Biography of Dr. Jeremiah Converse
Madison County, Ohio Biographies





DR. JEREMIAH CONVERSE, Plain City. Dr. Jeremiah Converse, grandson of Rev. Jeremiah Converse, a Revolutionary soldier, and son of Jeremiah Converse, Jr., was born in Darby Township, Madison County, Ohio, June 11, 1822, in that season of epidemic death which is well remembered by the old inhabitants as making sad inroads upon the thinly settled community of Darby Plains, and thickly populating the primitive grounds on Big Darby set aside and sanctified with tears as the burying ground of the dead. Melinda Converse, the Doctor's mother, was a Derby, descended from the old English titled family of that name, and was a woman of remarkable and healthy characteristics of mind. Her keenly active perceptive faculties, aided by an untiring devotion to her family, under less narrowing circumstances than those which surrounded the pioneers of the plains, would naturally have led to a careful, discriminating education of her children; but the schoolhouses and text books of today were beyond the dreams of that time, and it was by studious application of all his energies and the precious little spare time he could get from labor that young Converse obtained a very common education. The thud of the grubbing hoe, the crash of falling trees and the wielding of the ox.gad in preparing land for cultivation, were interjections in his educational process until about the year 1844, when he turned his mind to a study of the science of medicine, and graduated four years later at the Columbus, Ohio, Starling Medical College. At or near the time of his commencement of the study of medicine, he married Miss Hortence Hemenway, a young lady of excellent family and fine qualities of mind and heart, by whom he had six children, the oldest, a daughter, dying in childhood. Following his graduation commenced a professional career.of twenty five years, and with it began an observance and study of the physical condition of the country and its sanitary requirements, together with the advancement of social, agricultural and general ideas which have kept him prominently before the public. He never entirely gave up his farming interests, and these, in connection with his extensive professional practice, required the major part of his attention, yet in all these the Doctor was careful to give his children excellent educational advantages, and the most of them are now engaged in teaching. One, the oldest son, is engaged in a lucrative business in New York City, a married daughter resides in Columbus, Ohio, and the others of his family are living at home or in its immediate neighborhood. Thus, after a quarter of a century administering to the sick over an extensive scope of country, the Doctor felt himself to be breaking under the physical tax imposed by so much horseback riding. His routes took him over mud roads, pole bridges and unbroken forests and fields, for gravel pikes were yet far in the future, and so, as far as possible, he withdrew from these exacting duties, impressed with the idea that he could render still greater services to the public by engineering labor and becoming actively instrumental in establishing pikes and ditch draining of the plains. The preventative of prevailing diseases he believed to have been better than the cure, and since the time of his withdrawal from practice, save as consulting physician, he has been closely identified with those vast improvements which, through brain, energy and "back bone," have made our waste lands the garden spot of the Buckeye State. During these years the Doctor has also served Darby Township for many terms as Clerk and Trustee, and was elected Assessor ten years in succession. In 1860, he was elected to the office of County Commissioner, and, at the expiration of a three year term, was reelected. In all his public affairs, as in private life, his acts have been characterized by that rare spirit of impartial judgment which impresses communities with its intrinsic value above those who court public trust and nurse it solely for the emolument of office. Had the Doctor's highest aim in life been one of wealth and self aggrandizement, we might now write of him as a man of broad acres, grazing herds and ponderous bank account. His modest independence, however, assures us that his personal aims have been subservient to the public good, and no doubt the richest blessing he now enjoys, outside the possession of home and family, is his own knowledge and approval of the gifts of prosperity which he sees bestowed upon those around him through the agency in somd measure of his wisdom, forethought and self sacrifice. The Doctor is a man of pleasing presence, with a genial, honest handshake for all who meet him. That softer and finer part of humanity, common in some measure to all, but liberally bestowed upon him, has not been perceptibly blunted by the wear of professional experience and hardships, and his home is one in which the light of hospitality never grows dim, and from which no one turns away hungry and uncared for.

From:
History of Madison County, Ohio
Published by: W. H. Beers and Company
Chicago, Illinois
1883


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