Dr. B. F. MCMILLEN, b. 18Nov1820


biography from Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887

DR. B. F. McMILLEN, one of the leading physicians of Oskaloosa, was born in Burlington, Lawrence Co., Ohio, Nov. 18, 1820. His father, John McMillen, was born in Derry, Ireland. His mother, Margaret (Hopkins) McMillen, was born in Waterford, Ireland. The McMillen ancestry were Scotch Protestants, reaching back to the days of John Knox. The parents of Dr. McMillen emigrated to America in 1804, and their first residence was at Pittsburgh, Pa., where the father entered the army, and served under Gen. Harrison in his Ohio campaign in the War of 1812. He was one of the men who built Ft. Meigs. For his military service he received a land warrant for eighty acres of land, in 1852 or 1853, which he located in Keokuk County, Iowa, in 1853, in the land office at Iowa City. The subject of this sketch was induced to enlist with his brother Alexander in a company of volunteers under Capt. Charles Colerick, at Mt. Vernon, Ohio, in September, 1836, to enter the Texan army in the war for independence. They reached the Texan army, then a small force under Gen. Felix Huston, on the Lavaca River, where the tide water was perceptible, and near a point now called Texana, in November, 1836. He was honorably discharged in the summer of 1837, and saw his brother die of fever in the month of August of that year, at a point now called Hallettsville. The Doctor made an enclosure, with his own hands, on that wild frontier to prevent the wolves from tearing open his brother's grave. While in the army Dr. McMillen witnessed the sequel of the duel between Felix Huston and Gen. Albert Sydney Johnston. He saw the soldiers carry the wounded chief to camp, and heard the story of the fight from one of the seconds, a Maj. Phillips or Phelps. He also saw the bullet cut out of the hip of Gen. Johnston, and saw him months later, leaning on crutches, a sad looking wreck, cadaverous and worn, standing in the door of the little cabin to which the soldiers had borne him. This warrior of magnificent presence left his impress on the boy's imagination never to be effaced. After becoming a citizen of the then Republic of Texas, and passing through many adventures wild and strange, he returned to Ohio in the spring of 1840. After studying medicine for four years he began his practice in 1844. His first preceptor was the noted Dr. Swingley, of Chesterville, Knox Co., Ohio. Settling permanently in Richwood, Union Co., Ohio, in 1847, he remained there as a laborious practitioner of medicine until the year 1868, when he removed to Iowa, and settled permanently at Oskaloosa, in March, 1870, where he has since remained as a regular practitioner to the present time, August, 1886. On the 1st of January, 1845, he was married to Miss Caroline A. Maxwell, at Cardington, Morrow Co., Ohio. She was the daughter of Robert Maxwell, a gentleman of the old school, of a slave-holding family of West Virginia, near Clarksburg. A brother, Lewis Maxwell, was a member of Congress from that district. Robert Maxwell lived to the age of ninety-two years, and died at Cardington in the year 1883. Of the five children born to Dr. and Mrs. McMillen two died in Ohio, and three are living in Oskaloosa, viz.: Liston, Leoni and Lena. The first-named is a graduate of the Ohio Wesleyan University, and a lawyer noted for his zeal in enforcing the Iowa law against the dram-shops. Dr. McMullen had the good fortune, in the year 1851, to embrace Christianity in earnest, his conversion being, like many others of that year, characterized by much of the supernatural so often seen among Methodist societies. He has remained an enduring member of the 1st Methodist Episcopal Church, and is still ready at all times and places to confess the name of Christ and tell of His power to save. He esteems as his greatest loss in life the death of the brother he loved as his own soul. This was Dr. A. S. McMillen, who died in Sunbury, Ohio, in 1866. A costly monument now marks his last resting-place. His son, Dr. John McMillen, is now a physician and surgeon of much eminence in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. Dr. B. F. McMillen, our subject, has been noted through all the years since 1840, among those who have known him well, as a diligent and persistent student of medicine and its collateral sciences, as well as in general Biblical hermeneutics. He hopes to live long enough to present to the public a volume on the treatment of diseases, entitled "McMillen's Reformed Medicine." The book will be designed especially to meet the wants of the suffering poor, and will contain many startling innovations, as the writer has long since divested himself of all trammelings of schools and systems, and has become in an eminent degree a law unto himself. His theory as now developed is, that no tolerably sound person of reasonable age shonld ever be allowed to perish with any acute idiopathic disease, but this theory does not include surgery or traumatic disease. It should have been stated that the subject of our sketch is one of a numerous family who have all passed away, and he now remains as the last of his race, waiting in hope for the end that comes to all, full of labors for the suffering poor. Providence has granted him a moderate competence, and while the trump of fame has never heralded his name as one of the three mightiest, nor yet as one of the thirty chief ones, yet he lives in the belief that the blood of the Eternal covenant has made for him a sufficient atonement, and that he shall be permitted at last to see the King in His beauty, and know that his name is enrolled among the mortal inheritors of the long immortality.

Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887

Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy

Iowa Genealogy

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