Dr. Abraham DeCow was born in Highgate on the 16th of October, 1846. He was the 10th of 11 children born to William Squire DeCow and the former Sarah McIntyre. Dr. DeCow’s parents were farmers and his siblings were; Jacob, Catherine, Ezekiel, Nancy, William, John, Hannah, Jane, James and Sarah.
Dr. DeCow graduated M.D. from The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine in 1870. According to the 1892 Ontario Medical Register, he joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 20th of December, 1886.
In 1875 he was one of two physicians in Highgate. (Dr. John Murray was the other doctor.)
On the 3rd of June, 1879, Dr. DeCow married Catherine Mitton in Howard Twp (Chatham-Kent). Mrs. DeCow was born on the 4th of April, 1854. She was the 2nd of 6 children born to John Mitton and the former Rachel McLaren. Her parents were farmers and her siblings were; Elizabeth, James, Lora, Charles and Ida.
Dr. DeCow belonged to the Masonic Lodge 336 in Highgate. His obituary in the Highgate Monitor (January 16th, 1896 edition) stated that, “he held every rank of honor in the lodge”. Further it stated that, “he was a member in good standing with the Foresters, Macabe’s, Workmen, and Chosen Friends”.
According to the 1883 Soutar’s Kent County Almanac Dr. DeCow was listed as a Coroner in Highgate. Dr DeCow’s medical practice appeared in the 1887 and 1889 Ontario Business Directories under the Highgate subtitle. His name also appears in the 1887 Ontario Medical Register, listing him in Highgate.
Dr. and Mrs. DeCow had 8 children, the first 5 children were born in Highgate (Chatham-Kent) and the last 3 children were born in Alvinston (Lambton County). Their children were; Sarah Pearl DeCow was born in July of 1880 and died on September 5th, 1880 at the age of 1 month and 25 days. John Burton DeCow was born on the 23rd of June 1881 and died on the 2nd of November 1955 in Wallaceburg. William Wentford DeCow was born on the 15th of February 1883 and died of scarlet fever on November 22, 1884 at the age of 1 year, 9 months and 7 days. Charles Abraham DeCow was born in 1885 (and died in 1955). Hazel Alfreda DeCow was born in December of 1897 and died July 7th, 1899 at the age of 11 years, 5 months and 23 days. Hillyard Mitton DeCow was born on the 14th of January, 1890 and died of scarlet fever on the 7th of July, 1890 at the age of 6 months. Lorenzo “Vincent” DeCow was born on the 5th of April, 1891 and died April 29th, 1913 at the age of 22 years and 24 days. James Keith DeCow died on March 21st, 1895 at the age of 4 months and 13 days. Only John and Charles lived into advanced adulthood. Most of their children were buried in the family plot at the Gosnell Cemetery, near Highgate.
Dr. and Mrs. DeCow moved to Alvinston (Lambton County) around 1889. Dr. DeCow advertised his medical practice in Alvinston (Lambton County) in the 1893 Ontario Directory and Gazetteer.
Dr. DeCow died on the 11th of January, 1896 at the age of 49 years in Alvinston, Ontario. His funeral service was held at the Highgate Methodist Church and he was buried at the Gosnell Cemetery.
After the death of her husband, Mrs. DeCow moved to Ridgetown and she earned a living as a practical nurse. In 1901 she resided with 3 surviving sons, John, Charles and Vincent in Ridgetown. Mrs. DeCow died at Grace Hospital in Detroit Michigan on the 14th of July, 1921 at the age of 66 years, 3 months and 10 days. On her death record, it states that she resided in Ridgetown. Mrs. DeCow was buried next to her husband and her children at the Gosnell Cemetery.
*Dr. DeCow’s sister Hannah married Dr. George Archer Tye. Dr. Tye is featured on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.
**Dr. John Murray also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.