THOMAS S. MOTTER, M. D. BIOGRAPHY
[Biographical History of Tippecanoe, White, Jasper,Newton, Benton, Warren and Pulaski Counties, Indiana. 1899, page 179.]
Forty years ago the subject of this biography entered upon his life work, and during all this time has faithfully and conscientiously ministered to the sick and suffering. For a similar period he has been very actively connected with the work of the Methodist church, having served as class leader and in other positions, and gradually his character has been developed into ideal Christian manhood.
Now a resident of Dayton, Tippecanoe county, Dr. Motter has spent almost his whole life in this county, where his ancestors were pioneers, and few men are better known throughout this region. He was born three miles southwest of Lafayette, on a farm situated on the banks of Wea creek, February 5, 1837. His parents were Jacob and Deborah A. (Shultz) Motter, both of German extraction. Andrew Motter, grandfather of the Doctor, came to America about 1796, accompanied by his wife and seven children, and settled in Fairfax county, Virginia, where he, a man of considerable wealth and distinction, bought a large tract of land. He was noted for his old fashioned hospitality and for his love of hunting and sport. He kept a large pack of hounds and a stable full of fine horses. After a few years he removed to the vicinity of Hagerstown, Maryland, and later went to Chilli-cothe, Ohio. His last days were passed in Carroll county, Indiana, with some of his children, and his death took place when he was about eighty four years of age. His wife, Elizabeth, born in Germany, June 17, 1772, died about 1855, at the home of her son David in Wisconsin. She was the mother of ten children, of whom the names of seven only can be recalled: Jonathan, George, William, Andrew, Jacob, Samuel and David.
Jacob Motter, the Doctor's father, was born in Virginia, March 9, 1805. He learned the blacksmith's trade at Chillicothe, Ohio, with his father, and in 1825 came to Indiana, making the trip on horseback. Four miles above Lafayette, near Davis ferry, he saw a large party of Indians standing on a mound, near the river, and when he asked them about fording the stream one of the reds waded out, showing the way, and when Mr. Motter gave him a silver piece he was very much pleased. Locating on what is now Third street, Lafayette, the young man built a shop on the present site of the Bramble House, and here he worked at his trade until 1835, when he traded his town property for a quarter section of land on Wea creek. He cleared his land and engaged in farming, running a blacksmith shop at the same time. In 1849 he moved to White county, Indiana, where he bought a partly improved farm of two hundred and eighty acres, near Monticello. In February, 1854, he went to Bloomington, Illinois, and embarked in the bakery and confectionery business, and also purchased a farm adjacent to the city. At the close of a year he settled on this homestead and in May 22, 1856, his death occurred. He was an influential member of the Methodist church; was an old line Whig, and as a citizen was honored and respected by all. In 1836 he had married Deborah, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Dunbar) Shultz, the latter natives of Germany and Kentucky, respectively. Mr. Shultz came to America when he was fourteen years old and served in the war of 1812. He was a member of the Methodist church, and was living near Connersville, Indiana, as early as 1823, for a Methodist camp meeting was held on his farm that year. In the latter part of his life he owned a tannery and a gristmill in the northern part of Carroll county, and there he died when about sixty years of age. Mrs. Deborah Motter was born September 29, 1815, and was one of nine children, the others being as follows: Caroline, Isabel, Sarah, Elizabeth, Angeline, James, Francis A. and John B. The three elder children of Jacob and Deborah Motter, Thomas S., Margaret and George L., were born on the old homestead on Wea creek. John A. was a native of White county, Indiana. When fourteen years old Francis A. was accidentally killed by the discharge of a gun.
In his youth Dr. Motter, of this sketch, received unusually good advantages in the way of an education, for that day, and completed his literary course at the Wesleyan University at Bloomington, Illinois, where he was a student for two years. He then took up medical work under the guidance of his uncle, Dr. F. A. Shultz, and in the winter of 1858-9 attended medical lectures at Cincinnati, Ohio. In the last mentioned year he commenced practicing at Logansport, Indiana, but in the autumn he went to Selma, Alabama, and was nicely established in his professional work when the civil war broke out. He later accepted a position as surgeon of the Fourth Alabama Volunteer Infantry (Confederate) and cared for the wounded in seventeen battles, many of them the most dreadful ones of the war. At the first battle of Bull Run he was slightly wounded while on duty. He worked heroically at Williamsburg, at the seven days' fight at Richmond, Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, and was present at more than fifty skirmishes. At the battle of Knoxville he was shot in the right thigh and was captured by the Union forces and imprisoned on an island in the Delaware river, twenty two miles south of Philadelphia, and for twenty one months he had charge of a ward in the hospital. June 15, 1865, he was exchanged, and soon returned to Indiana.
Here for two years he practiced at Mulberry, eight miles east of Dayton, after which he was located in practice at Lafayette until 1878. Returning then to Mulberry, he conducted a drug business, and for two years he was similarly engaged at Crawfordsville, while he made his home on a farm near that place, and continued his practice at the same time. In 1889 he removed to Dayton, where he now enjoys the patronage of the best citizens. He owns a fine library and keeps posted in all the scientific researches and discoveries of the day, whether relating directly to medicine or otherwise. He is a Democrat in politics.
At Clark's Hill, this county, Dr. Motter was married, January 3, 1867, to Electa Bowles, a native of that town, born November 5, 1847. Her father, Robert Bowles, was born October 30, 1818, at Maidstone, Kent, England, and came to this country with his parents. When a young man he settled in Clark's Hill, Indiana, and there married Gensey Buckley, daughter of James Buckley. She was born August 12, 1827, and by her marriage became the mother of six children: Electa, Tiffany, Delia, Richard, John and Edwin. After her death Robert Bowles married Virginia Lowe, and their children were named, respectively, Isa and Mary. To the Doctor and his wife were born: Robert L., May 6, 1870, at Brookston, White county, Indiana; George E., June 25, 1872, at Lafayette, Indiana; Ada M., August 5, 1878, at Mulberry, Indiana; and Jay S., May 8, 1884, also at Mulberry.
Created by: Thelma Brooks Morgan
Record added: Feb 19, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 24748984