From the Biographical Review, Volume XXXIII, located at the Durham Center Museum.
Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin
Joel H. Mead, M. D., Hunter’s veteran physician and surgeon, residing on Main Street in that town, was born in Jewett on June 15, 1838, his parents being Stephen and Caroline (Hosford) Mead. The family is of English descent, and early settled in Columbia County, New York, among the pioneers of that region.
Philip Mead, the Doctor’s grandfather, was one of the first settlers in Jewett, coming to that town by a route marked with trees, and in company with two or three other young men settling in the heart of the forest to make a home for himself. His first dwelling was a rude log hut, but after he had made a clearing he erected a handsome frame house. The nearest town, Cairo, was ten miles distant, and all supplies had to be bought from that place. Bears and other wild animals were abundant, and fearlessly prowled near the little cabin. After eighteen years spent in Jewett, during which he had cleared a large tract of land, he removed to Cayuga County, then just being opened up. There he remained until his death, at the age of seventy-eight. His wife, Hannah, died at the age of eighty. Mrs. Hannah Mead was born in Columbia County, of parents who were pioneer settlers there. She had twelve children, all of whom are now deceased.
Stephen Mead was born in Columbia County but the greater part of his life was spent in Jewett, where he purchased a farm in early manhood. In national politics he was a Republican. He took a warm interest in local public affairs and held several minor offices in the town. His death occurred at the age of eighty-six. His wife was born in Jewett, being a daughter of Joel Hosford, who married a Miss Mann. Her father was one of three brothers who came from the town of Wallingford, Conn., to settle the town of Jewett. One of the brothers was named Reuben. They were pioneers of Jewett Heights. The Mann family was one of the first to settle on Manhattan Island, coming over from Holland. Mrs. Caroline Hosford Mead died at the age of sixty-seven. Both she and her husband were members of the Methodist church. One of their four children, a son, Alanson, is deceased. The living are Dr. William H., who is practicing in Windham (see sketch on another page); Dr. Joel H.; and Adeline who is the wife of Alanson Woodworth.
After leaving the common schools Joel H. Mead studied medicine for a time with Dr. F. H. Holcomb, of Windham, and then took a course in medicine in the Albany Medical College, from which he graduated in 1863. He at once began practice in Hunter, and in a short time had as many patients as he could care for. Besides his general medical practice Dr. Mead has given considerable attention to surgery, and has performed some remarkable operations. For twenty years he was the only physician in this and several of the adjoining towns. He is to-day one of the oldest practitioners in the county, there being only four physicians whose professional career antedates his. He is the Nestor of the medical fraternity hereabouts.
In 1866 Dr. Mead married Lucinda Woodworth, daughter of Abner and Sophronia (Judson) Woodworth. Her father, who was a farmer and one of the early settlers of Jewett, died at the age of seventy-eight. Her mother died at forty-six. Their six children were: Laura, who married Albert Chase, a son of Judge Chase of the Supreme Court; Buel; Lucius, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this book; Lemuel, who died at the age of twenty; Loren, who is deceased; and Mrs. Mead. The Doctor and his wife have been blessed with two children — Edith and Bertha, the last named of whom resides with her parents. Edith married R. A. Austin, a druggist of Cairo, and has one child, Joel by name. The daughters received their finishing education in a private school. Both are fine performers on the organ and piano.
The Doctor takes a warm interest in all public matters, and gives the weight of his political influence to the Republican party. He is a Master Mason and member of Mount Tabor Lodge of Hunter. He was a promoter, from the start, of the Maplewood Cemetery organization, and has always been one of its active supporters. In connection with Dr. Stanley he is pension examiner for Greene County, holding the position under government appointment. He is now president of the Board of Examiners. He has also been examiner for several years for various life insurance companies, among which may be named the Phoenix, the New York Life, and the New York Mutual, the Equitable, and the Washington. The Doctor’s family are members of the Methodist church.