DR. JOHN LE
CRONE, the present efficient and popular County Clerk of Effingham County, Ill., is one of the few surviving pioneer settlers
who can boast nearly a half-century's residence within its borders. He has also been one of its useful and valued
citizens. The Doctor was born in the town of McClelland, Fayette
on the 12th of December, 1816, and is the eldest son of Daniel and Elizabeth (Sprinkle) Le Crone. The father was also
a native of the Keystone State. He was born in Lancaster County, Pa.,
on the 26th of March, 1791, and was descended from an old Pennsylvanian family that dated its origin in that State
long prior to the War of the Revolution, the original emigrant settler having come to America from Strasburg, on
the Franco-German border. The mother of our subject was born in Fayette
and was descended from an old Kentucky family. The Doctor's parents were both
members of the Presbyterian Church. They had a family of ten children, of whom six are now living, all being residents
of Effingham County. Our subject is the eldest. He was followed
by Henry, who resides in Watson, this county; William, who makes his home in the same county; Mathias, who is living
in Jackson Township, Effingham
County; Mrs. Catherine Ashbaugh and Mrs. Mary
While a youth, Dr. Le Crone remembers to have seen Gen. La Fayette while on his last visit to America, riding in a carriage in Uniontown,
Pa., in company with Gen. Jackson. This was
in 1834. The Doctor's parents removed with their children to Perry County, Ohio, in 1832, and ten years later,
in 1842, came to Illinois, locating in Effingham
County. Daniel Le Crone entered a tract of land
near where now stands the village of Watson, and was engaged in farming until his death,
which occurred July 8, 1845. His wife died January 10, 1848. For more than half a century the family has been connected
with the history of this county, where the living children still reside.
The subject of this sketch removed with his parents to Ohio when a youth of sixteen summers. He had
attended the public schools in his native State, and on going to the Buckeye
State pursued his studies in the same class of
schools until seventeen years of age. At that time he entered Marietta
College, where he remained two years as a student,
teaching at intervals to defray his expenses. At the expiration of that period he gave up trying to complete the
course and engaged in teaching, also devoting some time to the study of medicine. Under the preceptorship of Drs.
Hyde and Evans, of Rushville, Ohio, he pursued his medical studies, and at this time, although not yet twenty-one
years of age, nor far enough advanced to regularly engage in medical practice, he had the temerity to assume the
responsibilities of the head of a family, and on the 8th of September, 1836, was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth
Allen, a daughter of Joseph Allen. Mrs. Le Crone was born in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Her people were
of an old and honored family of the Old Dominion, whence they removed to Ohio about the year 1829.
The Doctor pursued the practice of medicine in the Buckeye State until 1844, when he determined to come
to Illinois, whither his parents had already removed.
He took up his residence in Effingham County, settling at Ewington, then the county
seat. There he succeeded in building up an extensive and lucrative practice and in acquiring a valuable property
at that place. In 1860 the county seat was removed from Ewington to Effingham, and in consequence the property
in the former place depreciated in value so much that it became almost worthless. Dr. Le Crone removed to this
city and, as the natural result, had to begin in Effingham, financially, at the bottom of the ladder, but he had
the advantage of extensive acquaintance and a high reputation in his profession. In consequence, he soon retrieved
his losses and became comfortably situated again. His removal to Effingham occurred in April, 1861, and since that
time he has resided continuously in this place.
At the time of Dr. Le Crone's advent into Ewington there were but two other physicians in the county Dr. J. M.
Long, now of California, and Dr. C. M. Fally, now of Wisconsin. As these two gentlemen long since took their departure,
our subject enjoys the distinction of being the oldest resident physician of Effingham
County. In the early days of his practice in Illinois, Dr. Le Crone's circuit involved many long
rides, in which he was obliged to ford bridgeless streams and face many a wild storm on a trackless prairie. His
practice extended beyond Effingham County, into Shelby, Fayette, Clay and Jasper Counties. Being
blessed with a peculiarly hardy constitution and with great powers of endurance, he was enabled to do an immense
amount of work and proved a most welcome visitor in the distant homes of the afflicted, in the well-remembered
so-called sickly seasons of pioneer times.
In June, 1864, Dr. Le Crone entered the volunteer military service of the United States as one of the one hundred day men, and
acted as Assistant Surgeon of the One Hundred and Thirty-fifth Illinois Infantry. He served the term of his enlistment
and on his return from the army resumed practice in Effingham. He pursued his business with marked success until
the fall of 1886, when he abandoned that work for a time, having been elected County
Clerk of Effingham
County. He was re-elected in the fall of 1890,
and is now in the middle of his second term.
In early life Dr. Le Crone was a Whig and voted for William Henry Harrison for President in 1840. Twenty years
later, in 1860, he began voting with the Democrats, supporting Stephen A. Douglas for the Presidency, and has since
been identified with that great party. His first official position in Illinois was that of Justice of the Peace, which
he filled in New
England. He has
also served three terms as Mayor of the City of Effingham.
Ten children were born unto Dr. and Mrs. Le Crone, of whom nine are yet living. William C., the eldest, married
Miss Lina Kagay, and is a commercial traveler residing in Effingham. Albert W. is a lawyer by profession, and also
resides in Effingham. His present wife was Miss Lizzie Wood. Martha became the wife of John Cullom, a resident
Mary is the wife of Nelson Staats, of St.
Eliza died in 1877. She was twice married. Her first husband, William J. Boyce, was killed in the attack on Ft.
Donelson. In her widowhood she became the wife of
William M. Thompson, of this city. At her death she left two children, a daughter born of each marriage. Harriet
M. is the wife of C. W. Smith, a resident of Indianapolis, Ind., who is employed as a conductor on the
Vandalia Railroad. George M. married Frances Nitcher, and is now the able editor and publisher of the Effingham
Democrat. Lewis married Sophia Gyon, and is living
at Effingham. Nellie, the youngest of the family, is the wife of S. D. Prouty, a conductor on the Diamond Special
Train and a resident of Effingham.
On the 8th of January, 1892, Dr. Le Crone was called upon to mourn the loss of his most estimable wife, who had
been his companion through fifty-four years of wedded life. She was a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, and her death was mourned by a large circle of friends and acquaintances. The Doctor is a member of the
oldest medical society in the State, the Wabash Esculapian Society. He was once President of the Effingham County
Medical Society, now defunct, and also held membership with the State Medical Society. Socially he is a member
of Chapter No. 87, R. A. M., and also of Effingham Lodge No. 149, A. F. & A. M., of Effingham. He is also an
Odd Fellow, but the lodge to which he once belonged is now extinct. The Doctor has been a resident of this county
for nearly half a century and has ever been connected with its prominent interests, aiding largely in its development
and upbuilding. His career as a physician has been most successful, and well deserving is he of his high reputation.
As a citizen, he is valued throughout the community, and his untarnished official record has won him high commendation.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and
Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors
of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p. 215. Transcribed by
Judy Rosella Edwards.