Sunday 16 February 2014


Alert readers of this blog will recall that, on occasion, Ken McIntosh and I have relied very heavily on the memories of Alberta author and retired criminal defense lawyer Jack Pecover, and his sisters, Jean Hunter and Helen O’Connor, to achieve a more complete picture of Dr Robert Henry MacLauchlan and his second wife, Evelyn Dee Hambly, one of the stars of the Calgary stage between 1922 and 1925. Jack has been especially helpful in providing us with information that demonstrates that the doctor had a kindly, if somewhat taciturn, side. For example, Jack has shared with us his reminiscences, from the late 1940s or early 1950s, of the doctor pulling a stripped-down Model T (the object of what might be termed “an automotive reconstruction effort” by Jack and his teenage friends) behind his brand new Cadillac and of the day the doctor put his medical skills to work for an equine patient, Jack’s mare, which had injured her postern.

Another memory of Jack’s which we found interesting was one that recalled how the doctor wore a leg brace which fit over his shoe. Although Jack could not recall which leg the brace was involved with, we have found that it must have been the right one, given information appearing in the autopsy report done after MacLauchlan’s 1966 death. The report, done by New Westminster’s Dr Frederick Lindsay Sturrock, mentions that a post-mortem examination found that:

“There is evidence of old disease in the right femur which could be an old fracture or osteomy elitis. There is some shortening of the right leg in consequence and some swelling of the right ankle.”

Of interest also in the autopsy was Dr Sturrock’s note that Dr MacLauchlan’s upper front incisors were all artificial and were gold-coloured. These dental and skeletal abnormalities make one wonder. Was the doctor involved in a fight when he was incarcerated in Lethbridge Jail during 1955? Did he have some teeth knocked out? Jack Pecover and his sisters, three very observant individuals, have never mentioned that MacLauchlan had “gold” front teeth. So far as the old injury to his femur, Ken and I have found out through our research that the doctor had skeletal tuberculosis as a young man. Thus it may be possible that that particular anomaly was the result of illness rather than injury.

We are always interested in hearing from our readers (who we have noted come from all over Canada and the US, and even Australia, South America and Asia) and welcome comments and suggestions for further research directions.

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