Dr. Robert Walker Leader was born in Plattsville, Ontario on the 5th of November, 1870. Dr. Leader was the 8th of 10 children born to Joseph Walker Leader and the former Mary Ann Gooch. His parents were farmers and his siblings were; Henry Thomas Leader, Sarah Eliza Leader, Joseph Edward Leader, Emma Jane Leader, Noah Rouse Leader, Samuel John Leader, Isaac William Leader, Richard Good Leader (who died at the age of 7) and Frederick James Leader (who died of diphtheria at the age of 6).
Dr. Leader attended St. Catharines Collegiate High School. According to the 1890 census, Dr. Leader was 20 years old and in school, however Dr. Leader did not graduate from The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine until 1901. He graduated M.B. and according to the 1928 Ontario Medical Register, Dr. Leader joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 19th of June, 1902.
Dr. Leader married Lydia Jane ‘Jeanette’ Fisher on the 5th of November, 1902 in Welland, Ontario. Mrs. Leader was born in Welland on the 7th of March, 1876. She was the 4th of 5 children born to John Fisher and the former Lydia Jane Flagg. Her father was a labourer and her siblings were; Albert “John” Fisher, Alfred “Thomas” Fisher, William Fisher and her sister Jessie Fisher (Jessie died of tuberculosis on the 18th of August, 1896 at the age of 17). Dr. and Mrs. Leader while they were students together at St. Catharines Collegiate High School.
In 1911, Dr. Leader bought the medical practice of Dr. John Campbell and he moved to Wheatley from Churchill (Simcoe County). When he moved to Wheatley, there was no electric power or running water. Dr. and Mrs. Leader adopted a son named Vernen, who was 10 years old in 1911.
Dr. Leader served on the Wheatley School Board and he was a member of the Masons and the Canadian Order of Foresters. Dr. and Mrs. Leader lived on Erie Street N. Dr. Leader operated a telegraph office for the Canadian National Railway and a drug store from his residence. Mrs. Leader was a correspondent for the Windsor Star and there were times that Dr. Leader used the telegraph to wire her stories to the newspaper. Mrs. Leader enjoyed writing poetry.
Dr. Leader appears in the 1913 Bell Telephone Directory. The telephone number for the drug store was 14a and the telephone number for his residence was 14b.
Dr. Leader retired from medicine in 1946. Dr. Leader took great pride in his wife’s gardening talents. In 1951, his medical class held a reunion and Dr. Leader was one of the 5 students attending, for only 5 were still alive.
Dr. Leader died on the 21st of April of 1953 at his home in Wheatley. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Leader moved to St. Catherines, Ontario. She died at her home in St Catharines on the 18th of July, 1968. Dr. and Mrs. Leader were buried at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Leamington.
*Dr. John Campbell also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.