George A. Corning, M. D., is the oldest practicing physician in Hampton and is still an active follower of the profession, although he has now passed the seventy-eighth milestone on life’s journey. He was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, August 18, 1835, and is a son of George and Phoebe (Webster) Corning. The mother was a relative of America’s eminent statesman, Daniel Webster, and as a representative of one of the old American families represented in the war for independence, she is eligible to membership in the Daughters of the Revolution. Her youngest brother, J. P. Webster, was a noted musician and song writer.
On leaving New England, George Corning, father of Dr. Corning, removed westward to Wisconsin, where he engaged in farming to the time of his death. His wife, however, passed away in New Hampshire.
Dr. Corning is the fourth in order of birth in a family of six children. He went to Wisconsin in 1855, where he took up the profession of surveying, and also engaged in teaching school there. Desirous of improving his own education he entered the Portage City Classical Institute of Portage, Wisconsin, and completed his classical course in that institution in 1860. He next located at Kilbourn, Wisconsin, and was principal of the schools there for two years. Later he went to Union county, Illinois, and when his health failed he abandoned professional activity to engage in the fruit business. At the time of the Civil war his patriotic spirit prompted his enlistment and in 1863 he offered his services to the government, but was rejected on account of the condition of his heart. He found that he was a failure in the fruit business; and in 1865 he went to Bureau county, Illinois, where he resumed the profession of teaching which he followed until 1868, when his wife died. He then gave up teaching and built a home for his brother and sister-in-law. The latter was his wife’s sister and had previously been given a position as teacher in the schools of Bureau county, through the influence of Dr. Corning, but later she resigned and moved to Wisconsin.
After building the home previously mentioned Dr. Corning traveled extensively over the southwest, visiting various sections and working in different places. Eventually he worked his way back again to Iowa and thence to Minnesota, after which he returned to his old home in Wisconsin, where he was welcomed with open arms. Later he went to Bureau county, Illinois, and there engaged in teaching in the graded schools for several years. He then entered Hahnemann Medical College, Chicago, and graduated two years later. He first took up the practice of medicine at Marseilles, Illinois, in 1875, and in 1878 he came to Hampton, where he has since been practicing, being now the oldest physician of the town.
Dr. Corning has been twice married. He first wedded Isabelle Town, who died leaving a son, Ernest Banks Corning, who is now a surveyor of Loup City, Nebraska. Dr. Corning afterward married Josephine Town, a sister of his first wife and they have become the parents of two children; Edward Ray, of Hampton and Stanley Town, who is a farmer of this county.
Dr. Corning attends the Universalist church and is affiliated with the Masons and Odd Fellows lodges, the beneficial principles of which he exemplifies in his life. His political allegiance has long been given to the republican party which has indeed found in him a stalwart supporter. Dr. Corning is still active, though well advanced in age. He bears his seventy-eight years lightly and in spirit and interest seems yet in his prime.