BENJAMIN F. McMENNAMY, M.D. The life of a country physician is one of many trials and hardships and
yet of real satisfaction in consideration of the fact that the one who fills this place is of value
to a large community of families. To him they appeal in times of distress and sorrow. He is the
first one to whom they turn for sympathy when a new life begins and an old one passes away and his
is the kind and which administers relief during days and weeks of suffering and languor. One who
worthily appreciates his opportunities for influence in this capacity can do perhaps more to establish
a proper standard of living in a country community than any other man, not even excepting the spiritual
adviser. Such an opportunity has been appreciated and improved by the worthy gentleman whose name
appears at the head of this paragraph, and whose pleasant home is at Bethany, Moultrie County.
Dr. McMennamy came to Bethany in 1876, and is a native of Macon County, this State, where he was
born October 21, 1847, being a son of John H. and Nancy (Hill) McMennamy. John McMennamy, the grandfather
of our subject, located in Macon County at a very early date, settling on a farm there, and when the
county was organized he was made its first Sheriff. He subsequently removed to Texas where he died in
The father of our subject was born in Tennessee and came with the family to Illinois, and there
married a Miss Clark, after which he removed to Texas where his wife died. Subsequent to this he
returned to Macon County, this State, and married Nancy Hill who became the mother of our subject
and two other children, none but Benjamin, however, having survived. Their mother died in Macon
County in 1849, and in 1876 the father again removed to Texas and there died the following year.
The early life of our subject was passed upon the farm and he received his education at a seminary
which was then located at Mt. Zion, and so well did he avail himself of his opportunities for instruction
that he was soon fitted for the profession of a teacher, which he pursued for a number of years. In 1869,
after he had reached his majority, he took up the study of medicine with Dr. M.G. Blalock, then a
well-known practitioner of Mt. Zion, but now making his home in Walla Walla, Wash., and in 1872 graduated
from the Chicago Medical College. The first place at which the young doctor hung out his professional
shingle was at Mt. Zion, but after he had attained a little more experience he decided to come to Bethany,
as he believed that he would here find a better field for the fulfillment of his ambition.
The same year in which our subject took his degree he was united in marriage upon the 28th of May to
Anna E. Smith, daughter of S. King Smith of Mt. Zion. This lady was born in Princeton, Ky., September 7,
1852, and to her have been given four children, the two who are living being Francis Earl and Clifford
Dale. Besides the practice of medicine the Doctor carried on a drug business in Bethany from 1877 to 1886.
The declaration and platform of the Democratic party express the political views of Dr. McMennamy, but
although he has held some local offices he takes only a modicum of interest in political movements,
especially upon the local stage. He, however, believes it to be the duty of every loyal citizen to
cast his vote upon every occasion when a question comes up for decision or a name is presented for
office, as only by doing so can the right of citizenship be maintained.
An excellent and extensive practice has been built up by this worthy physician and as it is founded
upon his devotion to his profession and to the humane interests of his calling, and has been carried
on with unflagging interest and enthusiasm, coupled with true research and scientific study, it is a
practice which will continue to improve in both quality and extent for many years. Both he and his
lovely and capable companion are members and active workers in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and
their pleasant home is the scene of many social reunions among the best circles of Bethany. The Doctor
is also identified with the Ionic Lodge No. 312 A.F. & A.M. He is also a member of the Central District
Medical Society and the Illinois State Medical Society.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 348/349
Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb