Jackson County

Biography - IRA T. ROBERTS, M. D.

The modern physician is much better equipped when he starts into practice than members of the medical profession of a half-century ago were after years of experience. No longer does the aspirant for a degree begin and carry on a practice before he has mastered more than the rudiments of his profession, as was so often the custom in years gone by. Careful preparation in medical college, followed by hospital work, are now rightly required of every regular physician and never before has public health been so admirably conserved. One of the physicians of Williamson county whose training has been long and careful and who is imbued with the most modern ideas is Doctor Ira T. Roberts, of Johnston City, a native born son of this county. His birth occurred on his father's farm near Makanda, June 3, 1879, a son of John T. Roberts, who is still a farmer and resides near Creal Springs.

In the community of Lick Creek the family was founded by John T. Roberts, Sr., the grandfather of Dr. Roberts, who came from the state of Tennessee many years before the Civil war and spent his life in farming, his death occurring in 1862. By his first wife he had two sons, J. B. and William, who are both deceased, and a daughter, Sarah, who never married. He was married a second time and by that union had these children: John T., father of Dr. Roberts; Marshall C., a farmer of Williamson county; Andrew J., a merchant of Lick Creek; one daughter who married and died in young womanhood; Mrs. William Fox; and Mrs. Delvina Tedford, living near Carbondale.

John T. Roberts, Jr., was brought up under rather primitive conditions, and began life as a farmer with but little knowledge of books. He married Cinderella A. Whitacre, daughter of Hiram N. Whitacre, of Jackson county, Illinois, and she passed away March 27, 1910, the mother of Dr. Roberts of this review and Iva M., the wife of Otie Reese, a teacher and farmer of Lick Creek.

Dr. Roberts fared much better than his forefathers for an education. He finished the high school course in Creal Springs, entered the Northern Indiana Normal University at Valparaiso, and graduated with the degree of B. S. in 1898, two years after his high school graduation. Choosing medicine as his life work, he entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons in St. Louis, and completed his work and graduated in April, 1902, and in June following established himself in Johnston City and has been a fixture of the place since. He is a member of the County Medical Society, of the Southern Medical Association and of the Illinois State Association; and is local surgeon for the Illinois Central Railway here and a member of the Joint Association of Surgeons of the Illinois Central, Yazoo and Mississippi Valley and the Indianapolis Southern Railroad Companies. Mr. Roberts served three years as a member of the board of health of Johnston City.

On December 24, 1902, Dr. Roberts was married at Creal Springs, Illinois, to Miss Daisy Sutherland, daughter of W. P. Sutherland. Mrs. Roberts is one of nine children and was born in Williamson county. One son. T. Jean, was born to Dr. and Mrs. Roberts in 1904. Dr. Roberts comes of a family of Democrats, but has no part in practical politics. He is a Mason, and is one of the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal church at Johnston City.

Extracted from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, by George W. Smith, volume 2, page 1017.

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