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  • Writer's pictureLawrence Lore

St Francisville Doctors

Oak Lawn Cemetery in St Francisville is the final resting place for at least 5 physicians, Dr Robert J McMurray,  Dr. Le Rory Ireland, Dr. W A Lyons, Dr. Victor McMurray Brian and Dr. John R Brian, who practiced in St Francisville.

Dr Robert J. McMurray was born in Hanover, Indiana in 1852. He attended Medical College of Ohio and Cincinnati, graduating in February 1878. Later he attended graduate school at Northwestern University. He began his medical practice in Linn (Oriole) Illinois in November 1878. In the early 1900s he moved to St. Francisville, where he practiced for several years.

In February 1908 the Lawrence County News reported that Dr J R McMurray would start for New Mexico and California and probably be gone for about six weeks, this being the first vacation he had taken in thirty years of practice. Dr McMurray was an ardent sportsman, enjoying hunting and fishing and playing a good game of tennis.  He and Dr John R Brian built a clinic in a remodeled house where the Lawrenceville Post Office now stands. In 1912 he moved to Sebring, Florida where he was that city’s first physician. Dr McMurray died there, in 1923. His body was returned to St Francisville for burial in Oak Lawn Cemetery.

Le Rory Ireland M.D. was born in St. Francisville April 3, 1910, the son of Roy and Sarah Breen Ireland. He was educated in the St. Francisville public schools before attending high school in Lawrenceville. His pre-med education was at the University of Illinois in Champaign, and he received his Bachelor of Medicine degree in 1933 from the Chicago Medical School and Dr. of Medicine and Surgery degree in 1936 from the same school. He was arrested in Chicago and sentenced to 20 days in jail and forbidden to drive an automobile for six months on a charge of reckless driving. (He ran through a red light.) He interned for one year at Westside Hospital in Chicago, and six months at Frances E Willard hospital, also in Chicago. After practicing medicine for two years in Chicago, he returned to St. Francisville in the year of 1939. His office was at 905 Main St. In October of 1960 he married Audrey Odle.  He died at Barnes Hospital in St Louis on June 13, 1962, after several weeks of serious illness, and was buried at Oak Lawn Cemetery.

Dr William A Lyons was born in Lawrence County Illinois April 23, 1861. Early in life he chose the medical profession.  He graduated from the Tennessee College of Medicine with high honors and began practicing in St Francisville in 1887. He had married Miss Lizzie Saums in 1885 and in 1892 he ran for Coroner.  Ten years later in 1895 he became a registered pharmacist. In the summer of 1899, he tendered his services to Uncle Sam to go to the Philippines as surgeon or assistant surgeon with the troops but by September of 1899 he left St Francisville for Alamosa Colorado because of his health. He died there of consumption less than three weeks after his arrival. His funeral was said to be the largest ever held in St Francisville.  He too is buried at Oak Lawn as is Dr John R Brian.

Dr John R Brian was born in Wabash County Illinois on February 9, 1871, a son of Martin and Melissa Brian. Martin Brian was a blacksmith and was a very alert individual until his death in 1946 at age 99. Martin and his wife Melissa had a large family, nine sons and one daughter.  Four of the sons became physicians. 

John R was the oldest one of the children.  He received his early education in the schools of Wabash County and later taught in the neighborhood district schools for seven winters.  Meanwhile he attended summer school for one year in Danville and two years in Valparaiso, Indiana. Dr Brian attended Barnes Medical College in St Louis being graduated in 1899.  He immediately commenced his practice in St Francisville, taking over the practice of Dr William A Lyons who passed away in that year.  Dr Brian did graduate work in the Chicago Post Graduate College, finishing in 1906. 

In 1896 Dr Brian married Mary E Price of Denison Township. They had five children. In 1919, he purchased the S P Barton property at the corner of Lexington Avenue and Thirteenth street, in Lawrenceville to build a sanitarium.  Later he moved to Vincennes Indiana.   He practiced there until 1936 when he returned to St Francisville where he continued his practice until his death on November 19, 1944. He was buried at OakLawn Cemetery.

Dr Victor MacMurray Brian, was Dr. John R Brian's younger brother. Dr. Brian, affectionately known to his friends as “Cheeso”, was born in Linn, Wabash County on August 7, 1891, a son of Martin and Melissa Brian. He attended both grade school and high school in St. Francisville, then Valparaiso University, National University of Arts and Science, in St. Louis, and George Washington University Medical School, in Washington DC from which he graduated in 1917. He was surgeon for the Cerro-de-Pasco Copper Corporation in Peru, South America in 1918. Returning to St Francisville he practiced medicine from 1919 to 1936. From 1926-1932 he was District Health Superintendent; during this time, he was instrumental in having the St. Francisville schoolchildren be among the first in the state to be immunized against communicable diseases. He moved to Lawrenceville, Illinois in 1936, and practiced medicine and surgery until his death March 27, 1945. He was buried at Oak Lawn Cemetery in St Francisville.


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