~ JAMES A. CARSON ~
Related Surnames - MILLIGAN, MAYES, SMITH, BRANIGAR, BELL
Among the members of the medical profession in the State of Iowa, no one is more deserving
of the high reputation, that has been won by careful study and close attention to his
duties, than the subject of this sketch. Though he entered upon his career as a physician
somewhat later in life than is usual, the splended success that he has achieved has
justified his adoption of the profession. He is a representative of the Homeopathic
school of medicine, and a graudate of the Hahnemann Medical College. He opened an office
in Maquoketa ten years ago, having previously been established elsewhere, and his practice
has constantly increased each year until the number of his patients is unusually large.
The doctor is a veteran of the late war, and has a brilliant military record of which he
and his family may well be proud. Through valor and efficiency on the battlefield he
received merited promotion through the various grades from sergeant to 1st lieutenant, and
during the latte!
r part of the war for nearly two years served as aide-de-camp on the staff of Gen. Mason
The doctor was born in Steubenville, Jefferson Co., Ohio. His father, William Carson, was
born in the same county, Jan. 9, 1817, being a son of one of its pioneers, James Carson,
who was a native of Ireland. The grandfather of our subject came to America with his
parents, who settled in Pennsylvania, on the site of Allegheny City, being among its first
settlers. The grandfather grew to manhood and married near that place, to a Miss
Milligan, a native of Pennsylvania, of Scotch-Irish ancestry. They moved to Ohio, and
cast in their lot with the early pioneers of Jefferson County. He bought a large tract of
timbered land, cleared a farm from the primeval forest which remained his home forty-five
years, his death occuring there at the ripe old age of ninety-seven years. His wife died
in the old homestead, at the advanced age of ninety-two years.
The father of our subject was reared amid the pioneer surroundings of his early home, and
after his marriage in Harrison, the adjoining county, returned to Jefferson County,
purchased land, and cleared a farm from the wilderness. He resided on it some years, and
then removed to Guernsey County, Ohio, and bought an improved farm of 120 acres. In 1870,
he disposed of that place at a good advance, and coming to Iowa, settled in De Witt, and
is still an honored resident of that town. He is seventy-two years of age, and his life
record presents no blemish, and shows him to be a man of high personal worth. His beloved
wife and companion still lives to share his home and fortune. Her maiden name was Eliza
Mayes, and she is a native of Harrison County, Ohio, her birth occuring June 6, 1816.
This worthy couple are the parents of five children - the subject of this sketch; Joseph,
who lives in Allegheny Co., Pa.; Thomas, residing in Lincoln, Neb.; John, living in De
ah I., wife of Thomas Smith, who lives near Wall Lake, Iowa.
He of whom we write gleaned his early education in the district schools, and subsequently
entered Madison College, from which institution he was graduated in the Class of 1859.
After leaving college he taught school two winter terms, and the remainder of the time was
variously engaged until 1862. In the meantime he had watched with deep interest the great
struggle going on between the North and the South, and in April of that year he determined
to go to the front and aid his fellowmen in saving the honor of the old flag. He enrolled
his name among the members of Company I, 97th Ohio Infantry, and was mustered in the first
day as Sergeant of his company. Three months later he was promoted to be Orderly
Sergeant, his ability as a soldier and his courage in action receiving other recognitions,
and four months later he was promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant, by Gov. Todd, and
transferred to Company D. Early in 1863 he was commissioned First Lieutenant, by Gov.
, and was transferred to Company A. In September, 1863, Gen. Mason, of Ohio, who had
watched his course with satisfaction, chose our subject as a member of his staff, and he
remained his aide-de-camp until after the close of the war, receiving his discharge from
the army in July, 1865.
