a year old, and his youth was passed in the village of Rockford, where he began his education in the common schools, pasisng through succcessive grades untl he had completed the high school course.  He then went to Meriden, VT, where he completed an academic course by graduation from [p 290] the Kimball Union Academy, and thus with broad literary knowledge to serve as the foundation for professional learning he matriculated in Rush Medical College of Chicago, where he mastered the regular course, and was graduated in 1864.   Not content, however, with his preparation for his profession, he went to NY City, pursuing post-graduate work in the College of Physicians and Surgeons.  He also attended the Bellevue Hospital Medical College of NY City in 1865.

Returning to Rockford after his graduation from Rush Medical College, Dr. CATLIN entered upon practice here, and was thus engaged when in 1864 he enlisted as first assistant surgeon in the 152nd IL Infantry, with which he served for a year, or until the close of the war.  Following his return to the north he resumed his professional labors in Rockford, and with the exception of the period spent in college in NY he continued one of the active physicians in this city until his death.  Anything which tended to bring to man the key to the complex mystery which he call life was of much interest to him.   He carried his research and investigation into various fields of knowledge, and became one of the learned members of the medical fraternity in Winnebago County, having a knowledge that well equipped him for the important and responsible duties which ever devolve upon the medical practitioner.

In 1866 Dr. CATLIN was married to Miss Mary H. ROBINSON, a native of Huron [Erie County], OH, born in 1840, her parents being Sylvester and Emily (SKINNER) ROBINSON.  Her father was a native of CT, and her mother of NY, and he became one of the early settlers of Rockford, but remained only a few years.  He arrived here in 1847, and, entering into partnership with with E. H. POTTER was engaged in general merchandising until 1849, when he became attacked with the gold fever and started for CA, in which state his death occurred.  His wife passed away in Rockford.  Dr. and Mrs. CATLIN became the parents of four children:  (1)  Archibald M., who married Ella RILEY, of Washington, D. C., and is now engaged in the newspaper business in Chicago; (2)   Sanford R., a practicing physician of Rockford, where he represents the third generation of the family in the medical profession, and who married Mary H. RICHINGS, of Washington, D. C.; (3)  Norman E., who is a member of the firm of H. H. & N. S. ROBINSON, of this city, and makes his home with his mother; and (4)  Emily Harwood, who died in infancy.

Following his marriage Dr. CATLIN removed to Manteno, near Kankakee, IL, where he practiced for several years, and he was also surgeon for the Illinois Central Railroad Company at that place for a year.  He then returned to Rockford, where he resumed his practice, and was an acitve and eminent member of his profession in this part of the state until his death, which occurred 26 Sep 1904.  He was a man of strong intellectuality, progressive views and noble purposes, and the high principles which actuated his life in all its relations made him a leading member of the medical fraternity, conforming strictly to the highest ethics of the profession.  He held membership in Nevius post, No. 1, G. A. R., and gave his political allegiance to the republican party, and both he and his wife were members of the First Congregational church of this city.  Mrs. CATLIN still owns the old home, at No. 304 South First Street, where she and her son reside, and the Doctor's offices still remain upon the lot.  She possesses many old family relics, including a rocking chair in which Mrs. Archibald M. CATLIN rode in the wagon when the family removed from OH to Rockford, in 1838, carrying her little son, Edward P., in her arms.  As has been stated, the name of CATLIN is inseparably associated with the history of Winnebago County, and its representatives have ever been loyal in citizenship, have held friendship inviolable, and have been found trustworthy and reliable in all life's relations.

Submitted by Cathy Kubly.