In case you’ve
wondered.

From Arrowheads / To Anvils

Stories

NCVM

Nose Creek Valley Museum - City of Airdrie 1904

Airdrie’s First Doctor

Laurie Harvey

Date / November 2, 2018

“He saved others, himself he could not save.”

Rev. J.E. Ball

Born on a farm in Ontario, Doctor William F. Edwards settled in Airdrie in 1907 and practiced medicine until his death in 1940.

He was the only doctor for a long time between Irricana, Cochrane and Calgary.

His duties varied as a country doctor from treating broken bones, cuts, earaches and boils to advising and counselling new settlers.

In 1908 Dr. Edwards met and married Miss Anna McCracken, a teacher at the Dry Creek School.

In 1910, Dr. Edwards moved his small office to the west apartment of the building east of the Farr and Jenkin’s Store (no longer there).  The larger space allowed him to add a soda fountain, two tables and sufficient chairs.  Dr. Edwards had a flourishing ice cream and fountain parlour to add on to his growing medical practice.  He wrote to Ontario for his sister, Nellie Blanche, to come help him out.  She came in 1910 and later married W.R. Pole of Airdrie.

In 1916, Dr. Edwards bought the Airdrie Supply Store from the founder, A.E. Bowers, moved his drug store there and ran the supply store with his brother, Roy Edwards, as a junior partner. The medical office was above the store.  In 1921, Dr. Edwards was appointed Medical Health Officer for the Beddington municipality.

In the mid 20’s Edwards traded his store to L. Vansickle for Vansickle’s two land holdings.  The drug store and medical equipment was moved to the Edwards family home.  Dr. Edwards kept a herd of Holstein cows on his farm, which he sold to Knud Jensen in 1938. The doctor had the other piece of land broken up, and in 1928 sold to Halvard Kolstad.

Doctor Edwards was a member of the Alberta Medical Association and a member of the Holy Cross Hospital staff.  He closely associated with many Calgary doctors and often consulted with McEacheran, Merritt, Ingram and Jennings Clinic.

In June 1940 Dr. Edwards contracted ‘strep’ poisoning and was taken by ambulance to the Holy Cross Hospital.  His colleagues and friends tried to save him, but by the week of June 22, 1940 Doctor Edwards, age 61, passed away.

The community that had loved and respected him placed a memorial plaque that simply read

In Memoriam

W.F. Edwards, M.D., C.M.

1879-1940

Who for thirty years served

As our Physician

A conscientious and kind Doctor

No friend more true

Erected by the citizens of Airdrie

and Community

Sources

  • One Day’s Journey.  Stephen Wilk
  • 100 Years of Nose Creek Valley History.  Stephen Wilk
  • Family History of the Edwards and the Poles.  Compiled by Nellie Pole

Stories We Recommend