Virginia Young

Cambre Family in Macon County

The obituary of Adrian LeRoy Cambre reads in part, “Dr. Cambre was a prominent physician and surgeon and was well known all over north Missouri. He had practiced in Atlanta and Macon for the past forty years" [submitted to a Hannibal, Missouri, newspaper by a niece].

Adrian’s ancestors had come to America from Cilly, France, in 1849. He was born in the parental homestead, Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, in June 24, 1880. The Cambre house and farm are now on the National Registry of Historic Places. Briefly, around 1880, Adrian taught school in Macomb, Illinois.

Adrian graduated from the Keokuk [Iowa] College of Physicians and Surgeons, across the Mississippi River from his hometown of Nauvoo. This institution was the first University-of-Iowa-affiliated medical school in Iowa. The young doctor began his medical career in South English, Iowa.

On March 11, 1908, Adrian married Grace Ethel Priest of Waterloo, Black Hawk County, Iowa, daughter of Andrew Jackson Priest and sister of her younger siblings Lloyd Priest, Lisle Priest and Norma Priest Hayes. The newlyweds made their first home in South English, but soon moved to Atlanta, Macon County, Missouri, where Dr. Cambre established his practice.

Grace, born July 28, 1884, died in Atlanta on September 12, 1914, of pneumonia (as had her mother, Eleanor “Nellie” Fleming Priest, in 1902 in Waterloo). Grace’s body was transported to Nauvoo, Illinois, where she was buried.

In December of 1916, Dr. Cambre married Dessia Agnes “Deffie” Shearer, daughter of Thomas Jenkins Shearer and Emma W. Hall Shearer, residents of Jackson township, Macon County.

In March of 1919, Adrian Cambre and another local doctor, Clarence H. Bulkley, leased the Denver Hotel in LaPlata, planning to remodel the building “into a first-class hospital …[that was] expected to be ready for occupancy about May 1st” (LaPlata Home Press).

After years of attending to the medical needs of the area’s citizens, Adrian L. Cambre died at his home in Atlanta on November 3, 1947, and was buried beside Grace in Nauvoo, Illinois, thirty-three years after her untimely death.

Ernie Miles