Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Doctors

No no no, this is not about an episode of Dr. Who, but what I wouldn't give for his Tardis, eh? Instead, this is about two of the doctors in my family, in this case, Dr. Jabez Percival and Dr. John Stearns Percival. Not only are they father and son, but they are my great-great-great-great grandfather and great-great-great grandfather, respectively. Dr. Jabez Percival probably had no formal training, perhaps he studied under his father-in-law, Dr. John Stearns. According to one of the Dearborn County, Indiana histories, Dr. John Percival did attend lectures in Troy, New York.

By the turn of the 19th century, the Percivals were in Lawrenceburgh, Dearborn county, Indiana. Dr. Jabez Percival stays put with his family, but son John goes back and forth between Indiana and Kentucky. So much so, that even his own son, John Stearns Percival, Jr., born circa 1832, later a Captain in the Confederate cavalry under Gen. Jo Shelby, would alternately give his birthplace as Indiana or Kentucky. John, Sr. married both his wives in Boone county, Kentucky, in 1817 and 1822 and he did practice there, and he did pay taxes in Boone county. But in 1829, he was in Lawrenceburgh, Indiana and the following documents prove that. These are from the pension application (Indian war in 1790's) for one William Ricketts. Both Dr. Jabez Percival and Dr. John S Percival are mentioned in these two documents. On the same page. On the first page, the Surgeon's Affidavitt, it appears as if those are signatures. to which I can only say "too cool."

In the second document, it is nice to know that both are considered reputable physicians. Certainly there is no earth shattering information in here, but it is wonderful to have copies of these documents.

Unfortunately, both Dr. John S. Percival and Dr. Jabez Percival died in 1841. Dr. John S. Percival died January 10, 1841 from a fall from his horse. We presume he died in Missouri, intestate, since the Ray County, Missouri courts appointed Joseph Oliver (who would become his son-in-law) as administrator of his estate. Dr. Jabez Percival died June 21, 1841 at the age of 81.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes - Due to vagaries with Blogger, the pictures may or may not enlarge if you click on them.


  1. How wonderful to have these original affidavits. As the custodian of scores of letters and diaries dating to 100 years ago, I know the excitement of seeing one's ancestors writing (or written about). thanks for sharing.

  2. I feel fortunate that I have seen the handwriting of some of my relatives. John S Percival's second wife could read and write - that was saying something for the times - she was born in 1808 and died in 1878 - a time when a lot of women could not read and write.