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Dr. Currie was one of County’s best known physicians

Gone But Not Forgotten

By Margaret Haylock Capon
In the Victorian era, burial grounds such as Picton’s Glenwood Cemetery, consecrated in 1873, were known as Cities of the Dead. Street names were assigned to roadways, to further perpetuate this community concept and prestigious “neighbourhoods” for interment of the socially prominent were mapped out. In death, as in life, one could, indeed, secure an address on the right side of town.

Most small, rural cemeteries and churchyard burial grounds lack such formality but the monuments within them often have compelling stories to tell. Far from being “dead-end” ghost communities, Prince Edward County’s many cemeteries are alive with history. The famous and infamous lie within their gates, their stories written in stone to pique the interest of passers-by.

Gone But Not Forgotten will profile some of the colourful individuals buried in county graveyards and provide interesting insights regarding the memorials chosen to mark their final resting places.

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Dr. Morley Currie

Following a long and distinguished career, in medicine and politics, Dr. Morley Currie died at his Picton home, “Wexford”  in 1944. The son of Catherine and George Currie, he came from a well-known Prince Edward County family. His father, for many years, was Police Magistrate of Picton and his great grandfather was Colonel Owen Richards, the first Officer Commanding of the old 16th Prince Edward Regiment.

Educated at Picton Public School and Picton Collegiate, Dr. Currie entered the University of Toronto in 1877 and graduated with a B.A. in 1881. He continued his studies there until 1885, when he completed his education to become a medical doctor.

During his school days in Picton, Dr. Currie was acknowledged as the best all-round athlete in the county. While at university, he held the University of Toronto track and field championship from 1888 to 1890.

After graduating from university, Dr. Currie went to New York City for three years of post-graduate study and research. From 1895 to 1896, he was with the New York Metropolitan Hospital, then with the city’s Lying-In Hospital from 1896 to 1897. He worked at the Frauen Klinic from 1897 to 1898 before returning to Picton to establish his medical practice.

Dr. Currie opened an upstairs office in the Eyre Block adjacent to the Regent Theatre (now the site of Robyn’s Nest pet store) and became highly successful in his new practice.

In 1902, the local Liberal Party was hard-pressed for a candidate who could carry the constituency for the Ontario Legislature. Dr. Currie was urged to seek office and agreed to become the Liberal candidate, just three weeks before the election. His campaign was successful and he carried the riding. He proved to be man of outstanding ability and in 1905, when the Ross government went down to an ignominious defeat, he again carried his riding for the Liberals.

Dr. Currie declined nomination for his party, at the conclusion of his term, but in 1908 was persuaded to accept a nomination for the Dominion house. He was elected and sat in the House of Commons  until 1911, when the Reciprocity election proved disastrous for Sir Wilfred Laurier and the Liberal Party.

Following the election, Dr. Currie returned to his medical practice. A noted surgeon, he performed many operations and was described as “the best-known physician in the county.” He was affiliated with the Prince Edward County hospital, after its establishment in 1918, until the time of his retirement. The progress of the hospital was always a cause near and dear to him.

Dr. Currie retired 12 years before his death, in 1944. He was in failing health and suffered a heart attack, shortly before his passing. He was survived by his wife, the former Clara Clarke, a son, Major George Currie of the 9th Canadian I.DO.SO. and two daughters, Mrs. Colin Hepburn of Kingston and Mrs. Lawrence Kolb of Norfolk, Virginia.

Honorary pall bearers for Dr. Currie were Dr. TO.SO. Phil, Dr. I. Howard Malmsey, Dr.DO.SO. Light hall, Dr. Howard Cyan, Dr. Morley Branscombe, Dr. Gerald Allison, Dr. C.A. Publow, Dr. T. Bedell, Dr. J.H, Boulter, Dr. A.W. Heaslip, Dr. G.A. Whiteman, Dr. S.H. Roblin, and Major Hudson Leavens of the Royal Military College, Kingston.

Dr. Morley Currie, physician, politician, and athlete is buried in Picton`s Glenwood Cemetery.

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-Margaret Haylock Capon, a freelance writer and former newspaper reporter, is the author of Hearts We Leave Behind, an illustrated history of Picton’s Glenwood Cemetery. She is a former member of both the Glenwood Cemetery board and the Prince Edward County Cemetery board. She and her husband, Alan R. Capon are Prince Edward County’s representatives of the Campbell Monument Company and co-authors of the company’s history, written during its centennial year (2009).

Helping You Remember

Campbell Monument has now introduced an extended service for families ordering new inscriptions (i.e. final dates), for existing monuments. For an additional $85, upright monuments will also be power washed and checked for safety and stability. Ground level markers will be raised, levelled and cleaned. In Prince Edward County, please contact Margaret Haylock and Alan Capon at 613-393-2254 for further details.

Filed Under: Margaret Haylock-CaponNews from Everywhere Else

About the Author: Maggie Haylock is a freelance writer and former newspaper reporter who has co-authored several books with her husband, Alan Capon.

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