Duncan McNab McEachren

From: "Montreal History and Gazeteer to the year 1892"
By Rev. J. Douglas Borthwick, John Lovell & Son, Montreal 1892


Principal of the Montreal Veterinary College, Chief Inspector of Stock, etc., was born at Campbeltown, Argyleshire, Scotland, on the 27th October, 1841. He is the oldest son of the late David McEachran, who for many years was a member of the Town Council, and for five years preceding his death was senior Bailie of Campbeltown. The family is one of the oldest in Kintyre, descended from McEachran of Killellan and Penygowan. The Ionic cross of Campbeltown, one of the oldest in Scotland, bears the names of Edward and Malcolm McEachran, and the family tombstones which are found within the ruins of the old church of St. Kiarian, date back as far as the fourteenth century. David McEachran is also buried here. 

Duncan received his earlier education in the schools of his native place, and at the age of seventeen entered on his professional studies at Edinburgh, under the late Professor Dick. In the autumn of 1862, he came to Canada, and took up his abode in Woodstock, Ontario, where he practised his profession for neaily three years with marked success, at the same time being engaged during part of the winter in giving lectures at Toronto, and by this means rendered valuable service in the establishment of the Veterinary College in that city. During his residence in Woodstock, he contributed in various ways to the advancement of his profession, by lectures at farmers' meetings, by contributions to the agricultural press, and by the publication of a manual of veterinary science. The work on the " Canadian Horse and his Diseases," under the joint editorship of himself and his friend, Professor Andrew Smith, of the Toronto Veterinary College, soon ran through two editions, and although a, third edition is now called for, Professor McEachran will not consent to its issue, as he fondly hopes to find time in the near future to publish a larger work on the same Subject. 

In 1866, he left Ontario and settled in Montreal, but before he left for that city, the Board of Agriculture for Upper Canada passed a very complimentary resolution, expressing regret at his departure, and he was entertained by a large number of his friends at a public dinner at Woodstock. On his arrival in Montreal, thanks to his good reputation which had preceded him, and the influence of his numerous friends, his success was speedily assured. Through the influence of the late Major Campbell, President of the Board of Agriculture, aided by Principal (now Sir) J. W. Dawson, and the late G. W. Campbell, Dean of the Medical Faculty of McGill University, an arrangenient was made for Professor McEachran to deliver a course of lectures on Veterinary Science, in connection with the Medical School, which was the commencement of the now widely-known Montreal Veterinary College

In 1875, the present commodious College buildings were erected on Union Avenue, at the expense of the founder and Principal, the Government guaranteeing $1,800 per annum toward its expenses for ten years, with the privilege of sending to it thirteen French and seven English students annually free. This College is now considered the first of its kind in America, and justly ranks high, even when compared with many of the schools in Europe, owing to the appreciation of its head for thorough education. While the Veterinary Schools at Toronto and New York admitted students without matriculation, and graduated them in two sessions, here a matriculation is required, and the course extends over three sessions of six months each. This plan was adopted by the Montreal College before the English schools ; even the Royal Veterinary College of England was led by the Montreal school in this very important matter. 

Professor McEachran has associated with him in teaching the learned Principal and Professors of McGill University, whose classes his  students attend for collateral Studies. Year by year since the establishment of this college, its progress has been most marked in the number and educational standing of the pupils, and students have been attracted to it from all parts of the United States and Canada. A Veterinary Medical Association has been established in connection with the College, for the reading of papers and the discussion of professional and kindred subjects, and a well furnished library, containing most of the old works, and all the new ones, embraced in veterinary literature, has been added to the College, mainly through the efforts of its energetic Principal. Professor McEachran, during the past few years, has contributed many valuable articles to professional journals and the agricultural press, as well as by public lectures, on his favorite theme. 

