Doctor Joshua Newton Mack, 1844-1938

Daylily watercolor by Wendy Harty June 2021 in honor of Dr. Mack. The daylily is a symbol of purity, devotion and commitment. A symbol of a departed soul, RIP cousin.

I previously wrote about Uncle Jacob Miller’s family. Uncle Jacob was a large landowner and privateer at Halifax, Nova Scotia. His son Garrett carried on the family business in shipping. Garrett named his son Garrett Nelson Trafalger Miller. His daughter, Augusta had the two boys, the Honorable Mack Miller, the lawyer and Dr. Joshua Newton Mack. It was with great delight I found the following notation about the Doctor. Joshua married Miss Susan L. Wilson, of Pictou, Nova Scotia who was cousin to the principal of Queen’s University, Rev. Dr. Gordon.

The death of Dr. Joshua Newton Mack occurred sudenly at his residence in Halifax Feb 7th, in his 94th year. Born in Mill Village in 1844 he matriculated at Harvard Medical School. His schooling was interrupted when called home for the prolonged and fatel illness of his father. He graduated from Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York, in 1875.

Just after graduating he received an urgent telegram from Grand Bank, at Fortune Bay, Newfoundland. Their doctor had died and they were experiencing an epidemic of diphtheria. It was raging through the community and many had died. This was before the discovery of any antitoxin. The only treatment was by energetic and repeated application to the throat. Years later the children he treated, aided by his extraordinary painstaking care and constant attention who survived sent notice of their affection and esteem. About 1887 he returned to his native Bridgewater and then to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. After 43 years of doctoring he was able to find enjoyment in his garden beautifully situated near Point Pleasant Park on property that had been in the family for over a century.

Dr. M is among the best read of his profession in Halifax. His delight in nature studies carried on on a portion of the Miller estate, which he inherited. In modesty we would write many and larger things of this excellent household. The family is numbered in St. Matthew’s Presbyterian Church. The Doctor retired in 1929 and his son, Dr. Frank Gordon Mack, has succeeded to his reputation and practice.

“Brierback” is the home of Louis S. Miller situated on the old estate at West La Have. He married the daughter of the famous Rev. Edward Roberts of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England. Their youngest, Jean R. Miller died young with fever.

The descendants of Uncle Jacob Miller have developed among them some with poetic genius as shown in Mrs. Goddard, Lawyer D. M. Owen and the Hon. Jason Miller Mack, leader in the upper chamber of the Nova Scotian government. I found this additional tribute to the doctor’s brother: “Though Mr. Mack had reached a venerable age his faculties were so well preserved, his mental and intellectual powers so keen and vigorous, that years of activity and usefulness in a public capacity seemed to be promised to him. It was said Mr. Mack was the doyen of the Legislature. It further endowed him with talents above the average. Mr. Mack will be remembered for his gift of oratory, his varied knowledge and his dignified bearing in judicial affairs. His ready sympathy and warmth of heart were known to many, and in his legal capacity, he ever tempered justice with mercy.

When my family writes my last obituary I want it to read like Grandfather Garrett Miller’s, “She died with a twinkle in her eye and like cousin Jason Miller Mack, my faculties were well preserved.”

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