Staying on the topic of doctors, this week we’re going to take a brief look at some of the early ones in the village.
Doctors Berry and Singleton were the main doctors that worked at Mount-View Hospital, which still stands (as a private residence) at the edge of The Mill Pond. These doctors and the Lynn sisters were instrumental in Westport’s health care during the latter part of the 1800s and into the 1900s.
From left, Dr. Foley, Dr. Singleton, Dr. Parker, and Dr. Berry, 1898, in the parlour of the Foley House.
Doctor Hamilton kept the village healthy during the years of WWI, delivering babies, performing surgeries, making house calls, and even accompanying patients to Brockville when necessary. Dr. Hamilton was mentioned over 25 times in Nell’s Diary as he assisted the infirm of Westport and brought new lives into the world.
Dr. Hamilton worked as a teacher to supplement his income while earning his degree. After interning at St. John’s Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y., he returned to Westport where he worked as a family doctor until his death in 1955.
Doctor Ford Goodfellow, another of Westport’s prominent early physicians, was born during the smallpox epidemic of 1902. At the time of his graduation, many of the modern conveniences of medicine had not yet been established and home births were still the norm. Even when roads were impassable, Doc Goodfellow would make his way to the patient’s side no matter the hour. When conditions would allow, the doctor would travel by “hand-jigger” along the railway track. “One evening as I was pumping my way along the railway track, in a race with the stork, I heard the disturbing sound of an approaching train. I jumped off and managed to tip my hand-jigger seconds before the train rushed by.”
Dr. Goodfellow graduated from Queen’s University Medical School in 1927. He also studied psychiatry for 18 months in Brockville, which was likely of great help to him when he returned to practice in Westport. It was 1932 and the village was in the grip of The Great Depression, the effects of which were shared by patient and doctor alike.