MARTIN H. HEAD, M.D., one of the leading physicians of the county, has been practicing his profession for many years at Carlinville, where he is held in honor and esteem by a large circle of friends and acquaintances. He was born May 3, 1827, about ten miles east of Louisville, KY, a son of Benjamin Head, who was a native of Virginia. The grandfather of our subject, Hadley Head, was, it is thought, born in Virginia of Welsh ancestry, and so far as known spent his whole life in his native State.
Benjamin Head was reared and educated in the Old Dominion, and when a young man went to Kentucky, and for some yeas he was engaged in the mercantile business at Middleton, Jefferson County. He subsequently purchased a farm ten miles east of Louisville, upon which he dwelt in comfort the remainder of his life, devoting himself to agriculture, his death occurring in 1837. He had been twice married, the maiden name of his second wife, mother of our subject being Margaret N. Brengman. She is still living at the venerable age of eighty-five years, and makes her home in Middleton. She is a native of Jefferson County, Ky., and a daughter of Martin Brengman. The latter was born in Germany, whence he came to America and resided for a time in Maryland. From there he went to Kentucky, and purchased a farm near Middleton, whereon he lived until his demise.
Dr. Head was but ten years old when he was bereft of a father's care and counsel. He continued to make his home with his mother, assisting on the farm and attending school. At the age of twenty-one he commenced the study of medicine with Dr. J. M. Bemiss of Middleton, and he subsequently attended medical lectures at Louisville, being graduated from the Louisville Medical College in 1851. The same year he came to Carlinville and opened an office and has been in continuous practice in the city since. At that time it had but a few hundred inhabitants, and the surrounding country was still in the hands of pioneers and was but sparsely settled, the people living on the edge of the timber, while deer and other wild game roamed over the prairies, the land all being open around and on the site of the village.
Dr. Head continued in active practice until the commencement of the war, and he then offered his professional services to the Government in May, 1861, and became Assistant Surgeon of the Fourteenth Illinois Infantry, remaining with that regiment one year, and doing valuable work in relieving the wounded and sick soldiers. In 1862 he entered hospital service at Memphis, Tenn., and in April, 1865 was transferred to Crittenden Hospital at St. Louis, where he was stationed until the following October, when he was honorably discharged. He returned to Carlinville and to the quiet routine of professional life in village and country, bringing with him a valuable experience gathered during those sad years among the sick and dying defenders of our country, and a high record for services rendered while acting as a military surgeon and physician. He has since conducted a successful and lucrative practice here.
In 1853 the Doctor was united in marriage to Miss Margaret I. Blackburn. Mrs. Head is a native of Versailles, Ky., a daughter of the Rev. John and Catherine (Edwards) Blackburn, her father, a Presbyterian minister. Dr. and Mrs. Head are the parents of two children, Eugene S., a physician; and Hadley. Both our subject and his amiable wife are consistent and devoted members of the Episcopal Church. Fraternally, the Doctor is a member of Mt. Nebo Lodge, No. 76, A.F. & A.M.