DR. R. J. PIERCE. The medical man is held in the greatest esteem by savage as well as civilized people, and deservedly so, because in his hands are the issues of life and death. All honor is due to the profession of medicine, because it is composed of so noble an army of men, and among those whose skill has shed luster upon the profession is Dr. R. J. Pierce, who is known in medical circles throughout the State, and is universally recognized as a ripe scholar and a practitioner of renown. He was born in Hall County, Ga., August 23, 1837, the eldest of eight children born to Reuben H. and Sarah (Baker) Pierce, the former of whom was born in South Carolina, a son of James H. Pierce, a native of New Hampshire.
The name is English. The family were among the very early settlers of New England, and the grand-father was a participant in the Revolutionary War. Reuben H. Pierce grew up in the State of his birth, and when a young man moved to Georgia, and in 1878, after his marriage, came to Arkansas and located near the home of his son, Dr. R. J. Pierce, who had come thither in 1869. The father was a soldier in the Confederate Army, serving in the Fifty-second Georgia Regiment, and was in many hard battles. He was a lifelong teacher, and obtained a wide reputation as an educator and disciplinarian, and the fine education which he obtained was the result of his own persistent efforts, for in his youth he had few advantages. He died in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1890, and his wife in Pope County, Arkansas, in 1889. She was a daughter of Silas Baker, a Georgian of Irish descent, and the children she bore her husband were as follows: Dr. R. J.; William L. came to Arkansas in 1873, was a soldier of the Confederate Army, and is now a farmer of Washington County; Martha is the wife of George Villyard, of this State; Jane is the deceased wife of Robert T. Croy; Levi R. is a farmer of this county, whither he came in 1876, and was a soldier of the Confederacy; Elizabeth is the wife of J. B. Alman, of Adkins, Arkansas; Reuben H. is a farmer of Hamilton, Tex.; and Missouri is the wife of Thomas Bell, of Potts Station, Arkansas
The early days of Dr. Pierce were passed in Georgia, where he received his initiatory training in the common schools. In 1856 he began the study of medicine under Dr. Russell, a graduate of the old Philadelphia Medical College, and after studying with him for two years, and having no means to take him through college, he went West with a company of thirteen to Colorado, and they made a settlement on the land on which Denver is now located. The journey was made overland and they experienced many hardships while en route. During the three years that the Doctor remained in that vicinity he was quite successful as a miner, but continued his medical studies and assisted in many cases that required the services of a surgeon, thus obtaining considerable practical experience. He was the part owner of the noted mine known as Russell’s Gulch, and while in Colorado passed through some thrilling experiences.
In 1860 he returned to Georgia, and was there engaged in farming up to 1862, when he enlisted in the Confederate service as a member of the Fifty-second Georgia Regiment, and was made hospital steward by appointment, being assistant surgeon the last two years of the war. The Doctor is without doubt one of the best-posted surgeons in northern Arkansas, and had practical experience on many a bloody battlefield. He was at Vicksburg, was with Hood at Nashville, and finally surrendered with Johnston’s army at Greensboro, N. C. After making one crop in Georgia he came to Arkansas, and December 31, 1869, settled in the neighborhood of where he now lives, and is now the owner of 320 acres of fine farming land, some of which is richly underlaid with valuable minerals. He has given some attention to mining, and has opened up several paying mines in Marion County. He is a member of the Marion County Medical Association, and has kept in constant touch with medical thought, being one of the best-posted and most successful medical practitioners of the northern part of the State. Politically he is a Democrat, has been a delegate to various conventions, and socially is a member of Yellville Lodge of the A. F. & A. M, He was married in Georgia to Miss Mary McAfee, daughter of Hugh and Mary (Roe) McAfee, South Carolinians, the former of whom died in 1862, and the mother is still living. Mrs. Pierce was born August 4, 1841, was one of a large family of children, and has a brother, Joseph, and a sister, Mrs. W. G. Perry, who resides in this county. The Doctor and wife have three children: Frances B., wife of L. B. Brooksher; Adonis, married daughter of V. Stillville; Lenna and Ella. The Doctor and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and are widely and favorably known throughout the section in which they reside.