Dr. Anthony Raeburn Hanks was born August 1st, 1860 near Florence in Dawn Township in Lambton County. He was the 5th of 9 children born to Anton Hanks and the former Sarah McGuire. His siblings were; Elizabeth Ann, Frances Josephine, Sarah Electa, John A., Mary Jane, Francis Joseph, Donescius (who died in infancy), Phigenia Alfredia and William Johnston. His grandfather Joseph Hanks had emigrated from Germany and the McGuire’s were originally from Dublin, Ireland. Mr. and Mrs. Hanks were farmers in Dawn Twp. His younger sister Phigenia Hanks, married Dr. Walter Edwin Tiffin. Dr. Tiffin was born near Florence, Ontario, but he did not practice in Kent County. (The spelling of Phigenia has been corroborated with numerous sources.)
Dr. Hanks was educated in rural schools until the age of 15. He attended Sarnia High School and spent a year teaching public school in Dawn Centre. After that he moved around from the Ottawa to St. Catharines and then spent a year teaching in Orford Township. He spent a year studying medicine with a tutor. In the fall of 1881 he started his formal medical studies at Trinity College. In 1884 he practiced medicine as an undergraduate in Forestville, Michigan, thus fulfilling the requirements to obtain his degree from The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. He graduated M.D.,C.M. in 1885. According to the 1928 Ontario Medical Registry, Dr. Hanks joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 29th of April, 1885.
On September 1st, 1886, Dr. Hanks married Rosannah E. Ridley in the Village of Duart. She was born in Malahide Twp (Elgin County) on the 26th of December, 1859, the only daughter of Edward Ridley and the former Sarah King. She had 4 older brothers; William, Hooper, Edward and Thomas. Mrs. Hanks was raised on a farm near Bothwell and according to the 1881 census, she was a school teacher.
Dr. and Mrs. Hanks had two daughters, Hazel Ridley Hanks was born March 27th, 1893 in Oil Springs, (Lambton Co) and Edith Marion Hanks who was born on the 16th of March 1898 in Chatham-Kent.
Initially Dr. Hanks practiced medicine in Oil Springs (Lambton County). Dr. Hanks purchased the practice of Dr. Alexander Shaver (Dr. Shaver died in 1893) and Dr. and Mrs. Hanks moved to Blenheim in 1893. He served as a Coroner and the Medical Officer of Health (M.O.H.). Dr. Hanks took his position as M.O.H. very seriously. He condemned a dance hall on the main street of Blenheim to be unsafe. Once the building had been reinforced, the hall re-opened. Dr. Hanks is listed in the 1900 Ontario Business Directory. In the Bell Telephone Directory of 1913, his phone number is listed as 22. Dr. Hanks promoted the pasteurization of milk. Dr. Hanks served as a chairman of the local school board. Dr. Hanks took time off from his practice to study in London, England. After a vacation through Europe, Dr. Hanks returned to his patients in Blenheim.
In 1929, Dr. Hanks was one of the founding members of the Blenheim Rotary Club. Dr. Hanks’ home was located at 34 Catharine Street.
In 1936, Dr. Hanks undertook the task of compiling a list of physicians that had practiced in Kent County since 1850. Dr. Hanks retired from his position of coroner on the 1st March, 1939. He also resigned as M.O.H. at this time. He retired from his medical practice in 1940.
Mrs. Hanks died on the 29th of March, 1937. Dr. Hanks died at his residence in Blenheim, on the 10th of November, 1944. Dr. and Mrs. Hanks are buried at the Evergreen Cemetery, in Blenheim. His home was sold in 1947 to the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 185. The Legion continues to operate out of that same location today.
*Dr. Alexander Shaver is also featured on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.