Two Worthy Pioneer Doctors

Two equally prominent pioneer doctors who practiced medicine in Elk Point for many years were Dr. Alexander Grant Ross and Dr. Fredrick Gustave Miller. Dr. F.G. Miller. spent his early years in the Owen Sound district of Ontario, later venturing westward where he took out a homestead in the Vermilion district shortly after the turn of the century. Later, he disposed of his homestead and returned to Ontario where he ,enrolled in medicine. Dr. A.G.Ross was born in the Woodstock area of New Brunswick and he too enrolled in medicine (McGill University) prior to World War I.

Apparently these two pioneer doctors first met overseas while, serving in Canada' s armed forces during World War I. After they became well acquainted they decided that once the war ended and they completed their medical training they would set up a medical partnership somewhere in Canada. This partnership became a reality when Dr. A.G. Ross arrived in Elk Point in 1922. Prior to this (1920), Dr. F.G. Miller had arrived in our hamlet and had started practicing out of his residence. At that time, there was no hospital in Elk Point. In 1923, Dr. Miller and Dr. Ross opened Elk Point's first hospital on the lot east of our present day United Church.

This downtown hospital was in operation from 1923 to 1928. In 1928 a new hospital opened its doors in the west part of Elk Point. This new hospital was classed as a municipal hospital and served a wide area. The old downtown hospital was then renovated and used as a medical clinic. A small sign resting in the front window read: Drs. F.G. Miller and A.G.Ross ‑ Physician and Surgeon. Later, during the 1940s, they built a much larger and more modern clinic on the lot where Dave's Pizza now stands.

Dr. Miller and Dr. Ross alone served the new Municipal Hospital from 1928 to about the middle 1940s. They were both very well known and attracted patients from miles around. During this period, Dr. F.G. Miller answered hundreds of country calls ‑ some as far away as the Frog Lake Indian Reserve. He made these calls in a cutter drawn by two fast horses during the winter, and by car during the three remaining seasons. Dr. A.G. Ross usually stayed behind in case he was needed while Dr. Miller was away.

When World War II broke out in 1939, Dr. Ross again joined the Canadian army and for most of the war years, he was attached to the Debert Military Hospital (Nova Scotia). After the war ‑ended in 1945 he was discharged and for a short while, he ‑practiced medicine in the Vegreville hospital. In 1947 he returned to Elk Point and commenced where he left off prior to the outbreak of war.

Dr. A.G.Ross married Ivy Evans during the 1920s and they raised a family of five children: Jean, Jamie, Donald, Barbara and Ian. Later, they adopted a boy which they named Tommy Joe. Dr. F.G. Miller married Cora Emerson of the Vermilion district prior to his coming to Elk Point. They raised a family of four: George, Ann, Jim (K.C.) and Richard.

Dr. F.G. Miller and Dr. A.G. Ross were both community minded citizens. Dr. Ross served on the village council for a number of years and was instrumental in establishing the Elk Point Gas Co. during the late 1940s. He also worked hard to bring a water and sewer system ‑to our village. Dr. F.G. Miller was active in Elk Point's educational field and served as a board member for ‑many years. He also helped organize Elk Point's first curling rink in 1940 and also 'provided Elk Point with its golf course ‑ one that is still in operation. Being very sports minded, he backed many early hockey teams within our community.

It is interesting to note that at one time, the clinic fees were only one dollar, later increasing to two dollars a visit. During the depression years, many of the clinic bills went unpaid while others were paid off by providing the doctors with meat, milk, eggs, vegetable and cream products.

The partnership formed by these two doctors lasted for 45 years. It ended with Dr. A‑G‑Ross' death in 1968. Dr. F‑G‑Miller passed away in 1972. Pages could be written about these two early pioneer doctors ‑who contributed so much to the Elk. Point district. To honor these pioneer doctors, Elk Point named the agricultural complex the "A.G Ross Agri-plex" and the high school the "F.G. Miller High School." These two doctors were both very worthy of the honor bestowed upon them.