Dr. John Irvine Wiley was born on the 8th of April, 1866 in Adelaide, Middlesex County, Ontario. He was the 6th of 9 children born to John Nelson Wiley and the former Margaret Jamieson. His parents were farmers and his siblings were; Nelson Wiley, Sanfield Archibald Wiley, William Deas Wiley (died at the age of 4), James M. Wiley (died at the age of 2), William James Wiley, Walter Davidson Wiley, Frederick Charles Wiley and the only girl, Hattie May Wiley. Dr. Wiley attended school in Adelaide Township prior to attending high school in Strathroy. Dr. Wiley taught school in Lambton County for 2 years before enrolling in medical school in 1885.
Dr. Wiley graduated M.D. from Trinity College (Toronto), in 1889. He was a gold medal recipient upon his graduation. He worked in the medical practice of Dr. Teeter in Akron before moving to Dresden. He joined the Dresden practice of Dr. William Henry Bullis on the 18th of November, 1889. (Dr. Bullis moved to Rochester, New York in 1895).
Dr. Wiley married Jeanette “Jennie” Douglas Whillans on the 30th of September, 1890 in Bosanquet Twp, Lambton County. (Bosanquet Twp no longer exists and has been replaced by other township names.) Mrs. Wiley was born on the 1st of January, 1867, near St. Mary’s, Ontario. Mrs. Wiley was the eldest of 6 children born to William Whillans and the former Margaret Grant. Her parents were farmers and her siblings were; John Whillans, Mary Galbraith Whillans, Isabella Smibert Whillans, Elizabeth Catherine Whillans and Duncan Grant Whillans. Dr. William Henry Bullis acted as a witness at their wedding ceremony.
Dr. Wiley’s brother Dr. Walter Davidson Wiley joined him in his medical practice after the departure of Dr. Bullis in 1895. His brother remained in Dresden for 10 years before moving to Brantford in 1905.
Dr. and Mrs. Wiley had 5 children, all born in Dresden. Harcourt Irvine Ford Wiley was born on the 3rd of March 1893, Madge Elaine Wiley was born on the 19th of September 1895, twins Grant Lindsay Wiley and Gertrude Evelyn Wiley were born on the 18th of May 1903 and Mary Belle Elizabeth Wiley was born on the 18th of December 1907. Dr. Wiley’s home and office were located on the north east corner of St. George Street at Queen Street.
In the early 1900’s Dr. John Wiley along with Dr. Hugh Sinclair McDonald organized the Dresden Lawn Bowling Club on Queen Street. Dr. Wiley was the Mayor of Dresden in 1906. Dr. Wiley was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Independent Order of Foresters and the Knights of the Maccabees. He was a Past District Deputy Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge. Dr. Wiley sat on the Public School Board and in 1913, Dr. Wiley and Dr. McDonald sat on the newly formed Dresden Public Library Board.
Dr. Wiley appears in the 1913 Bell Telephone Directory. His telephone number was 49.
Dr. Wiley died in Dresden on the 14th of October, 1914. At the time of his death, Dr. Wiley was the M.O.H. for Dresden and he was a coroner for Kent County. Mrs. Wiley died at her home on St George Street in Dresden on the 14th of February 1940. Dr. and Mrs. Wiley were buried at the Dresden Cemetery.
Dr. Wiley’s son-in-law, Dr. Russell Donald McAlpine (married to Madge Wiley) took over the medical practice in Dresden. Dr. Wiley’s son Harcourt “Irvine” Wiley became a physician in 1919. Dr. H. Irvine Wiley did not practice medicine in Chatham-Kent. He practiced in the Windsor area and he served with the Canadian Armed Services during World War I. (Dr. H. Irvine Wiley appears on the Gathering Our Heroes website.)
*Photo of Dr. Wiley courtesy of The Dresden Public Library.
**Dr. Wiley’s brother Dr. Walter Davidson Wiley, Dr. Hugh Sinclair McDonald, Dr. William Henry Bullis and his son-in-law Dr. Russel Donald McAlpine are also featured on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.