Dr. James Page Rutherford was born in Richmond, York County on December 11th, 1844. His parents were John Rutherford and the former Anne Robinson. Dr. James Page Rutherford graduated M.D. from Victoria College of Medicine in Coburg, Ontario in 1867. Dr. Rutherford started his medical practice in McKay’s Corners. He was the first physician to set up a practice there.
According to the 1882 Ontario Medical Register, Dr. Rutherford joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 25th of March, 1869.
Dr. Rutherford married Jennie Dunlop on the 24th of December, 1867, in Kent County. Her parents were James Dunlop and the former Margaret Patterson and she was one of 4 children. Her siblings were; Margaret, Mary Anne and James.
Dr. and Mrs. Rutherford had a daughter, Bertha Ann Rutherford who was born on the 13th of February, 1871. Mrs. Rutherford died of complications from the birth 10 days later on the 23rd of February, 1871. Bertha Ann died of scarlet fever on the 4th of May, 1874 when she was just 3 years old. Mrs. Rutherford and her daughter Bertha Ann are buried at Shawbank Cemetery in Camden Twp (Kent County).
Dr. Rutherford advertised his practice in the 1870-1871 Sutherlands Gazeteer Business Directory under Harwich Twp (Kent County).
Dr. Rutherford, married Jennie’s older sister Mary Ann Dunlop in McKay’s corners on the 13th of March, 1872. She was born in Maitland Quebec on the 24th of June, 1843. Their first son, James Warren Rutherford was born August 22, 1875 at McKay’s Corners. In 1877 Dr. Rutherford moved his family to Chatham and he opened an office in the Scane Block, which was on King Street. A second son, Reginald White Rutherford was born September 21st, 1880. The family built a large mansion at 243 Wellington Street in Chatham.
On August 13th, 1884 Dr. Rutherford was named as the first President of the Chatham Board of Health. In 1886, he was elected as a Town Councillor and also to the Public School Board. He was re-elected to town council in 1887 and went on to become the Mayor in 1888. He declined to run again the following year. By now his practice had grown to include surgery. A lengthy article appeared in the Chatham Daily Planet on the 5th of September, 1902. Dr. Rutherford had spent the summer in England doing post graduate studies in surgery. While in England, Dr. and Mrs. Rutherford witnessed the coronation of King Edward VII on the 9th of August, 1902. He was quoted as saying, “it was the greatest sight” he had ever seen or expected to see.
According to the 1896 Chatham City Directory, his office was located at 21 King Street.
Dr. Rutherford belonged to the Sons of Scotland, the Odd Fellows, the Canadian Order of Foresters and he was a Mason.
Dr. Rutherford retired in February of 1918 after 51 years of practicing medicine. He became ill in September and died on the 24th of October, 1918. His wife Mary Ann Rutherford died at their residence, 102 Wellington St., in Chatham on the 1st of April, 1920. Dr. and Mrs. Rutherford are interred in the mausoleum at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham.
*Both of Dr. Rutherford’s sons became doctors and they both practiced medicine in Kent County. Dr. James Warren Rutherford and Dr. Reginald White Rutherford also appear on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.