Dr. John Spencer Bigham was born on the 8th of May, 1875, near Culloden, Ontario (Oxford County). He was the 5th of 8 children, born to William John Bigham and the former Isabelle Simpson. His parents were farmers and his siblings were; Ella Bigham, William Robert Bigham, Herbert Arthur Bigham, Ida Jane Bigham, James Edwin Bigham, George Edgar Bigham and Lewis Bigham.
Dr. Bigham attended a local school near Culloden and furthered his education at Woodstock Collegiate Institute. According to the 1891 census, Dr. Bigham resided with a family in East Zorra Twp, Oxford Cty. He matriculated at Stratford Collegiate Institute in 1902 and later that year Dr. Bigham began his medical training at Trinity College. He transferred to The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine in 1904 and graduated M.D.,C.M. in 1907.
Dr. Bigham located his medical practice in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. Perhaps his most famous obstetrical delivery would be the iconic Canadian author, W.O. Mitchell who was born on the 13th of March, 1914.
Dr. Bigham married Catherine Jones on the 14th of October, 1919 in Assiniboia, Saskatchewan. Mrs. Bigham was born in Point Edward, (Lambton County), Ontario on the 1st of June, 1892. She was the 4th of 5 children born to Silas Jones and the former Isabella Catherine Dunlop. Her father was a railway engineer and her siblings were; William H. Jones, twin sisters Sarah Isabelle Jones and Esther Mary Jones and a younger sister named Alice Fulford Jones. Her father died of heart failure on the 23rd of September, 1901 when Mrs. Bigham was just 9 years old. According to the 1911 census, Mrs. Bigham resided at 131 John Street in Sarnia and she was employed as a stenographer.
Dr. and Mrs. Bigham had a son, John Spencer Peter Bigham born to them in Weyburn, Saskatchewan on the 4th of April, 1920.
Dr. Bigham moved to Highgate in the mid 1920’s. He joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 9th of October, 1925. Dr. Oral Bentley Shillington purchased Dr. Bigham’s practice in 1927. Dr. Bigham moved his practice to Innerkip, Ontario for a time and then relocated to Drumbo, Ontario in 1941.
Dr. Bigham died at his home in Drumbo on the 18th of July, 1958. Mrs. Bigham died in early May of 1965. Dr. and Mrs. Bigham are buried at the Harris Street Cemetery in Ingersoll, Ontario. Their son John Spencer Peter Bigham died on the 22nd of February, 2007 and he was also buried at the Harris Street Cemetery.
*Dr. Oral Bentley Shillington is also featured on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.
**Tombstone Photo Credit: Anne F.