In 1875, he earnestly pressed upon the attention of the Dominion Government, the necessity for the establishment of a quarantine system, to prevent the importation of certain cattle diseases from Europe, where they were then prevailing to a deplorable extent. Acting on his advice the Government created, in April, 1876, a quarantine station at Point Levis, Quebec, and made the Professor Chief Inspector for the Dominion, and this position he still continues to occupy. In January, 1879, he was sent by the Dominion Government to the United States, to investigate, the lung-plague - pleuro-pneumonia - and visited New York, Long Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia ; and on his return he reported the prevalence of this serious disease in all the States he had visited. The result was that shorly afterwards an embargo was placed on the importation of all cattle from the United States to Canada and Great Britain, requiring that they should be slaughtered at the port of debarkation, within fourteen days after landing. This action of the British Government entailed a heavy loss on cattle exported from the United States, but Canada, owing to her freedom from the disease, and the perfect condition of her quarantine system, became a gainer in proportion to a large amount. 

Professor McEachran's name will ever be associated with the early history of the export cattle trade of Canada, as one who, at the proper moment, gave sound advice to the Government, which, being promptly acted upon, helped in these early days to assist a trade that has since grown to vast proportions. The efficiency, of the quarantine for cattle under his management has been thoroughly tested on two occasions, viz., 1885, when the contagious disease, "foot and mouth," or vesicular epizootic, was twice brought into the quarantine from Great Britain, so thorough was the quarantine that not only did it not extend beyond but it did not even affect any other cattle, of which there were several hundred within the enclosure. The prompt and effective manner in which pleuro-pneumonia was dealt with in 1886, when that fell destroyer was imported in a herd of Galloways, proved beyond doubt the efficiency of the quarantine, and the ability of the inspectors to deal with contagious diseases. If Canada to-day is free from contagious disease, it is due in a great measure to his energy and knowledge of disease. In acknowledgment of his professional attainments he was elected one of the original Fellows of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, on that body being raised to the rank of a University in 1875, being the only one in Canada on whom that honor was conferred. 

He has been intimately connected with the cattle ranching business in the District, of Alberta, Senator Cochrane and he being the pioneers in that business on a large scale in Canada. Together they visited Alberta in 1881, going via the Missouri River to Fort Benton, thence driving across the plains to where Calgary is now built. On his return he published a series of interesting letters, being a narrative of his trip, and description of the country. 

He was Vice-President of the Cochrane Ranche Co., till 1883; when he became General Manager of the Walrond Cattle Ranche Co., of which Sir John Walrond, Bart., is President, and which is now the largest and one of the most successful ranches In Canada. 

Professor McEachran was married on the 9th of June, 1868, to Esther Plaskett, youngest daughter of the late Timothy Plaskett, Esq., St. Croix, West India Islands, to whom two children were born, viz., Evelyn Victoria McEachran, born May 24th, 1869, who died May, 1874, and Jeanie Blackney McEachran, born 19th September, 1871.

In Politics, Professor McEachran is a Conservative, but in consequence of his devotion to professional work he has never taken a very active part in politics. He served in the militia force for ten years as Veterinary Surgeon to the Montreal Field Battery of Artillery. He became a justice of the Peace in 1866, With jurisdiction over the entire Province of Quebec.

From: Canadian Men and Women of the Time 1898
Ed. By Henry James Morgan, Toronto, William Briggs, Richmond Street West, 1898

McEachren, Duncan McNab, D.V.S., is the son of the late David McEachren, for many years a magistrate and senior Bailie of the town of Campbellton, Argyleshire, Scotland, and was born there, Oct. 27, 1841. Educated in his native town, he graduated at the Royal Veterinary College, Edinburgh in 1862. Coming to Canada the same year, he lived for a time at Woodstock, Ontario, where he practised his profession, lecturing during the winter sessions in Toronto and at places adjacent. He also aided in the establishment of the Toronto Veterinary College.

