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Dr. Charles T. Newkirk (1842-1909)
Includes son, Henry. Both Bay City physicians.

1883 Biography. (Added Sep. 2008)

Portrait and Biographical Record of Saginaw & Bay Counties, Michigan -1883


Charles T. Newkirk, M. D., is numbered among the most prominent practicing physicians and surgeons of Northern Michigan, and also owns a pharmacy on the corner of Third and Washington Avenue, Bay City. There is no other resident of Bay County who is so frequently brought before the public as he, not only as a skillful physician and successful surgeon, but also as an influential member of political, business and social circles. He has traveled extensively both in South America and Europe. It has ever been his endeavor to advance the standard of his profession and his labors have made him conspicuous among the medical fraternity as well as the general public. He belongs to the American Medical Association, the State Medical Society, of which he has been Vice-President, and was one of the organizers of the Bay County Medical Society, where his keen intellect and brilliant attainments have received universal recognition.

Dr. Newkirk was born near Simcoe, Norfolk County, Canada, December 10, 1842, and is descended on the paternal side from the German ancestors who came from their native country to the region of the Catskills in New York. His grandfather, Peter Newkirk, was a farmer in Norfolk County, Canada, whither he emigrated from the Empire State, and he lived to the advanced age of ninety years. During the Canadian Rebellion he was very active as one of McKenzie's right hand men. The father of our subject was the Rev. Moses Newkirk, a native of Simcoe, and a self-made man of noble principles and fine powers. He was well informed on all subjects, and to the large family which he reared, he gave splendid educational advantages. He made it a study to see that his sons had the best of opportunities, and in order to keep them in school would often go in debt and pay high rates of interest on his indebtedness. He was a large farmer, a successful financier and very prominent as a minister in the Wesleyan Methodist Church. Politically he was a prominent reformer and served as Magistrate. His death occurred at the age of seventy-eight years.

Catherine (Topping) Newkirk, the mother of the Doctor, was born in Woodstock, Canada, and was the daughter of John Topping, who came from his native land, Ireland, to Canada and engaged in business as a civil engineer. There were nineteen chldren born to the parents of our subject, twelve of whom attained to mature years. Dr. Newkirk was reared on a farm but had good school advantages, attending the University of Toronto, and Victoria College. He entered upon his medical course under the perceptorship of the Hon. John Rolph, and was graduated in 1863 with the degree of M. D. After practicing a short time in Canada he removed with his family to South America, and there spent nine months learning the Spanish language at Buenos Ayres. On passing his examination he was appointed by the Governor as Doctor of the Providence of Correntes and was also made Surgeon of the Argentine Hospital, which position he resigned in three months to accept a similar one in the Brazilian army.

In a short time the Doctor became First Surgeon of a division with the grade of Major and held the position for four years in active campaign all the time during the Brazilian and Paraguayan War. Not a day passed but they heard the cannon boom. Dr. Newkirk remained in service until after the close of the war when he returned to Canada and after a brief visit there with friends he went back to South America and at Assumption, in Paraguay, began the practice of medicine in connection with the drug business. He passed through several epidemics of small-pox, yellow fever and cholera. His brother, Dr. Daniel Newkirk, died of small-pox about this time and his family also becoming sick, he became disheartened and determine to return to Canada, where he could engage in quiet practice.

Closing out his business in Assumption, the Doctor with his family went to Buenos Ayres, where he had engaged passage on a steamer. He found, however that the yellow fever had broken out in its most malignant form; hundreds were dying daily and the citizens who were able were fleeing from the city as were also the missionaries. With a degree of heroism and self-denial characteristic of himself, the Doctor at once decided to remain. Having sent his family to Canada he again devoted himself to the work of saving life and allaying suffering. He was in constant communication with the authorities for the prevention of the spread of the disease and by his advice many sanitary precautions were taken, which doubtless cut short one of the most frightful epidemics known. An idea of the danger can be formed when it is mentioned that 26,000 persons died in thirty-five days.

During this plague the Doctor was four months in Buenos Ayers, and rarely worked less than eighteen hours a day. His hotel was constantly besieged with hundreds of persons who were anxious to secure his services; some offered the most extravagant fees, but he insisted on taking them in rotation, the poor receiving the same attention as the wealthy. His heroic conduct was highly applauded by the press at Buenos Ayers and the committees of Montserrat presented him with a splendid album in testimony of his services to the sick. The ovation paid him upon his departure was a most distinguished complement; on his way home he stopped a short time at Rio Janeiro, where he was warmly welcomed by old army officers and surgeons with whom he served in Paraguay.

Immediately upon arriving in Canada Dr. Newkirk set about finding some good location to enter the practice of his profession, and after visiting New York, Chicago and other places he concluded to settle in Bay City. His previous experience at once secured him a large practice and he had been a very successful practitioner of the Saginaw Valley. He devotes his time to his practice, although he has a pharmacy and is interested in real estate. He has erected five fine residences here and owns and occupies a beautiful dwelling on Tenth Street. He has also been interested in other enterprises and corporations, holds property in Chattanooga, Tenn., and in the vicinity of Duluth, Minn. The Doctor has been offered a professorship in the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Chicago, but feels content with his surroundings in Bay City.

