Biography - Horace Wardner

HORACE WARDNER, M. D., Anna, Superintendent Southern Insane Asylum, was born on the 25th of August, 1829, in Wyoming County, N. Y., and is a son of Philip and Maria (Frisby) Wardner, also natives of New York. The family is of German descent, the name Wardner being from the German "Veidner." Philip Veidner, the original ancestor, came to America about the year 1750. He was a stone-cutter, and was employed in building the old State House in Boston. Our subject's boyhood was spent upon his father's farm, where the foundation of a strong physical organization was built up. He evinced a taste for literature when very young, a taste encouraged by his parents and by his uncle, the Rev. Nathan Wardner, formerly a missionary to China. The desire for knowledge increasing with his years, determined him to gain as liberal an education as possible, and to enter one of the learned professions. His father being of limited means, with a large family to support, was unable to afford him the desired facilities, and at sixteen years of age he launched out in support of himself. A few months' employment secured to him the means to commence his education, which was pursued at Cayuga Academy and at Alfred University, during the following seven years, except such intervals spent in teaching as became necessary to defray expenses. In 1852, he commenced the study of medicine with Dr. W. B. Alley, at Almond, N. Y., and during the years 1853 and 1854, in Wisconsin, where he was also engaged in teaching. In the autumn of the latter year he located in Chicago, and was a pupil of Profs. A. B. Palmer and DeLaskie Miller. He entered Rush Medical College at the opening of the lecture course of 1854, and graduated from that institution in the spring of 1856. After spending one year in the Mercy Hospital, where, under excellent instructions, he made a thorough study of disease and its treatment, he commenced the practice of his profession at Libertyville, Ill. Here he rapidly made friends and readily commanded a fair practice. In a few months, however, he sold out his business to another physician, and returned to Chicago, where, in 1858, in conjunction with Prof Edmund Andrews, M. D., he opened a private anatomical room, where classes, consisting of students, artists and professional men were received and instructed, in human anatomy. The Chicago Medical College was organized in the spring of 1859, and Dr. Wardner was elected to the position of Demonstrator of Anatomy which he filled with success and acceptance until the breaking-out of the late civil war, when he entered the army as Surgeon of the Twelfth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Col. John Mc Arthur commanding. In April, 1862, he was promoted to the rank of Staff-Surgeon, and assigned to duty as a Medical Director in the Army of the Tennessee, under the command of Gen. Grant. He remained with the army in the field until after the battle of Corinth, in October, 1862, having participated in the engagements of Belmont, Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Pittsburg Landing, Iuka and Corinth, rendering services for which he received the highest commendation from his superior officers. He was then assigned to the United States General Hospital at Mound City, Ill. In February, 1863, he was ordered forward to Vicksburg, and while there was Assistant Medical Director on Gen. Grant's staff. He was then re-assigned to the Mound City Hospital, and continued in that extensive establishment until the close of the war, and the discontinuance of the institution in 1865. He was then placed in charge of the medical department of the post of Cairo, which position he occupied until its close in September, 1866. He was five years and four months in the army, and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel for meritorious services. Pleased with the mild climate of Southern Illinois, he decided to henceforth make it his home, and upon his retirement from the United States service, he resumed the practice of his profession in the city of Cairo. In 1867, he was instrumental in establishing in Cairo St. 3Iary's Infirmary, and was its chief medical officer for ten years, enjoying at the same time a large and lucrative practice. In 1877, he was appointed by Gov. Cullom to the State Board of Health, a position he filled with ability and satisfaction, and which he resigned in consequence of his increasing duties at the Hospital. The last two years he was a member of the board he served as its President. In 1878, he was tendered the superintendency of the Southern Illinois Hospital for the Insane, by the Trustees, under Gov. Cullom. Being urged by his friends, he accepted the position, and has continued in charge of the institution ever since. Dr. Wardner is identified with the Republican party; is a member of the Southern Illinois Medical Society, the American Medical Association, the Association of Medical Superintendents of Insane Asylums of the United States and Canadas, the American Public Health Association, and for several years previous to entering the Hospital had been Surgeon of the Illinois Central Railroad Company, and Examining Surgeon for United States Pensioners. He is the author of several able papers valuable to the medical profession. His successful management of the Government Hospital during the war, his executive and financial ability, and his well-known honor, integrity, humanity and Christian character, were largely the means of securing him the high and responsible position he now holds in the stead of Dr. Barnes resigned. He and his estimable lady were a valuable acquisition to the Hospital. Dr. Wardner was married February 16, 1858, to Miss Delia Louise Rockwood, who was born in Canton, N. Y., July 6, 1832. She is a daughter of Capt. Cephas Rockwood, a step-son of Gov. Aaron Leland, of Vermont, and who participated in the war of 1812 against England. Mrs. Wardner's ancestors were of English descent (the original English name being Rookwood), and came from the North of England. They have yet the coat of arms of the family. Mrs. Wardner is a lady of great force of character, and has been an able assistant to her husband in his charge of the Insane Hospital, of which she was for two years Matron. They are members of the Episcopal Church and exemplary Christians. The Industrial School for dependent girls at Evanston, Ill., was established by the suggestion of Mrs. Wardner, and she has been an officer in it since its commencement in 1877. She and her husband have educated three young ladies, viz.: Marian, the wife of George Cary Eggleston, a well-known author residing in Brooklyn; Mary Wardner, a niece of Dr. Wardner, and now the wife of N. W. Hacker, a law student, and son of William A. Hacker, and grandson of Col. Hacker; and Alice, wife of Fred M. Slack, druggist in Cleveland, Ohio.

Extracted 02 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Part V, pages 88-89.

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