The name of Samuel McElwee Wylie is well known in medical circles throughout America and is not unknown in foreign lands by reason of his contribution to medical literature, yet he has not sought the opportunity for winning fame or large financial success that is offered by the cities, preferring the quiet home life of Paxton, finding ample chance to exercise his professional skill in the practice which is accorded him in this locality. While the winning of success along honorable lines is at all times commendable, it has never been the chief motive in Dr. Wylie's professional career. A lover of scientific research, he possesses also the broad humanitarian spirit without which the physician and the surgeon never do their best work.
Dr. Wylie is one of Illinois' native sons, his birth having occurred in Oakland, Coles county, on the 15th of July, 1855, his parents being Dr. Jonathan Dixie and Agnes Isabel (Crawford) Wylie. A removal of the family to Paxton in 1868 enabled Dr. Wylie of this review to pursue his preliminary education in the common schools here and later he attended the Indianapolis high school and also Monmouth College at Monmouth, Illinois. His choice of a vocation fell upon the medical profession and in preparation therefor he matriculated in the Chicago Medical College, now the medical department of the Northwestern University, from which he was graduated with valedictorian honors as a member of the class of 1878. Immediately after winning his degree he located for practice in Paxton, where he has since made his home. He has, however, at different times studied in this country and also abroad, enjoying the benefits of instruction and hospital practice in New York. He has taken post-graduate work in the New York Polyclinic at different times from 1880 until 1888, and in 1890 he went abroad for post-graduate work in Europe, coming under the instruction of some of the distinguished practitioners of Berlin, Vienna, Munich and Leipsic. He also visited Paris and London in his professional capacity. The science of medicine has ever been a theme of deepest interest to him and he has carried his investigations far and wide into the realms of scientific knowledge. In 1900 he went with Dr. Senn, of Chicago, to Central America to study tropical diseases, especially leprosy and yellow fever, and at that time made a report to the secretary of state in regard to the diseases prevalent there which were liable to be met with in digging the Panama canal. In 1902, in company with Dr. Senn, he attended the Red Cross International Congress in St. Petersburg, Russia, and with him afterward visited altogether two hundred hospitals in Russia, Turkey, Asia Minor, Egypt, and the principal cities of Europe, the trip consuming eight months. In 1906 he was a delegate from the American Medical Association to the International Medical Congress at Lisbon, Portugal, and subsequently visited hospitals in Spain, Italy, Switzerland and France.
Throughout all these years Dr. Wylie has written extensively for medical papers and addressed various medical conventions on many topics, but of all his writings the one which has awakened most wide-spread attention and won him the widest acknowledgment of his ability was an article on "Traction injuries of arteries." This was the first article ever written on the subject. He searched libraries all over the world and never found anything bearing upon the subject except fifteen lines in Russia. This paper attracted world-wide interest and when it was read in Germany the profession elected him to fellowship in the Royal Society of Surgeons of Germany. At different times Dr. Wylie has been offered prominent professorships in Illinois and in the east, the latest being offered by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Chicago and the Rush Medical College. He has always refused such honors, however, for he prefers to labor in Paxton and enjoy the quiet time life here offered.
On the 19th of June, 1879, Dr. Wylie married Miss Emily J. Bushnell, a daughter of Sherrell and Adeline Bushnell. Her father was a very prominent resident here and was the organizer of the First National Bank of Paxton. Mrs. Wylie has been a true helpmate to her husband and he attributes much of his success to her assistance and encouragement. Dr. and Mrs. Wylie attend the Methodist church and he has attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite in Masonry. In politics he is a republican, actively interested in the party and its success, yet always refuses office. In professional lines he is connected with the County Medical Society, the Illinois State Medical Society, the Mississippi Valley and the American Medical Associations, the American Association of Military Surgeons and the German Surgical Society. In his practice he has always made a specialty of surgery, in which he has gained distinction, manifesting skill and ability in that line that places him on a par with the eminent representatives of the profession in the different metropolitan centers of the country. He is everywhere received in professional ranks with the most cordial evidences of respect and appreciation. He has succeeded because he has desired to succeed and he is great because nature endowed him bountifully, and he has studiously, carefully and conscientiously increased the talents that have been given him.

Extracted 17 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 2, pages 771-773.

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