Doc Susie is the biography of Susan Anderson, who was a physician in the Fraser Valley of Colorado. If you have ever seen the TV show, Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman, then this story will be familiar to you. Many say that Doctor Quinn’s character was largely based on Doc Anderson.
The biography covers most of Doc Anderson’s life, from her childhood in Indiana through her elderly years in Fraser. Doc Anderson was born in Indiana. In some strange circumstances, Susan’s dad and mom divorced, resulting in Susan moving with her brother and father to Wichita. They homesteaded there, but heard the call of the gold rush and ended up in the mining town of Cripple Creek, Colorado. Susan was a fine ...view middle of the document...
The training for doctors had suddenly changed with developing technology and medicine. Female doctors were no longer common and Susan’s training seemed inadequate. Susan’s employers ran her ragged as a nurse. Finally, her tuberculosis became so bad she had to make a choice: leave to regain health or die.
Susan chose to move to Fraser Valley to heal herself. After resting for a long period of time, Susan began working at a store. Being a small town, rumors carried, and people knew that Susan had at one time been a doctor. But, Susan kept that part of her life a secret until one day a man came storming into the store, begging her to “save Dave”. Little did she know that her first patient, Dave, was actually a horse! Nevertheless, she saved the horse and people in the community began to call on her as a doctor. The book continues to cover, chapter by chapter, stories of Doc Anderson helping people and saving people’s lives throughout the Fraser Valley. Many times Doc Susie’s patients could barely even pay her money. Nevertheless, Doc Susie chose to save lives, and take from her patients only what they could give.
Doc Suzie had a huge impact on the community of Fraser, and in some instances the community showed their appreciation. In one specific case, the community came together to build her a house. The railroad bigwigs came by one day and informed Doc Susie that her house was on land owned by the railroad company. People from the community heard about this and helped Doc Susie obtain land. Another person donated a barn and lumberjacks disassembled the barn and reconstructed it on Doc Susie’s new piece of land.
The book covers details of what life was like in the Fraser Valley at the time. From the frigid climate to the lonely lumberjacks, historical details were detailed and well-researched by the author. In reading this book, skiers today will understand the origin of many of the names at the present day Winter Park ski area, since several of them are based on old railroad terms.
Perhaps the most interested details in the book was the evolution of the railroad itself and Doc Susie’s part in it. Doc Susie began living in Fraser when the railroad passed over the dangerous Rollin’s Pass. This pass was known to be treacherous, and sometimes trains could be delayed for days. Sometimes Doc had to use the railroad to escort patients to Denver for medical procedures she could not do herself. Doc Susie even became a railroad doctor for a short time. Eventually, Doc Susie became the county Coroner. During this time, the...