Miracle healer or charlatan? Controversy swirled around the Locke clinic in the 1930s. But the world beat a path to Williamsburg, Ont., where the tubby doctor cheerfully manipulated 2,700 fallen arches in a single day

DORIS DICKSON September 15 1954


Miracle healer or charlatan? Controversy swirled around the Locke clinic in the 1930s. But the world beat a path to Williamsburg, Ont., where the tubby doctor cheerfully manipulated 2,700 fallen arches in a single day

DORIS DICKSON September 15 1954


Miracle healer or charlatan? Controversy swirled around the Locke clinic in the 1930s. But the world beat a path to Williamsburg, Ont., where the tubby doctor cheerfully manipulated 2,700 fallen arches in a single day



ON A steaming July afternoon in 1932 a couple from Kentucky were driving into a little village in northeastern Ontario called Williamsburg and they were startled to find themselves entangled in a bizarre traffic jam.

A maze of automobiles, wheel chairs and stretchers on wheels clogged the road, while thousands of pedestrians, many on crutches, spilled from the maple-shaded sidewalks onto the highway, got in the way of automobiles, dodged hot-dog and souvenir stands and made driving a nightmare. More misshapen bodies were in the shuffling crowd than would likely be found anywhere outside a hospital.

After one stricken glance at the snail-paced traffic, the woman burst into tears. “We’re too late,” she sobbed. “The doctor’s dead and they’re having his funeral today.”

But that was ten years before the doctor’s death in 1942 and was an almost daily occurrence for every one of those ten years. It was a procession of, literally, the lame, the halt and the blind, making their pilgrimage on fallen arches and tortured arthritic limbs to the shrine of Canada’s worldfamous “miracle healer,” Dr. Mahlon W. Locke.

Outside Williamsburg today Dr. Locke is best remembered as the designer of a shoe which has a special arch support and carries his name. But from 1928 to 1942 grateful patients hailed him as a miracle man who could cure everything from hives to multiple sclerosis by twisting their toes and pressing fallen arches back into place. Although sufferers from every disease (including curiosity) came to his clinic, Locke’s reputation was based chiefly on his treatment of arthritis.

Thousands swarmed into Williamsburg, mostly from the United States but also from every province in Canada, from Yukon Territory, Alaska, South America, Holland, Norway, South Africa, Germany, Australia and England. Many had joints so swollen, frames so cruelly twisted and bodies so emaciated when they arrived that no one but themselves and Locke had any hope they could be cured. They traveled in private planes, private railway cars and limousines; they hitchhiked; a red-haired

cowboy from Alberta with a crippled ankle rode the brake-rods across the prairies in winter to arrive in Williamsburg with twelve cents in his pocket. One woman survived the trip from California on a cot in the back of an ancient half-ton truck.

A list of Locke’s patients reads like a page out of Who’s Who. Mrs. F. D. Roosevelt, Louis B. Mayer, Lady Eaton, Faith Baldwin, Ernie Pyle, Eva Tanguay, Mrs. James Donahue (heiress to the Woolworth millions) and Sir Robert Borden were among them. Mackenzie King returned year after year for treatments. A merchant prince from Bombay, India, brightened the landscape one summer with his red fez, brown jodhpurs and brilliantly gowned wife following at his heels. He brought his private physician who was reported to be interested in starting a similar clinic in India. Screen siren Jean Harlow was said to be a patient but Locke wasn’t sure he had treated her. If he were alive today he probably wouldn’t recognize Marilyn Monroe as she passed through his hands. His specialty was feet.

A Land of Milk and Honey

A graveled road through Williamsburg to Ottawa forty miles northwest began to go to pieces under the heavy traffic and had to be hard-surfaced. Transcontinental trains made unprecedented stops at the nearest railway station, Morrisburg, six miles south of Williamsburg on the St. Lawrence River. The ferry, crossing from Morrisburg to Waddington, N. Y., stepped up its hourly schedule of runs to a quarter hourly schedule, added another ferry and kept both operating until midnight. Six hundred cars a day often crossed on the ferry. Williamsburg took on a cosmopolitan air as a dozen foreign languages were heard.

