Dr. George Thomas McKeough was born in Chatham, Ontario on the 23rd of October, 1855. Dr. McKeough was the eldest of 4 children born to William McKeough and the former Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Ann Stone. His siblings were; John Franklin McKeough, William Edward McKeough and Alice Maud McKeough. Dr. McKeough’s father was originally from Ballymackeough in Tipperary, Ireland. His father was a Chatham business man who was active in municipal affairs.
Dr. McKeough was educated in Chatham and attended Chatham Collegiate Institute. He began studying medicine in 1873 with Dr. Tecumseh K. Holmes. In 1874 he attended Trinity College in Toronto and graduated as a gold medalist in 1877 and that same year he received his M.B. from The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. According to the 1882 Ontario Medical Registry, Dr. McKeough joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 8th of May, 1877.
Dr. McKeough travelled to England for 3 years to further his studies and received his M.R.C.S. He moved on to Edinburgh, Scotland for his L.R.C.P. credentials. For one year he was the House Surgeon in the Royal Free Hospital in London, England, before returning to Chatham in 1880. He joined Dr. Tecumseh K. Holmes in his medical practice.
On the 12th of October, 1881, Dr. McKeough married Catherine Morris. Mrs. McKeough was born in Quebec on the 11th of March, 1857. She was the 5th of 10 children born to David Morris and the former Mary Galloway Leney. Mrs. McKeough’s father was a merchant in the village of Ste. Thérèse, Quebec and her siblings were; Helen Morris, Charlotte Morris (who died in infancy), Mary Morris, Amelia Campbell Morris, John Hackett Morris (who died of pneumonia at the age of 21), Margaret Morris (who died at the age of 17), David “William” Morris, Sarah Leney Morris and Lenora Morris.
Dr. and Mrs. McKeough, had two daughters, Mary Blanche Franklin McKeough who was born on the 1st of December, 1884 and Bessie Honora McKeough who was born on the 11th of May, 1889.
In the 1882 Town of Chatham Directory, Dr. McKeough’s residence was listed at the corner of Baldoon and Head Street. Dr. McKeough and Dr. Tecumseh K. Holmes were listed in the 1885, 1896 and 1900 Ontario Business Directories as being in practice together in Chatham. Their office was located at 165 King Street. Dr. McKeough enjoyed reading and playing Whist. He would occasionally travel and his favourite destinations were Switzerland, Italy and France.
After Dr. McKeough’s father passed away in 1888, he took his father’s position as a Trustee on the Chatham Public School Board. Dr. McKeough held this position until 1909. Dr. McKeough was also a member of the Ontario Medical Association (O.M.A.). He was appointed Vice-President of the O.M.A. in 1891. Dr. McKeough was appointed as a Coroner for Kent County in 1896. He was a member of the Canadian Medical Association and he acted as Secretary. He contributed many papers on medical and surgical topics. Dr. McKeough was a member of Park Street United Church and the Independent Order Of Foresters (I.O.O.F.).
In 1907, Dr. McKeough purchased a car from the Chatham Motor Car Company for $2,500.00.
During World War I, Dr. McKeough enlisted on the 16th of January, 1916 and he served as a Major with the Canadian Army Medical Corp in England. Dr. McKeough was 60 years old, when he enlisted. Further his enlistment medical history recorded that he was 6′ tall and 185 pounds. Dr. McKeough worked at the Casualty Clearing Station at Folkestone and he was appointed as the Chairman of the Bramshott Medical Board. On the 22nd of August, 1916, he was diagnosed with deafness and exhaustion with symptoms that included sleeplessness, head tremors and loss of memory. Dr. McKeough was discharged and sent back to Canada in September of 1916 in the hopes that his health would improve.
Dr. McKeough enjoyed playing the game of Whist. He also enjoyed travelling and studying which lead him to Europe on many occasions particularly to Rome, Paris and the Swiss Alps.
Dr. McKeough retired from the practice of medicine in December of 1920. In his retirement he enjoyed and studied the flowers and birds on his beautiful lakefront property which was known as Erie Manor (Cedar Springs). Dr. McKeough continued his service to community in his retirement by becoming a trustee on the Cedar Springs School Board and he became a member of the Blenheim Library Board.
Dr. McKeough died at his residence on the 1st of October, 1931. Mrs. McKeough died at Erie Manor on the 7th of September, 1953. Dr. and Mrs. McKeough were buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham.
*Dr. McKeough is also featured on the Gathering Our Heroes website.
**Dr. Tecumseh Kingsley Holmes is also featured on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.
***McKeough Avenue in Chatham is named after Dr. McKeough’s family Stone Avenue in Chatham is named after Dr. McKeough’s mother’s family.