This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was transcribed by Celia Snyder. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Dr. William Patrick Hartford

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois," by J. O. Cunningham, 1905


, osteopathist physician, was born in Henderson County, Ill., December 6, 1856, a son of Winfield Scott HARTFORD and Lucetta Rebecca (THOMAS) HARTFORD.  His great-great grandfather, Patrick HARTFORD, came from Belfast, Ireland, about the year 1740, when he was a mere boy and afterwords served as a British officer during the French-Indian War in 1762.  He had four sons:  John, Robert, George and Thomas HARTFORD, who participated in the Revolutionary War.  William Patrick HARTFORD, son of John HARTFORD (Dr. Hartford’s grandfather), served in the war of 1812 under General Winfield Scott, and fought at the battle of Lundy’s Lane.  Isaac James HARTFORD, son of William Patrick HARTFORD and an uncle of the Doctor, was a soldier and veteran of the Civil War, and A. J. HARTFORD, a brother of the Doctor, served in the Spanish-American War.  The Hartfords are of Scotch-Irish origin.

Dr. Hartford’s father, Winfield S. HARTFORD, was born in Muskingum County, Ohio.  At the early age of seven years, his father, William Patrick HARTFORD, removed to Union County, Ohio, where he was raised, and married Lucetta R. THOMAS in October, 1846l  He immediately came to Henderson County, Ill., and lived on a farm where the Doctor was born.  At the close of the Civil War, the Doctor’s father removed from Henderson County, Ill., to Adair County, Mo.., where the Doctor grew to manhood and was trained to agricultural pursuits.  He obtained his early education in the public schools of Adair County, was graduated from the State Normal School at Kirksville, Mo., and later, from the Kirksville Mercantile College.  After completing his studies he taught in the high school for three years, and was elected County Superintendent of City Schools of Adair County.  At the close of his term of office, he accepted the position of Superintendent of City Schools in St. Edward, Neb., which he filled for two years.  He was then elected for the third year, and was also nominated by the Republicans for County Superintendent of Schools in Boone County, Neb., but his wife’s failing health necessitated his resignation.  He returned to Kirksville Mo., upon her request, as she desired to be near her relatives in the last days of her illness.  Upon returning to Kirksville, he accepted the chair of Commercial Law and Arithmetic in the Kirksville Mercantile College, and filled that position until the close of the school year in 1893.

Mrs. Hartford, having been cured of an apparently fatal illness (hemorrhage of the lungs) by means of what was a comparatively new healing science (Osteopathy), he turned his attention to the study of that science in 1893, and in 1897, was graduated from the American School of Osteopathy in Kirksville.  He then started out as one of the pioneers of this school of medicine, determined to fight its battles, demonstrate its effectiveness and compel deserved recognition  After practicing with remarkable success at Clarinda, Iowa, for a few months, he went to Ogden, Utah, where he gained distinction both by the cures he effected, and by his maintenance in the courts of his right to practice under the laws of that State.  After being successful in the courts of Utah, he returned to Illinois in 1898, because he deemed it better for his family, and became the pioneer practitioner of Osteopathy in Champaign and surrounding counties in Eastern Illinois.  In the fall of 1899, he located permanently in Champaign, and has since built of a large practice in that city.  He has been a leader in various movements to elevate the standard of his profession to the highest possible plane.  As early as 1897, he aided in organizing the American Osteopathic Association.  In 1899, he became one of the organizers of the Illinois Osteopathic Association, and in 1903, was elected chairman of the Board of Trustees of that Association, and inaugurated the movement which resulted in the organization of district associations of Osteopathy throughout Illinois.  At present (1905) he is President of the Illinois State Osteopathic Association.  He has been a pioneer practitioner of Osteopathy in three States, and the part he has taken in gaining for it official recognition ad public commendation, has been an important one.  He led in the last General Assembly one of the fiercest battles for the recognition of Osteopathy as an independent school of medicine, that has ever been fought in the annals of the State’s history, and was only defeated by a little midnight masquerade.

Dr. Hartford was married, in 1882, to Miss Hattie STERRETT, who was born in Missouri, but spent her early years in Iowa.  Mrs. Hartford is a daughter of the Union soldier, Johnson Elrod STERRETT, a native of Pennsylvania, who went in early days, to Putman County, Mo., where he married Margaret RYALS.  When as a Union soldier in Company B, Eleventh Regiment Missouri Cavalry, and died in June 1862, while in service.  Her mother died soon after, and Hattie was left an orphan at a very tender age.

The children born to Dr. and Mrs. Hartford are:  Naoma R. and Dr. William Scott HARTFORD, the latter of whom was graduated from the American College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery at Chicago, in 1904, and has since graduate at the Bennett Eclectic College, at Chicago.  He will be associated in practice with his father at Champaign, Ill.  Dr. William P. Hartford is the author of the article on Osteopathy in this work, in which he has given the generally accepted definition of that science.

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