Dr. James Alexander Sivewright was born around 1853. He was the son of Dr. James Hay Sivewright and the former Elizabeth “Margaret” Phillips. Dr. Sivewright’s parents were born and raised in Scotland and married before immigrating to Canada. His father attended the Cleveland Medical College graduating in 1853. His parents returned to Canada where his father practiced medicine briefly in Kent Bridge and Thamesville before settling in Chatham in late 1854. Dr. James Alexander Sivewright was known to have at least 3 siblings; Mary Elizabeth “Louisa” Sivewright, John Phillips Sivewright and Elinor Sivewright.
Dr. James A. Sivewright graduated from Queen’s University in 1870. He joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 9th of July, 1870. He was practicing medicine in Florence (Lambton County) Ontario as early as 1876. Due to the close proximity of Florence to Chatham-Kent, Dr. Sivewright frequently attended to patients in Thamesville and Zone Twp (Chatham-Kent). His name appears on birth and death records in Chatham-Kent from 1876 to 1878.
It is unknown when Dr Sivewright moved to New Westminster, British Columbia, but according to the 1881 census, he was living in New Westminster with Dr. Thomas Robert McInnes and his family. (Dr. McInnes moved to New Westminster from Dresden in 1874).
Dr. Sivewright married Harriett Clarkson on the 5th of January, 1882 in New Westminster. Mrs. Sivewright was born near Oshawa, Ontario on the 7th of September, 1855, the youngest of 8 children. Her parents were William Clarkson and the former Jane Sparkhall and her siblings were; George Cubitt Clarkson, Hannah Maria Clarkson, Sarah Jane Clarkson, Mary Elizabeth Clarkson, Kate Eleanor Clarkson, William Clarkson (who died at the age of 3) and Henrietta Clarkson (she was born in April of 1854 and died 3 months later). Young William and Henrietta Clarkson were buried beside each other at the Pioneer Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Oshawa. Mrs. Sivewright’s parents were both born in England, but they married in Vaughan, Ontario on the 13th of February,1843. Between 1855 and 1877, the Clarkson family moved to New Westminster, B.C.
Dr. and Mrs. Sivewright had a son named Alexander Hay Sivewright born to them on the 6th of October, 1882. Dr. Sivewright died on the 18th of May, 1883 in New Westminster at the age of 33. He was buried at the Fraser Cemetery in New Westminster. According to the 1891 census Harriett Sivewright and her son Alexander were living with her parents, William and Jane Clarkson in New Westminster. Mrs. Sivewright died on the 18th of December, 1917. She was buried at the Fraser Cemetery, next to her husband.
*Dr. Sivewright’s father, Dr. James Hay Sivewright and his brother Dr. John Phillips Sivewright and Dr. Thomas Robert McInnes all appear on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.
**The webmaster is grateful to the New Westminster Archives for the photograph of Dr. Sivewright (circa 1883), Item #1HP2724 and Record #39339. Used with permission.