Dr. John Archibald MacMurchy was born March 10th, 1885 on a farm on the 3rd Line of Acton, Ontario. He was the son of Duncan MacMurchy and the former Isabella Anthony. His parents were farmers. He had an older brother named Norman, an older sister named Lilly and a twin brother named William Martin MacMurchy. (His twin brother died on the 15th of April, 1906 of typhoid. William was a school teacher.) Dr. MacMurchy attended public elementary and high school in Acton, and he also attended the Milton Model School.
Dr. MacMurchy taught school for several years in Norval, at a small one room country school where he taught all grades. During the summers, he worked on great lake boats, likely with The Canada Steam Ship Line, to save money for medical school.
Dr. MacMurchy took up his medical studies at The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine and graduated M.B. in 1916 at the age of 31. After an internship the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montréal, he worked at the Weston Sanitarium before taking on his first private practice in Kearney (in the District of Parry Sound), where he spent 3 years, before moving to Dresden in 1919 to assist with a flu epidemic.
Dr. MacMurchy was married in Toronto on the 9th of October, 1916 to Stella Myrtle Blair Matthews. At the time of their marriage Mrs. MacMurchy was a school teacher. She was born in Acton, Ontario on the 7th of August, 1887, the eldest child of Louis Graham Matthews and the former Sarah Jane ‘Jennie’ Blair. Her father was a grocery merchant. She had a younger brother named Charles and a younger sister named Mildred.
Dr. and Mrs. MacMurchy had 3 children. John Charles Duncan MacMurchy was born on the 1st of July 1920 in Dresden and died in Chatham on the 7th of May, 1923. He died after complications following a tonsillectomy. Their son Donald MacMurchy was born in Dresden in 1922. (Donald died in 1985). Their daughter Jean Isabel MacMurchy was born in Dresden in 1925.
Dr. MacMurchy served the citizens of Dresden for 19 years, while also serving on both the town council as a member, and the school board, first as chairman, then a trustee. Dr. MacMurchy was also noted as having a great interest in astronomy and was known as a “lover of all good books” especially the works of Robert Burns, a great Scottish poet. He was once the President of the Kent Medical Association. Dr. MacMurchy was a member of the Mocha Temple, the Shrine (London, Ontario) and the I.O.O.F.
In his own handwriting, Dr. MacMurchy wrote, “Don’t Forget The Worth of Your Profession. Keep Your Ideals High, Your Thoughts Clean & Your Soul Pure. Your Life must Be Beyond Reproach, So That People Can Trust in You. Don’t Misplace Nor Betray Their Trust.”
Dr. MacMurchy’s life ended on Monday, November 28th, 1938 after a 2 year battle with rheumatic heart disease. He died at his residence on Hughes Street in Dresden and he was buried at Fairview Cemetery in Acton, Ontario.
Mrs. MacMurchy died in 1979. She was buried at Fairview Cemetery.
*The webmaster is grateful for the assistance of his daughter Jean (MacMurchy) Churchill who wished to have her 4 son’s mentioned in her father’s biography. Her sons are: Dr. John Donald Churchill became a veterinarian, James Graham Churchill became a Department Head of Science in New Market, Ontario, Jeffrey Charles Churchill became a teacher, (he lost his life in an avalanche in the Arctic) and Jay Andrew Churchill became an engineer in Waterloo. Mrs. Churchill died on the 25th of April, 2018.