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Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company

Page 198


The symbolic letters which follow the name indicate the professional service to which Dr. Corr devoted his life, but the character of the man is perhaps best told in the words of one who wrote: "He was a Christian gentleman - a type of that pure and noble manhood that elevates and educates humanity to a higher station, and his life was spent in doing good and uplifting his fellow-beings to that higher, nobler and better elevation where God intended his children should be." Such was the man whose life record should call for more than passing attention from the readers of this volume. In it is much food for thought, indicating the possibilities for accomplishment in material things, in the intellectual world and in the higher realm of the spirit.

Dr. Corr was born in Honey Point township, Macoupin county, February 10, 1840. The ancestry of the family is traced back to England, although the paternal grandfather of Dr. Corr was a native of Virginia and lived in King and Queen county. His father, the Rev. Thomas Corr, was born in that county in 1800, but when quite a young man became a resident of Kentucky and when nineteen years of age was there married to Miss Presha Wood, who died in Monroe, Iowa, October 9, 1888, at the age of eighty-six years. It was in 1834 that Rev. Thomas Corr, traveling by steamboat and wagon, came to Illinois, where he resided until called to the home beyond in 1852. He was the father of twelve children, three of whom served in the Civil War.

Primitive methods of instruction such as were afforded in the pioneer log schoolhouses, gave Dr. Corr his early advantages, but not content with his mental training he himself made the plans for his further education. Farm work early became familiar to him and, when his elder brother at the outbreak of the Civil war enlisted, the development and cultivation of the farm largely devolved upon him. IN 1863, however, he managed to enter upon a year's course of study in Blackburn University, from which at a later day he received his Master's degree. Patriotism supplanted all other dominant qualities in his nature. In May, 1864, he joined Company F, One Hundred and Thirty-third Illinois Infantry, with which he served for four months, having to pay a farm hand twenty-one dollars per month, while he received but thirteen dollars. His brother Frank, being the elder, had claimed the privilege of going first to the field and had been killed in the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas. Three bother of the family and two adopted brothers went to the front.

At the close of his military experience Dr. Corr, assumed the management of the farm and at the same time utilized every possible moment for the study of medicine. In October, 1865, he entered Chicago Medical College for a three years' course of study and was graduated March 4, 1868, being the first physician in Macoupin county who had such an extended course of preparation. The same year in which he entered college Dr. Corr wedded Miss Lucinda Hall, who continued teaching school nearby that she might look after the interests of and care for his aged mother while he completed his medical studies. A sketch of her life appears below.

The professional services of Dr. Corr and his wife were perhaps the more effective because they were so closely related in other interests as well. He entered upon active practice at Chesterfield, where he remained for seven years, and then opened his office in Carlinville. At length the exposure of general practice undermined his health and this led him to prepare for a special work, and after five years' study at home he pursued post-graduate work in New York, Baltimore and Chicago. From 1886 until his death he devoted his time exclusively to treatment of diseases of the eye, ear, nose and throat, and his skill in this delicate surgery gained for him a merited reputation far and wide. Gifted as a writer, he held the confidence of the medical world and lent valuable aid with his pen in the science of diseases of the eye, ear, nose and throat and their treatment, being a contributor to the best known medical and scientific journals of the country. Following his death the St. Louis Clinique said: "He was thoroughly devoted to his profession; and, while engaged in the special field, he was still in touch with modern medicine in almost all its branches. He could discuss with clearness almost any medical topic, and his remarks had an especially practical turn. He was a broad-minded, progressive, scientific physician; was liberal in his views, but at the same time an uncompromising foe to all forms of fraud and quackery. He had done much toward shaping medical legislation in his state and opposed the adoption of any measures not favorable to the protection of ignorant persons from the medical pretender." The East St. Louis Medical Society in its memorial paper concerning Dr. Corr said: "He was a most genial and versatile man. He was educated and skilled not only in his chosen specialty, but in the general profession and in matters of art, science and literature. Dr. Corr had faith in the medical profession and sought its dignity and elevation. He looked upon it as a sacred calling and indefinitely higher than a mere trade. The elevation of its standard was one of the main objects of his life. To this end he sacrificed every personal interest. He believed that medical organization was the best means to accomplish this end. He was an honored member and faithful attendant of numerous medical societies. He was frequently placed upon the most prominent committees and performed his work without a murmur. Probably not more than two or three men in the state of Illinois did more for medical societies or were better known in the medical profession than Dr. Corr. His contributions to medical journals were numerous, of a high order and usually pertaining to the welfare of the profession. He was deeply interested in matters of public hygiene and wrote many able articles upon this subject. In all relations of life he performed well his part."

