Dr. John Phillips Sivewright was born in Buffalo, New York on the 2nd of March, 1854. According to the 1871 census, Dr. Sivewright was born in Ontario, but according to his marriage record, he was born in Buffalo, New York. He was the 3rd of 4 children born to Dr. James Hay Sivewright and the former Elizabeth “Margaret” Phillips. His parents were born and raised in Scotland and married before immigrating to Canada. His father attended the Cleveland Medical College graduating in 1853. Dr. Sivewright’s parents returned to Canada where his father practiced medicine briefly in Kent Bridge and Thamesville before settling in Chatham in late 1854. Dr. John Phillips Sivewright had at least 3 siblings; Mary Elizabeth “Louisa” Sivewright, James Hay Sivewright and Elinor Sivewright.
Dr. Sivewright received his medical education at Trinity College in Toronto graduating M.B. in the spring of 1876. According to the 1882 Ontario Medical Register, Dr. Sivewright joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 24th of April, 1876. Dr. Sivewright began his medical practice that same year in Chatham. His medical practice was listed in the 1876-1877 Chatham Business Directory. The directory lists his business on King Street near the “Gas Works”. His father appears in the same publication at the same address. The 1882 Town of Chatham Directory records the address for his office and his residence as 33 King Street East.
Dr. Sivewright married Ida Maria Earnest on the 29th of June, 1878 in Detroit, Michigan. Mrs. Sivewright was born in Toronto, Ontario on the 14th of February, 1856. She was the 7th of 8 children born to George Earnest and the former Jane Marsh. Her siblings were; John, Francis, George, Napoleon, William, Jane and Victoria.
Dr. and Mrs. Sivewright had three children; Oscar James Sivewright was born in Chatham on the 22nd of March, 1879 and Ida May Siveweright was born in Chatham on the 8th of May, 1880. A daughter Lily Rosalind Sivewright died in 1883.
When Dr. Sivewright’s father died in 1878 and he inherited his father’s medical practice in Chatham. The medical practice was located at the Glassford Hotel. He also inherited his father’s medical books, instruments, medicines and his horses and buggies. Dr. John P. Sivewright opened a medical office with Dr. William Robert Hall in 1885 in Wallaceburg.
Dr. Sivewright’s practice was listed in the 1886-1887 Ontario Business Directory and the 1896 Chatham City Directory. The medical office was located at 18 Wellington Street in Chatham. According to Farrell’s 1909 City of Chatham Directory, Dr. Sivewrights office was located at 160 1/2 King Street West and his phone number was 236.
Mrs. Sivewright died on the 1st of October, 1910 while she was visiting her sister in Keyport, New Jersey.
Dr. Sivewright appears in the 1913 Bell Telephone Directory. His address was listed as 162 King Street and his telephone number was 236. In 1916, Dr. Sivewright travelled to New York to do some post graduate studies and returned to Chatham in the spring of 1918 to resume his medical practice.
Dr. Sivewright died at the Turner Drug Store in Chatham on the 21st of June, 1918. He had gone there to pick up some medicine. At the time of his death, his son was in the United States Navy and his daughter lived in New York. Dr. Sivewright was buried in Keyport, New Jersey.
*Dr. Sivewright’s son, Oscar James Sivewright moved to Alaska in 1899. He served during World War I and World War II for the United States Armed Services. Oscar Sivewright died in 1965 and he was buried at the Pioneers Home Cemetery in Sitka, Alaska.
**Dr. Sivewright’s father Dr. James Hay Sivewright and his brother Dr. James Alexander Sivewright and Dr. William Robert Hall are all featured on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.