Robert Masterton (1797-1841)

Robert Masterton (1797-1841)

Surgeon in Canada

Robert Masterton, who practised as a surgeon in Canada after emigrating from Annan, was badly hurt in a shooting accident at the age of 21 and had his arm amputated by William Thom, the surgeon to whom he was apprenticed.


Robert Masterton was the son of William Masterton and Elspeth Burnet of Dumfries. His father was a master mason and a member of the family of Mastertons from in and around Dumfriesshire, Scotland . A fuller genealogy of the extended family of Robert Masterton can be found at this link.

On Saturday last, Mr Robert Masterton, apprentice to Mr William Thom, surgeon, Annan, having gone a short way into the country, on a visit to his friends, took with him a double barrelled gun, to amuse himself on the way, but unfortunately, while in the act of levelling his piece as some birds, it suddenly burst, carrying away several of his fingers, and in other respects lacerated his arm so severely, that amputation was found to be indispensible. This operation was performed almost immediately, by Messrs W, Thom and G. Johnson, and we are happy to add, that Mr. Masterton, who is a fine young man, is in a fair way of recovery.

The D.... Courier
9th February, 1819

The first medical doctor to practice at Kingston1 was Dr. Robert Masterton, who came from Annan in Dumfrieshire about one hundred and twenty- five years ago. His sister Janet Masterton and her husband John Burges were passengers on the Ellen Douglas under Captain Graham in 1833. Dr. Masterton's career was short lived as he passed away in 1840 and he is interred in the Old Presbyterian Cemetery2 at Rexton. He was the grandfather of R.B. Masterton one time principal of Rexton School. Many of the descendants of the Masterton family are located here, principally the Burges and Macgregor families.

Rexton: The First 175 Years
p 51.

Notes provided by Richard Masterton:
1. The name Kingston is the name of an early settlement along the Richibucto River which in later years became the Village of Rexton.
2. The old Presbyterian Church or St Andrews cemetery were amalgamated and later became the United Church property presently located in Rexton, New Brunswick, Canada.

In 1822 Dr Robert Masterton M.D. a Scotsman asked for 500 acres on the Richibucto River, within the Indian Reserve. This is recorded in the Kent County petitions, number 461. He settled in Kent County as he is shown Commissioned as Surgeon of the Kent County Militia in 1828.

Medicine in New Brunswick
Dr W Brenton Stewart
New Brunswick Medical Society, 1974
p 182.