While the rest of Canada fearfully groped its way through its worst economic depression, Williamsburgers “never had it so good.” Money poured into the village and surrounding countryside. Every house bulged with paying guests and farmers’ sons slept in the haymow and rented their beds. Two hotels (one with 125 rooms) were built

to help house the crowds and the Rapids Queen, a liner with 65 staterooms and a ballroom, was anchored at Morrisburg to accommodate the overflow. Frame cottages sprang up and were rented at high rates. After the boom was over they were sold for chicken houses. Twenty-three restaurants operated where there had been three. Even the children were in business; they carried lunches, held places in the line-up and ran errands. Young men earned a dollar a day per patient for pushing wheel chairs and carrying stretchers to and from the Circle, as Locke called his lawn on which he worked his wonders. News and tobacco stands took in as much as $1,500 a week.

It was by no means all fun. Guests complained about the lack of toilet facilities until plumbing was installed. Wells went dry. Housewives worked from early morning until late at night serving meals, house cleaning and doing laundry. It was impossible to make reservations as the patients never knew when Locke would send them home. The children had no room on the streets to play and whole families tired of sleeping in their kitchens. One man declared, “It was the happiest day of my life when the last guest left.”

It was the first acquaintance with high living that many of the young people, and the older ones too, had known and in some instances it went to their heads. Only Locke and a few other canny souls finished up the years much wealthier than before. Gamblers followed the crowds and set up floating crap games in the hotels. Predatory women looking for wealthy husbands considered the village a happy hunting ground. Locke tried to control the situation, to keep the villagers from exploiting the sick, and the gamblers from exploiting the villagers. He spread the news among his patients that he wouldn’t treat any who stayed in homes, or hotels, of which he disapproved. He earned himself a reputation as a czar but for the most part his wishes were respected. A newcomer to the village, Miss Flora Griffiths, brought a lawsuit against him for ruining her livelihood by refusing to treat patients who stayed at her rest home. She asked for a hearing without a jury, claiming

Continued on page 36

Dr. Locke


it was impossible to get an impartial jury in the district. Her request was denied and the suit, for $50,000 dismissed.

For fourteen years Williamsburg was like a circus merry-go-round revolving about Dr. Locke’s Circle, a wooden platform on what had once been the Lockes’ west lawn but was now covered with concrete—thousands of aching feet had worn it bare and each rain left it a sea of mud. The Women’s Institute, to Locke’s disgust, had a canvas canopy erected over the platform to protect the patients from the weather. (Later the patients took up a collection and replaced this with a wooden structure which still stands.) Iron pipes, radiating like the spokes of a giant wheel, marked out fourteen runways down which patients moved on camp stools until they reached the wooden chairs at the centre. Two of the runways were for wheel chair and stretcher cases.

Housewives, socialites, doctors, farmers, businessmen and ministers chatted together democratically while waiting for the doctor’s appearance. When the runways were filled they lined up in the streets and milled about on the lawn next door. They talked, read, sang and knit. They vied with each other to show how they had improved. People, harassed and tense at home from too much work, or play, relaxed in the cheerful atmosphere.

As Locke made his way to the centre of the Circle from his modest frame house nearby, the crowd cheered him. The first impression he gave was of power—physical and mental. Although he was little more than average height, his head and shoulders were massive and he weighed 250 pounds. His physical strength and endurance are legendary in Williamsburg. His serene bright-blue eyes probed deeply. This glance, together with what he learned through handling their feet, gave him the only information he obtained about his clinic patients.

