Dr. Thomas Cross was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1816. He received his medical training in Glasgow, Scotland. He ventured to New York, where he met Dr. Rowley Pegley of Chatham. In 1841, both doctors ended up in practice together in Chatham, Ontario.
Dr. Cross married Dr. Rowley Pegley’s sister Jane in 1841. She was born on the 13th of April, 1815 in Middlesex County in England. Her parents were Robert and Mary Ann Pegley and besides her older brother Rowley, she had a younger brother named Robert.
Dr. and Mrs. Cross were the parents of 2 children: Mary and Rowland.
Dr. Cross’s name can be found in Chatham’s history by way of an advertisement placed in the Chatham Gleaner on July 21, 1846. The advertisement announces that he, along with his medical partner, Dr. Pegley, “…may at all times be consulted at their office on King Street…”. Dr. Cross advertised his practiced in the 1851 Chatham Directory, the Great Western Railway Directory and Gazetteer, the 1864-65 Kent County Directory and Gazetteer, the 1865 Kent County Directory and Gazetteer, the 1869 Ontario Gazetteer and the 1870-71 Sutherlands Gazetteer Business Directory. In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Cross was highly regarded for his commitment to Chatham’s early political life. He was elected to Chatham Town Council in 1856, he was named Reeve in 1853, First Deputy Reeve in 1860, and in 1863, he was elected as the Mayor of Chatham. Dr. Cross was also involved in Chatham’s schools, and he served for a period as School Superintendent. As part of his duties as Superintendent, Dr. Cross would preside over the annual public examinations of schoolchildren.
Dr. and Mrs. Cross lost their daughter Mary in December of 1864. She was 21 years old and died of tuberculosis. Their son Rowland, fell through a trapdoor in a warehouse and died on the 23rd of November, 1871. Perhaps these tragedies were a catalyst for Dr. and Mrs. Cross to move to Ireland. They stayed in Ireland a short time and returned to Canada in 1875, and settled in Aylmer, Ontario (Elgin County). He moved to St Thomas, Ontario in 1880.
Dr. Cross died in January of 1881 in St. Thomas and he was buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery, in Chatham, Ontario. Mrs. Cross died in 1904, at the age of 93.
Cross Street in Chatham was named after Dr. Cross.
Photo: Courtesy of the Chatham-Kent Museum. Accession Number: 86.43.2
*Dr. Rowley Pegley also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.
**The webmaster gratefully acknowledges the research assistance of Goldie Howes.