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Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company

Transcribed by: Steve Madosik III

Page 170-173


Among the members of the medical fraternity practicing in Petersburg who deserve special mention because of their capability and consequent success is Dr. H. E. Wilkins, to whom is accorded a gratifying patronage in recognition of his careful preparation and his skill which arises therefrom. He has spent his entire life in this state, his birth having occurred in Greenville, Bond county, on the 21st of July 1865. His parents, Dr. D. and Maria M. (Gwyn) Wilkins, are natives of Laporte, Indiana. In 1857 the father removed to Illinois, settling in Greenville, Bond county, where he has since engaged in practice, although he is now largely living retired, being seventy-nine years of age. He and his wife celebrated their golden wedding, May 11, 1904, and the festivities were participated in by many friends, for they are among the best known and most highly esteemed citizens of Bond county. At the time of the Civil war Dr. D. Wilkins offered his services to the government, enlisting in the One Hundred and Thirtieth Illinois Infantry, under Colonel John B. Reed. He served almost from the beginning of hostilities until the latter part of 1865, and after his return home he acquired a very extensive practice, which brought to him a good financial return. From the time of the establishment of the board of pension examiners he served as one of its members, acting in that capacity until he resigned on account of advanced age, at which time he was succeeded by his son, Dr. David R. Wilkins. The father is a prominent and valued member of the Grand Army of the Republic and is also identified with the Masonic fraternity.

Dr. H. E. Wilkins began his education in the primary school of Greenville and there continued his studies until he had completed the high school course, being graduated with the class of 1886. Whether inherited tendencies or environment shaped his course it is impossible to determine, but at all events he resolved to make the practice of medicine his life work and to this end entered the Missouri Medical College of St. Louis, Missouri, where he spent three and a half years in study and was then obliged to put aside his text-books because of failing health. His case was diagnosed as tuberculosis and it was arranged that he should spend six months in Kansas, six months in Colorado and six months in the mountains, but at the end of the first six months he was so improved that he returned to Greenville.

There Dr. Wilkins was married, on the 24th of December, 1890, to Miss Mary E. Habich, a daughter of Joseph H. Habich, a representative farmer of Bond county. They lost two children that were born unto them: Daisy Ruth, who died at the age of two years; and Madie Jewell, who died at the age of six and a half years. On the 25th of September, 1904, a son was born, to whom they have given the name of James Habich Wilkins.

After his marriage Dr. Wilkins returned to Geneva, Kansas, where he had previously practiced, and again taking up his professional duties, he continued a member of the medical fraternity of that place for two and a half years. On the expiration of that period he pursued a course of study in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Keokuk, Iowa, and was graduated on the 7th of March, 1893. In addition to the regular work he pursued a special course on diseases of women and children, for which he received a special diploma, and in his practice he has been very successful along those lines.

Following his graduation he returned to Bond county and took up the practice of medicine five miles east of the old homestead, where he remained until 1895, when he removed to Sorento, Bond county, settling fifteen miles north of the old home. When he had practiced in that locality for nine years he came to Petersburg and succeeded Dr. J. C. Fisher in the conduct of a practice which under his guidance has grown in both volume and importance. He belongs to the Bond County Medical Society and also to the Menard County Medical Society.

Dr. Wilkins is a member of the Masonic fraternity and is serving as senior deacon of his lodge. He also belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Modern Woodmen of America, the Mutual Protective League and was one of the leaders and promoters in establishing a camp of the Sons of Veterans in Petersburg. His political support is given the Republican party and he was its choice for the position of coroner in 1904. Both he and his wife are consistent members and very active and efficient workers in the Cumberland Presbyterian church of Petersburg, in which he is now serving as a ruling elder and also as clerk of the sessions. His life has been actuated by high and worthy principles and motives, as is indicated by his strict conformity to the ethics of the profession, his honorable relations with his fellowmen and his advocacy of any cause which has for its object the real betterment and improvement of the community.

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