Biographical Sketch of Dr. John Patrick Hiller
September 6, 1876 – July 7, 1957
John Patrick Hiller was born September 6, 1876 near Carbondale, in Williamson County Illinois to Isiah and Mary Jane Brandon Hiller. At the time of his birth the farming family consisted of children Joseph T., Alfred K., Sarah E. and Nancy J., soon to be joined by Francis M. a year later.
“He attended Carbondale State Normal and St. Louis College of Physicians and Surgeons, University of Tennessee and completed his medical studies in St. Louis in August 1902.”1 According to Volume 1 of the American Medical Directory he graduated in 1903 and was licensed the same year. He then chose Pollard, AR as a place to practice and practiced there the rest of his life, and as long as his health permitted.
He met Annie Pearl Blackshare soon after he came into the community. They were married on December 25, 1905 and had three children, Francis Marion, Alma and Fred. Annie died in 1918 during the flu pandemic. On January 6, 1921 Dr. Hiller and Love Benson were married. To this union was born one son, Elbert Wayne, who was killed in the U.S. Army Air Corps on March 22, 1945.
“Dr. Hiller set up practice in a red brick building and made his rounds with a horse and buggy.”1 “He came to Clay county when being a country doctor was certainly a terrific challenge. There were no roads to speak of, not too many passable bridges, no cars, in fact few modern conveniences of any sort.”2
Doctor Hiller maintained a dignified poker face but in fact was quite a kidder. When he once made a house call and delivered a 10 pound girl and an 11 pound boy he suggested his normal delivery fee of $6 increase by $2.
“Nearly 1,000 people attended a dinner for Dr. J.P. Hiller’s 71st birthday. It was told during the event the day the doctor arrived in a one-horse buggy with a one-eyed mare. It wasn’t long before Doc traded for a livelier horse. He drove them so fast people couldn’t tell when the horse was running away and when it wasn’t. During his lifetime at Pollard Dr. J.P. Hiller delivered more than 3,000 babes. There were more than 125 of those “babies” at the dinner.”1
Dr. Hiller died at the Piggot Hospital on Sunday, July 7, 1957, following a long illness. Four years prior he was stricken with a very serious illness, but gradually recovered sufficiently to be up and about most the time, but could not return actively to the practice of medicine.
“Dr. Hiller was typical of the old fashioned country doctor that we have known – despite long tireless hours of service to his fellow man, he was never able to accumulate a vast store house of worldly goods and monies. Too many of those he served couldn’t pay for these services-some who could, probably did not.”2
“A monument was erected in memory of Dr. Hiller in Pollard, about where his office was once located. The bronze plaque reads – “In memory of Dr. J.P. Hiller, 1876-1957. Arrived in 1902 to begin his 55 year medical career serving Pollard and the surrounding area. It has been said of Dr. Hiller, the night was never too bad or the situation too challenging that he did not answer the call when his services were needed, even with his own health at state. A dedicated man with a big heart and a sense of humor to match. Eected by friends, July 9, 1994.” 1
1 “Dr. J.P. Hiller Lived Out His Life In Pollard”, Article by Camilla Cox
2 “Dr. J.P. Hiller Buried Tuesday” obituary
John T. Mitchell, BBA
February 15, 2020