Alexander County

Biography - Charles Dunning

CHARLES W. DUNNING, physician and surgeon, Cairo. The greatest genius of which any one can boast is the power of molding circumstances— of being able to turn them to good account, and of using his talents to better the condition of others and develop in himself a true manhood. Such reflections naturally come to us as we study the life-histories of such men as he whose name heads this article. He was born April 15, 1828, in Auburn, N. Y. His father, Lucius Dunning, died in 1834, and his mother, Mary Dunning, who was born in 1807, is still living. His father died when he was but six years of age, and he was left to battle with the world, stimulated only by a mother's devoted love and his own energy. He was educated in Gambler College, Ohio, and immediately after finishing his course at that institution, he determined to gratify his desire to become a physician, and to that end entered upon the study of medicine. He underwent the usual preparatory reading with Dr. G. W. Hotchkiss, of Nashville, Ill., and Prof Joseph N. McDowell, of St. Louis. In 1850, he graduated from the Medical Department of the University of Missouri. Immediately after, he accepted the position of Assistant Resident burgeon of a private hospital in St Louis, known as the "Hotel for Invalids," where he remained for two years, and then removed to Centralia, Ill. During a residence hereof four years he won for himself many ardent friends, and established a lucrative practice. From Centralia he removed to Cairo, which has since been his permanent home, though his business and profession frequently calls him away. He was connected with the United States Hospital at Mound City, Ill., during the years of 1861 and 1862, returning to his home in Cairo when his services there were no longer a necessity. In 1863, he was honored with the appointment of Professor of Surgery in the Hahnemann Medical College of Chicago, which he declined, and in 1865 he was appointed Professor of Physiology and Materia Medica in the University of Missouri. This position also he was forced to decline, on account of business and professional connections here which he could not sever. Dr. Dunning is often called to attend critical cases remote from and beyond the circle of his usual practice. His popularity as a man and as a physician has been fairly and honorably earned, and his professional success no less due to his knowledge and ability than to his purely sympathetic nature so indispensable in the sick chamber and in the character of the true physician. While he devotes his attention closely to his practice, he also takes an unselfish but hearty interest in the politics of the day, and exerts no small influence, the benefits of which are enjoyed by the Democratic party. He wields a commanding influence in the Masonic fraternity, in which he is an honored member. He is an officer in the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar for the State of Illinois, being Grand Captain General of that august body. He has been ten times elected Eminent Commander of Cairo Commandery, No. 13, which position he now fills. Dr. Dunning was first married in 1840 to Amanda Shannon, of Sparta, Ill. She died in 1859, leaving one son, who is now living. His present wife was Miss Ellen O. Dashiell. They have one child — a daughter.

Extracted 31 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Part V, pages 14-15.

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