JAMES H. VADAKIN, M. D., Ph. G., is a practicing physician at Bethany, well-known
in this part of the State as for ten years he has been here an extensive merchant. He
was born in Sullivan, Ill., March 30, 1861 and is a son of Henry F. and Aseneth (Clemmons) Vadakin.
The former was a native of the Green Mountain State where the Vadakin family has lived for
several generations, the paternal grandfather of our subject being there a miller at an early day.
Philip Vadakin, grandfather of him of whom we write, came to this State in an early day and settled
in East Nelson Township, Moultrie County, where he was about the first settler. He it was,
who platted and laid out the town, which was intended originally to become the County Seat of
Moultrie County, he having settled previous to the formation of the county. There he passed his remaining
years and his remains lie interred in East Nelson Township.
The father of our subject was but a boy when the family came to what was then the far West,
but young as he was, he performed the duties of driver, from Vermont to Illinois, his beasts of burden
being a yoke of oxen. He was studious and fond of books, and was his own teacher to a great
degree. He entered the public schools as a teacher and saving the money that he earned in this way,
he was enabled before a great while to engage in business at Sullivan, about the time that place became
the county seat. His first effort in a business way was made in general merchandise, and later he
engaged in the drug trade, although the last business with which he occupied himself was that of a
grocer. Some years before his death he retired from active business life, being enabled to live
comfortably on the interest of what he had accumulated, having been successful in business. His
death occurred in 1888.
The mother of our subject was born in Shelby County, she being a second cousin of Samuel Clemmons,
better known under his nom de plume of Mark Twain. She died in 1873. Both parents
were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and were deeply interested in the spread of the
Gospel work. Politically the father was a Democrat and during the latter part of his life held the
post of Coroner of this county. They were the parents of five sons and two daughters. Three of
the sons, however, died in infancy, and only four children are now living (1891), namely: Dora, Mrs.
Kilner, of Sullivan; Aggie is the wife of W. B. Townsend and resides in Shelbyville; James H.
our subject, and Edward Lincoln who is the editor of the Forest City Times at Forest City, Ark.
The original of our sketch received his early education in the public schools of Sullivan and is a
graduate of the Rockford High School and also of Becker's Business College at Rockford, Ill., after
which he entered the School of Pharmacy at Carbondale, this State, from which he was graduated
in 1882. Thus fitted for active life, in the same year he established a drug business at Bethany,
having previously clerked in a drug store at Sullivan. To this business he added a general
stock of goods and carried on a large and successful trade. During these years he also engaged
in the manufacture of patent medicines, among them being "Casterole," "Vadakin's Instant Relief,"
"Sticky Fly Paper," and some fifty other things, and being a thorough business man and a
liberal advertiser at that time, his remedies soon became known.
Throughout his business career, he had been constantly engaged in reading medicine and in
1890 entered the Kentucky School of Medicine. That same year he graduated in microscopy, surgery
and chemistry. In 1891 he graduated in the full medical course, receiving the degree of M. D.
with highest honors. A diploma for bacteriology was also conferred upon him. During his college
course he acted as assistant demonstrator in surgery, microscopy and pathology, assisting Dr.
Matthews in treating diseases of the rectum. On leaving the college he was the recipient of fine
testimonials from his preceptors.
In 1891, our subject sold his general business at Bethany and gave his entire attention to his profession.
In 1883 Dr. Vadakin was united in marriage to Nora M. daughter of W. L. T. Meacham, a
merchant at Waverly, Ill., and successor to the Doctor in his business at Bethany. Mrs. Vadakin
was born in Waverly this State, May 1, 1864. She has presented her husband with three children:
Diamond is the only one living, and is a sunny tempered child of seven years; the two youngest
whose names were Ruby and Pearl, died in childhood. The latter was but five years of age when
her death occurred at Louisville, Ky., June 13, 1891. The little thing was bright and had a remarkable
voice for one so young.
Politically the original of our sketch is a Democrat although he gives but small attention to politics,
except to perform his duties as a citizen. Both he and his wife are members of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church. Socially he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and also of
the Modern Woodmen of America, being Camp Physician of said fraternity. He is also local surgeon
for the Peoria, Decatur & Evansville Railroad.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 381/382
Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb