Dr. John Martin Fraser was born on the 12th of August, 1836 in Westminster Twp, Middlesex County, Ontario. He was the 4th of 11 children born to Donald Fraser and the former Jane Martin. His siblings were Samuel, William, James, Robert, James, Mary, Ely, Donald, David and Martin. His parents had emigrated from the United Kingdom two years before Dr. Fraser was born. The Fraser family settled on a farm on Wharncliffe Road, South of London, Ontario.
Dr. Fraser attended London Grammar School. Dr. Fraser graduated in 1855 from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario with his M.D. The subject of his graduation thesis was “Abscesses”. Dr. Fraser practiced in Morpeth for 3 years, before he furthered his medical training at the Lednich School of Medicine in Dublin, Ireland. Dr. Fraser returned to Canada and practiced in London, Ontario with his uncle, Dr. Maxwell Simpson Fraser. Dr. Fraser was known to be practicing in Ridgetown from 1861 to 1868.
Dr. Fraser married Sarah Braerton Wilson on the 1st of February, 1866. She was born in 1846, the 2nd of 11 children born to William Wilson and the former Matilda Delmage. Her father was a merchant in Morpeth. Her siblings were, Mary, William, Matilda, Robert, Maggie, James, John, Mariott, George and Mehitabel.
In 1868, Dr. and Mrs. Fraser moved their family to London, Ontario. He formed a partnership with Dr. John Stevenson. After Dr. Stevenson died, he became a partner with his brother-in-law, Dr. John Delmage Wilson. Dr. Fraser was involved in establishing the Medical Department at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) and the London General Hospital. Dr. Fraser was eventually made the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at UWO from 1888-1890.
In 1885, Dr. Fraser was the Medical Officer of the 7th Battalion of the Fusiliers of Middlesex. Dr. Fraser saw active duty in the North West Territories during the Riel Rebellion.
Dr. and Mrs. Fraser had 9 children; John, Samuel, Matilda, Jane, Constance, Elizabeth, Maxwell, George and Ronald. His sons, John Wilson Fraser and Samuel Martin Fraser also became doctors.
Dr. Fraser was a member of the Masons and the Oddfellows Order.
Mrs. Fraser died on the 25th of August, 1888 at the age of 42. She was buried at Woodland Cemetery in London. Dr. Fraser married Annie Wilson (it is unknown if there is a relationship to his first wife) on the 29th of January, 1890 in Harwich Twp (Kent County). She was born on the 17th of March, 1860 to Robert Wilson and the former Isabelle Waugh. Her parents were farmers. She was the 5th of 7 children and her siblings were Elspeth, George, Martha, Francis, Robert and Isabella.
A son, Robert Howard Fraser was born to Dr. and Mrs. Fraser on the 11th of April, 1891 in London.
Dr. Fraser died in London, on the 2nd of August 1891 when his youngest son was just 3 months old. Dr. Fraser was buried at Woodland Cemetery.
According to the 1901 census Mrs. Annie Fraser was living in Chatham with her 9 year old son, Robert. Eventually they moved back to Harwich Twp and they lived with her mother and her sister Isabella. Mrs. Fraser died on the 17th of June, 1936 at the Public General Hospital in Chatham. She was buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham.
Dr. Fraser’s sons John Wilson Fraser, Samuel Martin Fraser and Robert Howard Fraser all became physicians.
*Dr. Fraser’s brother-in-law, Dr. James Delmage Wilson and his brother Dr. Donald Martin Fraser also appear on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.
**Mrs. Sarah Fraser’s brother’s, Dr. John D. Wilson and Dr. George Hudson Wilson also became physicians but they did not practice medicine in Kent County. Her brother Dr. George Hudson Wilson also served in the Canadian Armed Forces in World War I and he appears on the Gathering Our Heroes website.
***His son Maxwell Donald Fraser was killed in action in France during WWI on the 25th of May, 1915. (His date of death is mentioned on his father’s tombstone as 24th of May, 1915. Documents available on-line through Library and Archives Canada, records his date of death on multiple documents, as May 25th, 1915.)