Monday, 21 March 2011

Dr Charles Mackenzie Macrae

This physician, who practiced in the Isle of Lewis from 1845 until 1906, came to my attention as a result of transcribing the Napier Commission's report from Lewis. He submitted a substantial piece of evidence to the Commission in his capacity of public health officer, which can be read here.

Stornoway Historical Society have an article on Dr Macrae on a page dedicated to the early medical men of Lewis.  He was referred to as the Grand Old Man of Lewis in the dedication page of The History of the Outer Hebrides, by W. C. Mackenzie, which can be read here. Dr Macrae was married to Anabella Jane Mackenzie on 8 June 1855, and had two sons, William Alexander (1856), who went to Portland, Oregon; and Alexander William (1858), who went to India. 

We find the last reference to Dr Macrae in the 1901 census, when he is 82. He is at Barvas Lodge with his wife Annabella J, daughter Annabella,  and grandchildren Charles, Dorothy and Kenneth, aged 7, 5 and 1 respectively. The latter three were all born in Calicut, India, suggesting they were the children of Alexander William.

Three other names appear on the census form, namely
Christina Nicolson (36): a domestic nurse
Catherine Macdonald (27): a domestic servant, born in Uig (Lewis)
Christina Mackay (23): cook

This is his obituary from the British Medical Journal of 15 May 1909.

A VERY old, if not the oldest, member of the medical profession in the north of Scotland, Dr. C. M. Macrae,
of Barvas Lodge, Stornoway, died, at the ripe age of 91, on May 4th. He retired from practice three years ago on account of growing infirmity; and resigned his public -appointments at the same time; one of them-that of medical officer of health for Stornoway-he had held for over sixty years.
Dr. Macrae was an M.D. of Edinburgh University, taking that degree as well as the L.R.C.S.Ed. in 1848. He laboured all his professional life amongst the Lewis islanders, by whom he was highly respected. For a long
period of years he and his colleague (the late Dr. Roderick Millar) had the entire charge of 30,000 inhabitants of the Lewis, scattered over an area of 650 square miles. Dr. Macrae took a deep interest in everything that
toncerned the welfare of the Lewis people. He was an Honorary Sheriff-substitute, a J.P., and for many years
Chairman of the Stornoway School Board. In 1895, on completion of fifty years' practice in the island, he was presented with an illuminated address and purse containing two hundred sovereigns, along with a, silver tray and a tea and coffee service for Mrs. Macrae. He was the author of an article on Lewis in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and had written also on the medical topography of the Outer Hebrides.

No comments:

Post a Comment