Dr. James Sylvester Munger was born in Hampton Ferry, King County, New Brunswick on the 20th of October, 1830. He was the eldest of 4 children born to James “Isaac” Munger and the former Frances Ann Sherwood. His parents were farmers and is siblings were; named Margaret Maria Ann Munger, Charles Edward Munger and William A. Munger.
Dr. Munger grew up at Hampton Ferry and learned the trade of cabinet making. In his early adult life, he moved to St. John, New Brunswick. His parents moved to a farm in Burford Twp., Brant County and Dr. Munger moved there as well. By 1871 Dr. Munger’s parents and his brother William were farming in Orford Twp (Chatham-Kent).
Dr. Munger married Sarah Ann Smith on the 15th of June, 1859 in Brant County. She was born in New Brunswick on the 14th of January, 1837, the 2nd of 11 children born to John D. Smith and the former Elizabeth Anderson. Her parents were farmers and her siblings were; Edward, John, Elizabeth, Robert, George, Thomas, Isiah, Elisha and Rebecca.
Dr. and Mrs. Munger had a daughter named Lucia Maud Munger born to them on the 03rd of November, 1863 in Burford.
According to the 1872 Ontario Medical Record, Dr. Munger studied medicine at the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1868. (This university opened in 1850 and closed its doors in 1880). While he was away at school, his parents moved to a farm in Clearville, (Elgin County) Ontario. Dr. Munger joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 13th of May, 1869 and he set up his medical practice in Duart.
Dr. and Mrs. Munger had a daughter named Lydia Christina Munger born to them in Duart on the 8th of May, 1870.
In 1871, the family moved to New Glasgow, (Elgin County).
Dr. and Mrs. Munger, built a new home and office in Rodney, Ontario (Elgin County) and moved there in 1873. It was located on the north corner of Furnival Road and Maple Street. He remained in Rodney for the rest of his life and frequently crossed the county line into Chatham-Kent to look after his patients as evidenced with his signature on birth and death records.
Dr. Munger’s medical practice was advertised under the Rodney subtitle, in the 1885 Farmers and Business Directory and the 1886 Elgin Kent Essex and Lambton Business Directory. Dr. Munger built a drugstore on the main street of Rodney between Harper Street and Victoria Street in 1891. He hired a druggist named Ramsay Sinclair to operate it.
Dr. Munger retired from medicine in 1895 and he worked in the drug store. A new graduate from The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine (class of 1895) Dr. Hector McLean Paterson, took on the medical practice left vacant by Dr. Munger.
Dr. Munger died in Elgin County on the 13th of March, 1912. Mrs. Sarah Munger died on the 11th of May, 1921. Dr. and Mrs. Munger were buried at the Rodney Cemetery.
*Below is a photograph of Dr. Munger standing outside of his home on Furnival Road (The home was built in 1873).
**Dr. Hector McLean Paterson is also featured on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.
Photo Credit: Anne F.