Tuesday, April 5, 2016

D is for Davey: Catherine Rose Davey, physician

I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge (April 2016), where we write 26 blog posts featuring each letter of the alphabet.

D is for Davey: Catherine Rose Davey, physician

Catherine Rose Davey was a doctor.

She was born 27 Jan 1851 in Deptford, England to Thomas Davey and Mary Nicholas. Deptford today is the area near the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London.

Sometime around 1852, the family traveled to the United States and settled first in Reading, Pennsylvania and later in Jeffersonville, Indiana, just across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky.

She married Joseph McFall on 8 March 1868 in Jeffersonville, Indiana by the pastor of Grace Methodist Episcopal Church[1] and they had four children.  Her husband was a car inspector for the Jeffersonville, Madison and Indianapolis Railroad and they later lived in Indianapolis.[2]

In 1888, she graduated from Eclectic Medical college with honors in Indianapolis.[3] She gave the valedictory address at commencement. The Jeffersonville Evening-News wrote,
“the address was devoted chiefly to the relation of the struggles woman has had to get into professions always occupied by man. The question of woman’s equality with man, she said had always been a disputed one. Jealousy she thought, had been the one thing that had prompted men to object to woman entering the professions. Notwithstanding the many impediments, woman had in the last century made more relative progress than man. The old prejudices were being slowly conquered. Until in recent years any amount of knowledge a woman might possess was valueless to her. All the professions were closed against her, and the only hope she had of earning an honest living was by domestic labor. The medical profession was one of the first to be opened to woman. The first woman was graduated from a medical college in 1847 and until that time her relation to the profession has been very clearly defined. The admission of woman into the medical profession was the greatest triumph of the nineteenth century. Now there are hundreds of regularly graduated woman practicing in the country, and they are taking equal rank with the men.”
By now, she was known as Dr. Rose C. McFall and had a practice in Indianapolis and later in Chicago. She provided services for diseases of woman and children. She delivered babies and helped with adoptions. She provided apartments for private maternity cases. It is likely she helped unwed women deliver babies and give them up for adoption.

Advertisement, Chicago Tribune, 4 April 1897


Advertisement, Chicago Tribune, 25 September 1902


After her husband died in a railroading accident, she lived with her daughter and husband in San Diego, California. She died 6 Feb 1932. Her obituary was in the San Diego Union.[4]
"Pioneer Woman Physician Passes"
     Believed to have been one of the first women physicians in this country, Dr. Rose C McFall, 81, died yesterday at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Edward H Dowell, 1453 Second avenue. She had made her home with Mrs. Dowell for about 16 years. The body is at the Benbough mortuary. Funeral arrangements will be announced later.
     A native of London, Dr. McFall was brought to the United States when she was two years old. For a time the family lived in Pennsylvania, but later moved to Indiana, where Dr. McFall, while a young girl, received her first medical training by treating soldiers injured in the Civil war. She gained something of a "Florence Nightingale" reputation for her kindnesses to members of both Union and Confederate armies.
     It was not until 1874 that she seriously took up the study of medicine and followed this profession until 1906, when she retired.
So Rose started out as a nurse and then became a doctor, taking care of women and children.




[1] "Indiana Marriages 1811-1959," database & digital images, FamilySearch.org (http://familysearch.org), Clark Co, vol I 1865-1869, p 380, McFall-Davy.
[2] Indianapolis City Directory (Indianapolis, Indiana: R.L. Polk & Co.), 1879 p 328, Joseph McFall; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 March 2013).
[3] Jeffersonville (Indiana) Evening-News, Jeffersonville, Clark Co, Indiana, Newspaperarchive.com, 17 Aug 1888, p 2 "A Successful Doctress," Mrs Rose C. McFall.
[4] "Pioneer Woman," San Diego Union, 7 February 1932, Dr. Rose C. McFall obit; GenealogyBank (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 13 March 2013), Newspaper Archives 1846-2007.

Copyright © 2016 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

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