WILLIAM M. GROSS, M.D. has been for over a third of a century engaged in practice in Macoupin county and during a large part of the time has been located at Gillespie, being now the oldest physician and surgeon of the city. He is a native of Bollinger county, Missouri, born March 24, 1842, a son of Christopher and Sophia (Yount) Gross. The father was a native of Lincoln county, North Carolina, his parents having come to that state from Northampton county, Pennsylvania. At the age of five years he removed with his parents to Bollinger county, Missouri. There he grew to manhood and was married to Sophia Yount, a native of Lincoln county. As the years passed Mr. Gross became one of the successful farmers of Missouri. He died at the age of seventy-nine years, his wife having preceded him long before, when she was only thirty years old. They were both old-school Presbyterians.
William M. Gross was educated in the public schools of st. Francois county, Missouri, and later became a student at Carleton College at Farmington, Missouri. In December, 1863, he started out to see the world, going aboard a vessel at New York city which was bound for the Isthmus of Panama. Crossing the Isthmus, he went up the coast in another ship and spent thirteen months in California, a portion of which time he passed in San Joaquin county, later going to Eldorado county and finally to Napa county. He engaged in teaching school and also in mining for gold, as opportunity presented. While in California he cast his first ballot, supporting Abraham Lincoln as president of the United States. In the spring of 1865 he gave up his ambition to become wealthy through search for the yellow metal and returned east via the Isthmus of Panama. In the meantime his parents had removed to Montgomery county, Illinois. The young man taught school for one term and, having selected medicine as his profession, began reading in 1866 under Dr. M. S. Davenport, of Walshville, Illinois. After completing the usual course under competent instruction he became a practitioner in partnership with his preceptor at Walshville, and from the beginning showed an interest in his vocation which indicated a special aptitude for the healing art. In 1869 he removed to Wayne county, Missouri, where he practiced until the fall of 1874. He then entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Keokuk, Iowa, graduating from that noted institution in February 1875. Immediately after leaving college he came to Macoupin county and located in the village of Hornsby, where he soon acquired a good patronage. After the death of Dr. Floyd, a prominent physician and Mason of Gillespie, in 1878, Dr. Gross was urgently solicited by a number of business men and citizens to take up his permanent residence in Gillespie and, accordingly, he removed to this place July 10, 1878, having ever since engaged inactive practice here. For the past fifteen years, notwithstanding the demands of his profession he has made a special study of electrical science and is confirmed in the belief that it is possible to extract electricity from the earth. Several years ago he was invited to Blackburn University to lecture on electrical science, and he has gained wide recognition among students of electricity as an original investigator. He is also deeply versed in chemistry and takes a great interest in astrology. He has made many interesting observations and discoveries in the laws of nature of which he may at the proper time make announcement to the world.
In April, 1867, Dr. Gross was married to Mary C. Sitton, of Walshville, and by this union five children were born, namely: Sarah S., who is the wife of Milton Mitchell, a farmer of Macoupin county; Martha F., who married Fred Opie, engineer of mine No. 1, Gillespie; E. Guy, who was educated at Blackburn University and is now engaged in the brokerage business at St. Louis; Herbert A., a graduate of the Gillespie public schools, who is now identified with the St. Louis Refrigerating & cold Storage Company, being practically at the head of that business; and Dean I., at home.
Dr. Gross was called upon to mourn the loss of his beloved wife April 16, 1906. She was a woman possessed of many rare qualities of mind and heart, and her death was deeply regretted by the entire community. She was a valued member of the Baptist church, with which her husband is also connected.
Politically the doctor is identified with the republican party and, although he has never sought public office, he served with marked ability as a member of the school board for a number of years. He is a member of Gillespie Lodge, No. 214, A.F. & A.M., and also of the Order of the Eastern Star, with which his wife was connected. He has a host of friends throughout Macoupin county and stands very high among his professional brethren, having been for many years a member of the state and county medical societies. He served in 1907 as president of the Macoupin County Medical Society. In his various duties as a professional man and private citizen Dr. Gross has shown an unusual capacity and ranks as one of the leaders whose efforts are always directed toward the upbuilding of the best interests of his fellowmen.