Lee County Biographies

GEORGE RYON

Hon. George Ryon, M.D. of Amboy, was born at Elkland, Tioga County, Pa., June 5, 1827. He traces his ancestry to Ireland, whence his great-grandfather, John Ryon, emigrated to the United States and settled in New England. His grandfather, also named John, was born in Connecticut and was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, serving during the entire eight years of the conflict and being mustered out with the rank of Orderly Sergeant of his company. James Ryon, father of our subject, was born in Luzerne County, Pa., and was a farmer by occupation. In his native State he was married to Miss Sarah Place, and in 1837 with his young wife removed to Illinois, settling in that part of La Salle County which now forms Kendall County, and there improved a farm. In the home he there made his wife died in 1848.

In 1861 James Ryon removed to Woodland, in the Sacramento Valley, Cal.,and there resided with a son until 1866 when he returned to this State and passed his remaining years with his children at Streator. His death occurred August 8, 1872, when he was seventy years of age. In early life he was a Democrat in his political principles, but when the Republican party was formed he became its stanch supporter. He and his wife had a family comprising ten children, all of whom attained to years of maturity. Our subject, who was the fifth in order of birth, was a mere lad when he accompanied his parents to Illinois; he assisted on the farm during the summer season, while in the winter he was a pupil at an academy in Kendall County. Later he utilized his excellent education as a teacher in the district schools during one winter.

The profession of medicine early engaged the attention of Mr. Ryon, who, having made it his choice for a life work, studied with Dr. Isaac Ives, of Pavilion, Ill., as preceptor, and later read with Drs. Wheeler and Holden, also of Kendall County. He took two courses of lectures at Rush Medical College, Chicago, after which, his funds being exhausted, he engaged in teaching school one winter to replenish his depicted account and then commenced the practice of his profession in Paw Paw, this county. Subsequently lie was graduated from the Rush Medical College and thus thoroughly equipped for his profession, engaged in the pratice of the same with considerable success.

Six or seven years after commencing the practice of medicine, the Doctor was seized with a desire to become a lawyer and, in pursuance of that wish, he took up the study of Coke and Blackstone. In 1858 he was admitted to the bar at Dixon and while engaged in legal practice was drawn into politics. In 1860 he was chosen to represent Lee and Whiteside Counties in the Legislature, and in that responsible position did all in his power to advance the interest of his constituents. After the breaking out of the Civil War, he raised a company of volunteers, in August, 1862, for the Seventy-fifth Illinois Infantry and at its organization was elected Colonel. However, he had served but a short time when on account of ill health he was obliged to resign his commission after the battle of Perryville.

On his return to Paw Paw, the Doctor resumed the practice of medicine which he continued until 1866. At that time he was again elected to the State Legislature, his district embracing Lee County alone, and he served with credit to himself and constituents. The year 1869 marked his arrival in Amboy and the organization of a private bank which he continued to manage until 1873. Removing then to Streator, lie formed a partnership with his two brothers, Hiram N. and Francis M., and organized the Streator Coal Company, with a capital stock of $200,000. The company developed the coal business of that city and maintained a creditable reputation as reliable and successful financiers. The Doctor removed from Streator to Chicago in 1876 and, associated with Dr. F. B. Ives, resumed the practice of medicine. Three years later he returned to Amboy where he has since continued to reside, engaged in the practice of his first chosen profession-medicine.

The Doctor was married in 1852 to Ruth A., the daughter of Isaac and Mehetable lves, of whom further mention will be found in the sketch of W. E. Ives, on another page. Dr. and Mrs. Ryon were blessed in their union by the birth of one daughter, named Carrie S., who early gave promise of an unusually brilliant womanhood. Her parents spared no pains in giving her good advantages and at the age of nineteen, in the Class of `80, she was graduatcd from the Chicago University. She died August 31, 1886, greatly mourned by the host of warm friends to whom she had been deeply attached, but especially is her loss mourned by the loving and devoted parents who idolized their only child.

In his political belief the Doctor is a thorough Republican, using his influence in behalf of that party. Besides the offices above mentioned, he has served on the Board of Supervisors severalyears and has been Mayor of Amoby several terms. His wife is a member of the Baptist Church, and he gives liberally of hism eans to the support of worthy measures. He has written occassional articles for medical periodicals, reporting such cases as come under his notice which he deems of interest to the fraternity. Besides his pleasant home in Amboy he owns two fine farms, comprising three hundred acres, all of which represent his unaided efforts since he came to this State.

1892 Portrait and Biographical Record Lee Co Pg 195

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