Dr. D. H. Arendale

There is no calling, however humble, in which enterprise and industry,
coupled with a well directed purpose, will not be productive of some 
measure of success, and in the medical profession the qualities mentioned 
are especially essential. Under certain circumstances a physician lacking 
them may seek out an existence, but he who would be eminently successful 
must possess a definite aim and must persevere in the pursuit of his purpose, 
besides having the other necessary qualities of head and heart to render him 
popular with the public. These the subject of this sketch seems to possess, 
since he is recognized as one of the honored and influential citizens of 
Jefferson county, Illinois, where he has long maintained his home, enjoying 
a wide practice in his chosen field of endeavor and commanding the respect 
and esteem of the most equivocal order. Doctor Arendale is a splendid 
illustration of what a man may develop into if he has the grit, industry 
and perseverance, although surrounded in early life by many obstacles and 
discouraging environment.

Dr. D. H. Arendale, a well known physician of Mount Vernon, Illinois, was born May 28, 1857, in Marion county, Tennessee, one-half mile from the Alabama state line. His early schooling was quite primitive, having been obtained in the log schoolhouses of those days, in which split logs were used for seats and other similar furnishings. His first effort to gain a livelihood was in carrying produce on horseback, often a distance of twelve miles, seeking a market for various kinds of farm products, and he always succeeded in getting good prices. He was always at work what time he was not in school, having left the log school-house when seventeen years old and desiring to become a doctor he entered Burritte College in Tennessee in 1874 and was accredited with being the most industrious pupil in that school. At a meeting of the faculty a few days before the close of the term it was agreed that Mr. Arendale was the best student in the school. In 1875 and 1876 he attended Doran's Cove high school, where he studied so assiduously that he seriously impaired his nervous system, having never completely recovered from the effects of the over-work he did there. While here he mastered most of the higher branches of mathematics, such as geometry and trigonometry, and at the close of the school was designated by the president of Pikeville College as a suitable pupil to demonstrate mathematical work, which he did to the entire satisfaction of all. In 1877 he was tendered a professorship in the William and Emma Austin College at Stevenson, Alabama, and he also taught in the free schools of Alabama and Tennessee. giving entire satisfaction to both patron and pupil. When only eighteen years old he applied to the trustees of a country school, who informed him that it had always required a bearded man to teach their school, but our subject asked to be "tried out" which was done and he taught the school to the end of the term in a most gratifying manner, having among his pupils one boy who weighed over two hundred pounds whom he taught his letters. This was the Island Creek, south of Bridgeport, Alabama.

In 1880 our subject raised a cotton crop, working early arid late in order to get enough money together to defray expenses in a medical college. His close application to farm work in Jackson county, Alabama, further demonstrated his determination to succeed, and, useless to say that his subsequent studying of medicine resulted in the acquisition of a carefully trained mind in this line.

He was a private student under Doctor Westmoreland at Atlanta, Georgia, where he received most of his medical training and while there he was complimented by the professor of anatomy in the state medical school upon his profound information in minute anatomy. Doctor Arendale took a course of medicine at Nashville, Tennessee. This was after he had tried to practice medicine at Elk Prairie, Jefferson county, Illinois, where he came in October, 1882. On the day after his arrival while passing the Quinn school-house just as the school closed for the day, noticing a very beautiful young girl among the pupils our subject inquired of Francis Cox, who was driving him, who the young lady was. Upon being told that she was Miss Louie Bodine, he replied, "That's my wife." In less than two months they were engaged an4 were married in the following month of June, the young couple spending their honey-moon that summer at the subject's old home in Tennessee, and his bride accompanied him to Nashville, when school opened the following fall, where she assisted him with his school work and did her part in economizing. Toward the close of the term their money ran out and they had a hard time to live, having to borrow money of the instructors in the college to defray part of their expenses back to Illinois, having settled in Elk Prairie among their relations. Doctor Arendal fitted up an old building in which they started housekeeping. Although almost poverty stricken and in poor health, resulting in too close application to study, our subject was too self-reliant to ask for help and for the first two years of his married life he never knew one day where he would get something to eat for the following day, maintaining his office in his residence an old stable. In 1 886 he was appointed postmaster at Elk Prairie and conditions took a better aspect. This was during Cleveland's administration. Doctor Arendale purchased an acre of ground and erected a three room house on it, using the front room as post-office

and also keeping a few articles to sell, his stock of goods having been obtained by giving a fifty-dollar note with his mother-in-law for security. His stock consisted of very small quantities of such materials as were used by his neighbors, such as coal oil, which he first purchased in quantities of one gallon at a time, his first stock of tobacco consisting of one dollar and fifty-five cents' worth, and his stock of dry-goods was a half bolt of light shirting, five cent calico. But prosperity came and he soon afterwards purchased such articles in lots of one hundred dollars' worth and his practice having grown in the meantime, he was enabled in the course of two years by his practice, the profits in the store and his salary as postmaster to accumulate the sum of two thousand dollars.

Prosperity has attended the efforts of our subject since those days and he observed the larger opportunities that were to be found at the county seat, Mount Vernon, where he moved.

Since locating in Mount Vernon he has practically retired from the active practice of his profession and has devoted his time and attention to real estate and the management of the Palace Hotel, the latter being one of the leading and most successful in the city, recently rebuilt and refurnished. Through hard work, economy and self-denial the doctor and his wife have accumulated a competency, owning valuable property in Mount Vernon in addition to profitable investments in California.

SOURCE: Walls History of Jefferson County, Il By John A. Wall 1909 pgs 346-349
submitted by: Misty Flannigan Dec 1997

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