Biography of John Carey Fear, M. D.

John Carey Fear, M. D. Through the long period of forty years Doctor Fear had given his ability and service, only limited by his physical energies, to the people of Waverly and vicinity as a physician and surgeon. Without question he is the leading doctor of the county and his standing among his professional brethren and citizens in general is indicative of that leadership. Another distinction that he enjoys and which came unsought is his membership in the State Legislature in 1917.

Doctor Fear was born at Duncansville, Ohio, November 9, 1855, a son of Dr. Francis and Mary Ellen (Sparks) Fear. His parents were also natives of Ohio. His father was born December 11, 1824, and died at Waverly, Kansas, in 1902. He was a man of unusual experience and abilities. To a great many people in Kansas and elsewhere he was known as a prominent Baptist and a minister of that faith. While he gave much to religious work, he was by profession a physician. He had a military record, having enlisted as a private in Company E of the One Hundred and Eighty-second Ohio Infantry, and during his service was chiefly detailed for surgical work. Dr. Francis Fear came to Kansas in 1872, and spent the rest of his active life practicing medicine at Greeley, Westphalia, and Waverly. Francis Fear and Mary Sparks were married in 1851. Her parents, Ezra and Mahala (Shriver) Sparks, were both born in Ohio, and her own birth occurred at Winchester in that state in 1832. She died January 1, 1865. She was the mother of five children, four sons and one daughter, all of whom are still living, Dr. John C. being the oldest. William H. is a lawyer and banker at Portland, Oregon. Emery S. is a fruit grower in Florida. Allie A. is the wife of Orlin W. Kester, a farmer at Martinsville, Ohio. Charles F. is a farmer and stockman at Cottonwood Falls, Kansas.

Dr. Francis Fear married for his second wife Martha Rawlings. She was born in Brown County, Ohio, and died at Gardner, Kansas, February 11, 1917. They were married in 1866. The two children of this union are Rawlings Clarence, now a physician at Gardner, Kansas, and Ormal Oscar, who was killed by lightning in 1901 at Waverly, Kansas.

Dr. John C. Fear was seventeen years of age when his father moved to Kansas and he lived for two years at Greeley and since 1874 in Coffey County, where his father was the pioneer physician and surgeon. Doctor Fear had splendid opportunities to get a practical knowledge of medical practice while riding about with his father and assisting and taking a great interest in all that he did. He also studied medical books in his father’s office, and then completed the full course of the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Keokuk, Iowa, in 1877. Immediately after graduating he returned to Waverly, Kansas, and had been employed in the successful handling of a large practice all over that part of the state for forty years.

Doctor Fear is a republican, and while he had never been a seeker for official honors, a number of places of trust have been thrust upon him. He had been mayor, member of the School Board and held other offices in his home town. He was president of the Commercial State Bank of Waverly three years and had been president of the Coffey County Telephone Company about ten years. In 1916 he was elected by Coffey County as its representative in the State Legislature. During the 1917 session he was a member of five committees, including the Public Health Committee.

Doctor Fear had been president of the Coffey County Medical Society since 1900. He is a member of the Southwest Medical Association, the State Medical Society and the American Medical Association. He is a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason, and is very active in the Baptist Church, having served as deacon twenty years.

August 13, 1879, Doctor Fear married Miss Rhoda Florence Butler. She was born in Keokuk County, Iowa, February 2, 1862, a daughter of Joseph Butler, a native of Illinois. Doctor and Mrs. Fear have three children, all daughters. The oldest, Maud, was born in 1881 and died in 1894. Jessie Albertine, born in 1883, graduated in the literary and musical courses at Ottawa University, took one special course in the New England Conservatory of Music at Boston, and is a real musician both by training and by nature. She married in 1904 T. T. Kelley and is now the mother of two children, Leah Marjorie and Lyle. Doctor Fear’s youngest child is Ada Mabel, who was born in 1887, graduated from Ottawa University, and in 1909 became the wife of Frank C. Lebow. They also have two children, Roberta Louise and Rhoda Evelyn.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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