JESSE J. FLY, M. D. Illustrating in his own life and works the power of energy and perseverance in accomplishing one's purpose, Jesse J. Fly, M. D., of Goreville, without adequate means at the start obtained a wide and thorough education, and for many years was one of the active physicians of Southern Illinois, and is still engaged in the practice of medicine to some extent, many of his old-time patrons still insisting upon his services. A son of Madison P. Fly, he was born in Wayne county, Illinois, November 7, 1846, of English stock.
The Doctor's paternal grandfather, Jesse Fly, who fought under General Jackson at the battle of New Orleans during the war of 1812, was a son of John Fly, who, with two of his brothers, immigrated from England to the United States in early times and located in Tennessee. One of his brothers, who had previously served as a body guard in the army of King George the third, settled in one of the eastern states, while the other brother made a home in a western frontier town. The great-grandfather, John Slover, was a guide in the Crawford expedition. He was captured by that same band of Indians at the age of eight and kept with the tribe until he was twelve years old. He was again captured in the Crawford expedition, was staked out and was to be burned the next day, but escaped during the night, working himself loose where he was tied. This expedition occurred in 1782.
Born in Davidson county, Tennessee, in 1824, Madison P. Fly was brought to Illinois by his parents in 1826, and grew to manhood on a farm in Wayne county. In 1848 he moved with his family to Williamson county, and in 1854 there purchased a farm lying on the Jackson county boundary line, and was there employed in tilling the soil until
his, death. During the progress of the Civil war, he enlisted, in the spring of 1863, in Company E, Eighty-first Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and served six months, when, on account of ill health, he was honorably discharged and returned to his farm. He married Sarah Asa, who survived him ten years, passing away in 1900. Eight children were born of their union, as follows: Mary J., who died in infancy; Jesse J., the subject of this sketch; Mrs. Elmira Kilken; Sarah, who died at the age of twenty-three years; Mrs. Almarinda Bane, of Carbondale; Mrs. Laura Miller; Mrs. Vinnie Hudgins; and James, who is engaged in farming at Marion.
Spending his boyhood days on the home farm, Jesse J. Fly acquired a substantial education in the district schools. In the spring of 1864 he enlisted in Company F, One Hundred and Forty-fifth Regiment Volunteer Infantry, and served one hundred days as per enlistment. He then returned home and at the age of nineteen years began his career as a teacher. Two years later, a young man without means, and with no other resources than those endowed him by nature, he took unto himself a helpmeet, and during the ensuing five years he taught school winters and farmed during seed time and harvest. In the meantime he studied medicine, and in 1870 went to Cincinnati to further pursue his studies at the Miami Medical College. Beginning the practice of medicine in Williamson county, he continued there seven years, when, in 1878, he entered the Nashville Medical College, in Nashville, Tennessee, and was there graduated with the class of 1878. Returning home after receiving his diploma, Dr. Fly purchased a farm at Pulley Mills, Williamson county, and resumed his practice. Coming from there to Goreville in 1892, he has since won a good position among the successful physicians of this part of Johnson county, and is still engaged in the practice of his profession to some extent. The Doctor is a member of several medical organizations, including the Southern Illinois Medical Society; the Illinois State Medical Society; the Egyptian Medical Society; and the American Medical Association. Fraternally he belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows; to the Ancient Free and Accepted Order of Masons; to the Order of the Eastern Star; and to the Grand Army of the Republic.
Dr. Fly married, in 1867, Emmaranda McIntosh, a daughter of Elijah McIntosh, one of the first men to serve as county clerk in Williamson county, and his wife, Nancy (Bankston) McIntosh. A large family of children were born to Dr. and Mrs. Fly, namely: Nettie; Carrie, Martha Ann; Bertha; Ethel; Myrtle and Willie, who died in infancy; Eva, Ralph Emerson; Afton; and William, also who died in infancy. Dr. and Mrs. Fly have twelve grandchildren. Although not a theologist, the Doctor is a man of religious faith and belief, being an individual and original thinker along the lines of thought expressed by Elbert Hubbard, and is a writer of philosophical treatises. He is not identified with any religious denomination, and professes no formulated creed, having faith in the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of man, and, with his high regard for purity and mortality, is a believer in salvation by character.