Abraham Van Meter

Abraham Van Meter, M.D. Health is the most precious gift bestowed upon us by nature; and how to retain it, and how to regain it when lost, are matters of vital moment. Dr. Abraham Van Meter was born September 25, 1839, in Grayson County, Ky. The Van Meter family trace their origin to one of two brothers who emigrated to the United States from Holland. One located in New Jersey and the other in New York. John, the New York brother, went to Virginia, and married a Delaware Indian. From this branch of the family the Doctor is a descendant. Colonel Joe Van Meter commanded a regiment in the Revolutionary War. The Doctor's grandparents were among the first settlers of Boone's Lick, Ky., and Grandfather Van Meter was a soldier in the War of 1812. The Doctor's father, Jacob R. Van Meter, was born in Kentucky in 1820, and when only eighteen years of age married Miss Rhoda C. Hackley, also a native of Kentucky.
In 1840 they moved to Arkansas, subsequently to Illinois, and in 1857 to Linn County, Mo., where he died twenty-two years later. The mother is living in California, and is sixty-nine years of age. In their family were eleven children, nine sons and two daughters. Two of the sons are physicians. Dr. Abraham Van Meter, the eldest child of the family, received a limited education, but being always very fond of a book, he became a well informed man. Having a natural tendency for medical literature, he began reading medicine at the age of sixteen, but later turned his attention to mechanical engineering, which he made his business until the breaking out of the war. In 1861 he enlisted in the Home Guards, and about two months later he joined Company F, Eighteenth Missouri Volunteer Infantry, U. S. A. He was at Island No. 10, then at Shiloh, when his division fought in what is called the "Hornet's Nest," He was taken prisoner, and after being held about a month at Montgomery, Ala., was sent to the Tennessee River to be exchanged, but Gen. Mitchell, who met them there, claimed he had no authority to make exchanges, so the Doctor was taken to Chattanooga until the shelling of the town by Mitchell, when he was moved on to Macon, Ga. From there he was taken to Richmond to be exchanged, and while waiting had the pleasure (?) of spending four days in Libby prison, having been a prisoner six months and thirteen days. As soon as he gained flesh and strength he joined his regiment in May, 1863, in Tennessee, was promoted to sergeant, and served until November, 1864. He was in all the battles from Chattanooga to Atlanta. In 1864 he entered the medical department of the Philadelphia University, from which he graduated in 1865. Having located at Brookfield, Mo., he practiced at different points until 1881, when he went to Washington Territory, and later became surgeon to the engineer corps of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, who were surveying the route through the Cascade Mountains. The same year
he came to Lamar. He has been medical director of the State three times for the Grand Army of the Republic, and is now serving his fourth term as post commander at Lamar. He is a Mason, a member of the Barton Medical Society, the Missouri State Medical Association, and a member of the National Association of Railroad Surgeons. He is local surgeon at Lamar for the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Memphis (formerly the Gulf) Railroad, and is also county physician. The Doctor is a stanch Republican. December 31, 1857, he married Miss Martha A. McClure, a native of Kentucky, and to them have been born six children, two now living: Mollie and Agnes.

From: History Of Hickory, Polk, Cedar, Dade And Barton Counties, Missouri, 1889. Published by Goodspeed. Pages 956, 957.

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