Greenock Medical Martyrs

James Lamont Lochhead was the last of five doctors to die in the typhus epidemic of 1864 – 1865.  They were known as the Medical Martyrs, there is a memorial to them in the Wellpark Mid Kirk in Greenock.  James was the eldest of a family of four; his parents Matthew Lochhead and Mary Lamont were married in Greenock on 2 February 1829. Matthew was a native of Dunoon.  James was born in Dunoon on 17 June 1831, by 1847 his father having died his mother returned with the family to her native Greenock where she ran a lodging house. He had two brothers named Matthew, the first one dying in infancy and his other brother Matthew born 15 October 1833 died in May 1853 at 24 Bank St.Greenock.

James qualified as a doctor from Glasgow University in 1855. He married Jane Warden the daughter of Ivie Warden a farmer at Finnart on the 2 June 1858. James and Jane had two daughters Jane and Mary and a son James with a third daughter Elizabeth being born after his death on 15 March 1865.  Jane, his wife, died at Gownlea, Kilmacolm on 12 June 1891. Mary, his elder daughter, died 31 December 1878 aged 17. Daughter Jane married Reverend Thomas Gregory on 8 September 1887 and they had six sons. Elizabeth never married and died on 24 October 1923.

His son James Lamont Lochhead married Margaret (Madge) Dewar Brown the eldest daughter of Dr William Brown on 29 June 1893; they had four daughters and one son born in Constantine, Tunisia. The family later settled in “Yetts” Currie Midlothian.  James died 28 November 1943 his death certificate states that he was a retired missionary; he was also a minister of the Church of Scotland. His family appear to have dedicated themselves to missionary work.  Margaret Dewar Brown born 13 September 1897 died 19 June 1941

Marjorie Raheema Lochhead born 4 June 1895 died on 10 April 1983 at Freuchie, she was a retired missionary.

.Daughter Rhoda born 30 June 1898 died 24 January 1939 she was a medical missionary

Nancy Grace born 28 February 1905 died 2 October 2000 in Leslie in Fife, she was a retired nursing sister.

His son James born about 1903 died of septicaemia on 18 August 1940 at Ibadan, Southern Nigeria. He was a doctor attached to the Colonial Medical Service. James’ son who was only 2 when he died married and settled in Scotland in1963

There is a memorial to the family in Greenock Cemetery.