Dr. Morris Sharp was born in Delaware Township, Middlesex County, on the 9th of February, 1859. He was the eldest of 8 children born to John Sharp and the former Anne Patterson. His parents were farmers and his siblings were; Alexander, Edward, Isaiah, John, Albert, Daniel and Mary. He attended school in Delaware Township and St Thomas High School. He continued his education at the Ottawa Normal School in Wentworth County. He graduated in 1882 and taught school for eight years in Wentworth County.
Dr. Sharp saved enough money teaching school to study medicine at the University of Western Ontario. He graduated in 1891. Dr. Sharp first practiced medicine in Embro, Ontario. Dr. Sharp moved to Tilbury in 1893 and took over the medical practice of Dr. John O’Keefe.
On the 2nd of January, 1895 Dr. Sharp married Elizabeth Stuart Cole in Chicago, Illinois. She was born in Ingersoll on the 10th of March, 1863. She was the eldest of 3 children born to Christopher Spencer Cole and the former Ellen Stuart. Her father was a blacksmith and her siblings were John and Robert. Mrs. Sharp graduated as a nurse from Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario in 1887. She worked in Chicago until her marriage.
Dr. and Mrs. Sharp were the parents of two daughters. Margaret Stuart Sharp was born in November of 1896 and died of pneumonia on the 5th of March, 1900 at the age of 3 years and 4 months. She was buried at Rosedale Cemetery in Tilbury East Twp, (Chatham-Kent). Their daughter Helen Anna Sharp was born on the 26th of May, 1899.
Dr. Sharp was the Secretary/Treasurer for the Tilbury Public School Board from 1891 to 1897. In 1901, he was the Reeve of Tilbury. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who was the Prime Minister of Canada from the 11th of July, 1896 to the 6th of October, 1911, visited Tilbury in 1908. A photograph was snapped of Sir Wilfrid Laurier walking down the Main Street of Tilbury with Dr. Sharp. A copy of the photograph appears in “The Tilbury Story 1887-1987” on page 148. Dr. Sharp served on Town Council for many years and he was elected Mayor of Tilbury in January of 1913. Dr. Sharp was re-elected in 1914, but a groundswell of electors were upset that Dr. Sharp had entered bars in the Town of Tilbury and ordered alcohol, despite being banned from doing so. According to an article that appeared in the Chatham Daily Planet on the 22nd of January, 1914, Dr. Sharp had an issue with alcohol “the habit that is his worst enemy”. Rather than facing action to unseat him, Dr. Sharp resigned as Mayor on the 22nd of January, 1914. He was the M.O.H. for Tilbury East until May of 1926.
Dr. Sharp attended to his patients with horse and buggy in his early days in Tilbury. In his spare time, he enjoyed lawn bowling and curling.
Mrs. Sharp belonged to the I.O.D.E., the Tilbury Horticultural Society, the Public Library Board and the Memorial Park Board. She was also instrumental in organizing the first Girl Guide Company in Tilbury.
Dr. Sharp died on the 22nd of August, 1927 at his residence on Canal Street. Out of respect for the doctor, who had cared for the citizens of Tilbury and the surrounding area without interruption for nearly 35 years, the merchants closed their businesses for the afternoon. Mrs. Sharp died in Chatham on August 13th, 1933 as a result of a car accident. Dr. and Mrs. Sharp were buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Tilbury.
*Dr. Sharp’s daughter Helen Anna Sharp became a teacher. She married Dr. Donald Marshall MacPherson. Dr. MacPherson joined the medical practice of Dr. Morris Sharp in August of 1926.
**Dr. Donald Marshall MacPherson and Dr. John O’Keefe also appear on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.