JAMES D. HARLAN, M. D.
The paternal grandfather of Doctor Harlan, J. D. Harlan, a Virginian gentleman of the old school, was born in 1800, but left his fair state for the blue grass regions of Kentucky while yet merely a lad. ln 1827 he came to Southern Illinois by wagon and settled on a farm in Wayne county, becoming one of the pioneers of that community. His diligence was rewarded with large crops. In the summer of 1852 he as usual took a fiat boat load of his produce down the river to New Orleans, the largest market within reach. While in New Orleans he became the victim of the awful white scourge and died with cholera after arriving near his home. His wife was left alone on the farm with a family of twelve children to care for. Through her great efforts most of these were reared and educated, although but one, Cynthia Harlan Friend, is now living.
W. E. Harlan, the son of James D. Harlan, Sr., and the father of the present incumbent of the name, was born in Kentucky in 1823, being four years of age when his parents moved to the Illinois farm, At the time of his father's sudden death he devoted his energy to making the farm put forth a livelihood for his mother and small brothers and sisters. In connection with his agricultural labors he opened a small general store at Pine Oak. In about 1855 he married Miriam Holmes, an Ohio girl, the daughter of William Holmes, who was born in Pennsylvania, of German parents. They were the parents of six children, of whom Emma, the eldest, is now Mrs. Ochiltree, of Haddan, Kansas. Jennie is the wife of Mr. Leihman, of Indianapolis, Indiana. Lillie Harlan Davis resides in Fairfield, and the brother, W. H. Harlan, lives on and cultivates the old homestead. Mr, W. E. Harlan was a Mexican war veteran, having served under General Scott in 1846 and 1847. Only his advanced age prevented his offering his services to his country for a second time in 1861. His useful life came to an end on the Wayne county farm in 1876. His wife, who is some ten years his junior, resides with her son on the old home place.
At the time of his death Mr. Harlan had accumulated an estate of several hundred acres, more than enough to keep his wife in comfort and educate the family of little ones. When the great sorrow came to the family the Doctor was but sixteen years of age, having been born on May 14, 1861. He had for ten years past attended the district schools of Wayne county, assisting, meantime, with the many chores of the farm. He was now almost ready for more advanced work and soon entered the Valparaiso Normal school. Following the normal training he attended the Southern Illinois College at Danville. In 1887, having determined to devote his life to the medical profession, he entered the Missouri Medical College, situated at St. Louis, receiving his degree of M. D. in the
spring of 1890. Doctor Harlan began his active practice at Mill Schools, but three years later settled in Fairfield, where he has become a most popular and successful physician. While he is conscientious and attentive in his life's vocation, he believes that even a busy physician should have some outside interests, thus better serving himself and his community. Fairfield has benefited by his services as mayor of the little city. For the past sixteen years he has been chairman of the Democratic central committee of the county, holding ever an enthusiastic interest in the political situation of the state and nation. He is a member of the County, State and American Medical Associations and belongs to a number of fraternal organizations, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Daughters of Rebekah, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, including the Blue Lodge and Royal Arch of Fairfield.
In 1892 he won for his wife Alice L. Keller, the daughter of J. M. Keller, of Effiugham county. The Doctor and Mrs. Harlan have no family.
Doctor Harlan has been successful not alone in his profession but in his financial ventures as well. He now owns two hundred and forty acres of land in one piece, not to mention his real estate in and about Fairfield. No physician of these parts is more widely known and trusted.