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Matheson, Elizabeth (1866–1958)

Elizabeth Matheson.
Saskatchewan Archives Board R-A17686-1

Elizabeth Beckett Scott was born near Campbellford, Ontario, on January 6, 1866. When she was 12, her family moved to Morris, Manitoba. Later she taught for three years, then registered at the Women’s Medical College, Queen’s University, Kingston in 1887. After a year of training, she went to Bombay, India, as a missionary. After contracting malaria, she moved back to Canada and married John “Grace” Matheson. The following year, the couple was posted to Onion Lake, Saskatchewan. Elizabeth returned to Toronto in 1896 to complete her medical training and receive an MD degree from the University of Trinity College, Toronto. The NWT College of Physicians and Surgeons refused to register her, so she went to Winnipeg to repeat fourth year medicine and received a second MD degree in 1904. In 1908, the three-storey hospital at Onion Lake, with four wards and an operating room, was completed. When her husband died in 1916, Elizabeth became principal of the Onion Lake school. She completed her career as Assistant Medical Supervisor of Public Schools in Winnipeg from 1918 to 1948. Elizabeth died in San Antonio, Texas, on January 15, 1958, at the age of 92. Her daughter, Ruth Matheson Buck, wrote her biography, The Doctor Rode Side-Saddle (1974, reprinted 2003 by the Canadian Plains Research Center).

C. Stuart Houston

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