Dr. James Ernest McAskill was born in Orford Twp (Chatham-Kent) near Highgate on the 31st of January, 1888. He was the youngest of 8 children born to Peter McAskill and the former Mary Gillis. His parents were farmers and his siblings were; Isabella McAskill, John “Neil” McAskill, John McAskill, Effie McAskill, Colin McAskill, Archer McAskill and Peter McAskill. Dr. McAskill was raised on a farm in Orford Twp.
Dr. McAskill attended Queen’s University and he graduated from medical school in 1914.
Dr. McAskill enlisted in World War I on the 3rd of June, 1915. On his Attestation Record, he was listed as 5’11” tall, with light brown hair and blue eyes. Dr. McAskill served with the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles and with the 9th Field Ambulance and when he was in France he was stationed at the No. 1 Hospital. Dr. McAskill achieved the rank of Major. He was awarded the Military Cross on the 1st of January, 1917. His unit was demobilized on the 22nd of March, 1919. After the war, Dr. McAskill returned to Highgate, where he practiced medicine.
Dr. McAskill married Hannah Edith Stenton on the 3rd of June, 1919 in the community of Mull (Chatham-Kent). Mrs. McAskill was born in Harwich Twp (Chatham-Kent) on the 31st of March, 1887. She was the 4th of 5 children born to William Stenton and the former Jean McColl. Her parents were farmers and her siblings were; William “Herman” Stenton, Daniel “Gordon” Stenton, Estella “Stella” Christina Stenton and Lillian Irene Stenton. Mrs. McAskill was a school teacher.
In 1920, Dr. and Mrs. McAskill were living in New York City. They eventually settled in Watertown, New York. Dr. and Mrs. McAskill had a son, James Stuart McAskill born to them on the 18th of May, 1928.
According to the 1933 Watertown City Directory and the 1940 U.S. Census, the McAskill family were living at 618 Holcomb Street in Watertown. In 1933 Dr. McAskill’s medical office was located in the Woolworth Bldg.
In 1942, Dr. McAskill entered WWII with the United States Military. He listed his address on Holcomb Street and his business address as 508 Woolworth Bldg, Watertown, New York.
Dr. McAskill was Chief of The Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Department of Mercy Hospital in Watertown and he held the same position at The House of The Good Samaritan (now called Samaritan Health). He was a member of the Queen’s University Board of Trustee’s and he was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
Dr. McAskill died on the 6th of October, 1956 in Watertown. Mrs. McAskill died in Watertown in December of 1976. Dr. and Mrs. McAskill were buried at Brookside Cemetery in Watertown.
*Dr. McAskill is also featured on the ‘Gathering Our Heroes’ website.
Editors Note: The majority of records show the family name is McAskile but Dr. McAskill primarily used the spelling that is represented in this biography, including the Find-A-Grave record at the Brookside Cemetery and the records with his WWI enlistment on the Library and Archives Canada website.