Once Upon a Time
'Dr. Thomas Bradley'
by Bob Johnston

January 15, 2016


Once Upon a Time


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Dr. Thomas Bradley was a typical country doctor of the last century—busy almost beyond the limit of human strength, always on the go with his medical practice, yet finding time to be involved in municipal affairs and church activities.

Born in Ottawa in 1834, he received his medical training in Boston and began the practice of medicine in Bervie, Kincardine Township, in 1861. He married Mary McIntyre. They built a home on the McIntyre farm, Bervie Sideroad, and spent their entire married life there.

The life of a doctor was not an easy one. He always kept three or four horses, as these were needed to cover the extensive area he served. He made his trips by horse and buggy, horse and cutter, on horseback and occasionally on foot.  When snowy roads made travel almost impossible, Dr. Bradley was at times as long as two days away from home. The lack of telephones in a rural community isolated him from his wife and family; thus many an anxious hour she must have experienced.

In April of 1886 the doctor delivered three babies in one night. His wife was expecting a baby when he was called to the Chadbourne home where he delivered twin daughters. Telling Mary to keep walking until he returned home, he rushed home in time to bring his own son, Maurice, into the world.

Dr. Bradley practiced in an era when medicine, not an operation, was the cure for ills. Home remedies, often suggested by the doctor were used: roasted onions, applied to the chest and soles of little feet to ease a heavy cold; a few drops of turpentine on sugar to kill worms.

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Dr. Bradley was an active member of Kincardine Township Council from 1887 to 1892, and in his last year became warden of Bruce County. He served his Bervie Church for many years. The doctor was not in the habit of using the kneeling rails. On one occasion the minister announced, “Now we will kneel and pray and that goes for you too, Doctor.” His daughter, Daisy, maintained her father`s interest in his church, where she was organist for forty-four years.

To show their appreciation of the doctor, his fellow Masons presented him with a comfortable arm chair after he was confined to his home with a broken leg. As an indirect result of the accident, Dr. Bradley died in 1918, ending a life full of good works.

Condensed from an article by Lita Young In the Bruce County Historical Society 1972 Yearbook

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Thursday, January 21, 2016