Pulaski County

Biography - William Whiteaker

WILLIAM J. WHITEAKER, M. D. One of the professions most heavily fraught with responsibility and yet with interest for the possibilities it offers of helping and advancing mankind is that of medicine, which is the calling Dr. William J. Whiteaker, of Pulaski, Illinois, has taken up as his life work. Dr. Whiteaker has elected to conduct his professional labors in the near vicinity in which he has spent practically his whole life, for he is a native son of Southern Illinois, born at New Burnside, Johnson county, on January 11, 1872. His father, Captain Mark Whiteaker, now a resident of Vienna and one of the well known and capable citizens of Johnson county, Illinois, is a veteran of the Civil war and a stanch Republican in political affairs and is an ex-sheriff of Johnson county.

Dr. Whiteaker grew up in the company of his father's numerous household and was reared to farm pursuits, but temperament, natural powers and the influence of an elder brother, Dr. Hall Whiteaker, who is mentioned elsewhere in this work, all contributed as forces directing his course toward medicine as his life's line of endeavor. He received his literary education in the Vienna schools, in Union Academy at Anna, Illinois, and in the Northern Illinois Normal at Dixon. His student days were not continuous, however, for at the age of eighteen he engaged in teaching a country school and followed the profession six years, completing his literary training in the meantime. His last year in the school room was spent at America. He then began his medical education by reading with his brother, Dr. Hall Whiteaker, and later was a pupil in the office of Dr. Brown, of Vienna. In 1896 he entered Barnes Medical College, St. Louis, and was graduated from it in 1900. Following his graduation he acquired three years of hospital training in the insane hospital at Anna, Illinois, and did one year's work in a similar institution at Little Rock, Arkansas. He began the active and independent practice of his profession at Olmstead, Illinois, where he continued until 1909, when he located at Pulaski. There he embarked in the drug business and carried it on actively as an adjunct to his profession until September 28, 1911, when misfortune in the form of a serious fire overtook him. The fire, which originated in his office, not only destroyed his business but also laid waste to some sixteen other buildings and marked an epoch of disaster for the little hamlet. However, Dr. Whiteaker has, in a measure, compensated for this loss by the erection of the finest home in the village and one that would do credit to a place with metropolitan airs.

He is a stockholder in the Pulaski Fair Association and is county physician of Pulaski county. In his professional sphere he is a member of the Pulaski County Medical Society, is local surgeon of the Illinois Central Railway Company and is a member of the company's surgeons association. Politically he is a Republican and while he takes a lively interest in public affairs and in the issues of the day, he has never been allured by public position and is without aspirations for political honors. Fraternally Dr. Whiteaker is a member of the Masonic order, is a past master of his lodge and has been a delegate to the Masonic Grand Lodge. He is a past noble grand in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and has also sat in the Grand Lodge of that order. He belongs to the respective auxiliaries of the above named orders, the Order of the Eastern Star and the Daughters of Rebekah, and also sustains membership in the Modern Woodmen of America. His church membership is in the Congregational denomination.

On November 21, 1900, Dr. Whiteaker was married in Vienna, Illinois, to Miss Alice E. Mathis, a daughter of J. P. Ma this, whose father came into Johnson county from Hardin county, Kentucky, and whose brother, John B. Mathis, is a physician at Mound City, Illinois. J. P. Mathis married Ellen Atherton, a daughter of Asa C. Atherton, and Mrs. Whiteaker is the eldest of their four children, the others being Fred, Otto and Guy. Dr. and Mrs. Whiteaker have a son, Hall, born in October, 1904.

Extracted from A History of Southern Illinois, 1912, Volume 2, page 901-902

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