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Dr. Marion Cheek Papers - x-scanned; y-paper filed; z-scan filed

 Collection
Identifier: MSS-022

Contents

The collection contains personal memoranda of Dr. Marion A Cheek, letters to Mrs. Sarah B. Cheek, original case documentation, ledgers, and various other correspondence.

Dates

  • 1878 - 1903

Conditions Governing Access

All rights reserved by Georgetown University Law Library unless otherwise noted.

Biography of Dr. Marion Alonzo Cheek

Dr. Marion A. Cheek was born July 14, 1853 in Orange County, North Carolina. He was the son of Adolphus Williamson Cheek and Cornelia Susan Fowler.

In 1874, after graduating from medical school, Dr. Cheek was recruited by Presbyterian mssionary Dr. Daniel McGilvary to work with the Laos Mission as a medical officer. While on his journey to Chiang Mai, Thailand in 1875, he met and married Sarah A. Bradley. While working with mission, Dr. Cheek raised a pledge of $10,000 from the US to build a hospital. Unfortunately, the mission board would not allow it, causing disappointment and bitterness with Dr. Cheek. Another issue was that the misson did not approve of his business practices and his attempts open a private clinic. He severed his ties with mission in 1885 and officially resigned in 1886. He continued to serve as a doctor to mission families in times of crisis.

While working with the mission, Dr. Cheek became poplular among the foreign community for his hunting skills and the Loa for his medical knowledge. In 1876, Dr. Cheek healed the chao's principal wife, and was rewarded for saving her by being given a slave girl named Noja and a block of the land. He used this land to build a dispensary, a hospital and houses which would be the beginning of his timber business.

In 1884, after returning from America on leave, Dr. Cheek used his contacts with Lao to help him establish a foothold in the teak trade. He became the Borneo Company's Chiang Mai agent, and in return for his services, he obtained access to capital for leases, foresters, and elephants. He borrowed Borneo Company funds to operate a paddle steamer, start a boatyard, and form a construction company that built houses, schools and a teak bridge over the Mae Ping.

Cheek ran out of capital in 1888, and the Siamese government loaned him funds to continue his business. However, between 1890 and 1892 Cheek defaulted on the interest payments for the two loans, and the Siamese government attempted to seize his property. This triggered a diplomatic episode where the American government mounted a claim on his behalf.

Dr. Marion Cheek died on July 4, 1895 while on board a ship bound for Hong Kong. He is buried in Bangkok, Thailand.

Extent

4 linear feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Thai

Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts Repository

Contact:
Georgetown University Law Library
111 G. Street NW
Washington D.C. 20001
202-662-9133