Albert Schmitz Shadd (1870-1915)
The Sash Our Forefathers Wore
Dr. Albert Schmitz Shadd was the fourth son of Garrison Shadd and Harriet Poindexter.
The prosperous African-American Shadd family emigrated from Pennsylvania to settle in North Buxton, Ontario in 1853 after the passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act in America.
Albert would be born in Chatham, Ontario in 1870 and would later become known as "Saskatchewan's great pioneer black doctor".
Albert attended a racially segregated school near Chatham and then enrolled in the medical program at the University of Toronto. There were white students who adamantly refused to sit beside Albert so he apparently challenged them to fight him or to accept him. The students apparently accepted him.
Due to a lack of money, the young Albert did not complete the program at the time. Instead he became a teacher. He returned to his Chatham school to teach for about a year to earn some money and then in 1896 he relocated to the small town of Kinistino in the Northwest Territories for a teaching job.
After having saved enough money, Albert would then return to Toronto to attend the University of Toronto to complete his medical degree. He graduated with honours.
Albert returned to Kinistino to practice medicine in a two room structure that he had built which contained an office for his medical practice and a bedroom. At the same time he continued teaching.
Albert would give his students a couple of days off every week so he could provide the residents of Kinistino with medical services.
Albert, like other members of his family were lifelong Conservatives.
In 1902, Albert was an unsuccessful candidate in the territorial elections.
Albert and his family moved to Melfort in 1904 where he started the Central Drug Store.
Aside from practicing medicine, he began farming, raising hogs and cattle and shipping grain. Once he delivered two babies to the same family at the same time, a baby boy in the farmhouse and a baby calf in the barn.
He helped to establish the Melfort Agricultural Society and was one of the main forces behind gaining a local hospital.
In the 1905 election, Albert sought election to Saskatchewan's first legislature as the Western Canada Equal Rights Party candidate where he came within 52 votes of becoming the first black person elected to a provincial legislature. In his forceful speeches and editorials he stressed stronger provincial government and used his skills to criticize Liberal leader Thomas Walter Scott.
Albert also became involved in many clubs and organizations. He served on the town council, the school board and was a member of the Board of Trade, the Masonic Order, the Independent Order of Foresters, the Loyal Orange Lodge (Melfort Loyal Orange Lodge No. 1846 - he had apparently dubbed himself a "Black Orangemen"), and was one of the first coroners in the province.
On December 26th 1906, Albert married Miss Jeanette Simpson at the All Saints' Anglican Church in Melford. The couple would go on to have two children, Garrison and Lavina.
In 1908 he became a newspaper man buying out the Prince Albert Advocate and publishing it as the Carrot River Journal on October 2nd, 1908.
On March 9th, 1915, Albert passed away from peritonitis in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
At his funeral there was not enough room in the church to fit the hundreds of people who attended.
Albert was buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Melfort.
The procession out of the cemetery was so long that it extended an entire mile. When the front of the line reached the cemetery the end of the line was still in town.