Thursday, April 28, 2011

1873 Dr. Abel Austin Arrives in Fowlerville

There is a wonderful book to be found in the Fowlerville Historical Collection. It is entitled the -- okay, take a deep breath -- Portrait and Biographic Album of Ingham and Livingston Counties, Michigan Containing Biographic Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens of the Counties, Together with Biographies of all the Governors of the State and of the Presidents of the United States, published by Chapman Bros, Chicago, 1891.

I recently spent a few minutes copying some of the biographies found in that book and will be posting them on this site. The first one is for Abel S. Austin, M.D.; rather long, but well worth the read. It follows:

The profession which represents the beneficient healing art has many noble members whose lives are filled with acts of goodness, and whose most strenuous effort is to attain that skill which is necessary in saving life and restoring health. Such a life work raises a man above the sordid motives which actuate many of mankind, and gives to life a meaning, which more mercenary callings cannot grant. We are therefore always gratified to be able to introduce to our readers the physicians who have won for themselves a high place in the profession of Livingston County.

Dr. Austin, of Fowlerville, is one of the most prominent physicians and surgeons in the state, having had an extensive practice. He was born in Potsdam, St. Lawrence County, N.Y., February 26, 1835. His father, Oliver Austin, was a native of Vermont and his mother, Harriet Sealey, was born in London, England. Oliver Austin was an extensive farmer in his early days and is now living in the old homestead, having retired from active life. He is a son of Phineas and Disa Austin, who were Vermonters by birth and moved to St. Lawrence County, N.Y., in their early days. There they engaged in farming andn late in life removed to Potsdam village, where they spent their later years. Four of their five children are still living, namely: Phineas, Jr., Oliver, Lucy, and Melissa. The son who died bore the name of Joseph.

Harriet Sealey, who became the mother of our subject, came to America when a child of seven years, and passed her girlhood in the eastern states. After her marriage with Oliver Austin, she became the mother o f a numerous household, and ten of her seventeen children are now living, namely: Dr. Abel S., of Fowlerville, Dr. George O., of Morrice, Shiawassee County; the Rev. Charles W., pastor of the Dansville Methodist Episcopal Church; Emma, Mrs. Swift; Hattie, Mrs. Collins; Helen, the wife of the Rev. Mr. Bramley, who was formerly the Presiding Elder of the Black River Conference of New York; Alic, Mrs. Garlick; Francene, Mrs. Nelson; Dr. Edwin H., of Gaines, Genesee County, Mich., and Edward J., who resides on the old homestead. The latter two are twins. The father was formerly a Whig in his political views but later joined the ranks of the Republican party. In their church relations this family was earnest and active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Having spent his younger days upon the home farm, young Austin studied at the Academy at Potsdam and came west in the fall of 1856 settling in Waudeshaw, Wis., where he taught school for three years, putting in all his spare time in the study of medicine. His first preceptor was Dr. C. A. Leustrom of Waukeshaw and he attended lectures during the fall of 1859 and during the spring of 1860 at Ann Arbor, Mich. He began his first practice at Argentine, in Genesee County, Mich., and took his second course of lectures in 1865 at the Cleveland medican college. After receiving his diploma he was appointed as assistant surgeon in the United States Army and was with the Army of the Cumberland until near the close of the war, at which time he was taken sick and resigned.

Returning to Argentine, the young physician remained there until his health was finally established and he then went to Byron, Shiawassee County, Mich., and engaged in active practice. While there he built up a large practice and had an extensive ride. In 1873, he sold out his business in Byron and coming to Fowlerville established himself here in his profession. He has farming interests in this county and owns a farm of one hundred and thirteen acres, three miles southeast of the village. He has also interested himself in fine stock, and now owns the celebrated stallion 'Nestor,' who has a record of 2.26 1/4. He was foaled June 9, 1880, and the doctor is now raising some of his colts. No horse in the county has ever had so fine a record as 'Nestor.'

Dr. Austin has one of the most beautiful homes in Fowlerville and over it presides with gracious dignity the lady who became his wife in 1861. Her maiden name was Emma Cable and her parents were David and Sarah (Calhoun) Cable of Detroit, who had their nativity in New York. When they first came west, they made their home at Redford, Wayne County, where Mr. Cable was the first merchant in the place. His last days were spent in that village, and his wife died at Morenci, Mich. The doctor and his wife have two children, Arthur and Eva. Arthur is now a physician and read medicine first with his father and then with Dr. T.A. McGraw of Detroit, the leading surgeon of Michigan. The young man received his diploma at Detroit in the medical college. During his studies in the college of Detroit, he assisted in St. Mary's Hospital for one year. After graduating, he commenced the practice of medicine with his father in Fowlerville where he remained four years, then locating in Greenville, Montcalm County, and after one year there returned to Fowlerville and formed a partnership with his father. He belongs to the Michigan Medical Society and being now in partnership with his father is building up a fine reputation as one of the ablest young physicians of Michigan. The daughter, Eva, is now Mrs. F.B. Warren, wife of the Cashier of the City National Bank at Greenville, Montcalm County. Her husband is the son of the Rev. Mr. Warren of Howell, Mich., and his brother, Fred Warren, is a prominent attorney in Detroit.

Mr. Abel S. Austin is now the president of the Howell Board of Pension Examiners and he has held several offices of responsibility in Fowlerville. His political views have brought him into sympathy with the movements of the Republican party and he is identified with the Masonic order and with the United Workmen.

Anyone doing genealogy will benefit from this read. In future posts, more biographies will be posted.

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