Dr. Charles Richard Charteris was born in Chatham Township on the 22nd of July, 1865. He was the 6th of 7 children born to Charles George Charteris and the former Elizabeth Baxter. His father had immigrated from Dumfriesshire, Scotland, in 1846. His mother had immigrated from England. Dr. Charteris’ siblings were; Caroline (who died as a child), Diana Elizabeth, Charles George (who died as an infant), Francis Wemyss, Louisa (who married Dr. James Wright Mustard) and Frederick G. His father was elected as the second mayor of Chatham in 1857 and according to the 1861 census he was the County Treasurer.
After completing his education in Chatham area schools and graduating from Chatham Collegiate Institute, Dr. Charles Richard Charteris studied medicine at Victoria University and The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. He graduated M.D.,C.M. in 1887. He joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 11th of May, 1887. In 1888 Dr. Charteris, traveled to London, England and Edinburgh, Scotland to further his education in hospitals there. He returned to Canada in 1889 and set up his practice in Florence, (Lambton County) Ontario.
While living in Florence, Dr. Charteris married the postmaster’s daughter, Margaretta Wade Webster on November 19th, 1890. She was born on the 11th of November, 1866, the eldest child of John Webster and the former Isabella Phillips. Her siblings were; Edward, Mary, Charlie, twins Walter and Lillie, Olive, Ross and Guy. The Webster family lived mostly in Bothwell while Mrs. Charteris was growing up. According to the 1871 census, her father was a blacksmith and according to the 1881 census her father was a merchant.
Dr. and Mrs. Charteris became the parents to three children: Gwendolyn Isabella, Charles Maxwell and Walter Francis.
The Charteris family moved to Chatham in 1894 where Dr. Charteris built another successful medical practice. According to the 1896 Chatham City Directory, Dr. Charteris had an office located at 71 Wellington Street in Chatham. Dr. Charteris was a member of the Ontario Medical Association. Dr. Charteris was appointed physician to the County House of Refuge and the County Jail in January of 1900. Dr. Charteris served on the Chatham Public Library Board. In April of 1912 he was appointed President of the Library Board of Ontario at a meeting in Toronto. He was Chairman of the Chatham Board of Health in 1904. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church, the Sons of Scotland and the I.O.O.F. Dr. Charteris was an active member of the Ontario Liberal Association. Dr. Charteris is listed in the 1900 Business Directory.
Mrs. Charteris was a member of St. Andrew’s United Church and played the piano for the Sunday school. She belonged to the I.O.D.E., the Women’s Canadian Club and the Brooke Circle of the King’s Daughters.
In 1911, the family lived at 59 Sixth Street in Chatham. Dr. Charteris is listed in the 1913 Bell Telephone Directory. His medical practice was located at 61 Sixth Street and his phone number was 224.
On the 5th of July, 1913 his son Charles Maxwell Charteris drowned at Erieau at the age of 17. At the time of his death, Charles Maxwell “Max” Charteris was attending The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. He is remembered in the 1917 edition of the university yearbook “Torontonensis” on Page 80. The “In-Memorium” tribute, it states, “Our sympathy in his loss went out to his family and friends, for his special qualifications seemed to peculiarly adapt him for the greatest of professions, where he could have accomplished so much.” He was buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham.
Dr. Charteris died on November 25th, 1916 at the age of 51. Dr Charteris had a history of heart trouble and collapsed on the floor of his residence after returning home from a medical call. Mrs. Charteris died on the 21st of December, 1943 at Public General Hospital in Chatham. At the time of her death, she resided at 20 Raleigh Street. Dr. and Mrs. Charteris are buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham, Ontario.
* Dr. Charteris’ son, Dr. Walter Francis Charteris and his grandson, Dr. Richard Webster Charteris are also featured on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website. Dr. James Wright Mustard also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.