Dr. John Martin Fraser was born on the 12th of August, 1836 in Westminster Twp, Middlesex County, Ontario. He was the 4th of 11 children born to Donald Fraser and the former Jane Martin. His siblings were; Samuel Martin Fraser, William Fraser, Jane Fraser, Robert Martin Fraser, James Harshaw Fraser, Mary Fraser, Ely Fraser, Donald Martin Fraser, Maxwell “David” Fraser and Martin Scott Fraser. His parents had emigrated from Inverness, Scotland in 1833 with their eldest 2 sons, Samuel and William, three years before Dr. Fraser was born. The Fraser family settled on a farm on Wharncliffe Road, south of London, Ontario.
Dr. Fraser attended London Grammar School. In 1855 he graduated M.D. from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario with honors. The subject of his graduation thesis was “Abscesses”. Dr. Fraser practiced medicine in Morpeth for 3 years, before he furthered his medical training at the Lednich School of Medicine in Dublin, Ireland. Dr. Fraser returned to Canada and he practiced in London, Ontario with his uncle, Dr. Maxwell Simpson Fraser. Dr. Fraser was known to be practicing in Ridgetown from 1861 to 1868. He appears in the 1864-1865 County of Kent Gazetteer under the Morpeth banner.
Dr. Fraser married Sarah Braerton Wilson on the 1st of February, 1866. She was born in Morpeth in 1846. Mrs. Fraser was the 2nd of 11 children born to William Wilson and the former Julia Matilda Delmage. Her father was a merchant in Morpeth and her siblings were; Marianne Wilson, William Shire Wilson, Julia Matilda Wilson (who died childhood), Robert Wilson, Margaret Maria Wilson (died in 1879 at the age of 26 of tuberculosis), James Delmage Wilson, John Dolway Wilson, Marriot Wilson (who died in 1888 at the age of 26 of tuberculosis…at the time of his death he was attending medical school), George Hudson Wilson and Mehitabel Wilson.
In 1868, Dr. and Mrs. Fraser moved their family to London, Ontario where Dr. Fraser formed a partnership with Dr. John Stevenson. After Dr. Stevenson died, he became a partner with his brother-in-law, Dr. John Delmage Wilson. Dr. Fraser was involved in establishing the Medical Department at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) and the London General Hospital. Dr. Fraser was eventually made the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at UWO from 1888-1890.
In 1885, Dr. Fraser was the Medical Officer of the 7th Battalion of the Fusiliers of Middlesex. Dr. Fraser saw active duty in the North West Territories during the Riel Rebellion.
Dr. and Mrs. Fraser had 10 children; John Wilson Fraser, Samuel Martin Fraser, Matilda B. Fraser, Twins Lillie Fraser (who died in childhood) and Jean Martin Fraser, Constance Margaret Fraser, Elizabeth M. Fraser, Maxwell Donald Fraser, George Douglas Fraser and Ronald Gordon Fraser (who died of tuberculosis in 1914 at the age of 29).
Dr. Fraser was a member of the Masons and the Oddfellows Order.
Mrs. Fraser died on the 25th of August, 1888 at the age of 42. She was buried at Woodland Cemetery in London.
Dr. Fraser married Sarah Annie Wilson on the 29th of January, 1890 in Harwich Twp (Chatham-Kent). She was born on the 17th of March, 1860 to Robert Wilson and the former Isabelle Waugh. Her parents were farmers and it is unknown if there is a relationship to his first wife. She was the 5th of 7 children and her siblings were; Elspeth Wilson, George Wilson, Martha Wilson, Francis William Wilson, Robert Albert Wilson and Isabella Wilson.
A son, Robert Howard Fraser was born to Dr. and Mrs. Fraser on the 11th of April, 1891 in London.
Dr. Fraser died in London, on the 2nd of August 1891 when his youngest son was just 3 months old. Dr. Fraser was buried at Woodland Cemetery.
According to the 1901 census Mrs. Annie Fraser was living in Chatham with her 9 year old son, Robert. Eventually they moved back to Harwich Twp and they lived with her mother and her sister Isabella on “the old Wilson homestead”. Mrs. Fraser died on the 17th of June, 1936 at the Public General Hospital in Chatham. At the time of her death, she still resided at “the old homestead”. She was buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham.
Dr. Fraser’s sons; John Wilson Fraser, Samuel Martin Fraser and Robert Howard Fraser all became physicians.
*Dr. Fraser’s brother, Dr. Donald Martin Fraser and his brother-in-law, Dr. James Delmage Wilson also appear on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.
**Dr. Fraser’s son, Maxwell Donald Fraser was killed in action in France during WWI on the 25th of May, 1915. His date of death is mentioned on his father’s tombstone as the 24th of May, 1915. Documents available on-line through Library and Archives Canada, record his date of death on multiple documents as May 25th, 1915.
***Dr. John Martin Fraser’s youngest son, Dr. Robert Howard Fraser (who was only 3 months old when he died), specialized in eye, ear, nose and throat in Battle Creek, Michigan. He died there in 1979 and he was buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham.
****Mrs. Sarah Braerton (Wilson) Fraser’s brother’s, Dr. John Dolway Wilson and Dr. George Hudson Wilson became physicians but did not practice medicine in Chatham-Kent. Her brother Dr. George Hudson Wilson served in the Canadian Armed Forces in World War I and he appears on the Gathering Our Heroes website.