Dr. A.J. Murchison
Dr. Alexander John Murchison M.D., C.M., L.R.C.P.S., L.F.P.S.
Although Dr. A.J. Murchison, a most beloved physician, was based out of Clyde River, he actually grew up in North River. Alexander John was born on June 7, 1864, to Malcolm and Catherine (MacDonald).23 One of nine children, Alexander received his early education in North River before moving on to several other institutions. He also attended Spring Park School, Prince of Wales College, Trinity Medical College in Toronto, and the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh and Glasgow where he earned his Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (L.R.C.P.) and Licentiate Faculty of Physicians & Surgeons (L.F.P.S.) respectively.24 During his time at Trinity Medical College, Alexander John achieved the highest academic standing in his class.25
Dr. Murchison met his future wife while attending Trinity Medical College in Toronto. A classmate had invited Dr. Murchison to spend the holidays with his family. Jessie McQueen was the sister of his classmate. The two were married in September of 1892, he was 28 and she was 22. Soon thereafter the couple moved to Prince Edward Island, in hopes that Dr. Murchison would set up a practice in Charlottetown. As it happened, the doctor in Clyde River had fallen ill and Dr. Murchison was hired to take his place until he recovered. The former doctor never did recover, he passed away in 1893 and Dr. Murchison became the permanent physician in Clyde River.26 The rest, as they say is history. Dr. Murchison became a well loved and respected doctor within the community.
He and his wife raised eight children, one dying in infancy, in Clyde River. Not only did he make himself available for medical attention all day every day, he shared his extensive library with members of the community and was an active member as well as an elder in the Burnside Presbyterian Church. For a time he also held the office of Coroner and Health Officer of Queens County, was a member of the Medical Council of Prince Edward Island and served as Justice of the Peace.27
Dr. Murchison did not count money and did not keep accounts. He would gratefully accept whatever payment the patient could provide, and no-one was turned away if they could not pay. Mrs. Murchison however would often receive the over-abundance of berries, potatoes and whatever was in season. It was said that Dr. Murchison not only assisted his patients physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. Dr. Murchison died in 1941, his wife in 1952. The couple are buried in the Burnside Presbyterian Cemetery, just across the street from where their made their home.28
Although Dr. Murchison was based out of Clyde River, many senior residents of Cornwall recall the doctor making calls in Cornwall as well. However many of the residents from Cornwall would make the trip to Charlottetown for a doctor.