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Source: The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois
Originally published 1896
S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., Chicago, IL
Transcribed by: Denise McLoughlin
Tampico Area Historical Society
Simon Peter Breed, M. D., is one of the oldest and also recognized as one of the best physicians of Bureau county. He is a native of Manlius, Onondaga county, New York, born February 1, 1819. and is the son of James and Elizabeth (Kinne) Breed. His father was born near Syracuse, New York, in the village of Salina, June 13, 1794, and was the son of Gershom Breed, a Baptist minister, who was born in Stonington, Connecticut, April 29, 1756, and died in August, 1815, Gershom Breed was the son of Allen Breed, who was born in Linn, Massachusetts, August 29, 1714, a son of John Breed, born January 18, 1663, at Linn, Massachusetts. John was the son of Allen Breed, who was a native of England and came to this country in 1630, locating in Linn, Massachusetts, and founding the family in this country. There are at present one hundred and fifty families, descendants of Allen Breed, living in the city of Linn, Massachusetts.
Rev. Gershom Breed settled in Manlius, New York, in 1792, where he engaged in ministral work, organizing the first Baptist church in Onondaga county. He married Hannah Palmer, by whom he had twelve children, James, the father of our subject, being the youngest son; Allen, the second son, filled his father's charge in the Baptist church.
James Breed was born June 13, 1794, and died January 27, 1884, at the home of his son, George W., at Silver Creek, New York. He was a farmer by occupation and a member of the Baptist church. His wife was a daughter of Ezra Kinne, and was born January 18, 1799, in Manlius, New York, and died at Hannibal in the same state, May 22, 1846. She was also a faithful member of the Baptist church. They were the parents of fourteen children - Sophronia, Simon P., Franklin, Candace, Hannah, Ezra, George W., Marvin, Justus H., Levi N., John, Adelia, Sarah E., Xenophon. Of this number, Simon P., George W., Justus H., Levi N., of the sons, are still living. Of the daughters, Hannah and Adelia are still living.
The subject of this sketch spent his boyhood at Cicero, New York, to which place the family removed in his early childhood, and where the father engaged in farming. The part of the town of Cicero in which the family settled was set off in 1825, and organized under the name of Clay. When old enough to be of service Simon was required to do his full duty in the development of the farm and was permitted to go to school usually in the winter months. When he was sixteen he accompanied his parents on their removal to Hannibal, New York, and remained at home assisting his father until he was nineteen years of age, when he started out in the world for himself. The first winter he worked in a sawmill and the summer following at the carpenter's trade, at which he continued another year. In the fall of 1839 he attended the academy of Manlius, where he remained one year. He then taught school winters and attended the academy summers until 1842. In harvest time he worked in the field at cradling, for which he received a dollar and half per day. In this work he was an expert as well as in h=binding. By teaching and working in the harvest field he supported himself and secured means for defraying his expenses in school.
In 1843, a young man of twenty-four years, he started for the prairie state, taking a boat at Oswego, going around the lakes and landing at Chicago, though stopping one week in Milwaukee, where he visited a cousin. From Chicago he went to Peoria, where he took a boat for Havana, going thence to Table Grove, Fulton county, where his uncle, Justus Kinne was living, engaged in farming and blacksmithing, arriving there June 13, 1843, being just one month on the road. He soon secured a school in the neighborhood at the munificent salary of thirteen dollars per month, boarding himself. In the winter following he received seventeen dollars per month and "boarded round."
For some years it had been the earnest desire of our subject to enter the medical profession and the opportunity now presented itself. While teaching he commenced the study of medicine and was so far advanced that in the winter of 1846-47 he entered McDowell Medical college, of the Missouri State university, but that winter exhausted his funds and he was compelled to leave the school. Having a pretty fair knowledge of medicine he was advised to at once commence practice, and the village of Frederick on the Illinois river was recommended to him as a good place to begin as it was a sickly point. So to Frederick he went, hung out his shingle and for two years there practiced his profession. He then removed to Pleasant View, Schuyler county, where he remained ten years, building up a large and lucrative practice. His success, however, only intensified his desire to complete his course in some good medical college. The medical department of the state university of Pennsylvania had the most attraction for him, and in that institution he took the full course and received his degree.
After remaining in Schuyler county eighteen years, In 1865, the doctor removed with his family to Princeton, Illinois, an here he engaged in the practice of his profession, meeting with gratifying success. In 1870 he purchased a drug store in Princeton, and carried on the business for four years in connection with his practice. About the time he purchased the drug store he also purchased a farm southwest of Princeton in Wyanet township, near the Bureau county almshouse. This farm was worked to the place with his family and took personal charge, having given up his business in Princeton. The original purchase was of one hundred and sixty acres, to which he soon afterward added forty more and a little later a track of eighty acres, giving him a fine farm of two hundred and eighty acres. To the improvement of the farm the doctor turned his attention and with characteristic energy he soon had a model homestead, one of the best in the county and well supplied with modern machinery and stocked with good grades of horses, cattle and hogs. He carried on general farming making a success of it as he had done in the practice of his profession. In the neighborhood he was regarded as a model farmer.
For sixteen years Dr. Breed remained upon his farm, and then feeling that the time had come when he should lay aside business cares he returned with his family to Princeton, and is now living practically a retired life in a beautiful home on West South street, which he had erected as the place where in case and comfort he could spend the evening of his life. While on his farm he entertained liberally and his home was the center of social life and many happy gatherings of friends and neighbors. He lived not so much to make money as the enjoyment of life with his numerous friends.