As Locke seated himself in his low swivel chair at the hub of the wheel, he looked more like the farmer he was at heart than a successful doctor. Always a little untidy, he worked in shirt sleeves, often without a collar or tie, his baggy grey trousers anchored by both belt and suspenders. In his early fifties at the height of his fame, he had thin light-brown hair, an engagingly open countenance and a singularly sweet smile. He was ambidextrous. His powerful hands with well-muscled thumbs and stocky, tapered fingers, moved with incredible speed and sensitivity. X-ray hands, his patients called them. He grasped each stockinged foot as it was thrust forward and pressed up the arch with one quick movement of the thumb while he twisted the toes down and out with the other hand. Occasionally a loud “crack” sounded and the patient jumped. Stuffing the proffered bill in his pocket, Locke whirled on to the next patient and the next dollar. With occasional stops to unwind his chair, or go into the house to empty his pockets, he treated as many as ten patients a minute. After a full day of this he painted his aching thumbs with iodine before retiring and followed the same routine next day. As long as his health and time allowed it, Locke continued I his local practice also, and when he was ! forced to give it up he was jealous of { anyone else coming into his territory.

According to his admirers, Dr. Locke I scorned advertising and cared nothing for money. Yet so many millions of

words were published about him in the United States and Canada during the early Thirties (in newspaper columns, magazine articles, several biographies and a novel) that in his busiest summers he treated as many as 2,700 people twice daily for a dollar each and, as he said himself, he was probably the only man in the world who made a million dollars with his own two hands (more likely three million, his neighbors estimated).

Although he seldom spoke unnecessarily and discouraged questions in the line-up, Locke’s friends delighted in telling him jokes as they passed by. His huge body would jiggle up and down with suppressed laughter. “Like Santa Claus,” remembers Mrs. A. J. Casselman, of Williamsburg.

His rare remarks were usually humorous or sarcastic. To a woman who demurred when asked to remove her shoes, saying the pain was in her shoulder, not her feet, he replied, “When you step on a dog’s tail, which end yelps?”

A reporter was told: “Other doctors pull their patients’ legs, I pull their


A richly dressed woman who tried to push her way to the front of the line, protesting, “But, doctor, I’m a millionaire,” was squelched with his biting, “Get back in line, madam, so am I.”

He said he turned down a lucrative offer to move his headquarters to the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., because they “wanted me to work like a mule in the back room while they sat in the front with a cash register. Here, I run my own show.”

He Humbled the Haughty

A story, probably apocryphal, circulated through the line-up that Locke had torn up a $10,000 cheque from a wealthy American patient, accepting only his usual dollar-a-day fee. At another time he refused $50 for preferential treatment in the line-up with, “My fee is a dollar, madam,” then turned to a shabbily dressed woman in the inner circle and asked, “Is it worth $49 to you to give up your turn?”

This was good showmanship and boosted the morale of his patients but, according to those who knew him, it was also genuine. His sympathies were all with the under-dog, they say. He took a certain perverse delight in embarrassing distinguished visitors. If one felt it beneath his dignity to wait in the general line-up, he was at liberty to wait in the Lockes’ living room, but he would cool his heels there until everyone in the line-up was treated. Andrew W. Mellon, when he was U. S. Ambassador to Great Britain, had an appointment but was “forgotten” and kept waiting for hours.

For the dollar fee Locke gave his patients a treatment in the morning and in the afternoon, told them whether or not they had a goiter (he believed that goiter and arthritis were related in ninety percent of the cases and sold thyroid pills made to his OWE prescription for fifty cents a box), recommended that they have their shoes fitted with “cookies,” which he called the special arch supports, or buy Dr. Locke shoes. Depending on theil condition, he would suggest they take 8 further treatment in the driving shed at the rear. Here, his young woman assistant, Aurlien Weegar (now Mrs. J Tewsley, of Toronto), exercised arthritic limbs and gently twisted stiffening bodies to hasten the breaking down oí adhesions on the joints. For a time, before a shoe store was opened in the village, salesmen also fitted patient« with shoes in the shed, or even on the front steps of Locke’s office. More than 9,000 pairs of shoes at let

dollars a pair were sold in the village.

