Post copyright 2015 by Doris McCraw
As most of you know, I also research early women doctors in Colorado prior to 1900. Now the myth of the lone women, fighting prejudice is in our collective consciousness. But was that true. In some cases yes, but I would also contend that there were just as many who had loving and supportive husbands and family. In the case of Julia E. Loomis I think it went even further. Below are the basic facts.
Julia E. Loomis was probably the first medical college woman doctor in Colorado Springs. One early source says she arrived here as early as 1876. While that may or may not be the case, she definitely was here in 1878. Her ad in the August 1878 Gazette read, “Mrs. J. E. Loomis, M.D. Special attention give to diseases of women and children. Residence corner of Tejon and Kiowa Street.”
Julia was born on January 16, 1816 to Samuel and Polly Frizell of New Woodstock, New York the youngest of ten daughters. (There were fourteen children born to this union) On January 7, 1836 Julia married J.C.(John) Loomis. They remained in New York state, during the early years of their marriage. Both of their children were born there. A son, John Lewis Loomis b.1838 and a daughter, Julia Gertrude Loomis, b.1844.
In 1856 Julia, John and family moved west to Washington Township, Buchanan County, Iowa. The town of Independence, founded in 1847, was the county seat. Their daughter, Gertrude, married Charles W. Taylor on May 22, 1861 in Buchanan County at the age of 18. Three years later on April 1, 1864 at the age of 21, Gertrude died. She is buried in Independence Iowa.
Although their son John Lewis Loomis did not live with the family, he also took up residence in Independence, Iowa at around the same time. He and his wife Alice M. Loomis had a son, Linn born on December 26, 1868 but died January 7, 1869. Linn is buried in Oakwood cemetery, Independence, Iowa. John was the editor of the 'Bulletin' in 1865 but sold it the following year. He also served as postmaster until 1880 when he, Alice and their family moved to Colorado. They had two other children, Melvin b. around 1870 and Gertrude b. around 1872.
Julia attended the Cleveland Woman’s Homeopathic College where she graduated with her M.D., in February of 1870 at the age of fifty-four. From there she and John moved to McMinnville, Warren County, Tennessee. During 1872-73 she spent some time in Atlanta, Georgia and return during the early part of 1876. An ad in the 'Atlanta Constitution' during that time read in part “Mrs.Loomis not only attends to general practice, but gives special attention to CHRONIC DISEASES of every description, in which, as well as Obstetrics she has had marked success”.
|Pikes Peak as seen from Fountain Co. 1870 |
After Julia and her husband John arrived in Colorado Springs, she set up her medical practice. This was at a time when many 'doctors' were coming to the area. Dr. S. Edwin Solly from England and know for his work on climatology and health had arrived 1874. He had written a number of pamphlets describing the area and its merits as a healing agent. There were also a number of 'quacks' who arrived, many who called themselves doctors, but did not have the qualifications or certificate to prove their worth. Julia continued her chosen profession until her death on March 12,1880 of pneumonia. She was sixty-four years old.
|Headstone for Julia E. Loomis|
Evergreen Cemetery, Colorado Springs, CO.
Now why do I think it was more? As you can tell the family moved a great deal. Julia and her husband John were together through thick and thin. If he hadn't supported her, do you think Julia would have managed medical school in her fifties? The obituary in the paper was probably written by her husband John. It is flowery and full of tributes to her. But to me the most telling is her headstone. John had the letters MD placed after her name. She is the only woman doctor prior to 1900 in the cemetery that has that designation. The headstone itself is far larger than most. Also look up what MIZPAH means. You will see it on the photo below. So yes, I believe they had a great love for each other, it is supposition, but I believe it to be true. There is no correspondence found to indicate one way or the other.
|Notice the MD after the name|
Doris McCraw also writes under the pen name Angela Raines. Check out her books with Praire Rose Publications. Doris also writes haiku which is posted on the blog:http://fivesevenfivepage.blogspot.com
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