Dr. Breed was united in marriage in Vermont, Illinois, December 25, 1848, with Miss Alzina Powers, of McDonough county, Illinois, a native of Essex, Vermont, born June 3, 1827, and a daughter of Isaac Powers, who was a prominent farmer in McDonough county.By this union seven children were born, three of whom - Edoline, Ella and Kate - died in early childhood. The living are Lena M., Lizzie R., Luella and Ralph Y. The first named is a successful teacher in Bureau County; Lizzie R. is the wife of Edward Sisler, of Lincoln, Nebraska; Luella is also engaged in teaching; Ralph Y. is a grain dealer at Erie, Illinois, but formerly conducted his father's farm. He is a good business man and likewise prosperous.
Politically, Dr. Breed is a stanch republican. In early life he was imbued with anti-slavery sentiments and on the dissolution of the whig party and when the encroachments of the slave power became almost unbearable, he assisted in the organization of the republican party in Illinois. For years he took an earnest and active part in furtherance of the principles of the party, but was never an office-seeker. He cared more for the success of his party than for any honors it might confer upon him in the way of office-holding.
While in active practice, Dr. Breed was an honored and valued member of the various medical societies, including the Bureau County Medical society, Military Tract Medical society, the Illinois State Medical society, and the American Medical association. He assisted in organizing the Military Tract Medical society, and was its first delegate to the State Medical society. He was several times sent as a delegate from the latter to the American Medical association. He is now an honorary member of the Muskingum County Ohio Medical society, and also of the La Salle County Medical society. Of the Bureau County Medical society he is a permanent honorary member.
The doctor has frequently read papers before the different medical associations, which were received with great favor and which were published in various medical journals and favorably commented upon, the views enunciated being adopted in practice. Among his papers are "A Report on Practical Medicine," "History, Treatment and Removal of the Uterine Polypus," "Unconscious Cerebratin," and "Epidemic of Typho-Malrial Fever." The last disease prevailed in Bureau county in 1870. The report of this epidemic was considered of such importance that a portion of it was introduced by Dr. Hamil and published in the transactions of the American Medical association.
Another paper on "Organic Dynamics" was pronounced by the secretary of the State Medical society as exhaustive and the doctor himself regards it as one of his best and most elaborate. Other contributions made from time to time to the medical literature of the day were "Illitis, a Post Mortem Examination," which under the improved medical recommendation would properly be called Appendicitis, "How Do Medicines Produce their Effects," "Hysterical Catalpsy," "A Report on Post Mortem Examinations Containing Cardiac Deposits and Urinary Calculus in the Bladder." A paper which attracted much attention was on the "Use of the Marrow in the Bone."
In addition to his medical writings the doctor has contributed more or less to the local journals on subjects of living interest, his writings being received with much favor by the general public. His pen is a trenchant one and records his thoughts without fear or favor. However, the doctor has not confined himself to the expression of his views to writing alone but has occupied the platform in the discussion of medical and other questions of general interest.
The 1st of February, 1896, is a day long to be remembered by Dr. Breed. The occasion of his seventy-seventh birthday friends to the number of fifty called at his lovely home to do him honor and leave with him a slight token of their esteem. After social converse of an hour or two and happy congratulations on the part of h is friends the Assembly was called to order by General Henderson, who after a few words of commendation and stating the object for which they were assembled called upon Hon. R. M. Skinner, mayor of the city, to voice the sentiment of those present, which he did in a most happy manner. He referred to the fact that Dr. Breed's life was co-existent with that of the imperial state of Illinois, and said that he was known in a different way to different persons, to some by his connection with the National Medical association, to others through his facile, sometimes trenchant pen, to others was kind and helpful, especially to the young and inexperienced, to many by his charity, to all present by his ability, his good citizenship and that measure of true manhood, his home life. He voiced the sentiment of all when he said it was a pleasure to meet such a man in his home and to leave with him a testimonial of their regard, a cane, an ebony with silver head and a gold band below, bearing the inscription, "Presented to Dr. S. P. Breed on his seventy-seventh birthday, February 1, 1896, Princeton, Illinois." It is a pleasure to observe the vigor of mind and body which were his and to know that he needed neither catnip nor sage to cheer his old age, and he expressed the wish that when the end came it would be
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
Remarks were made by Judge S. M. Knox, Hon. Milo Kendall, Dr. George I. Rice, G. B. Harrington, Dr. Cunningham, Dr. F. P. Cook, of Mendota. Letters were read from Thomas Lowry, of Minneapolis; Chauncy Rice, of Beaardstown; Rev. W. H. Jordan, of Brimfield; Richard Yates, Jr., of Jacksonville; O. M. and M. R. Powers of Chicago; Charles Warren of Ida Grove; George W. Hall, of St. Louis, and others.
In response it was evident that the doctor was too full for utterance and too wise to attempt to voice his feelings. He said that he had no idea that he was so good a man as his friends had made him out to be, although he had endeavored to practice the virtues and live up to a high moral standard. While he did not belong to any church or to a lodge or club he was not opposed to any such society which appeared to him to be helpful to mankind. This was a very bright spot in his life and the memory of this evening would linger, not only to please but to prompt him to be still more worthy the good opinion of his fellow-men, which he so much prized and of which he felt he was not worthy to the extent of the expressions so freely indulged in on this occasion but for which he was so profoundly grateful.