Reporters had a field day. They sparked into life a fiery controversy between laymen and doctors as to the efficacy of Locke’s treatments. They wrote reams of copy for big city dailies, reporting fabulous cures of blindness, deafness, muscular atrophy and paralysis, saddling him with the title of “miracle-man,” which he hated. Most doctors, and some reporters, ridiculed the “hoof-doctor,” attributing his successes to mass hysteria and hypnotism. A Detroit paper referred to the outdoor medical clinic as the “barnyard clinic” and a “dunghill.” (Lack of sanitation was a serious problem in the preseptic-tank days and probably the biggest miracle of all was that no epidemic started in the village.)

A report of an investigation published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in November 1932 virtually called Dr. Locke a quack. Dr. Morris Fishbein, editor of the Journal, wrote: “As nearly as we can determine from the available evidence, Dr. Locke practices the laying on of hands.” Patients hotly denied that “faith-healing” was a factor in the cures. Samuel Silver, of Toronto, went to Locke’s clinic in desperation, his leg so painful he couldn’t walk. Five Toronto doctors, unable to find anything organically wrong, had dismissed him from a hospital with the admonition to forget it. Silver scoffs at the suggestion that faith in Locke was necessary. “Faith, what faith had I?” he asks. “I’m not a man with much faith. All I believe is what I see. He helped me.”

A Drama to Beach

Canadian doctors, on the whole, ignored the furore, or commented mildly, as did Prof. Duncan Graham, then head of the Department of Clinical Medicine at the University of Toronto, “We’ve had patients back in the hospital after they’ve been to his clinic, still suffering from arthritis.”

, An Alexandria, Ont., doctor whose patient, against his advice, went to Locke and came back apparently cured, j railed, “Why, man, he’s got you i hypnotized!”

“He could put a ring through my nose and lead me up and down the streets and T wouldn’t care,” replied the impenitent one. “I’m better.”

On the other hand, Dr. Leonard Keene Hirshberg, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, came to Williamsburg to scoff and remained to praise the doctor’s methods. A few doctors who observed the treatment attempted to imitate him. Rex Beach, American novelist, wrote: “To me he is the personification of drama. One man fighting barehanded against a score of creeping diseases. One man breaking canes and crutches! One man upon whom rests the last hope of an army of j crippled people.” Even more emotional were some of the women patients.

“I just worship the ground he walks j on,” said one.

Rabbi Stephen Wise’s sister said: “I feel as though I were on holy ground.”

A neighbor who had no illusions about Locke’s holiness still says twelve years after his death, “It seems strange that Christ should have chosen Dr. Locke to carry on his work of healing on earth.”

Locke’s theory was that fallen arches press on the main nerve leading into the foot, irritating it. This constricts the arteries, and the blood, moving sluggishly, becomes full of impurities, particularly uric acid, which attacks the places of least resistance (in the case of arthritis, the joints). Outgrowths of cartilage eventually “fix” the joints in any position they would

normally assume. Bone tissue enlarges and distortion results.

He felt that forcing the arch back into place relieved the pressure on the nerve and speeded circulation of the blood, which would in time rid itself of impurities, honeycomb the tissue that had formed on the joints and restore the patient’s health. Specialists today, as they did in his time, say this is much too simplified a version of a complex disease. They say that arthritis is only one of the conditions included under the broad term rheumatism and there are over a hundred different types of arthritis. In only one of these, gout, does uric acid play any part. Present-day treatments vary greatly for each type of arthritis but Locke, in his “manipulative surgery,” did not differentiate between them.

Jock MacDonald was one of Locke’s most spectacular and publicized cases. Jock was 16 when he was brought to Williamsburg from Unity, Sask., on a cot in a baggage car, as the least painful way of moving him. He weighed a scant 91 pounds and could barely turn in bed. His left arm was rigid at his side, his fingers deformed and one leg was drawn up and locked at his hip. The other leg was also slightly affected. He lay on his cot, in excruciating pain, unable to brush away the flies that settled on his face.

