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Dr John Lang Bray

With Thanks to Paul Culliton and Sheila Gibbs

From a CK Physicians tribute page:


Dr. John Lang Bray was born the 8th of May 1841. Dr. Bray graduated from medical school at Queen’s University in 1863. After graduation, he immediately enlisted in the medical branch of the Confederate army during the American Civil War. At one point, Dr. Bray was one of eight physicians responsible for administering to four thousand sick and wounded patients in Libby Prison, a Confederate prison in Richmond, Virginia.

After spending around six months with the Confederate army, Dr. Bray moved north. He arrived in Wallaceburg in the fall of 1863, and opened the town’s first medical practice. Two years later, Dr. Bray moved his practice to Chatham. He served as the Medical Officer for the Chatham branch of the Royal Canadian Rifles, and was also a highly regarded coroner.

Dr. Bray married Madeline Isobel (Noel) Bray in June of 1867. She was born on the 31st of January, 1847. They had 3 sons, (Dr.) Reginald Vavasour Bray born in February of 1869, Walter Treleaven Bray was born on the 16th of January, 1873 and John Bray in February of 1881.

Dr. Bray’s practice was listed in the 1877 Chatham Directory. The office was located “over Tackaberry’s Store, King St. West”.

In September of 1878, Dr. Bray delivered a paper at the Canadian Medical Association (C.M.A.). In September 1891 he was elected President of the C.M.A. In January of 1892 Dr. Bray published an article on malaria. In December of 1895 Dr. Bray spoke at the 19th annual banquet at Trinity College. In May of 1902 Dr. Bray was elected to the Ontario Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons. In April of 1903, Dr. Bray was appointed as consulting physician of the National Sanitarium Association.

When not practicing medicine, Dr. Bray enjoyed playing outdoor sports. He was also extremely active in local politics; as he was elected to the Chatham town council in 1873, and was elected second Deputy Reeve of Chatham in 1885. In 1890, Dr. Bray initiated the discussions with the Sisters of St. Joseph to open a hospital in Chatham, and he was also heavily involved in the establishment of the Public General Hospital. He was elected President of the Canadian Medical Association in September of 1891. In January of 1892, he published a paper on Malaria. Dr. Bray was the Chairman of the Chatham Water Board for 6 terms. He was selected to speak at the 19th annual banquet of Trinity Medical College in 1895. In November of 1902, Dr. Bray was elected to the Ontario Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons. In 1903, he was appointed as Consulting Physician of the National Sanitarium Association. In January of 1904, Dr. Bray was the Delegate to the American International Congress.

Dr. Bray received the degree of L.L.D. in 1905 in Kingston, Ontario. Dr. Bray continued his practice in Chatham until 1907, when he was named Registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons and had to move to Toronto to fulfill his duties. Dr. Bray resigned from his position as Registrar in July of 1915, due to ill health. Dr. Bray was in Toronto when he passed away in November of 1915.


To see an example of the conditions in which Dr Bray worked in the Confederate Army, please see information on "Libby Confederate Prison".
It is though important that we remember that this is only one example of many. i.e. prison camps on both sides were known to be terrible places. Although Libby and Andersonville were horrible places, it is known that there were other prisons on both sides that were little better.

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