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Doctors Lighthall and Allison, Gone but Not Forgotten

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. Donald Lighthall

A practising physician for nearly 50 years, Dr. Donald S. Lighthall died a short time before a celebration planned in his honour could be held. Coroner for Prince Edward County and Medical Officer for the town of Picton, he was highly respected in the community.

Dr. Lighthall was the son of Lieut.-Col. Angus Lighthall and his wife, Molly Bailey. His father commanded the 16th Regiment, forerunner of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, from 1901 to 1905 and with Mr. N. Gilbert operated a furniture and undertaking establishment in Picton called Gilbert and Lighthall.

Born and educated in Picton, Dr.Lighthall graduated in medicine, from the University of Toronto, in 1901. He then practised in Chicago for nine years and, later, at Dietrich in southern Idaho. While in Idaho, he travelled on horseback to visit his patients, with his medical bag tied to the saddle, in a grain sack.

While in Idaho, he developed a keen interest in Indian relics and cultivated a large collection of them. When he returned to his hometown of Picton, in 1915, he continued to pursue this hobby.

An avid outdoorsman, Dr. Lighthall enjoyed walking, fishing, and hunting and spent a great deal of time at his cottage at East Lake. He was an early member of the Big Eddy Club in North Hastings and also a member of the Rod and Gun Club.

In the medical profession, Dr. Lighthall was best known as an obstetrician and anaesthesiologist. When Picton’s first hospital was built, he was among those who assisted in the planning of the building and its equipment. He also served on the board as a representative of the medical profession. In addition, Dr. Lighthall was the physician for the Prince Edward County Home for the Aged, for a number of years.

He was also the divisional surgeon-in-chief of the St. John Ambulance Brigade and volunteered his time to lecture on first aid and home nursing.

Dr. Lighthall, who was 73 years old, at the time of his death in 1951, was buried in Picton’s Glenwood Cemetery.

Dr. Gerald Allison

A practising physician for 56 years, Dr. Gerald Allison also held an impressive record of military service. A Picton native, he was the son of Mr. and Mrs. C.B. Allison. His military record, which spanned two world wars, began in the First World War, when he joined the army and went overseas in 1916. Loaned by the Canadian Army to the Royal Medical Corps, Dr. Allison earned steady promotions. He saw service in the Gallipoli campaign and later went to Egypt, then India, leaving a base hospital in Bombay for active service in the Khyber Pass.

In 1917. Dr. Allison returned to France, where he served with the 47th London Division then, later, with a field ambulance and subsequently as a medical officer in the London Irish Rifles. Following the war, he remained active in the military and had the distinction of being one of two Canadians appointed by the federal government to the Defence Council of Canada, in 1938.

In 1939, Dr. Allison again enlisted for active service and for one year was District Medical Officer for Military District No. 3, in Kingston. He then served on the medical staff of the Canadian Army in Ottawa, holding the position of AMD No. 1.

He was loaned to the air raid precautions organization for Canada and held the position of director, ambulance, St. John Ambulance Association and commandery commissioner, St. John Ambulance. While involved in this work, Dr. Allison organized the medical area of civilian defence for Canada. He returned to Picton in the fall of 1943 to resume his medical practice.

Dr. Allison was an active member of the Picton Rotary Club, the Picton Golf and Country Club and a past president of the United Empire Loyalist Association. He was also a member of Prince Edward Lodge No, 18 A.F. and A.M., a past preceptor of St. George’s Preceptory No. 52, the first principal of Prince Edward Chapter in 1946 and a member of Rameses Shrine Temple.

Dr. Allison is buried in 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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