After Locke’s first arch treatment, Jock felt a tingling sensation. His feet, cold before, began to feel warm, then burned like fire. After a week of treatment he became violently ill, with much vomiting and diarrhea. (This was a common reaction and, according to Locke’s theory, was nature’s way of ridding the system of poisons.) Jock’s fingers loosened up at first, then his legs, until in six months he could walk, using crutches, and after two years could ride a bicycle for miles and walk with only a cane. Jock’s father, James MacDonald, who had been a newspaperman in Unity, remained in Williamsburg to publish a weekly paper, the Williamsburg Times, devoted almost entirely to news of the Circle. He also lauded Locke in a book called Dr. Locke, the Healer of Men which sold at newsstands about the clinic.

Helen Foley, a 19-year-old girl from Florida, was another patient whose recovery was praised as miraculous. Helen, a polio victim, couldn’t stand without her legs buckling under her. Mrs. John Tewsley, Locke’s former assistant, relates that after several years of treatment Helen was “a perfect cure.”

It is difficult to assess the proportion of patients who were helped by Locke’s treatments. Those who were had their stories printed and reprinted. Those who after a few treatments went home discouraged, remained anonymous. A doctor, whose sister-in-law took treatments for several months for arthritis, says that rather than being helped, she was considerably worse. Others could not stand the pain occasioned by the treatment nor the violent physical reaction afterward and left. Many, however, remained for two or three years. One girl stayed ten years. Although still sadly deformed, she is confident Locke’s treatments not only arrested the disease but helped her materially in regaining


Subscribers receiving notice of the approaching expiration of their subscriptions are reminded of the necessity of sending in their renewal orders promptly.

The demand for copies to fill new orders is so great that we cannot guarantee the mailing of even a single Issue beyond the period covered by your subscription. To avoid disappointment, your renewal order should be mailed to us promptly when you receive the "expiration” notice.

some oí the mobility she had lost.

Born at Dixon’s Corners, seven miles west of Williamsburg, on St. Valentine’s Day 1880, Mahlon Locke was forced to take responsibility early when his father died in 1888, leaving three small sons (Mahlon, the eldest, Peter and Duane) and a farm. The boys attended public school at Dixon’s Corners and high school at Iroquois, often shabbily clothed and walking the seven miles | to and from Iroquois on week ends.

Because of the pressure of seasonal j farm work, Mahlon never spent a full term at High school and left without matriculating. After two years on the farm, influenced by his mother and a young student minister, he enrolled at Kemptville high school, 25 miles away, and completed his matriculation in a month. At 21, he entered Queen’s University, spent every summer at farm labor and most evenings in Kingston working at odd jobs, one of which was plucking partridges for a hotel.

In 1905 when Mahlon was 25 he graduated from Queen’s as a medical doctor and returned to Brinston, a few miles from Dixon’s Corners, where his mother, now remarried, was living. Here the young doctor began his first practice with his step-father, Dr. G. W. Collison. It was hard going. In six months he earned only $15 and was thoroughly discouraged. A college friend, Dr. M. E. Grimshaw, was working for the Algoma Steel Corporation north of Lake Superior and Mahlon joined the firm as a company doctor at Sault Ste. Marie for $100 a month.

A year later Grimshaw and Locke interned at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh, Scotland, for a post-graduate course. Here Locke earned his cherished triple licentiate from the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh; Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh; and the Royal Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow. Years later he said he learned more in six months in Edinburgh than he had in four years in Kingston. In Edinburgh lie conceived the theory that was later to make him famous.

City life had no charms for Locke. He liked the peace and freedom of the country. He fitted like a hand in a glove into the prosperous dairying community of Williamsburg, famous for its cheese and McIntosh apples. From the day he hung out his shingle on June l, 1908, his success as a country practitioner was assured.

