Death Of James Morris Cairneyhill Doctor



Dr James Morris, Dunfermline, died this morning. By his death the burgh has lost one of its best-known and most respected inhabitants.

Doctor James Morris

Dr Morris was a familiar figure in the streets of the city for a period of over sixty years. During his long life he was blessed with a robust constitution, which enabled him to carry on his practice almost until the last. A few months ago he was laid aside, and gradually the infirmity of old age became more pronounced, and the frame slowly weakened.

The deceased gentleman was probably the oldest medical practitioner in Scotland. He was born in the village of Cairneyhill, and was in his 84th year. About 71 years ago he began his career in a chemist’s shop in Dunfermline. Some years afterwards he went to Glasgow, and there studied for medicine, qualifying in the western city as a physician and surgeon. He returned to his native county of Fife, and opened the practice of his profession in Dunfermline in the year 1849, so that for an unbroken period of 61 years he was a medical practitioner in the West of Fife burgh. In the year 1860 he was appointed police surgeon, and six years later parochial medical office. These offices he held until infirmity forced him to keep indoors, and he was succeeded by his son-in-law, Dr A J MacGregor. ‘The Doctor’ as he was familiarly known, kept in harness until the end. His activity altogether belied his great age, and in all weathers he was out and amongst his patients, by whom he was beloved as a dear friend and counsellor.

In his long career he had many unique experiences. He had just returned to Dunfermline from Glasgow when he was called upon to deal with an epidemic of the dreaded cholera, a period which is yet referred to by the older inhabitants. Later, after he became medical officer, while treating cases of typhus, he was himself affected.

Some years ago the deceased enumerated interesting figures dealing with the different cases with which he was associated. He was concerned in over 10,000 vaccinations, while the patients upon whom he was from time to time in attendance reached a grand total of between 50,000 and 60,000. The doctor was also responsible for the lives of individuals who would have constituted a fairly large township. It was computed that during his practice in Dunfermline and district he was in attendance at not far short of 6000 births. The number of miles he traveled it would be difficult to estimate, but from a figure given by himself several years ago the distance could not have been very far short of 600,000 miles.

When Dr Morris reached the fiftieth year of his practice in Dunfermline his fellow citizens and brother medical practitioners recognised his jubilee in tangible and pleasing manner. Allusion was then made to the affection with which he was regarded and the esteem he was held in. In many a home in Dunfermline his death is regretted. He was a busy man in his profession, and had little time for other concerns, although the public health of the burgh had always his regard. He was a close personal friend of the late Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman, and frequently was one of his platform.

The deceased is survived by his wife and a large family. One son is practising in South Africa, and Mr J S Soutar, procurator-fiscal, is a son-in-law.

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