ELEAZAR A. PYATT, M.D. To attain distinction in any one of the learned professions is the proud
ambition of many a man who is struggling through the early portion of his career, but it is looked
forward to as the prize to be gained toward the end of the race, and when then gained it may well
be accounted as having been worth a struggle. We occasionally, however, know of an instance when
a man still young has attained to this high position, and his success is certainly worthy of
applause and emulation. Such was the success of Dr. Pyatt, of Bethany, Moultrie County, during
the early days of the Civil War, when he was placed in a position of responsibility and trust
which established his reputation for all time.
Dr. Pyatt, who located in this county in 1868, and is therefore the oldest physician in Bethany,
was born in Yancey County, N.C., October 9, 1832, and is a son of Joseph and Jane (Brooks) Pyatt,
both of North Carolina, the latter being of Scotch descent. The grandfather of Joseph Pyatt was
born in Coventry, England, of French parentage and came to the United States when only sixteen
years of age, just before the breaking out of the Revolutionary War. He immediately attached
himself to the cause of political liberty and served all through that period of conflict and
shared in the struggles and hardships of Washington's army. At the conclusion of the war he
settled in Burke County, N.C., and engaged in farming, though he was a hatter by trade.
The father of our subject was reared a farmer, and having married in his native State, North
Carolina, resided there during his entire life, and dying at the age of seventy-four years.
He and his worthy wife reared two sons and four daughters and our subject is the fourth in
order of birth. He was the only one to choose a profession, as the others have all been
abundantly satisfied with the pursuit of agriculture. Burnsville Academy in his native county
gave to him a thorough education and prepared him excellently for the pursuit of his professional
studies which he began at a very early age.
When only twenty-five years old the Doctor was prepared to commence practice and located at
Poor Hill, Tenn. He subsequently entered Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia, and took
his diploma from that institution in 1861, soon after which he entered the Confederate army.
He was mustered in as a private but as soon as his talents and his professional skill became
known he was made Assistant Surgeon-General, having charge of the Eastern Department of the
Tennessee during the formation of those forces, some twenty thousand men being mustered into
service in that department. After the duties of that position was discharged Dr. Pyatt was
appointed Regimental Surgeon of the Nineteenth Tennessee Infantry, where he remained until
the close of the war, being especially active during the engagements at Shiloh and Stone River.
After the war Dr. Pyatt went to Virginia and was married October 16, 1865, in Washington County,
that State, to Ann E. Mahaffey, daughter of Hugh Mahaffey. She was a native of the county in
which her marriage took place, having been born there July 20, 1845. After marriage the young
couple settled in Hancock County, Tenn., whence in 1867 they came to Illinois and for eight
months were located at Mt. Zion, from which point they removed to Bethany. Dr. and Mrs. Pyatt
have had six children, one of whom died in infancy and another, Mary Grace, married Warren A.
Wilkinson and died April 23, 1891, leaving one son, Walter A., who is now deceased. Those who
are living of the Doctor's family are: Edward C., a druggist at Brownsville, Ore., George A.,
who is now attending Lincoln University; Lulu Pearl and Anna Dorothy.
Dr. Pyatt is a Democrat in his political views, but is not extremely partisan, notwithstanding
the fact that he was connected with the Confederate service, but he esteems it his duty to take
enough interest in local matters to cast his vote on election day. In regard to his large and
lucrative practice and the handsome property which he has accumulated, he may truly be styled
a self-made man, for he had but $3.00 and a horse when he made his home in Tennessee after
leaving his native State, and he was obliged to pawn his horse for six months' board. This,
however, was only the beginning, as he at once commanded an extensive practice and was never
again in straightened circumstances. He has easily accumulated property, as he has both the
professional and business qualities which lead to success, and he now has over nine hundred
acres of finely improved farming land, upon which he has placed over $9,000 worth of tiling.
His land is all in Marrowbone Township, near Bethany, and is considered one of the best farms
in the township. His residence is said to be the finest in Moultrie County and it is not only
beautiful in the exterior and delightfully located, but it is also furnished throughout with
good taste and is the scene of cordial hospitality and domestic happiness. He is connected with
the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which he has joined since coming to this county, as he had
formerly belonged to the Old School Presbyterian Church.
A lithographic portrait of the Doctor accompanies this sketch.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 215/216
Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb