JOHN HENRY SLEVIN, A. M., M. D., who has practiced medicine in Detroit for forty years, save for the period of his connection with the United States army in the World War, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 16, 1872, a son of John and Catherine (Donaghy) Slevin. The father, who was born in County Tyrone, Ireland, in 1827, was but fourteen years of age when in 1841 he landed at Norfolk, Virginia. He was an attorney and was twice elected magistrate of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia. In this country he married Catherine Donaghy, also born in County Tyrone, Ireland, who died when their son John was but nine days old.
Dr. J. H. Slevin spent his early life in Philadelphia, where he attended St. Joseph’s Academy, Chestnut Hill, from 1880 to 1883, and later continued his education in Fordham University, which conferred on him his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1890. Two years later he received the Master of Arts degree. From 1890 to 1893 he attended the University of Pennsylvania medical school and later resumed his studies in the Independent Medical College of Chicago, winning his professional degree in 1898. Opening an office in Detroit, he has since remained in practice here save during his World War service. In 1918 he was appointed a member of the United States Board of Pension Examiners and with the exception of the period from April 9, 1917, to January 2, 1919, so continued until 1920, resigning the day President Harding was inaugurated. War had been declared only three days before he offered his services. He was commissioned first lieutenant in the Medical Corps, June 1, 1917, and was called to active duty on the 27th of August He was assigned to the medical officers’ training camp at Fort Benjamin Harrison September 15, 1917, and after successfully passing the examination was promoted to captain of the medical section, United States army, December 6, 1917. Twelve days later he was ordered to report to Camp Lewis, State of Washington, Ninety-first Division, and there served with the Fourteenth Infantry until January 15, 1918, when he was assigned as medical officer to the Third Officers Training Camp at Camp Lewis as an instructor. His next transfer took him to the mustering service April 18, 1918, and he there continued until July 15, 1918, when he was transferred to the office of assistant camp sergeant for the organization of the new Thirteenth Division, which was being formed and equipped for service in Russia. Sanitary units were on the Pacific, on their way to Russia, at the time the armistice was signed.
At his own request Doctor Slevin was discharged January 2, 1919, and, returning home, resumed the practice of medicine in Detroit. Knowing the Utter disregard of those who had advised the statewide prohibition in 1916, and presuming the same disregard would be manifest when the Eighteenth Amendment be came effective under the Volstead Act, he started the fight for the repeal of the prohibition law, owing to the fact that he considered it was emasculating the Constitution, continuing the fight until successful. He was appointed by Governor Comstock on a committee of seventeen to draft a prospective liquor law for the State. This was simply an act of civic pride, as no remuneration was received for the service.
On the 3d of February, 1902, Doctor Slevin married Katherine Hogan, of Detroit, who died September 1, 1982. Their son, Dr. John George Slevin, who received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Detroit in 1925 and his professional degree from the St. Louis University medical school in June, 1929, served as interne in Grace Hospital of Detroit, then began private practice on the 1st of June, 1930, and is a very successful surgeon.
Doctor Slevin has been active in Democratic politics since 1902 and is known in Wayne County as the "Grand Old Man of the Democratic party." He served as personnel director of the Fourth District of Michigan for the Works Progress Administration from the 15th of July until the 5th of October, 1935, when he resigned to become chief of the processing tax division of the internal revenue office, which position he is still filling. He is the only person in the internal revenue service privileged to function out side of the department, an executive order permitting him to continue the practice of medicine. The John H. Slevin Democratic Club, a political and charitable organization, was formed in 1935, for the purpose of teaching democracy, opposing intolerance and doing some welfare work, and was named in honor of Doctor Slevin, who is president emeritus. The Doctor has been characterized by one who has known him long and well as "one of the best and kindest of men." He is a life member of the Detroit Lodge of Elks, has for thirty years been a member of Detroit Council No. 305 of the Knights of Columbus and is a past commander of Antler Post No. 334 of the American Legion. He also belongs to Frank A. Howe Post No. 873 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the 40 and 8 Society, the Army and Navy Club and the Old Timers Club of Detroit. For forty years this city has been his home, and his fellow townsmen have ever found him a man whom to know is to esteem and honor.
Michigan, a Centennial History of the State and its People.
Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago, Illinois. 1939.