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Abel Cummings Roberts, M.D.
21st Regiment Missouri Volunteer Infantry

Abel Cummings Roberts, M.D., was born in Queensbury Tp., Warren Co., N.Y., Jan. 15, 1830; he was the fifth child of Jonathan and Melita (Cummings) Roberts, who had a family of fourteen; in his youth, he attended the winter district schools, and, in the summer, worked on his father’s farm; as he grew older and advanced in education, he attended the High School at Adrian, Mich., for one term, but most of his studies were pursued at odd times at home; he selected medicine as a profession, and bent all his energies to acquire a sufficient degree of knowledge to enable him to properly pursue it; after making such progress as he could with this end in view, he attended lectures during the winter of 1850 – 1851 at the University of Michigan; his means being too limited to complete his studies, he went to the Eldorado of America – California – where he spent two years; in 1853, having accumulated a considerable sum, he returned, again attended lectures at the University, and graduated as M.D. in 1854; the same year, he began to practice in Otsego, Mich.; in 1859, he removed to Fort Madison, and engaged actively in the practice of his profession; in 1862, he was appointed Contract Surgeon in the Government Hospital at Keokuk; in March, 1863, he was commissioned Surgeon to the 21st Missouri Regiment, and served with it until mustered out in April, 1866; returning home, he resumed practice; the doctor is a man of wide popularity, and, in 1869, was elected Treasurer of the county, holding the office for six successive years; in 1873, he was elected Mayor of Fort Madison. He was united in marriage, in 1854, to Emily A. Cole, of Ann Arbor, Mich., but a native of New York; they have three children – all sons – Frank, the oldest, is a physician, now a partner in practice with his father; Dr. Roberts is often called upon to perform important surgical operations on patients from a distance; this was particularly the case since his return from service in the army, when he found a number of cases waiting for him; he has, for instance, ligated successfully the left subclavian artery, and performed many other capital operations; he was in all the battles in Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama; after each, the medical officers were kept busy operating for several days and nights without rest; when the army was disbanded, he returned home and was appointed Pension Surgeon; but being then, as now, owner and editor of the Fort Madison Democrat, he was deposed, for political reason, in 1876; he is a member of the Iowa Medical Society, and was a delegate from it to the American Medical Association, in 1871; he was Professor of Theory and Practice of Medicine in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Keokuk, in 1862 – 1863, and delivered two courses of lectures; the doctor is a man of great mental activity and untiring industry and perseverance, and popular and successful in whatever he undertakes. He is a member of the Masonic order, and at present High Priest of the Chapter at Fort Madison, a member of the Fort Madison Medical Association, American Medical Association and an honorary member of the California State Medical Society.


Biography was extracted from the Directory of Lee County, Madison Twp., 1879.


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