Charles Edward Knister 
Location served:
Years in Practice:
1903 to 1978
Area of Specialization:
Family Medicine  


Dr. Charles Edward Knister was born on the 11th of February, 1881 in Maidstone Twp, Essex County, Ontario.  His parents, Adam Knister and the former Nancy Ann Hill were farmers and he had a younger brother named Almer.

Dr. Knisters primary education was in a local school and prior to attending university, he graduated from Essex High School.  While in his first year at university, he achieved top honors for a scholarship with 2 other students.  Dr. Knister graduated M.B. (with honours) from The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine in 1903.

Dr. Knister returned to his roots and opened his medical office in Staples (Essex County).  He eventually moved to Comber, (also in Essex County).  Initially Dr. Knister travelled to his patients using a horse and buggy and a cutter in the winter.

In 1904, Dr. Knister operated the first privately owned telephone system in Ontario.  The line ran on fence posts from Staples to Comber and had 247 telephones connected to it.  Dr. Knister sold the telephone business to the Tilbury West Municipal Telephone System in 1912 and at that time there were 247 telephones on the system.

Dr Knister married Mary Ethel Forbes on the 30th of June, 1906 in Detroit, Michigan.  According to her birth record, Mrs. Knister was born in Lambton County on the 28th of September 1883.   She and her twin brother Joseph were the eldest of 6 children born to Peter Forbes and the former Jennett DeGursey.  Her siblings beside Joseph included; Bella, Peter, Stanley and Russell.  According to the 1901 census, the Forbes family resided in Tilbury West Twp where her father was a hotel keeper.

Dr and Mrs. Knister were the proud parents of a son, Russell Edward Knister who was born on the 28th of March, 1907 in Comber.  Dr. Knister travelled the short distance to Tilbury and to homes in the surrounding area on a regular basis to deliver babies and to tend to the sick.  His name appears on numerous birth and death records.  Dr. Knister served as the Medical Officer of Health for Tilbury West, Tilbury North and Rochester Twp.  In 1967 he received a Centennial Medal for his dedication to the health of Canadians.

Dr. Knister enjoyed bowling and umpiring baseball games in his spare time.  He belonged to the Parviam Lodge No 395 in Comber.

Mrs. Knister died on the 6th of September, 1974.  Dr. Knister died on the 15th of June, 1978.  They are buried at the McDowell Cemetery, 7000 Gracey Sideroad, Tilbury West Twp, Essex County, Ontario.  The doctors parents are buried there also.