Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Dr. Bates, Mary Helen Barker, that is.

A short re-post from an earlier time. I've been busy with an accident last week and it seems to be neverending. (Sigh)

Mary Helen Barker Bates. Sounds like a made-up name. It couldn't be further from the truth.

Mary Helen Barker Bates was born in 1845 in New York. Her father was Dr. Ezra Barker, who also had a practice in there. Her mother was Jane Ruth Freeman and Dr. Barker was her second marriage. The two were married in 1843. The couple had three children, two girls and one boy with Helen the eldest.

Mary Helen Barker Bates (b.1845-d.1934) was the daughter of Dr. Ezra Barker who practiced in New York. She graduated from the Woman’s Medical College in Philadelphia. In her early career, she practiced in Salt Lake City, Utah where some of her patients were the family of Mormon leader Brigham Young. It was there she met and married George Bates in September 1876. 

In 1878. at the age of 33, she moved to the mining town of Leadville, Colorado. Leadville for those who don’t know sits at 10,152 feet above sea level in the Colorado Rockies. While there she founded the Ladies Relief Hospital. In 1881 she moved to Denver for her husband’s health. 

Mary was also one of the early women licensed by the State. (Her license #271). She took a special interest in Woman’s Suffrage, children and education. She introduced the Colorado Law for the Examination and Care of Public School Children which went into effect in 1910.

Her husband died in 1886 and Mary never remarried. Instead, she appears to have devoted her life to the betterment of others. While in Denver and still practicing medicine another Mary Bates, also a doctor, arrived. She was Mary Elizabeth Bates and her story is just as exciting. More on her later.

I have a short story in a new anthology: Check it out


Doris Gardner-McCraw -

Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Western Writers of America,
Colorado Author League,
Women Writing the West

Angela Raines - author: Telling Stories Where Love & History Meet


Julie Lence said...

Nice blog, Doris. I had no idea about the Ladies Relief Hospital in Leadville. I haven't really taken time to explore the town. Usually, we're either driving through or stopping for pizza before going to the lake. Will definitely have to explore more. Maybe next summer. Hugs!

Renaissance Women said...

Thank you, Julie. Leadville has such a rich history and Dr. MHB Bates is a fascinating subject.

Thanks for the kind words.