Biography of Robert Edmondson, M.D.

It is safe to say that no physician ever living in Brockville, was more generally beloved than the late Robert Edmondson, the skilful physician and surgeon, and the christian gentleman, whose death occurred May 7, 1871. He was born in Ballymena, county Antrim, Ireland, September 22,1802, was educated at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, graduating as master of surgery, in 1827, and was in surgical practice in the county of Down, Ireland, until 1829, when he came to Canada, and shortly afterwards settled at Brockville, then a very small village. Here he practiced his profession more than forty years, having a very extensive ride, and winning the universal respect of the people for his scholarship and skill, the kindness of his heart, and his self sacrificing disposition, and his labors, especially to the poor and unfortunate. These have not forgotten his generous offices. He received the degree of M.D. from Victoria College, Cobourg, and was at one time president of the Medical Alumni Association of that institution.

Dr. Edmondson belonged, for many years, to the incorporated militia of Canada; was a Captain during the “Patriot War,” participating in the battle of the Windmill, at Prescott, November, 1838, and he afterwards held the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and doing all he could, at all times, to keep up the military spirit of the town. At the time of the “Trent affair,” in 1861, he stood ready to take a front position, if necessary.

When the Doctor died, the London Lancet spoke very highly of his scholarship, medical and surgical skill, strength of moral character, and usefulness as a citizen.

The Doctor was, for a long time, an elder in the Presbyterian church, and was president of the Brockville Bible Society when he died. No person in town bore a higher christian character, or worked harder for the moral welfare of the community. His interest in young men was marked and untiring, and his influence over them powerful and, in many cases, abiding. More than one middle aged man, now in business in Brockville, can testify to the worth of the counsels of their departed friend.

He was identified with almost every enterprise of the least importance; was at one time president of the Lyn Plank Road Company; at another, of the Johnstown Mutual Insurance Company, and was mayor of Brockville one term. The interests of the town were his, and he was assiduous in his efforts to promote those interests.

The Doctor was a man of remarkable literary application, and actually translated the entire Old Testament out of the Hebrew, while the rest of the family were having their earlier hours of sleep. It is a monument to his industry, sacredly treasured by one of his daughters, Mrs. Foster, from whom we learn that he always had a great interest in the Jews, and had a strong desire to visit Jerusalem.
The wife of Dr. Edmondson was Eliza Sarah Cumming, of Antrim, Ireland, married in 1828. She had four daughters and one son, the latter dying young. The mother and the four daughters are living. Emily, the eldest daughter, is the widow of Charles Turnbull, whose home was in Belleville; Annie is the wife of Dr. H. A. Gordon, of Leicester, England; Catharine Louisa is the widow of Colley W. Foster, of Brockville, her home being with her mother, and Helen, the youngest, is the wife of H. Drummond, of Winnipeg, Manitoba.



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