Dr. Alexander McLeish Shaver was born on the 20th of December 1858, in Burford Twp, Brant County, Ontario. He was the 5th of 7 children born to Hamilton Shaver and the former Euphemia ‘Phoebe’ Burns. His parents were farmers and his siblings included, Rebecca, Oliver, Annie, Henry, Agnes “Victoria” and Emily. When he was about 10 years old, his parents moved to a farm near Cainsville, Ontario. He was educated in local schools and attended Brantford Collegiate Institute and the Ottawa Normal School. He was an exceptional student from a young age. Dr. Shaver taught school for 5 years in Glanford and Innerkip before he earned enough money to attend medical school. He attended Trinity College in conjunction with the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, completing a 4 year medical degree in 3 years. He graduated M.D. in 1885, winning the silver medal for the highest marks. He attained his L.C.P.S.O. designation the same year.
Dr. Shaver married Caroline ‘Carrie’ Theresa Scott Gillespie on the 16th of June 1883 in Woodstock, Ontario. She was born on the 18th of June, 1867, the eldest child of Adam Scott Gillespie and the former Mary E.C. Clements. She had a brother Norman and a sister Julia.
After graduating from medical school, Dr. Shaver initially settled in Morpeth, Ontario and stayed there for a short time, before joining Dr. Daniel Van Velsor in Blenheim, Ontario. After the death of Dr. Van Velsor in 1889, Dr. Shaver took over Dr. Van Velsor’s patients. Dr. Shaver was a member of the I.O.O.F. and the Masonic Lodge and he was President of the Harwich Agricultural Society. He enjoyed outdoor sports. Dr. Shaver was the Medical Officer of Health for the town of Blenheim. He was listed in the 1893 Ontario Directory and Gazetteer as a physician in Blenheim.
Dr. and Mrs. Shaver had a daughter Ghita Turnbull Shaver born on the 13th of July, 1886 and a daughter Florence Pauline Shaver who was born on the 16th of April, 1892. Both children were born in Blenheim.
Dr. Shaver died in Kent County on May 4th, 1893 at the age of 35 of pneumonia. Dr. Shaver was the doctor of record of 2 young patients who died of pneumonia in April of 1893. Dr. Shaver was buried at the Cainsville Cemetery near Brantford, Ontario.
According to the 1901 Census, Mrs. Shaver was living with her daughters in Woodstock, Ontario. Mrs. Shaver married Michael Joseph Brind on the 6th of March, 1905 in York County. By 1911 Mr. and Mrs. Michael Brind and Ghita and Florence Shaver were living in Winscombe, Somerset, England. Mrs. Caroline (Van Velsor) Brind died on the 6th of March, 1933. Her husband Michael died 7th of August, 1933. Their effects were left to Ghita Shaver.
*Dr. Daniel Van Velsor also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.