Dr. Corr's contributions to medical literature were many and valuable. His publications include the following: State Medicine and Sanitation, (1890); Anomalies in Opthalmic Practice, (1895); Medical Aspect of Crime - A Strong Plea for Moral Training, (1896); Little Things in Opthalmology, Three Papers, (1891); Vision: Its Physical Defects and Mode of Correction, for Teacher, (1890); Trachoma of the Conjunctiva, Not a Disease of Its Own Kind, (1895); First Clinic Ever Given in East St. Louis, Illinois: A Case of Error of Refraction Complicated with Esophoria, Producing Persistent Asthenopia, (1890, July); Relations of Opthalmology and Otology to General Medicine, (1901, July); Minor Diseases of Nose and Throat that Hinder Voice Culture, (1901); Choroiditis and Choroido-retinis in Young Persons, (1898); Specialism in Medicine; the Relations of the Specialist and General Practitioner, (1899); Advance in Opthalmology and Otology, (1899); A Resume of Opthalmology, (1900); Minute and Foreign Bodies Superficially Wounding the Eye, (1901); High Myopia, Operations for; Symptomatic Relations of the Eye in Derangements of the Nervous System, (1902); The Relations of Catarrhal Conditions of Nose and Nasal Ducts and Errors of Refraction to Corneal, Conjunctival Diseases. Question of Priority Incidentally Involved, (1898); Influence of Nasal Diseases Perpetuating Diseases of the Eye, (Illustrated) (1899); Cyclitis, (1899); Anisometropia, a Case Showing the Necessity of Some Objective Method of Determining Refraction, (Illustrated) (1902).

Dr. Corr was one of the promoters and charter members of the Macoupin County Medical Society, which was organized in 1873 and during the greater part of the time during the first decade of its existence he served as its secretary. In April, 1880, he was elected its president and in 1883 he prepared the decennial history to be used and during those years he had not missed a meeting and had contributed more papers than any other member. For more than thirty years he belonged to the Illinois State Medical Society and was its first delegate from Macoupin county. At Ottawa, in 1897, he was chosen its president and the same year was elected president of the Army and Navy Medical Society, which originated in the Illinois Medical Society. In 1893 by appointment of Governor Altgeld he was made a delegate to the Pan-American Medical Congress held in Washington, D.C., and later Governor Tanner made him a member of the Illinois State Board of Health, the governor having requested him to send in his name for appointment. He was then chosen president of the board, the interests of which were greatly promoted by his active and valuable service. He did much to secure legislation that would advance system among medical practitioners and prevent the whole body from having to bear the criticism that resulted from the acts of unscrupulous and unqualified officers.

Dr. Corr was editor of the eye and ear department for the Southern Illinois Journal of Medicine and Surgery, was a member of the local pension board of examiners of Montgomery and Macoupin counties for several years and later was expert examiner of eye and ear for the Southern Illinois Pension Bureau, which position he was filling at the time of his death. He was also oculist on the staff of Henrietta Hospital in East St. Louis, and surgeon-oculist to the Air Line Railroad while in Carlinville and maintained a small private hospital at his home. His practical inventive genius was well marked. His schematic eye for use in practice and teaching with the ophthalmoscope is the best of its kind even for post-graduate teaching. It is natural size and has the motions and measures for the emmetropic, astigmatic and myopic globe.

In February, 1902, Dr. and Mrs. Corr went to Southern Florida for the benefit of his health, which had been failing for several years. The change did not prove availing, however, and on the 2d of April he passed away. Few funeral services had been as largely attended. In the line of march to the cemetery were representatives of the Macoupin Medical Society and delegates from the East St. Louis Medical Society, the Dan Messick Post, G.A.R., and the Modern Woodmen camp, of all of which Dr. Corr was a member. His professional relations extended beyond the local organizations and he was a very active member of the Southern Illinois Medical Association, its interests he did much to harmonize and was also made a member of the North Central Association. He belonged to the American Medical Association and was active in its opthalmic section. His political faith was that of the republican party and he never regarded the obligations of citizenship lightly. He also belonged to the Methodist church and there was nothing narrow nor sectarian in his Christianity, but rather that great breadth of spirit which reaches out in sympathetic approval of and co-operation in all Christianizing influences of every denomination.

His fellow members of the Modern Woodmen camp wrote of him at his death: "He has gone in and out among us, faithful to all his vows, with a zeal for the welfare of the order and with a warm grasp of the hand and a word of cheer and sympathy for every neighbor in distress. He has lived an ideal life, exemplifying in a true, tender and loyal manner all that is best in the social, political and religious relations of man. As a friend of the poor and unfortunate as one whose every motive was based upon a noble principle, as an admirer and friend of all who ever engaged in teaching the youth of our community lessons of wisdom, virtue and patriotism, he will be long remembered." One of his professional brethren said of him: "Dr. Corr was my friend and this means more than the usual term, for it tells the story of more than a quarter of a century. Beginning as a student and going on through the ups and down of a busy professional life, one unbroken chain of kindly, sympathetic good-fellowship. His qualities of mind and heart endeared him as a brother. To know him was always to know where to find him, true as steel." To Mrs. Corr, following the death of her husband, one who knew him well wrote: "He was a philanthropist in the truest sense of the word, his life being devoted to elevating of his fellow-men. Lofty and noble in purpose, he was ever fearless in his defense of the right. He followed the light of truth and ever lived an upright, Christian gentleman. He was known best in his home life, as those who loved him most can testify. The beauty of his private character was ever uppermost there, and in the sanctuary of home was felt that personal magnetism which held the admiration of all. A generous friend, a devoted husband, he was honored in life as his memory is revered in death." Such a spirit can never be lost to the world and must have stepped into a greater, more beautiful life when the door closed upon him, shutting him from mortal vision. But such a friend, so dear, so loyal, so great-hearted, can never be replaced to those who were intimately associated with him.

1911 Index
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