Except for a few short holidays Locke scarcely moved outside a twenty-mile radius of the tiny village. By his skill at diagnosis and treatment, as well as his kindliness and capacity for work, he won his neighbors’ unswerving loyalty. To all ages he was known as Doc, or the Old Doc. He kept five horses steadily on the go. No call was too much trouble. Delivering three babies in one night under primitive conditions was not unusual. Mrs. Locke says that in winter his overcoat seldom dried between calls. One night as his team broke trail through deep snow, his cutter upset, dumping the doctor into a snow bank. He rolled himself up in a blanket and slept out the rest of the night there.

No storm was severe enough to keep him from a confinement case. One night, while he was driving his first car, an open 1910 McLaughlin, fork lightning lit the sky, rain pelted down, thunder rolled and so did the McLaughlin, until the doctor arrived, a cheerful, dripping, welcome sight. His patients had complete confidence in him. “You felt better the minute he stepped inside the room,” says Mrs. H. McIntosh whose four children he delivered.

He was always especially interested in bones and in a community where the chief occupational hazard seems to have been falling out of haymows he had plenty of practice setting broken bones and dislocated shoulders and hips. Innocent bystanders were called in to sit on the patient while the doctor, by main strength, pulled a dislocated hip back into place. Since he had little faith in anaesthetics the operation was bound to be painful.

During the flu epidemic of 1918, Locke didn’t sleep in a bed for weeks, catching cat naps in the bottom of a long French sleigh while two men took turns driving him from house to house. People died in hundreds all over Canada but Locke didn’t lose a patient —until he caught flu himself. One did die then but “only because the nurse drank the whisky l prescribed,” the doctor is quoted as saying.

His fees for general practice were arrived at by a system of computation I known only to himself. He sent no bills and unless a patient asked he’d never know how much he owed. If the family were poor or had had a run j of bad luck there would be no charge.

I Even the well-to-do found his charges j surprisingly low. One woman who started her family late in life says that for her first delivery the doctor charged ten dollars, for the next eight dollars and for the next (in the same year) six dollars. When asked why his fee kept going down he laughed, “If you have another baby within the year I’ll deliver it for nothing.”

Cookies in his Shoes

In 1915 when he was thirty-five Locke married 21-year-old Blanche McGruer at her parents’ home near Williamsburg. Because of unexpected patients he was an hour late for the ceremony. The couple settled in the white frame house in Williamsburg where the doctor had lived for seven years. Here their four children were born, three girls and a boy, and here Mrs. Locke still lives.

Locke’s treatments for arthritis began in 1908—the first year of his general practice in Williamsburg. He thought too many of his patients suffered from both flat feet and rheumatism for it to be coincidence. His chance to test his nebulous theory came when Peter Beckstead, a blacksmith in Williamsburg, was so severely crippled by rheumatism that he was unable to continue his heavy work. Locke began pressing the blacksmith’s fallen arches back into place. After several treatments, Beckstead found that the pain was lessening. To keep the arches in place, and strengthen the foot muscles, the doctor had the local shoemaker place leather “cookies”—rounded concave arch supports—in the blacksmith’s shoes. Beckstead recovered and continued shoeing horses until he died a quarter of a century later. Pressing fallen arches back into place and recommending cookies for shoes became a regular part of Locke’s work and in 1931 he claimed there wasn’t a case of arthritis in Williamsburg Township. Gradually his reputation spread to surrounding towns.

Mrs. Ben Carr, proprietress of the Sign of the Ship, a restaurant eight miles west of Morrisburg, was an early patient and a staunch advocate. Recently, she recalled those days:

“After my first baby was born —thirty-two years ago—I couldn’t walk for the pain in my legs. My own doctor bandaged them and my ankles but I couldn’t stand the pain. A nurse from Williamsburg was at the Prescott hospital at the time and she told me about Dr. Locke. When I told my doctor I was going to him he

laughed and said: ‘That fellow cures

everything but the toothache by doctoring the feet.’ He didn’t want me to go but I went anyway.

