Dr. Robert Walker Leader was born on the 5th of November, 1870 in Plattsville, (Oxford County) Ontario. He was the youngest of 8 children, born to Joseph Leader and the former Mary Ann Gooch. His parents were farmers and his siblings were; Henry, Sarah, Joseph, Emma, Noah, Samuel and Grace.
Dr. Leader attended St. Catharines Collegiate High School. According to the 1890 census, Dr. Leader was 20 years old and in school, however Dr. Leader did not graduate from The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine until 1901. He graduated M.B. and according to the 1928 Ontario Medical Register, Dr. Leader joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 19th of June, 1902.
Dr. Leader married Lydia Jane ‘Jeanette’ Fisher on the 5th of November, 1902 in Welland, Ontario. She was born on the 7th of March, 1876, in Welland the daughter of John Fisher and the former Lydia Jane Flag. She had 3 brothers; John, Thomas and William and a younger sister named Jessie.
In 1911, Dr. Leader bought the practice of Dr. John Campbell and he moved to Wheatley from Churchill (Simcoe County). When he moved to Wheatley, there was no electric power or running water. Dr. and Mrs. Leader adopted a son named Vernen, who was 10 years old in 1911.
Dr. Leader served on the Wheatley School Board and he was a member of the Masons and the Canadian Order of Foresters. Dr. and Mrs. Leader lived on Erie Street N. Dr. Leader operated a telegraph office for the Canadian National Railway and a drug store from his residence. Mrs. Leader was a correspondent for the Windsor Star and there were times that Dr. Leader used the telegraph to wire his stories to the newspaper. Mrs. Leader enjoyed writing poetry.
Dr. Leader appears in the 1913 Bell Telephone Directory. The telephone number for the drug store was 14a and the telephone number for his residence was 14b.
Dr. Leader retired from medicine in 1946. Dr. Leader took great pride in his wife’s gardening talents. In 1951, his medical class held a reunion and Dr. Leader was one of the 5 students attending, for only 5 were still alive.
Dr. Leader died on the 21st of April of 1953 at his home in Wheatley. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Leader moved to St. Catherines, Ontario. She died at her home in St Catharines on the 18th of July, 1968. Dr. and Mrs. Leader are buried at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Leamington.
*Dr. John Campbell also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.