Dr. William Francis Milligan McAllister, who has attained distinction as a representative of the medical fraternity in central California and is now medical director of the Veterans' Home of this state with the rank of major, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the 5th of July, 1844. His parents were Hiram and Orilla (Fox) McAllister, the former a native of the Keystone state and the latter of Connecticut. The ancestry can be traced back in an old Quaker family for three or four hundred years. The great-great-grandfather of Dr. McAllister came from Scotland, having, however, previously settled in Dublin, Ireland, whence he crossed the Atlantic to the new world. The ancestors in the direct paternal line belonged to the mcAllister clan, one of the original twelve clans of the highlands. In the maternal line Dr. McAllister is descended from an old Connecticut family, which has been represented in New England through many generations. The paternal grandfather of the doctor was a native of Philadelphia, and after arriving at years of maturity was married there to Miss Goforth, also of that state. The Goforths were Quakers. In Philadelphia occurred the birth of Hiram McAllister, who after attaining man's estate devoted his time and energies to the work of a carver and gilder in Philadelphia. In 1855, however, he removed to Kansas, being one of the pioneer settlers of that state. There he spent his remaining days, passing away in 1894. He had survived his wife for a long period, her death having occurred in Kansas in 1877.
Dr. W. F. M. McAllister pursued his early education in the public schools of his native city, and at the age of sixteen years entered upon the study of medicine under Dr. Hall, of Kansas. When the Civil war was inaugurated he entered the army, with which he served for four years, and from 1863 until 1865 was a hospital steward of the United States army. After the cessation of hostilities he went to Kansas, and was later graduated on the completion of a course in medicine in the University of Pennsylvania in March, 1870. He was then appointed a surgeon by the Pacific Mail Steamship Company at New York and went around the world in that capacity, leaving New York city on Christmas eve in 1870 and arriving in San Francisco in April, 1871. He continued in the mail service until 1875, and in July of the latter year was appointed quarantine officer for the port of San Francisco, holding that position until 1880. In 1883 he was again appointed to the same position and served continuously until 1890. During that time he was the first United States commissioner of immigration in California, and also the first United States quarantine officer, holding all three positions at the same time. On his retirement in 1890 he entered upon the private practice of medicine, in which he continued until 1894, when he was appointed medical director of the Veterans' Home of California with the rank of major, and has since acted in this capacity, covering a period of ten years.
In 1878 Dr. McAllister was married in Oakland, California, to Miss Margaret Donnelly, of Ohio, and to them was born one son, Henry H., who is now twenty-three years of age. He is a graduate of the Lowell high school and is a mining engineer in Siskiyou county, California. In 1885 Dr. McAllister was again married in San Francisco, the lady of his choice being Miss Grace Payton, of Stockton, California. They have one daughter, Payton McAllister, who is one of the most promising vocalists in the state, having already won fame both as a singer and pianist. Mrs. McAllister is a lineal descendant of the Washington family. Moncure D. Conway was her cousin, and the Payton family were the owners of the famous Tuscolon in Virginia, dating back to a period prior to the Revolutionary war.
Dr. McAllister belongs to the Masonic fraternity, in which he has attained the Knight Templar degree. He is a member of the Napa county board of health, Napa County Medical Association and State Medical Association, and in his practice he has attained high rank, having a comprehensive knowledge of the great scientific principles which underlie his work. he has continuously promoted his efficiency through further research and investigation and his skill is recognized by the profession, and the laity ranks him among the leading physicians and surgeons in this part of the state.
Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II
The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine
Return to California AHGP home page
Return to Sacramento County AHGP home page