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Dr. John Silas McMurtrey

Dr. John Silas McMurtrey spent more than fifty years in the practice of his profession in the village of Rison, where he was born.  He was esteemed by all, was a citizen of exemplary character, and lofty principles and was skilled in his profession.

One of the pioneer physicians of this district, he was a friend of the poor and unfortunate, and brought a cheer to the bedside of the suffering. Beloved by all, he left a great void when he answered the final call. He understood to the full, the duties of the good citizen and never failed to live up to the standard he conceived. He was sound in his devotion to his religious affiliations and assisted its work in  every way possible.

He was born in Rison, Arkansas, October 1, 1853, a son of Colonel Elisha L. and Louisa McMurtrey, his father having commanded a regiment from Arkansas during the Civil War and afterward successfully cultivated a large plantation near Rison.

Educated in the elementary and high schools, he then began the study of medicine in Rison under Dr. Chaning, later attending a medical college in Little Rock, where he received his degree and returned to Rison to engage in practice.

During his career Dr. McMurtrey accumulated considerable property in city lots, houses, and timberland. He was a Democrat in politics and had served as County Health Officer. He was a member of the American Medical Association and of the Arkansas State Medical Society. He was affiliated with the Order of Free and Accepted Masons and was a charter member and deacon of the Baptist Church.

His death occurred in Rison, December 23, 1928.

J.S. McMurtrey married, Margaret F. Mead in Rison, January 10, 1883. She was the daughter of Jesse and Margaret Mead. Her father was a veteran of the Civil War and was captured early, spending most of his time in the Federal military prison at Rock Island, Illinois. Their children were: Mamie, Bee, Jesse A., Sue, Louisa and John C., deceased. There are five grandchildren.

Dr. McMurtrey was one of the best known and most beloved citizens of the county, standing in highest esteem in church, civic, social, and professional circles.


Submitted by Belinda (Brown) Winston