Removing to Montreal, 1866, he founded there the Montreal Veterinary College, now acknowledged to be the first of its kind in America. Subsequently, on his recommendation, a quarantine station was established at Levis, P.Q., to prevent the importation of certain cattle diseases from England, and he was appointed by the Government, the first inspector of stock at the Cattle Quarantine in 1876. In 1879 he was despatched as a delegate to the U. S. to report on the lung plague (pleuropneumonia) existing in certain portions of the American Union. Canada is also indebted to Dr. McEacheren for valuable services in connection with the initiation and development of the export cattle trade that has grown to such proportions. 

Since 1889 he has been Dean of the Faculty of Comparative Medicine and Veterinary Science, and Professor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery in McGill University. He is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Science in England (elected 1875), and is the only one in Canada upon whom this honour has been conferred. 

He was veterinary surgeon to the Montreal Field Battery from 1871- 1881; and since 1883 has been General Manager, of the Walroad Cattle Ranch. He is the author of a handbook, "The Canadian Horse and His Diseases" (1867); of "A Trip to Bow River " (1881), and has been a frequent contributor to scientific journals. He acted as expert judge of hackneys at the National Horse Show, N. Y., 1891-92, and was judge of thoroughbred horses at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Oct., 1893. 

Politically, he is a Liberal-Conservative. He married June, 1868, Esther Plaskett, 3rd daughter of the late Timothy Plaskett of St. Croix, W.I.

Residence: 6 Union Ave., Montreal
Clubs: St. James' Club

From: "Canadian Men & Women of the Time 1912
Ed. Henry James Morgan, Toronto, William Briggs, Richmond St. W., 1912 

McEachren, Duncan McNab, veterinary surgeon.

Eldest son of the late Bailie McEachren and Jean Blackney of Campbelltown, Argyllshire Scotland, their family being one of the oldest in Kintyre. He was born in Campbelltown, October 27, 1841 and educated at the Free Church Grammar School, there, and Edinburgh. He graduated Edinburgh Veterinary College in 1861; graduated D.V.S., McGill University in 1890; LL.D. (hon.) McGill University in 1909; F.R.S.V.S. in 1861. He married in 1868, Esther Plaskett, 3rd daughter of  T. Plaskett of St. Croix W.I. 

Duncan McEachren came to Canada in early life and established the Montreal Veterinary College of which he was principal and professor of veterinary medicine and surgery in 1866. He remained in these positions till 1890, when the College became the Faculty of Comparative Medicine and Veterinary Science, McGill University, of which he was dean, and professor of veterinary medicine and surgery. He  resigned in 1903 and was appointed professor emeritus, McGill University in recognition of his past services in 1905. He was chief inspector of stock for Canada from 1876 to 1902, when he resigned the active administrative duties of the office to become hon. consulting veterinarian to the Government of Canada. 

He was also veterinary surgeon for 10 years to the Montreal Field Battery, and rendered valuable services in organizing and equipping Lord Strathcona's Horse, for service in the, South African War. He organized the cattle quarantine system of Canada, which he conducted, so successfully that contagious diseases of animals has become practically unknown in the Dominion since 1876; represented Canada at the Tuberculosis Congress at London in 1901 at Baden Baden, and other international meetings for the consideration, of animal diseases. He is a J.P., with Jurisdictlon over the entire Province of Quebec and is V-P. and general manager of the new Walrond Ranche, Ltd., one of the largest ranches in Canada. For over 30 years he was veterinary editor for the Montreal Weekly Witness besides numerous bulletins, journals and reports on professional subjects and is the author of "The Canadian Horse and his Diseases," a manual of veterinary science for the use of the farmers of Canada.  

He has travelled in the U.S. and Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Holland and Denmark (see "Dr. D. McEachren and his work," Montreal Herald, July, 1898) ; 

Religion: Presbyterian
Residence: Ormsby Grange, Ormiston, P.Q.
Clubs: St. James's Club; Forest and Stream Club, Montreal; Manitoba Club, Winnipeg; Pincher Creek, Alta.

"A man who well merits some mark of Royal favor as an acknowledgment of the importance and value, of his services for half a century." - Late George Murray.

See also: his brother Charles McEachren

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