Biography of Dr. Kenneth A. J. Mackenzie

Dr. Kenneth A. J. Mackenzie was born in Cumberland House, a Hudson Bay Company post in Manitoba, Canada, Jan. 13, 1859, and is a son of Roderick and Jane Mackenzie. He is of Scotch descent and representative of a well known family of Ross Shire, Scotland, the old families of Langwell and Aldy, earls of Croemartie and Brahan, being a branch of the Mackenzies.

Roderick Mackenzie, his father, was for many years Chief Fadtor in the Hudson’s Bay Company service and is now one of its retired officers, living at Melbourne in Eastern township, Canada. He is a man of great purity and strength of character, widely known and respected for his integrity and who made a deservedly high reputation for rare executive and business ability. His wife, Jane Mackenzie, is also a descendent of an ancient family of Ross Shire, and a woman of many graces of mind and heart.

At the age of seven the subject of our sketch was sent, with an elder brother, to Jedburgh, Rakburghshire, Scotland, where he entered the Nest Academy, an old and celebrated preparatory school, Here he remained for several years and until he had completed the prescribed course of study necessary for admission to Edinburgh University, which renowned institution he was about to enter when the sudden and unexpected death of his brother caused him to return home and occasioned an entire change in his plans. Even at this time, however, he had determined to enter the medical profession and his subsequent education was directed toward this end.

After his return home his preliminary education was continued at the High School, Montreal, and at the Upper Canada College of Toronto. In 1876, he began the study of medicine at McGill University, Montreal, where, after a course of four years, he graduated with the degree of M. D., C. M. Being at the time under age and desiring to further prosecute the study of medicine, before beginning the active practice of his profession, he went to Edinburgh, Scotland, and attended the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. After receiving his degree from this institution he was about to enter a competitive medical examination for admission to the India Medical service, but he was persuaded to abandon this course upon the advice of Surgeon General Alexander Anderson, a relative, who had passed twenty years in India. At this time his father, through correspondence with Donald Macleay, of Portland, had obtained information which led him to believe that this city offered a good field for the practice of medicine.

This was impressed upon his son and was the cause of his final location in Portland. After leaving Edinburgh, Dr. Mackenzie spent a year in serious study in the London Hospital and Medical College, and University College Hospital, London. From there he went to Paris, Berlin and Vienna and at these different cities by study, observation and practical experience, largely added to his knowledge of medicine and surgery. At Vienna he spent nearly a year in a large general hospital practice, following the clinics of the most eminent specialists in that renowned medical center. This valuable experience was followed by a few months of general travel in Europe, when he returned to America and with little delay came to Oregon, arriving in Portland in the winter of 1882.

Dr. Mackenzie at once entered upon the practice of his profession in his chosen field and from the beginning his success was such as to give him a high place among the city’s ablest and oldest practitioners. His reputation as a skillful physician and surgeon has steadily increased and at the present time he enjoys a most extensive and remunerative practice. Among his professional brethren his talents and attainments are universally recognized and conceded to be of high order, their recognition of his merit and ability having been shown on many occasions. He is a member of the Oregon State Medical Association, of which he was elected president in 1887, an honor never before accorded to one of his years. He is also a member of the Portland Medical Society, and, as far as his time and professional duties would permit, has sought to make it an instrument to advance the tone and character of the local profession. For many years he has been one of the surgeons of St. Vincent Hospital. He is consulting surgeon of the Union Pacific railroad, associate surgeon of the Northern and Southern Pacific railroads, and professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine in the Medical School of the Oregon State University. His contributions to medical literature have pertained mostly to surgical subjects. Among the subjects treated especially deserving of mention are “Surgical Treatment of Empyema,” and “Lateral Curvature of the Spine,” which were published in the transactions of the Oregon State Medical Association.

Dr. Mackenzie was married, in 1885, to Cora Scott, a daughter of Pliny Hardy, a well known lawyer of New Orleans and a comrade of Pierre Soulet, a distinguished statesman of Louisiana. They have two children, Ronald and Jean Mackenzie.

Few physicians make such rapid advance in their calling as is illustrated in the career of Dr. Mackenzie. His success may be largely ascribed to his natural love for his profession, his earnest and exclusive devotion to his work and the most careful and thorough preliminary training. Added to the advantages of instruction under the best medical teachers of Europe, he has been a close student and a hard worker. When he entered upon the practice of his profession he was thoroughly prepared. There was nothing superficial about his knowledge, and when he began to treat diseases and perform surgical operations his skill was quickly recognized by results. Confidence in him, both in the profession and among his patients, was thus early established and his subsequent career has only increased that confidence and added to his reputation.

His practice has been general in character, but has embraced some of the most difficult cases in surgery, a branch of medical science for which he has evinced a high order of skill and in which he has performed some very successful operations.

His income from his practice is large, and by prudent financial management he has already gained a modest competency. He takes deep interest in sanitary and charitable work and in many practical ways has done much to advance both. Personally he is a gentleman of pleasant and winning manner, has a wide circle of close and intimate friends, and in the social life of Portland is a prominent figure. In a profession where distinction usually comes late in life, Dr. Mackenzie has, while yet young in years, attained to a position in the front rank among the physicians of Oregon-an achievement which, with his strong vigorous intellect, united to a rugged constitution, permitting an unusual degree of mental and physical exertion, gives abundant reason to believe that a career of still greater usefulness and still higher honor await him in the years to come.


Biography, History,

Harvey Whitefield Scott. History of Portland, Oregon: with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Prominent Citizens and Pioneers. Portland, Oregon. D. Mason & Company, 1890.

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