Dr. Watson Dykes, M.D. (died 1952, aged 74) moved to Duncan from Nanaimo in 1904 and, for many years, was the only doctor in Duncan. He was the local doctor during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-20.
During his first years in Duncan, Dr. Dykes made house calls to patients in a horse and buggy. The horse barn where Dr. Dykes stabled the horses who pulled the buggy in which Dr. Dykes made house calls is still standing behind 163 Kenneth Street in downtown Duncan. His home (now demolished) was on Ingram Street, probably where the Telus facility stands now.
Dr. Dykes was a member of Duncan’s Masonic Lodge, Temple Lodge, No. 33, and served as Master of the Lodge in 1920. He moved to Vancouver in 1922.
We were recently told about two local residents who were delivered by Dr. Watson Dykes and whose mothers named them “Watson” in honour of Dr. Dykes. These local residents were Watson Evans (whose farm on Somenos Road is still operating; part of the Evans farm is now the baseball field on Somenos Road) and Watson Weeks, who Dr. Dykes delivered in 1913.
Here is Dr. Dykes’ 1952 obituary in the local Cowichan Leader newspaper:
“Dykes – Many in Cowichan will regret to hear of the passing of Dr. Watson Dykes in Vancouver on Friday.
Born in Nanaimo 74 years ago, he came here in 1904 and left for Vancouver 18 years later. For many years he was associated with the school board there and, although later retired, was still called on for private practice.
He was one of the old school of country doctors. At one time he was the only medical man in this whole district. He seldom had the chance to get away. He had one of the first cars here, supplanting his old buggy. His home was on Ingram Street. From time to time he has visited Duncan, meeting old friends and hosts of grown up babies of the long ago.
His wife (nee Miss Randall) died here in 1916. Their son, Randall, served in the navy during the last war and is now in Nova Scotia. There are two grandchildren, two brothers, Joseph, Nanaimo, and Jack, Powell River; two sisters, Mrs. M. Wilkinson, Nanaimo, and Mrs. R. Clarke, Seattle. His widow (the former Miss Mabel Fentiman) is at 5962 Cypress Street, Vancouver.
Dr. Dykes affiliated with Temple Lodge, No. 33, A.F. & A.M., in 1904 and became its W.M. in 1920.
The funeral service was private, followed by cremation.”
(Source: from Cowichan Valley Museum and Archives files)
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