The Late Dr Wishart

James Wishart was born on 13 September 1871 in Edinburgh, Midlothian. He was the eldest son of James Wishart, a grocer from Culross, and Elizabeth Liddle McLaren. He died in Edinburgh during 1912 aged 40, and was a well-respected member of the community – as illustrated in the following article which was published in The Southern Reporter on 2 May 1912.

A very painful impression was produced in Innerleithen on Sunday when it was announced that Dr Wishart had died early that morning.  The news was scarcely credited, as Dr Wishart had been recently in Innerleithen, and his health seemed to have been largely re-established.  The startling fact had, however, to be accepted, and among all classes it was received with feelings of profound regret.  Through his attendance on a patient in the Infirmary he contracted a throat complaint, which took a serious form.  Unexpectedly his strength rapidly failed, and after a few days’ illness he expired about three o’clock on Sabbath morning.  Through the death of Dr Wishart, at the comparatively early age of 44, the medical profession has lost a valuable member, and may in Innerleithen have lost, not only a very skilful physician, but a generous hearted friend.

Dr Wishart was the eldest son of Mr James Wishart, of Dudley Crescent, Trinity, and he received his education and training in Edinburgh.  Succeeding to the practice of Dr Orr some sixteen years ago, Dr Wishart very soon gained the confidence of the people and acquired and extensive practice.  By his patients he was held in the highest esteem.  He was recognised as an exceptionally skilful surgeon, while every case of illness brought before him received the most careful and painstaking treatment.  He would leave nothing undone that was in his power to do to alleviate suffering, to secure the recovery of his patient, and to prolong life.  Many in Innerleithen can testify to the strenuous nature of the work he undertook, and the energy and ability he showed in time of sickness.  Personally Dr Wishart was frank and kindly in manner, and his professional skill was combined with a bright and breezy spirit.  He was intensely human, and put himself very quickly in touch with all classes.  In addition to his professional work he rendered good service as a member of the Town Council, and also of the School Board.  It was characteristic of him that he was eager to be of service to his fellowmen, and he was ready to give what time and strength he had.

But outside his own special sphere the most conspicuous service he rendered was in connection with the formation and conducting of the Young Men’s Christian Association.  Started largely through his influence and carried on by him as president, this Association became one of the largest in the Borders.  Many young men scattered over the world have received stimulous and inspiration at these meetings, and when they hear of the president’s death they will recall the happy Sabbath mornings they spent together, and will join with those at home in lamenting his early death.

Dr Wishart was an elder in St John’s United Free Church, and represented its Kirk-Session in Presbytery and Synod.  Over two years ago, owing to the state of his health, Dr Wishart was compelled to relinquish his Innerleithen practice and to leave the place to which he was so warmly attached.   On this occasion he was presented with a silver salver and a hundred sovereigns, which were readily subscribed by patients and friends as an expression of their appreciation of his high-prized services.  Through change and travel, Dr Wishart’s health was largely restored, and recently he took to study and further research.  After examination, he lately gained, with distinction, the Diploma of Public Health.  He spent also some time in the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, gaining further experience.  With all these later acquirements, combined with his previous experience, his friends were looking forward to a career of further and more extensive usefulness.  But the labourer’s task was done, and he has left many to mourn his premature death.  To his widow and other surviving friends we extend our sincere sympathy in their sorrow.