Name:
Alfred Kensey Dewson 
Location served:
Chatham  
Years in Practice:
1835 to 1868
Area of Specialization:
Family Medicine and Surgeon  

Biography:

Dr. Alfred Kensey Dewson was born on the 21st of January, 1812 in Wolverhampton, England. His father was Major Jeremiah Wilkes Dewson, a member of the British Army.  His mother was the former Elizabeth Kensey. His parents were born and raised and married in Wolverhampton, England.  Dr. Dewson was the eldest of 9 children and his siblings were: Elizabeth Dewson (born in 1813 in Wolverhampton, England), Charles Frederick Dewson (born in Wales in 1815), Mary Ann Dewson (born in Ireland in 1817), Andrew George Dewson (born in the West Indies in 1822), Julius Augustus Dewson (born in 1825 in Hubberston, Wales), Marcella Dewson (born in 1827 in Kingston, Ontario), Adelaide Dewson (born in 1831 in Quebec), James Thomas Dewson (born in Ontario in 1833).

After his father retired from the 75th regiment of the British Army, he took up farming near Bradford, Ontario. His father died in 1852 and his mother died in 1880.  Dr. Dewson’s parents and some of his siblings are buried at St John’s Anglican Church Cemetery in the community of Penville, (Simcoe County) Ontario.

Dr. Dewson apprenticed and assisted an army surgeon Dr. Barclay in Kingston for 5 years.  In 1835, Dr. Dewson obtained his medical degree from Columbia College, New York. He set up his medical practice at 62 Yonge Street in Toronto in August of 1835. In 1837 he was the surgeon to the 2nd Battalion, Queen’s Light Infantry.

In 1839 he married Emily Baby.  Mrs. Dewson was born on the 8th of July, 1807 in Essex County, Ontario.  She was the 7th of 12 children born to Colonel Francois Baby and the former Frances Abbott.  Colonel Baby was born in Detroit to French speaking parents.  History considers him a well-educated French Canadian who belonged to a prominent, privileged family.  Francois Baby was a Colonel with the Essex Militia, a businessman and a justice of the peace before joining the British forces at Amherstburg during the War of 1812.  On the 31st of January 1814 he was taken prisoner by American soldiers.  He was eventually released and after the war he was elected to the House of Assembly in 1820.  Mrs. Dewson’s siblings were; Francis Baby, James Francis Baby, Elizabeth Francois Baby, Edmond Baby, Anne Baby, Henry Baby, Raymond Anthony Baby, Susanne Baby, Charles John Baby, Alfred Sebastien Baby and Thaddeus Baby.

Dr. and Mrs. Dewson had 5 children. Adeline Dewson was born in 1843, Emily Augusta Dewson in 1845, Alfred “Fred” Dewson in 1847, Fannie Dewson in 1851 and William Dewson in 1852.

According to the Centennial Chronicle of Kent Doctors by Victor Lauriston and the Medical Men of Essex County by Dr. J. W. Brien, Dr. Dewson practiced medicine in Chatham.

Dr. Dewson practiced medicine mainly in the Windsor area. Dr. Dewson helped to set up the local school system in Amherstburg. He was also instrumental in the planning of All Saints Church in Windsor. In 1854, Windsor had a population of 750 people and only 1 doctor, Dr. Alfred Dewson. During the cholera epidemic, he set up a cholera hospital in the Great West Storehouse at the corner of Moy Ave. and Riverside Drive.

According to the 1862 Great Western Railway Gazetteer and Business Directory, Dr. Dewson was a physician and the town treasurer.  The Business Directory records his residence in Sandwich (Twp).  On Page 76 of the 1866-1867 Essex County Directory and Gazetteer, Dr. Alfred K. Dewson advertised his medical practice and his residence located on Sandwich Street, Second Door East of McDougall Street.

Dr. Dewson died on the 25th of October, 1868 in Warwick, (Essex County) Ontario. Mrs. Emily Dewson died on the 14th of October, 1875 in Windsor, Ontario.  Dr. and Mrs. Dewson were buried at Windsor Grove Cemetery.

*His father-in-law Colonel Baby built a grand home in Windsor just prior to the war and this home was used by both sides during the war.  The house was abandoned in 1931 during the Great Depression but eventually the house was restored and in 1958 the Francois Baby House opened on May the 7th as the Hiram Walker Historical Museum.  Today that home/museum stands at 331 Mill Street and has national historic designation.