Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Mackenzie, John Kenneth

MACKENZIE, JOHN KENNETH (1850–1888), medical missionary, born at Yarmouth, Norfolk, on 25 Aug. 1860, was younger son of Alexander Mackenzie, a native of Ross-shire, by his wife Margaret, a member of a Breconshire family. His parents soon removed to Bristol. After being educated at a private school there, he entered a merchant's office as clerk in 1865. He supplied the defects of his education by private study, and devoted all his leisure time to evangelical work among the poorer classes in Bristol. Soon abandoning commercial life, he studied medicine with the intention of becoming a medical missionary. In October 1870 he entered the Bristol Medical School, and in 1874 obtained medical diplomas from London and Edinburgh. For a time he attended the Royal Ophthalmic Hospital in London. In 1875 the London Missionary Society appointed him superintendent of a newly founded medical station at Hankow, China, where he arrived on 8 June after an adventurous voyage. A mission had been established there in 1861, and a hospital was founded in 1867, connected with the new medical station. He threw himself with ardour into the work, making excursions into the surrounding district, and gaining the confidence of the natives by his skill as a doctor. The unhealthy climate forced him to seek another place of residence, and in March 1879 he was removed to Tien-tsin, where a hospital had been established ten years before. Here, as at Hankow, he speedily gained a high reputation among the Chinese, and he obtained funds for the erection of a new hospital, which was opened on 2 Dec. 1880. One of his most important works in Tien-tsin was the founding of a medical school for native students. Owing to the illness of his wife he returned to London in February 1883, but arrived at Tien-tsin again on 25 Sept. 1883. He died there 1 April 1888 of small-pox, contracted while attending a native patient.

[Mrs. Bryson's John Kenneth Mackenzie, Medical Missionary in China, 1891, compiled from his diary.]

A. H. M.