James Q. Lemmon, M.D.

JAMES Q. LEMMON, M. D. The medical profession in Westmoreland county has an able and popular representative in Dr. James Q. Lemmon, who is not only a native of the county but also a scion old and distinguished pioneer families of this favored section of the Keystone state. He maintains his home in the attractive little city of Latrobe, and controls a large practice throughout the section of the county tributary to the town, while he has gained distinction and prestige as one of the successful physicians and surgeons of his native commonwealth, being thus doubly entitled to recognition in a publication of the province assigned to the one at hand.

Dr. Lemmon was born in Fairfield township, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, January 28, 1852, and was the first in order of birth of the three children of Nathan W. and Margaret (Quinn) Lemmon, while all of the children are living at the time of this writing. Thomas Lemmon, the paternal grandfather of Dr. Lemmon, was born in Westmoreland county and located in Fairfield township, becoming one of the pioneer farmers of that section, where he passed the remainder of his life, having been a man of sterling character and a life long member of the old-time "Seceder" religious denomination. His death occurred in 1863. The grandfather of Dr. Lemmon in the maternal line was James Quinn, born in 1897, in county Derry, Ireland, where he was reared to maturity. In 1817 he set forth to establish a home in America, embarking on a sailing vessel, which proceeded successfully across the deep only to be wrecked on the turbulent coast of New Foundland, the supposition having been that the captain of the vessel compassed its destruction in order to secure heavy insurance indemnity, for which he had arranged shortly before sailing. The women, children and others who could not swim were safely conveyed to shore in the boats, while the others on board, including Mr. Quinn, swam the half mile to shore through a rough and heavy sea, all escaping. James Quinn lost all his personal effects through this disaster, and from New Foundland he worked his way to the city of Philadelphia, from which point he came to Westmoreland county, where by thrift, frugality and prudent management he acquired a very considerable landed estate before his death, which occurred in 1868. He was one of the honored pioneers of the county and his life was one of signal integrity and usefulness, while it was prolonged beyond the psalmist's span of three score years and ten.

Nathan W. Lemmon, father of Dr. Lemmon, was born in Fairfield township, this county, in 1820, and he passed the closing years of his life in Derry township, where he took up his residence in 1858, about six years after the birth of him whose name initiates this sketch. He ever maintained his allegiance to the great basic art of agriculture and became one of the prominent and influential farmers of his township, while as a citizen his standing was of the highest, implying his definite hold on the confidence and regard of his fellowmen. He was a staunch Democrat in his political proclivities, but was never ambitious for public office, though he served two terms as school director. His marriage to Margaret, the only daughter of James Quinn, was solemnized in 1850, and they became the parents of three sons: James Q., Thomas S., and George M. Mrs. Lemmon was summoned into eternal rest in April, 1891, in her sixty-eighth year, and he passed to his reward January 18, 1903, at the venerable age of eighty-two years and six months, his demise having occurred on the old homestead farm which had been continuously in the family possession for a period of one hundred and sixteen years. Mr. and Mrs. Lemmon were zealous and consistent members of the United Presbyterian church, with which they became identified in 1858, at the time of its organization through the union of the Seceder and Associate Reformed Presbyterian bodies.

Dr. James Q. Lemmon passed his youth in Derry township, and early began to contribute his quota to the work of the home farm, while his preliminary educational discipline was secured in the district schools of the neighborhood. At the age of sixteen years he entered the Latrobe high school, where he continued his studies for two years, after which he put his attainments to practical test by teaching two winter terms in the schools of Derry township, :meeting with marked success in his pedagogic efforts. He then took a course in Duffs Commercial College, in the city of Pittsburg, being graduated from that school as a member of the class of 1872. For the ensuing three years he was engaged as a bookkeeper for Murdock, Covode and Company a large mercantile firm, whose head office was at Ligonier, Pennsylvania, where he proved his fitness for the work of an expert accountant, which experience he says was to him a great service in after years, just the discipline every man needs regardless of what he intends to follow for a vocation. He then continued his educational work in the academic sense by entering the Pennsylvania State College, in Center county, where he took a special course in the classics, as well as in the leading branches of mathematical, natural and physical science. He made especially gratifying progress in chemistry, in which he became very proficient in both a theoretical and practical way. In 1878-79 he read medicine under the preceptorship of Dr. Jared Y. Dale, a representative physician of Lemont, Center county, and in September, 1879, he matriculated in the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania, in the city of Philadelphia, where he attended the three regular and required courses of lectures and also two special courses. He was graduated as a member of the class of 1882 and received his coveted and well earned degree of Doctor of Medicine. In his graduation he received second honors in his class, having acquired a grade average of ninety-eight and six tenths out of a possible one hundred, on eleven examinations in a class of one hundred and fifty-nine members, of whom one hundred and seventeen were graduated in 1882. The remaining forty-two failed to meet the requirements in point of efficiency demanded for graduation in that venerable and celebrated institution.

Shortly after his graduation Dr. Lemmon located in Latrobe, where he has ever since been actively and most successfully established in the practice of his chosen profession, representing a period of nearly a quarter of a century, and that filled with ceaseless toil and endeavors and with zealous regard for and appreciation of the responsibilities of the exacting profession which demands of its devotees all of loyalty and self-abnegation, beside constant study and investigation. He controls a large and representative practice, is local examiner for six of the leading life insurance companies of the United States, and is held in unequivocal esteem and regard both as a physician and as a citizen. Measured by his success and popularity in his community, Dr. Lemmon rightfully enjoys the reputation that he has honestly won as a skillful and well qualified physician and surgeon. He is the owner of a very fine medical and literary library, and is recognized as a man of high attainments, while his genial and gracious personality has tended to heighten his popularity among all classes. In politics he accords a stalwart allegiance to the Democracy, and both he and Mrs. Lemmon are valued members of the United Presbyterian church. The family home is one of the most attractive in Latrobe, being located on East Main street and being a fine brick structure, equipped with modern improvements, including a steam-heating plant. The beautiful home is a center of gracious hospitality, and the family is one of much prominence in the best social life of the community.

Dr. Lemmon married, June 27, 1883, Martha Steele, youngest daughter of James and Elizabeth (Hanna) Steele, of Unity township, this county. Dr. and Mrs. Lemmon became the parents of one daughter and three sons, the daughter having died in infancy while the three sons remain at the parental home, their names are: George Steele, born October 18, 1887; Willis Chester, born July 1, 1890; and James Russell, born December 5, 1894.

Source: History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Volume II, by John N. Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906, Page 285-7.
Transcribed by Carol C. Eddleman for the Westmoreland County History Project.
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/westmoreland/)

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