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John Stewart was commander of the No. 7 Dalhousie Stationary Hospital and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. He was born on 3 July 1848 in Black River, Cape Breton. The son of Rev. Murdoch Stewart, a Presbyterian minister, he was educated at home and at the country school. As a youth he moved to Scotland to work on his aunt's farm, continuing his studies independently and especially enjoying mathematics and literature. He moved to Halifax to attend Dalhousie from 1872-1873, then went to the University of Edinburgh, where he was granted his MDCM in 1877. It was there that Stewart became acquainted with Professor Joseph Lister (later Lord Lister), working first as Lister's dresser, then as his clinical clerk from 1876-1877, before following him to London to work as a house surgeon. After a two-year post, he returned to Nova Scotia, settling in Pictou, where he held a general medical practice for fifteen years.
In 1894 Dr. Stewart relocated to Halifax to work as an operating consultant surgeon. He was an active member in several medical associations, serving as president of the Canadian Medical Association (1905), the Medical Council of Canada, the Medical Society of Nova Scotia, the Provincial Medical Board (1906-1916) and the Dominion Medical Council (1925). At the age of 67, he enlisted as a volunteer and took command overseas of the No. 7 Dalhousie Stationary Hospital. He remained in England and France from 1916-1919 and was decorated with a CBE. After returning from the war, Dr. Stewart was appointed Dean of Dalhousie's Faculty of Medicine, a position he held until 1932. He died on 26 December 1933.