“My husband had to carry me up the stairs to the office. Dr. Locke put my arches hack into place and I walked out of there. I’ve never had any trouble that way since. Once I said to him, ‘Doctor, what would have happened to me if you hadn’t been here to help me?’ He picked up a hand of another patient, all deformed from arthritis, and said, ‘Your hands would have been just like this.’ He was a wonderful man.”

As more people heard of him Locke found it profitable to have office hours every Tuesday at Prescott, 25 miles away on the St. Lawrence River. A few Americans came across the river for treatments. Once a Roman Catholic priest, Father Kelly, from near Lock port, N.Y., came to Williamsburg j so crippled by arthritis that he could no longer conduct Mass. Six months later, after Locke’s treatments, Kelly literally ran up the path to the doctor’s j office to show how he had improved. A Lock port newspaperman, . Frank Coughlin, himself about to undergo an operation as a last resort against arthritis, heard of Father Kelly’s improvement and came for treatments. He was so impressed that he wrote a glowing account of the clinic. This was reprinted in several American newspapers and the boom was on. That was in 1928. Ontario papers took up the cry and articles were printed in magazines.

In 1930 from two to three hundred people were taking treatments each day. In the summer of 1931 the number had swelled to almost a thousand. About this time Locke sold the patent for the shoe he had designed to a Perth manufacturer for $30,000.

In following years he must often have wondered if he had a lion by the tail. In August 1932 Cosmopolitan magazine printed an article by Rex Beach describing the Williamsburg clinic and Locke in warm terms. He, Beach, had been staying at the Chateau Laurier, in Ottawa, golfing. Fallen arches made walking a misery and someone half jokingly suggested he visit the doctor at Williamsburg. Beach took the advice, had a foot treatment, talked to the crowds and wrote his article. The next summer the crowds reached an all-time record of 2,700 persons treated a day.

“I always say that Rex Beach killed him,” Lewis Schell, one of Locke’s old cronies, says. “He had plenty to do right around here without all those people.” Although 1932 and 1933 were the peak years crowds continued until Locke’s death in February 1942.

Besides the strain treating thousands of people daily placed on Locke’s strength, his private life was sadly disrupted. Patients invaded his living room, his dining room, and on one occasion when he was ill with blood poisoning in his leg, his bedroom. Every meal was interrupted a dozen times hy the telephone ringing or someone at the door. Locke began his treatments at eight in the morning (except for the mornings when he began at five) and continued until eleven at I night, so the Circle was seldom empty. Sometimes the line-up started as early as one a.m. To have a few minutes to himself during the day he would visit one of his farms.

Locke’s farms were his only hobby. He bought his first one near Williamsburg in 1913. He said he wasn’t sure he could make a living as a doctor but knew from experience he could as a farmer. He bought what everyone else considered a worn-out but pure-bred Holstein hull for $30 and began raising

pure-bred cattle. One of his Holsteins set a world record for 101 pounds of milk in a day and 142 pounds of butter in 30 days.

Locke also raised Percheron horses and standard-bred race horses. Sulky racing was, and is, a favorite sport in the surrounding district and during Locke’s lifetime a race track was set up on the outskirts of Williamsburg. Occasionally he took an hour or two off work to watch his horses run. He showed stock at Ottawa and Toronto winter fairs also. He was lawyer, general counsel and adviser to many of his older patients. He gave advice on business deals, on legal matters and wrote their wills (but died without one himself).

A man of strange contradictions, he often reached in his pocket and passed over a handful of bills to a needy patient. Yet he enjoyed telling of the time he dressed up in patched clothing to fool a cattle-buyer into thinking he was a poor man so he could get a better price. He’d lend money to anyone he

knew without interest or fuss, but at a time when his earnings were well over $1,000 a day, he paid hired men on his farms a dollar a day.

He took no interest in civic improvement or politics. When approached by the Ontario Liberal leader, Mitchell Hepburn, an onion farmer, to stand for election, he laughed him off with, “You go home and grow your onions and I’ll peddle my pills.”