During his honorable term of service, Lieutenant Carson took an active part in thirty-one
engagements. His first actual service was in the Valley of the Shenandoah, and he was
present at three battles fought there - Winchester, New Creek, and Charleston. The 97th
Ohio Infantry made a brilliant record in the war, and among the engagements in which it
participated were the following: Covington Heights, Beardstown, Ky.; Perryville, Ky.;
Lavergue; Stone River, Jan. 1, 1863; Murfreesboro; Nolensville expedition; Chattanooga
expedition, on September 9, 1863. It was the first Federal Regiment that entered the
city, and while on duty in Chattanooga the battle of Chicamauga was fought. There General
Grant took command, the 97th being under Sheridan. It marched up to Bragg's
headquarters, routing the enemy with great slaughter, and went from there to the relief of
Knoxville - at least those who were able to go after their terrible sufferings. Then at
Charleston, on the Hia!
wassee, it had a battle that lasted two hours with Wheeler's Cavalry; in this it came
off triumphant. Then they went to Strawberry Plains, and from there to Danbridge, where
they had a short engagement with Longstreet. Then they retraced their steps by way of
Strawberry Plains and Knoxville to Charleston, to prepare for the Atlanta campaign. At
Rockyface, Resaca, Dallas, Kingston and Henesaw 140 men were lost. From Peachtree Creek
the regiment marched to Atlanta, then to Chattanooga, afterwards to Pulaski, and from
there to Columbia, then to Franklin, which was twelve miles from Nashville. At Franklin
there was a battle, which lasted six hours, and was the fiercest and most terrible of the
whole war. In this battle 113 were killed and 500 were wounded. After this dreadful
battle the remainder of the regiment proceeded to Nashville.
The regiment was under fire 225 days, from the first to last; and when mustered out, there
only remained seventeen of the original company of which our subject was a member.
After his discharge, Dr. Carson returned to Guernsey County, and the following winter
taught school. In April, 1866, his marriage with Miss Sarah Branigar was consummated, and
they began their wedded life in Allegheny City, Pa., where the doctor had been offered a
situation with the Adams Express Co. He retained his office till 1868, when he came with
his family to De Witt, Iowa. He was employed at the carpenter's trade in that town a
year, and then removed to Benton County, and turned his attention to farming. The season
was very unfavorable for the crops, and his venture as an agriculturist was not a success.
He then took up his residence in Shellsburg, where he was engaged as a clerk in a store
until 1871. We next hear of him in Waterloo, acting as clerk for G. W. Gilbert, in his
dry goods store.
A man of studious habits, and well educated, Dr. Carson had always had a decided
inclination for a professional life, and at the end of three years he gave up his position
in Mr. Gilbert's establishment, and returned to De Witt to open the way to put his
cherished ambition into execution by commencing the study of medicine with Dr. Wagner. In
1876 and in 1879, he attended medical lectures at the Hahnemann Medical College, and
received his diploma from there in 1881. From 1877 to 1879, he had practiced in Grand
Mound with good success, and in 1879 came to Maquoketa and opened an office here, and has
ever since been numbered among the most practical and skilled physicians of the city.
In his noble wife our subject possesses a true companion and heart friend, who, by her
steadfast confidence in his ability and constant encouragement, has done much to make his
life a success. She is a native of Guernsey County, Ohio, and a daughter of Daniel and
Mary (Bell) Branigar, natives of Pennsylvania. To the doctor and his wife have been born
six children, namely: William A., Frank C., Louis B., Flora B., James A., and Mabel N.
Dr. Carson is prominently connected with various medical and social organizations. He is
Chairman for the year 1889, of the Bureau of Clinical Medicine in the Iowa State Medical
Society; he belongs to the Rock River Medical Institute; he is a member of Peerless Lodge
No. 60, K. P.; and of the Uniform Rank, and Jackson Lodge No. 33, I.O.O.F.; is connected
with the M.W.A., Camp No. 161; and is identified with the Covenant Mutual Aid Society of
Galesburg, and the Penn Mutual Society of Philadelphia. He and his wife are numbered
among the leading members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The doctor is a man whose
character invites confidence and insures respect, and he occupies a warm place in the
hearts of many whose sufferings he has relieved, or whose friendship he has gained
("Portrait and Biographical Album of Jackson County, Iowa", originally published
in 1889, by the Chapman Brothers, of Chicago, Illinois.)