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Phillip J. McMahon 1813-1875


Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 1/5/2024 at 00:46:13

Phillip Jesse McMahon
(November 26, 1813 – March 14, 1875)

Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil, Tuesday, March 16, 1875, p.4
Death of Dr. P. J. McMahon
DIED – In this city on Sunday, the 14th inst., at 5:30 o’clock p.m. Dr. P. J. McMahon, aged sixty-one years, three months and eighteen days. Phillip Jesse McMahon, M. D. the announcement of whose death has cast a gloom of sorrow over the entire city, was born in Hardin County, Ky., November 26, 1813. Concerning the early youth of the deceased or the incidents connected therewith, but very little, we regret to say, is known to the writer of this brief sketch. It is stated, however by those familiar with the subject of our remarks during his later years, that he had, upon more than one occasion, referred to the fact of having commenced his business career while still quite young, as a clerk in a dry goods store in Elizabethtown, Ky.; but the records are silent as to the length of time he was thus engaged, or the degree of favor with which he regarded a strictly mercantile business of that character. Entering upon the study of medicine at the close of his career as an assistant in the business house alluded to, Mr. McMahon pursued his researches with such success as to be admitted into practice as a regular physician within a comparatively short time thereafter, and soon secured for himself a large and remunerative practice. But however well satisfied others may have been with his early attainments in the medical line, he himself was far from being contented therewith, and accordingly entered his name on the books of the Louisville Medical College for a thorough course of study and lectures at that well known institution. Having completed these, Mr. McMahon returned to Elizabethtown, at which place and Natchez, Miss., he followed his profession for several years, removing to Charleston, Mississippi County, Missouri in 1841. At this inst. mentioned place he remained ten years, enjoying the respect and esteem of all who knew him, not only as an efficient physician, but also as a cultured and genial gentleman. Fully aware of the fact that success in life, if it was to be attained at all, would have to be secured by and through his own personal exertions, the subject of this sketch applied himself with unceasing diligence to the practice of his chosen vocation, and with the most satisfactory results. Year by year his fame and practice extended with gratifying rapidity and steadiness, but his arduous labors and the malarial climate of Southeastern Missouri told all too effectively and plainly on a constitution not over-rugged at best, until he was finally, in the year 1851, compelled to relinquish his exertions and forego all his bright and brightening prospects there, in order to save his life. At the time of taking his departure from Charleston it was Mr. McMahon’s intention to seek a new home and improved health in the mountains or on the Pacific coast, but on arriving here in May of the same year, he was so favorably impressed with the healthfulness of the climate and the attractiveness of all the surroundings, that he at once concluded to make this his future permanent abiding place.
Dr. McMahon’s history since his advent here, both as a prominent member of the medical profession and as a live, energetic public spirited citizen, is too well known to a majority of the readers of The Nonpareil either to require or warrant extended mention in this connection. It may, however, add to the knowledge of some, and refresh the memory of others, to state that, shortly after entering upon the practice of medicine here, he embarked in the drug business, his store being the second one of the kind established in this city. Having previously taken Dr. S. W. Williams into partnership with him as a physician, Dr. McMahon was able to do justice to both callings, and for a number of years conducted a large and constantly growing trade as a practical pharmacist. But, as the demands of each became more and more numerous and pressing, he was finally compelled to choose between the two, and accordingly disposed of his stock of goods to Samuel Dillon, Esq. – who had been clerking for him, and from that time until within a few weeks of his death the Doctor devoted himself almost exclusively to his profession. The partnership entered into with Dr. Williams, which, by the way, was an unusually successful one, was, by mutual consent, dissolved at the expiration of ten years. Since then the deceased has not been formally associated with anyone, though he has at times practiced in connection with other physicians – Drs. Sullivan and Osborne being among the number.
In July 1855, at Savannah, Missouri, Dr. McMahon wedded his heart’s choice in the person of Miss Sallie A. King, daughter of Dr. King, of Richmond, Ray County, Mo., who still survives to mourn his loss. As a result of their union six children were born, four of whom are still living - three boys and one girl: P. J. McMahon Jr., aged about 17 years; Libbie, aged about 15; James, aged about 12, and Willie, aged about 7 years. A thoughtful, loving and prevident husband, and a kind, considerate father, his loss will be all the more deeply felt by his bereaved family.
As to the illness which was the immediate cause of Dr. McMahon’s death, but little is definitely known, and but little can therefore be said. It is generally supposed, however, conceded, we may say that it was cancer of the stomach, though it is worthy of remark that several of the usual symptoms were wanting to confirm this opinion. To Dr. Osborne we are indebted for the information that while amputating a hand for a gentleman name Horton, about four years ago, mortification having set in, Dr. McMahon was so unfortunate as to absorb some of the virus, and that from that time until his death his health was far from being as good as before. He continued, however, in the active practice of his profession until the 7th day of January last, when he was compelled by feeble health to relinquish his labors, nevermore to resume. Since that time he has failed slowly but surely, until with the down going of Sunday’s sun his spirit freed itself from the tabernacle of clay in which it had been over three score years imprisoned, and took its flight to that purer and holier realm Over There. Though somewhat eccentric, Dr. McMahon was held in the highest respect and esteem by all who knew him. As a physician, he stood, perhaps, without a peer in this part of the West. Affable, obliging, generous, and cultured, he was popular with rich and poor, high and low alike. Ever ready and willing to lend a helping hand in distress, ever cheerful and full of buoyancy and hope, he ministered often and successfully in curing minds as well as bodies diseased, and in imparting to the downcast in spirit that desirable inspiration which he himself possessed. In his death, Council Bluffs loses a valued and enterprising citizen, the community one of its most esteemed members, and his family a model husband and father. Peace to his ashes.
In accordance with the last wishes of the deceased, the remains will be interred in Walnut Cemetery at 3 o’clock this afternoon, under the auspices of Excelsior Lodge, No. 259, A. F. and A. M., of which organization Dr. McMahon was a member in good standing.


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