GEORGE W. BRISTOW, physician, New Grand Chain, is a native of Jackson
County, Ind., born July 31, 1833, the eldest son of William and Malinda
(Hays) Bristow. The father was born near Lexington, Ky. He was a
conservative rather than a progressive man. In early life he showed especial
aptitude in handling tools, and for many years he labored as a mechanic. He
was a man to whom new ideas and new inventions amounted to nothing until
their merits had been practically demonstrated, at which times he was
prepared to give them a hearty welcome. In later years, he preached the
Gospel. He had long been an active member of the Christian Church, and in
that faith be passed away in 1849.
He had been married three times, his first wife being a Miss Lewis, who died about 1828, the mother of three children. His second wife, the mother of our subject, died in 1840. She was the mother of five children, three of whom are living — G. W., F. W. and F. B. His third wife was Phoebe Gibson, widow of Hiram Gibson. She died in 1854, the mother of two children. William died in Paducah, Ky., in 1861, a member of an Illinois Regiment, and Sarah C., the wife of William Maxwell, of Joplin, Mo.
The subject of these lines received his early education in the common schools of Perry County, Ill., whence he had gone to live with friends, his mother having died when he was small. In 1848, he went to St. Clair County, Ill., where he served an apprenticeship to the carpenter's trade, at which he worked about three years. In 1853, he returned to Perry County, and assisted in the building of a large freight depot on the Illinois Central Railroad, and he also taught several terms of school, and also attended school himself in the winter.
In February, 1857, he was united in matrimony to Mary J. Bartleson, born March 18, 1839, a daughter of John Bartleson, a sketch of whom will be found elsewhere.
In 1861, he commenced the study of medicine under the instruction of J. R. Covington, of Grand Chain, Ill., and shortly afterward engaged in practice, which he has continued to the present time. He gives his attention also to farming. He has a farm of 105 acres, in which he raises sweet potatoes and strawberries in great abundance, having a crop of the former this year that exceeds 2,000 bushels.
June 6, 1882, his house was burned to the ground, but with his characteristic enterprise, the building of a new residence was commenced at once, and completed the same year.
Dr. and Mrs. Bristow are the parents of nine children, five of whom are living — John D., born January 5, 1865; George O., October 18, 1866; Henry C., December 18, 1867; James F., November 4, 1869, and Samuel A., November 22, 1871.
The Doctor filled the office of Justice of the Peace at Grand Chain, from 1874 to 1877. He is a charter member of the A., F. & A. M., Grand Chain Lodge, No. 660; was master of Lodge three terms, and delegate to Grand Lodge at Chicago one term. He is also a member of K. of H. and K. & L. of H., and is medical examiner to the latter body. In politics, he is a Republican.
Extracted 02 Nov 2014 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Part V - Biographical Sketches, page 302.