Biography of Daniel Clark, M.D.

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Daniel Clark, M.D., was born in Granton, Invernessshire, Scotland, August 29, 1835. His father, Alexander Clark, was a native of Knockando, Morayshire, Scotland, and a farmer by occupation. He died in 1874, at the age of seventy-four years, near Port Dover, County of Norfolk, Ontario, on the old homestead. His mother, whose maiden name was Anne McIntosh (or hack in Gaelic) was born near Tomintoul, Banffshire, Scotland, in the year 1804, and is still living on the old farm near Port Dover. The family immigrated to Port Dover from the city of Dundee, Scotland, via Quebec, in 1841. Dr. Clark remained on the farm until 1850. He was obliged to educate himself with the exception of three months at school, until on the 25th day of April, 1850, he left home for California., which he reached on the 3rd day of August, in the same year, by crossing Central America, and reached San Francisco after a voyage of sixty-three days in a small crazy old vessel on the Pacific Ocean. He went to the placer diggings on the North and South branches of the American river, and worked in the beds and on the bars of these streams until October, 1851. Having made a sufficient sum of money by hard work and constant exposure not knowing the luxury of a bed during all this time he returned to Canada and immediately went to the Grammar School at Simcoe, Norfolk county, in this Province, where he remained until September, 1853. He then went to Toronto, and attended classes in classics, mathematics and philosophy for four years, and commenced his medical studies in the Toronto School of Medicine, except the last session which was attended at Victoria University Medical Department, where he graduated in April, 1858. Not being satisfied with the medical opportunities and facilities offered at that time in Toronto, he went to Europe in April, 1858, and remained until the summer of the following year. He attended a winter course of lectures in the University of Edinburgh, under Sir J. Y. Simpson, Drs. Syme, Gregory, Henderson, Miller, Bennett and Laycock, and was also it dresser under Dr. Gordon, at the Royal Public Infirmary. During the summer months he visited the London and Paris Hospitals, endeavoring as far as possible to gain an insight into the practical work of his profession. His health failing he visited many of the countries of Southern Europe, including Belgium, Holland and Germany to the West. In the summer of 1858 he returned to Canada, and commenced the practice of his profession in Princeton, County of Oxford, Ontario.
In November, 1859, he was married to Jennie Elizabeth Gissing, a native of Princeton, but of English parentage, her mother, Mary Hersee, being a native of Sussex, and her father, W. A. Gissing, being a. native of Suffolk. There were three children born to them, one of whom died a few months after birth.

Dr. Clark practiced his profession in Princeton continuously until 1864, when he joined the Union Armies of the Potomac and the James, operating before Richmond and Petersburg, being attached to the Surgeon-General’s Department, as a Volunteer Surgeon. After returning to Princeton he resumed his practice. During the years intervening between 1864 and 1875, and even before that time, Dr. Clark was a frequent contributor to the periodical literature of the Dominion, especially writing for the Medical Journal, Stewart’s Quarterly, The Maritime Monthly, The Canadian Monthly and National Review as well as the weekly press. He originated in conjunction with F. J. Gissing, his brother-in-law, and edited for three years The Princeton Re view, when he retired from its management. He is the author of a book of 320 pages consisting of sketches of men and places seen and visited by the author. This book was designated “Pen Photo graphs.” He is the author of monographs on “The Insanity Plea,” “Medical Evidence in Courts of Law,” “The Animated Molecule and its Nearest Relatives,” “Medical Manias,” ” Laughter and its Causes,” “Canadian Poetic Literature,” ” Heavyseage and His Poetry,” “The Scars of a Recent Conflict,” etc. He also wrote a romance founded on the Canadian Rebellion, of 1837, called “Josiah Garth.” He has been an extensive reviewer of new works in leading magazines, and from much reading as well as acute observation has been found well qualified for this literary critical work. In 1872 he was elected a member of the Medical Council of Ontario, and at the expiration of his term of office he was re-elected in 1875, and still remains a member of that body. In 1876 he was elected President of the council and re-elected in 1877. He has been appointed on successive occasions Examiner in Chemistry for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. He is also, at the present time. Examiner in Obstetrics and Medical Jurisprudence for the University of Toronto.

In the summer of 1875 a vacancy occurred in the Superintendency of the Provincial Lunatic Asylum. The universal wish of the medical profession throughout the Province was, as expressed individually through medical societies, and the unanimous recommendation of the Medical council, representing as it does all the Medical Colleges, Universities, and the Profession of all the schools (numbering 1700 Medical Practitioners) that Dr. Clark was eminently well qualified by education, professional acquirements and executive ability to fill this important position. This induced the Government to appoint him to this responsible position. After four years’ trial the expectations of the Profession have been more than realized. Although comparatively a young man he stands at the head of the medical profession, in the specialty of insanity, of which he was such an ardent student, as an amateur investigator, before his appointment. He is often called upon by the courts to give evidence in crown cases, and his judgments are received with that deference and respect which is always given to matured judgment, and cautious, thorough investigation conducted by an acute observer. The procuring of a good education is comparatively easy now a days; but when, over twenty years ago, Dr. Clark had to learn the principles of a common school education unaided; and was obliged to study Euclid, Algebra, English and classic literature by the side of burning log heaps, in lonely back fields, when most of his neighbors were asleep, and after a day of boyish toil, to be educated meant indomitable pluck, untiring energy, love for books, and aptitude for a student’s work. Such a checkered life of physical and mental activity, when honestly and honorably conducted is, as in Dr. Clark’s example, nearly always crowned with success.



MLA Source Citation:

The Canadian Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self Made Men, Ontario, Volume 1. Toronto: Toronto American Biographical Pub. Co. 1880. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 24 November 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/canada/biography-of-daniel-clark-m-d.htm - Last updated on Aug 6th, 2012


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