Except for a week’s holidays at Christmas Locke had little time for anything hut work. He read magazines, a few novels, his medical journals and, every day, a chapter or two from the Bible, of which he knew large sections by heart. He always found social contacts on his own intellectual level difficult and preferred spending his leisure with men he could dominate. In July 1938 a group of former patients, who called themselves the Friends of Dr. Locke Committee, organized a testimonial banquet for him at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa with more than one hundred guests present. A bronze cast of Locke’s hands, made hy Italian sculptor Deno Buralli was presented to him, and he made what was probably the first speech of his life. The family was in a cold sweat for him but if he was nervous he didn’t show it.

Another gift from the Friends of Dr. Locke Committee was a huge red leather-hound book with thousands of letters from grateful patients. These ranged from short notes from people who wore Dr. Locke shoes hut had never met him to testimonials saying, “1 was doomed to spend the rest of my life in a wheel chair but after six weeks’ treatment by Dr. Locke, and after six or seven years, I am still walking and able to attend to my work.”

During the last few years of his life Locke’s health was poor. His weight dropped from 250 pounds to 190. He was tired much of the time and had several severe colds, verging on pneu-

monia. After lite was unconscious for two or three days in a Montreal hospital, he began taking insulin injections for diabetes and watching his diet more closely. He tried to work fewer hours but 500 to 600 patients were still attending the clinic each day in the summer of 1941. At that time he also owned 17 farms, including some which had been reforested. He planned all the work himself for five farms under cultivation, shouting instructions each morning from his bedroom window to the hired men as they passed on their way to work.

On the morning of Feb. 7, 1942, feeling a little better, Locke left his home at 8.30 to drive to one of his farms. There had been a fresh snowfall and the car, a 1942 Cadillac, slid into the ditch. He tried at first to push the car out, then, when a neighbor came to help, he slid behind the wheel to steer. The neighbor found him slumped over the wheel, almost unconscious, and drove him home. When Mrs. Locke came to help carry him into the house Locke pointed to his head, indicating he had suffered a stroke. He never regained full consciousness and died about midnight that night. In spite of one of the worst snowstorms in the district a large crowd attended the funeral. One mother and her two little girls walked three miles through the drifts to he there.

During his lifetime Locke’s wealth made little difference in the family’s standard of living except that the children attended university with none of the hardships their father went through. They have continued to live modestly since his death. Jean, a graduate of McGill University, lives quietly in Williamsburg with her mother. They frequently visit Marion (Mrs. R. B. Prowse) in Toronto, and Ruth (Mrs. William Rowe) at Newton Robinson, Ont., and last summer they attended the Coronation and visited Europe. The only son, Parker, who lives in Morrisburg, has retained three of the farms and makes a business of his father’s hobby, raising and racing standard-bred horses.

Charlatan, miracle man, faith-healer, quack, Locke was called them all. Now twelve years after his death his place in Canadian medicine is still doubtful. Although osteopaths and chiropractors welcomed the attention his treatments focused on manipulative therapy, the medical profession has never accepted his theories.

Williamsburg’s boom collapsed after his death, like a balloon that had been pricked. Again it is a sleepy little village with a population of about 300. While old-timers like to talk of the hectic days when the town was overrun with strangers, they remember with most affection the days before Locke discovered his Midas touch, when he was just a country doctor, never too busy to think up a joke or make three trips a day to any house where he was needed. Everyone there agrees with the inscription on his imposing tombstone:

He has achieved success, has filled

his niche and accomplished his task

who has left the world better than

he found it, whose life was an inspiration—whose memory a benediction.

But perhaps Dr. Locke, himself, would prefer to he remembered for another quotation. A motherly woman who helped him with many confinement cases says that during one particularly difficult birth she complained, “I don’t see why babies have to come into the world—they cause so much suffering.”

“But, Maud,” the doctor answered, his blue eyes twinkling, “this is the only part of life that isn’t fun.” ★