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Delaware County, Iowa

 Biography Directory


Stephen Cummings, M. D.


Sand Springs, South Fork Township



STEPHEN CUMMINGS, M.D. Well known and standing high as a physician in his profession is the gentleman whose name heads this sketch. He was born in Madison county, N.Y., August 1, 1826. His father, William Cummings, was a native of the same state and was by occupation a farmer. He immigrated to Michigan in 1836, locating in Eaton county, where he was among the very first settlers. At that time the country was new and heavily timbered and he had to cut his way through the dense forests to the place where he settled. He died in 1839.

The paternal grandfather was Stephen Cummings, who immigrated to the United States from England. He settled in York State, but beyond this fact little is known. The mother of our subject bore the maiden name of Mary Boyer. She was a native of New York and died in 1842. She was the mother of nine children, six boys and three girls, three of whom are now living. The maternal grandparents were natives of Herkimer county, N. Y., and were of German descent. They owned a large estate and were among the first to engage in the dairy business in that county, which has since become famous for the excellence of its dairy products.

Our subject obtained a good common school education and taught school some before he arrived at the age of nineteen, at which time he entered Olivet College, where he diligently pursued his studies for nearly three years. He began to read medicine with Dr. John Hall, of Charlotte, Mich., soon after leaving Olivet College. He remained with Dr. Hall for two years and then read alone for a couple of years. He took a course of lectures at the university at Ann Arbor, Mich. Soon after he located at Somanauk, DeKalb county, Ill., and began the practice of his chosen profession. He

maintained a successful practice there for five years. In 1858 he moved to Hopkinton, Delaware county, Iowa

July 20, 1863, he enlisted as assistant surgeon of the Fourth Iowa cavalry. He served two years in the war, during which time he was in several closely contested engagements. The Fourth Iowa cavalry saw plenty of lively skirmishing, especially while chasing General Price through Missouri. At Columbus, Ga., and Guntown, Miss., the Fourth saw hard service. Dr. Cummings was mustered out on the eighth day of August, 1865.

During his two years' service he was never sick, wounded or captured. He was given full charge of a large hospital at Macon, Ga., for several months and had from two hundred to four hundred patients under his own supervision. After the war closed he returned to Hopkinton and resumed his practice. In September, 1879, he completed a course and graduated from the Rush Medical College at Chicago, one of the most noted medical institutions in the country. Dr. Cummings has been twice married. He first married in 1848, taking for a life companion Miss Jane Potts. To this union were born seven children, viz.:  Maria A. (deceased); Alice J., Ellen E. (deceased); Louis F., Alma L. (deceased); and two that died in infancy. His first wife died in 1870, and he contracted a second marriage in 1871 with Mrs. Harriet Crocker Lee, by whom he had three children: Mary, Jessie and William C.

Dr. Cummings' son Louis F. is a graduate from the medical department of the Iowa State University, having taken a full three years' course in that institution, and enjoys a successful practice in partnership with his father. He graduated March 5, 1884.

Dr. Cummings has practiced medicine constantly for thirty-seven years and has had a varied and valuable experience, equaled by but few men of his profession. He has always been identified with the republican party and has always taken an active interest in local and county affairs. He has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal church since his sixteenth year, and has always been a liberal contributor to all charitable purposes. He owns a fine farm of one hundred acres adjoining Sand Springs in South Fork township, which is equipped with substantial buildings and otherwise well improved. He is a member of the board of pension examiners for Delaware county, a position for which he is well fitted.


~ source: Biographical souvenir of the counties of Delaware and Buchanan, Iowa; Chicago : F. A. Battey, 1890. Page 266-270 LDS microfilm #985424

~ contributed by Thom Carlson