ANDREW McFARLAND, M.D., LL.D., proprietor of Oak Lawn Retreat, an establishment for the treatment of the insane, has for sometime been favorably known to the people of Morgan County, as being a man of more than ordinary intelligence, and as one taking a deep interest in that unfortunate class of people, whose treatment, to be successful, requires extraordinary tact and skill. A native of Concord, N.H., he was born July 14, 1817, and is the son of Rev. Asa McFarland, D.D., of the Congregational Church. The latter was a native of Massachusetts, and the family, as the name readily indicates, came originally, and at a very early date in the history of this country, from Scotland.
The subject of this notice received his literary education at Dartmouth College, and in 1840 was graduated from Dartmouth Medical School. For a short time after receiving his diploma he practiced medicine in a general way, and then being appointed Superintendent of the New Hampshire Insane Asylum, he turned his attention to this branch of the medical profession. From that date to the present time the successful treatment of that peculiar malady, known generally as insanity, has been the aim and purpose of his life. In 1850 he resigned his position in the New Hampshire Asylum to fortify himself for his appointed work by a year of travel among the hospitals of Europe. Soon after his return to America he came to Jacksonville to enter upon the duties of his position as Superintendent of the Illinois Insane Hospital - a position which he filled with distinguished ability for a period of sixteen years.
In 1872 Dr. McFarland established Oak Lawn Retreat - so named from its beautiful location upon an elevated plateau, one and a half miles from Jacksonville Square, shaded with forest oak, carpeted in its season with blue grass, drained by natural ravines that make their way to a little creek or branch some hundreds of yards to the west of the buildings, and abundantly supplied with the purest of water from natural springs, or raised by wells from fountains which lie deeply hidden beneath ledges of solid limestone. The first building erected, with a capacity of thirty patients, was destroyed by fire in 1887. The present one has a capacity of fifty patients. It was originally designed for males only, but the destruction of the first rendered an increase in size necessary, to the end that both sexes could be comfortably cared for.
The fact that this excellent institution is always crowded to its limits, is abundant indication of its popularity as an asylum for the most unfortunate of earth's creatures. It also attests the skill of the gentleman at the head, who has devoted his life to this benevolent work. The man who brings to this great work a superior equipment and makes it the altar upon which he places the studied and combined efforts of a lifetime, is one who deserves the commendation of all, and, like Abou Ben Adhem, can write his name as a lover of mankind.
While abroad Dr. McFarland wrote a series of letters, which were published from time to time in the periodicals of the day, and their popularity was such as to warrant their compilation and publication in a neat volume, which came out in 1852, under the euphonious title of "Loiterings Among the Scenes of Story and Song." The last copy retained by the author was destroyed with his building in 1887. Aside from his reputation as an expert in the treatment of insanity, the Doctor is well-known to the medical profession of the country as a reliable general physician and surgeon. He has been once President of the Illinois State Medical Society, and three years President of the American Society of Superintendents of Insane Hospitals.
Dr. McFarland was married at Gilmanton, N.H., soon after reaching the twenty-first year of his age, to Miss Annie H. Peaslee. He is the father of two sons - George C. and T.F., both of whom are educated physicians.