You may wonder why I picked Queens University for Q. Queens is one of the best universities in Canada. In the early 1900 my Grandfather rode his bike the 26 miles into Kingston from the farm to see if he could register for medical school at Queens. He had completed teacher training and was teaching but wanted to go to Medical School. He was accepted into the program and found a way to rent a room and moved into Kingston to attend Queens. He graduated in 1906 and opened a practice in Gananoque Ontario and married my Grandmother, Frances Keating, in 1907.
Fergus and Frances moved to Kingston in 1918 so that their children could attend Queens University if they wanted without going through the hardships he experienced as a young student. He survived in Medical School due to the kindness of others. Sometimes a meal was hard to come by or the ability to purchase the books he needed for his courses. He was a poor farmers son. During his years in Kingston later in life he often helped out struggling students and after his death a bursary was founded by the family so that needy students could get some assistance to help them stay in medical school.
Fergus and Frances had eight children. Of those my mother Norah was the first and she went to Queens at age 16 and majored in History and Economics and graduated in 1929 – right at the start of the depression. Following her was her sister Margaret who studied to be a librarian and eventually taught school after she had her seven children. My mothers two brothers went to Queens in Medicine and today I was looking through some records on line from Queens and they noted that my uncle Ferg set up the first pediatric practice in Kingston. Interesting because his father was the first intern at the Hotel Dieu Hospital.
Uncle Maurice also graduated in Medicine and became a psychiatrist. Aunt Mary also went to Queens and became a librarian at the Staff College in Kingston.
Now you might think that is a lot of people attending one university but it goes on and on. Many of my cousins and their spouses attended Queens. We have some reunion pictures where there is a decent group of cousins and spouses who attended Queens. Then it goes on to the next generation where my daughter is one of the graduates as well as many of her second cousins. At the time she was there I believe there were 4 or 5 of them and they occasionally had dinner with my Uncle Ferg and Aunt Jean.
In addition to those who are in our direct line there are other cousins of my Grandfathers who went to Queens as well. Leo Palmer graduated in Medicine and then came to the United States and practiced in psychiatry and also was involved in setting up the woman’s prison system in NY State. In the Flood line the Roney’s graduated in Engineering. And I am sure there are others that I just don’t know about.
I grew up with my mother teaching me the Queens fight song, longing to attend football games and I wanted to go there. Mom’s friend Jean Royce was the head of admissions at that time. She told me they would not accept me because my grades were not good enough. I was totally devastated and felt so rejected. It was probably a good thing in retrospect since I was not a great student and my health was not great so I probably would have dropped out anyway. But I always loved Queens and what it meant to my mother and her family.
So that is the story of why I chose Queens for Q.
the main site for Queens University http://queensu.ca/
pediatricsatqueens.ca/timeline.html time line of pediatrics department at Queens.
pictures – the O’Connor physicians, the siblings four of those five graduated from Queens, The children of Fergus who attended Queens.