In 1862 Dr. Newkirk and Miss Mary J. Anderson were united in marriage. The bride was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and is the daughter of John Anderson, who was born in Ireland and came to Canada, where he was prominent in the Canadian Rebellion as a McKenzie man. Having to flee for his safety to the United States, he located in Cleveland, Ohio. There are two children in Dr. Newkirk's family: Dolores and Harry. The daughter, who was born in Corrientes, South America, Was a graduate of Leggett's Academy in Detroit and later studied at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, N. Y.; she married M. R. Tousey and resides in Chicago. Harris is at present (1891) a cadet at Orchard Lake.

Socially Dr. Newkirk is identified with the Masonic fraternity. He was County Physician for more than ten years, until his resignation. He is now President of the Bay City Board of Education, and has been a member of the School Board twelve years. In educational affairs he has always manifested a great interest and has assisted several through college who otherwise would not have enjoyed a collegiate education. He is Surgeon for the Michigan Central Railroad and the Chicago & Grand Trunk Railroad. In his political affiliations he is a Republican and has often served as delegate to county and State conventions. Few are so well posted on the tariff question as he, and when there was a joint discussion between him and Rev. Dr. Conner on that subject, people flocked from far and near to enjoy the discussion, and those who could gain admittance to the crowded hall witnessed one of the most interesting debates in the political history of the State. It is perhaps unnecessary to add that Dr. Newkirk's usual success did not desert him at that critical moment and it was felt by all that his arguments were unanswerable and convincing.

1905 Gansser book. - Added Sep. 2008.

Portrait & Biographical Record of Bay County, MI (1905) Augustus H. Gansser

Dr. Charles T. Newkirk.

(Excerpt from Page 268.)

Dr. Charles T. Newkirk, the globetrotter and veteran army surgeon, whose medical experience extends over three continents, who in 1862, hardly of age and just graduated from Victoria College at Toronto, joined his brother in the Argentine Republic, in South America, later lost his brother, Dr. Daniel Newkirk, in a smallpox epidemic, served three years as surgeon in the army of Brazil in Paraguay, with the rank of captain, then four months in a yellow fever epidemic in Buenos Ayres, and, after visiting the leading hospitals of London and Continental Europe, located permanently in Bay City in 1868. In 1875 we find him located at No. 305 North Water street, where to-day stand the mammoth storage tanks of the gas company. In 1898 the writer had reason to see and appreciate the work of Dr. Newkirk, then major and surgeon in the United States Army, serving before Santiago, amid the hospitals of the wounded and dying at Siboney, and the fever wars near Aquadores. In 1905 Dr. Newkirk is still serving his State as surgeon, with the rank of captain of the 3rd Infantry, Michigan National Guard.

1897 Son, Henry. -- Added July, 2009.

Biographical Catalogue of the XI Chapter of the Zeta PSI Fraternity,
University of Michigan, 1858-1897


404 Tenth Street, Bay City, Michigan, M.D., 1897, New York University.

Born July 8, 1875, at Bay City: son of Charles T. Newkirk, M.D., and Mary (Anderson) Newkirk.

Prepared for college at the Bay City High School and the Michigan Military Academy, Orchard Lake, Michigan; entered Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Michigan, October 1895-97, graduating May, 1897.

Initiated October 27, 1893. E, T. Ep. Member Zeta Psi Club, New York City.

Practicing physician and surgeon, Bay City, 1897.

Related Pages/Notes

Dr. Charles T. Newkirk

Bay County Infirmary Map

  • Dr. Newkirk was for many years the attending doctory at the Bay County Infirmary.
  • Dr. Newkirk is buried at Pine Ridge Cemetery with members of his family.
    Related Pages:
    Bay Co. Poor Farm
    Pine Ridge Cemetery
    Bay Co. Civil War History
  • People Referenced
    Anderson, John (f-inlaw)
    Anderson, Mary J. (wife)
    Conner, Rev. Dr.
    Newkirk, Chas. T. (subject)
    Newkirk, Daniel Dr. (bro.)
    Newkirk, Delores (dau.)
    Newkirk, Harry (son)
    Newkirk, Mose Rev. (father)
    Newkirk, Peter (g-father)
    Rolph, John
    Topping, Catherine (mother)
    Topping, John (g-father)
    Tousey, M.R. (son-inlaw)
    Subjects Referenced
    3rd Inf., MI Natl. Guard
    American Medical Assoc.
    Argentine Hospital
    Assumption, Paraguay
    Bay City, MI
    Bay Co. Medical Society
    Brazilian army
    Brazilian-Paraguayan War
    Buenos Ayres, S.A.
    Canadian Rebellion
    Chattanooga, TN
    Chicago, IL
    C. & G.T. rwy
    Cleveland, OH
    Col. of Phys./Surgeons
    Correntes Prov., S.A.
    Detroit, MI
    Duluth, MN
    Leggett's Academy, Det.
    M.C.R.R. rwy.
    Michigan Military Academy
    New York, NY
    Norfolk Co., Can.
    Orchard Lake, MI
    Pine Ridge Cemetery
    Rio Janeiro
    Saginaw Valley
    Simcoe, Can.
    South America
    State Medical Assoc.
    Univ. of Michigan
    Univ. of Toledo
    Vassar College, NY
    Victorial College
    Wesleyan Methodis Ch.
    Woodstock, Can.
    WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.