John Archibald MacMurchy 
Location served:
Years in Practice:
1916 to 1938
Area of Specialization:
Family Medicine  


Dr. John Archibald MacMurchy and his twin brother were born on a farm on the 3rd Line of Erin Township near Acton, Ontario on the 10th of March, 1885. Dr. MacMurchy was the son of Duncan James MacMurchy and the former Isabella Anthony.  His parents were farmers and his siblings were; an older brother named Norman Duncan MacMurchy, an older sister named Lily May MacMurchy and his twin brother named William Martin MacMurchy.  (His twin brother William died of typhoid on the 15th of April, 1906.)  His brother William became a school teacher.  Dr. MacMurchy attended public elementary and high school in Acton and he also attended the Milton Model School.

Dr. MacMurchy taught school for several years in Norval, in a small one room country school where he taught all grades. During the summertime, he worked on great lake boats, likely with The Canada Steam Ship Line, to save money for medical school.

Dr. MacMurchy took up his medical studies at The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine and graduated M.B. in 1916 at the age of 31.  After an internship the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montréal, he worked at the Weston Sanitarium before taking on his first private practice in Kearney (in the District of Parry Sound), where he spent 3 years, before moving to Dresden in 1919 to assist with a flu epidemic.

Dr. MacMurchy was married in Toronto on the 9th of October, 1916 to Stella Myrtle Blair Matthews.  At the time of their marriage Mrs. MacMurchy was a school teacher.  She was born in Acton, Ontario on the 7th of August, 1887.  She was the eldest of 3 children born to Lewis Graham Matthews and the former Sarah Jane ‘Jennie’ Blair.  Her father was a grocery merchant and her siblings were; Lewis Charles Andrew Graham Matthews and Mildred Dianna Matthews.  Mrs. MacMurchy’s father died on the 14th of May, 1899 at the age of 37.  Her mother lived to be nearly 99.  At the time of her marriage, Mrs. MacMurchy lived at 40 Radford Ave. in Toronto.

Dr. and Mrs. MacMurchy had 3 children.  John Charles Duncan MacMurchy was born on the 1st of July 1920 in Dresden and died in Chatham on the 7th of May, 1923.  He died after complications following a tonsillectomy.  Their son Donald MacMurchy was born in Dresden in 1922.  (Donald died in 1985).   Their daughter Jean Isabel MacMurchy was born in Dresden in 1925.

Dr. MacMurchy served the citizens of Dresden for 19 years, while also serving on both the town council as a member, and the school board, first as chairman, then a trustee. Dr. MacMurchy was also noted as having a great interest in astronomy and was known as a “lover of all good books” especially the immortal works of the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns.  Dr. MacMurchy was once the President of the Kent Medical Association.  He was a member of the Mocha Temple, the Shrine (London, Ontario) and the I.O.O.F.

In his own handwriting, Dr. MacMurchy wrote, “Don’t Forget The Worth of Your Profession. Keep Your Ideals High, Your Thoughts Clean & Your Soul Pure.  Your Life must Be Beyond Reproach, So That People Can Trust in You.  Don’t Misplace Nor Betray Their Trust.”

Dr. MacMurchy’s life ended on Monday, November 28th, 1938 after a 2 year battle with rheumatic heart disease.  He died at his residence on Hughes Street in Dresden and he was buried at Fairview Cemetery in Acton, Ontario.

Mrs. MacMurchy died in 1979.  She was buried at Fairview Cemetery.

*The webmaster is grateful for the assistance of his daughter Jean (MacMurchy) Churchill who wished to have her 4 son’s mentioned in her father’s biography.  Her sons are: Dr. John Donald Churchill who became a veterinarian, James Graham Churchill who became a Department Head of Science in New Market, Ontario, Jeffrey Charles Churchill who became a teacher, (he lost his life in an avalanche in the Arctic) and Jay Andrew Churchill who became an engineer in Waterloo.  Mrs. Churchill died on the 25th of April, 2018.