WIDENHAM, (DR.) JOHN CLARK, who is successfully engaged in the practice of dentistry in Jacksonville, Ill., was born in Peoria, Ill., April 7, 1852, the son of William and Charlotte B. Widenham, natives of Ireland and England. He is remotely descended from the Widenhams of Mallow, County Cork, and County Limerick, Ireland, whose family motto was, "Pro Deo et Patria," with arms argent, two bentlets gules on a shield azure, a lion passant on the first crest and a lion's head proper.
In youth Dr. Widenham attended school in Peoria, after which he took private instruction in dentistry, and commenced the practice of his profession in his native city in 1871. He subsequently assisted for a time in a dental office at Elmwood, Ill., and then returned to Peoria, where he continued in practice until 1874, when he located in Jacksonville. In that year he became a life member of the Illinois State Dental Society, in which he has always taken an active interest. Dr. Widenham is one of the promoters of the Illinois Telephone Company, which transacts the larger part of the local telephone business in Scott, Greene and Morgan Counties, and of which he is a director and a member of the Executive Board. He became identified with the company when it had only a toll station in the city of Jacksonville, and has witnessed its development to the proprietorship and operation of about 1,600 telephone instruments there, and 3,300 in the entire line. Dr. Widenham has platted two additions to Jacksonville, the most recent being a re-subdivision of Dewey Park, which is being rapidly improved with tasteful dwellings. The Doctor's progressive public spirit is indicated by the fact that when a period of drought threatened to cut off the water supply to Jacksonville, he secured the services of an expert driller and discovered immediately north of the city an abundant source of pure cold water. In this connection he endeavored to secure from the City Council a franchise whereby to utilize this supply for public purposes, such franchise containing a stipulation annulling it in the event of a failure of the guaranteed supply. The Council, however, rejected the Doctor's proposition. Dr. Widenham has made an excellent professional record in Jacksonville. In business circles he is regarded as an able and sagacious man, and his social standing is of the highest.
On December 25, 1876, Dr. Widenham was united in marriage with Carrie L. Allen, a native of Kentucky, and daughter of the late Dr. Robert W. Allen. Six children were born of this union, the first of whom died in infancy. Those surviving are: Margaret B., Allen W., Ruth M., William Whiting and John Maxwell. In politics, Dr. Widenham is a supporter of the principles of the Democratic party. He was elected a member of the board of Education in 1891, and served four years. In 1901 he was the Democratic candidate for Mayor, but was defeated with the balance of his ticket. In fraternal circles, the Doctor is identified with Jacksonville Lodge, No. 152, K. of P. His religious associations are with the State Street Presbyterian Church, of which he is a Trustee. He is now serving as President of the local board of the Children's Home Society.