Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
DR. MARY JEAN McLAGGAN ATHERTON. If one cares to take the time to examine works on the early races of mankind he will be surprised to learn how profoundly ignorant those early peoples were regarding the anatomy of the human organism and how very little they knew of the art of healing, in fact, they believed that the sick were possessed of evil spirits and that they could not be dispersed by any means except, incantations. Many centuries elapsed before the thinking Greeks established something of a science in the treatment of diseases and began studying plants, advocating the theory that certain ones possessed medicinal properties. This placed the study of the human organism upon a scientific basis, and since that remote age many theories have been advanced, little actual progress being made, however, up to a century or two ago. The last two decades have witnessed remarkable strides and new discoveries are daily being made. It seems that there remains yet a very great deal to be discovered if humanity is to cease suffering by reason of the "ills to which flesh is heir." Many women have of late years been studying and practicing medicine in its various branches, with success equal to the men. One of these is Mrs. Mary Jean McLaggan Atherton, of Springfield, whose record is that of a skilled, sympathetic practitioner, cheerful in the sick room, and, possessing the happy faculty of winning the confidence of her patients, which has much to do with their restoration to health.
She was born on May 28, 1882, in the Province of Ontario, Canada. She is a daughter of John and Catherine (Munn) McLaggan, both natives of Scotland, from which country they came to Ontario when young and were married there and established their home on a farm near the town of Peterborough. It was in 1852 that he left his native land and settled in Canada. When old age came on he retired from active work on his farm. He had accumulated a comfortable competency by his industry, and he and his wife are living at this writing in Chesley, Ontario. To these parents the following children were, born: FIorence Able, Chicago; Isabel, Ashelford, Toronto, Ontario; Alexander McLaggan, Saskatchewan, Canada; Catherine Broughton, Toronto, Ontario; Peter McLaggan, Vancouver, British Columbia; John McLaggan, Metiskow, Alberta; Mary Jean Atherton, Springfield, Mo.; Elizabeth McLaggan, Chesley, Ontario, and Martha McIntyre Chicago.
Peter McLaggan, the paternal grandfather of our subject, was born in Scotland where he grew up and married Isabella Fisher, also a native of that country, and there they resided until 1852 when they emigrated to Canada and established their home at Peterborough, Ontario, where they both died a year later of Asiatic cholera.
Mrs. Dr. Atherton grew to womanhood in her native locality and received her early education in the common schools and at Harbord Collegiate Institute, at Toronto, Canada, from which she was graduated with the class of 1899; she attended the Toronto Normal College for Teachers in 1900, and was a teacher in the Chicago Public School until 1908. In 1908 she entered the Bennett Medical College, at Chicago, Illinois, making an excellent record and graduating therefrom in the spring of 1912.
On December 18, 1909, our subject was united in marriage with Dr. Leroy Atherton, who was a native of Illinois who attended the above mentioned medical college at the time our subject was a student there and they were graduates of the same class. They both began practicing in Chicago, she in the fall of 1913 and there continued with success until their removal to Springfield, Missouri, January 1, 1915, where she has continued the practice of her profession, building up a large practice which is rapidly growing. A complete sketch of her husband will be found in another part of this volume.
Mrs. Dr. Atherton is a member of the Chicago Medical Society and is a member of the Calvary Presbyterian church of Springfield.
Springfield-Greene County Library