She was a woman ahead of her time. Dr. Kate Newcomb was one of the only doctors in Northern Wisconsin in the early 1900’s.
Newcomb lived and served the people of Woodruff, Wisconsin in Oneida County and served people in the surrounding areas sometimes hundreds of miles away.
Author Becky Wojahn wrote a book about Newcomb called “Dr. Kate; Angel on Snowshoes.” She says that Newcomb was healing people in a time where there wasn’t a lot of women in that profession.
“Which made her a really unique figure because of the way she had to provide services,” said Wojahn. ” She was kind of a ground breaker in a lot of different ways.
Wojahn says Newcomb was incredibly beloved in her community. Because of the tough winters up north and the lack of hospitals in the area, Dr. Kate would drive hundreds of miles to get to her patients. She even traveled sometimes by showshoe or canoe to get to her hard to reach patients.
“In the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s in northern Wisconsin, in the winter, the roads became impassable. Her husband would help snowmobile her out to places often times that would become impassable and she’d pull out her snowshoes and hike her way in. That was really how she visited her patients,” Wojahn said.
To hear more about Dr. Kate, click on the audio player above.