Dr. David Gibb Fleming was born in Aldborough Township (Elgin County, Ontario on the 2nd of September, 1842. Dr. Fleming was the 5th of 6 children born to James Fleming and the former Ann Gibb. His parents were farmers and his siblings were; Charles Gibb Fleming, Rebecca Fleming, Catherine Elizabeth Fleming, Robert Gibb Fleming, and James Wellington Fleming. His father died at the age of 37 when Dr. Fleming was just 5 years old.
As a child Dr. Fleming attended Wardsville Grammar School. He spent one year at Victoria University in Coburg, followed by an “internship” with Dr. George Couse of Wardsville. Dr. Fleming attended Rolph’s School of Medicine in Toronto and studied with Professor John Fulton of Fingal, Ontario. He graduated M.D. in 1868. Dr. Fleming continued his studies in London, England where he obtained the designation of M.R.C.S. in 1869. In the fall of 1869, Dr. Fleming successfully wrote his Edinburgh examination and received his L.R.C.P. and L.M. degrees from Edinburgh University. Dr. Fleming returned to Canada on February 14th, 1870 and opened a medical practice in Chatham. According to the 1882 Ontario Medical Register, Dr. Fleming joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 3rd of June, 1871.
According to the 1877 Chatham Business Directory, Dr. Fleming’s office was located at the Merchants Bank block on King St. and his residence was located at 29 Forsyth Street.
Dr. Fleming married Lucy Marion McKellar on September 1st, 1875, in Raleigh Twp (Chatham-Kent). Mrs. Fleming was born on the 2nd of March, 1855 in Chatham. She was the youngest of 8 children born to the Hon. Archibald McKellar and the former Lucy McNab. Her siblings included; Peter Duncan McKellar, Mary Jean McKellar, Flora McKellar, Sarah Ann McKellar, Janet McKellar, Donald McKellar and Thomas Alexander McKellar (who died at the age of 40 of tuberculosis). Mrs. Fleming’s mother died a few days before her 2nd birthday.
The Honorable Archibald McKellar was an active politician for most of his life. He served as a Town Councillor in Chatham in 1855 and Reeve from 1853 to 1854 and 1856 to 1857. He was elected to the Ontario legislature for Bothwell which encompassed parts of Kent and Lambton County in 1867 and 1871, and for the Region of Kent East in 1875. When Edward Blake became the Premier of Ontario in 1871, Mr. McKellar was sworn in as Commissioner of Agriculture and Public Works.
Dr. and Mrs. Fleming had 2 daughters born to them in Chatham. Marion Jean Fleming was born on the 17th of March 1877. Mrs. Fleming gave birth to their second daughter, Louisa Ann Fleming, on the 11th of March, 1879. Mrs. Fleming died shortly afterwards on the 27th of July 1879 at the age of 24. The cause of her death was listed as consumption (tuberculosis). At the time of Mrs. Flemings death, Dr. and Mrs. Fleming resided at 31 Victoria Ave., in Chatham. She was buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham. Sadly their daughter Louisa, died a few days later on the 9th of August, 1879.
Dr. Fleming is listed in the 1885 Ontario Business Directory and in the 1896 Chatham City Directory.
Dr. Fleming served on the Chatham Library Board and the Public School Board. He was also an Alderman on city council and he ran as the Liberal candidate in the West Kent Provincial Riding. He lost the election by 41 votes to James Clancy.
According to the 1911 census, Dr. Fleming was residing at the corner of Murray Street and William Street and he was still practicing medicine. The 1920 Vernon City of Chatham Business Directory recorded that his office was located at 17 Fifth Street.
Dr. Fleming died on the 16th of March 1921 in Toronto. At the time of his death, he lived with his daughter Marion, her husband Herbert Louden and their 10 year old daughter Catherine. Dr. Fleming was buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery next to his wife and infant daughter in the McKellar family plot.
(The Photo of Dr. Fleming is courtesy of the Chatham-Kent Museum 993.25.12)
*Dr. George Couse also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.