Already well-versed in the natural healing properties of herbs and oils, Jennie Pickett longs to become a doctor. But the Oregon frontier of the 1870s doesn't approve of such innovations as women attending medical school. To leave grief and guilt behind, as well as support herself and her challenging young son, Jennie cares for an elderly woman using skills she's developed on her own. When her patient dies, Jennie discovers that her heart has become entangled with the woman's widowed husband, a man many years her senior. Their unlikely romance may lead her to her ultimate goal--but the road will be winding and the way forward will not always be clear. Will Jennie find shelter in life's storms? Will she discover where healing truly lives?
Willamette Medical School
"The origin of formal medical education in Oregon was the establishment of the medical department of the Willamette University in 1865. After an aborted attempt at establishing the Oregon Medical College in Portland, the first real endeavor at professional medical education began on March 3, 1867 at the University in Salem with three graduates in medicine.." This was the first professional school established in the Pacific Northwest.
Highlights from Willamette University's early History
Willamette's origins date back to Methodist Missionaries and the establishment of a mission school for Indian children (1834). Jennie's husband, Josiah Lamberson Parrish would arrive as part of the "Great Reinforcement." In 1839, the trained blacksmith volunteered to join Jason Lee's mission in the Willamette Valley.Parrish and 52 others sailed on the ship Lausanne around Cape Horn in South America to the Columbia River and on to Oregon City in what has been called the Great Reinforcement of the Methodist Mission.They set sail on October 9, 1839, from New York City.
In 1844, the missionary school for Indian children was sold to the Oregon Institute and converted to a boarding school for settlers' children. In the early 1850's the school became "Wallamet University." The university catalog of 1870-71 first used the current spelling, Willamette, in the school’s name.
By 1872, the University included an elementary school, a Commercial Department open to male and female students, the Medical Department, and a Music Department that in 1872 began to grant its own degrees. Annual enrollment in the 1870s averaged 280, of which only 81 were college students.
Jennie graduated from Willamette Medical School in 1879 and practiced in both Salem and Portland.
Medical Doctor and Natural Healer
Jennie Pickett Parrish is a natural healer, but her dream to become a doctor in 1870s Oregon puts her at odds with the world around her. As she struggles to keep her dream alive, she finds that the road to fulfillment winds past love, heartache, and plenty of surprises along the way.
"Alternative doctors throughout the past two centuries have identified themselves as practitioners of "natural healing," by which they have meant they use remedies and procedures that support and stimulate the healing power of nature, the innate tendency of the body to react to illness and work to restore itself to equilibrium and wholeness" Early practioners saw their method that has "always been...to learn the course pointed out by nature," then to provide "those things best calculated to aid her in restoring health." Very similar to this 1999 statement: "Naturopathic physicians believe that the body has considerable power to heal itself. It is the physician's role to facilitate and enhance this process with the aid of natural, nontoxic therapies." Source: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/altmed/clash/history.html
Jennie had three children, Douglas, Gracie and Josie. Josiah Parrish, father of the two girls, was 37 years older than Jennie and contributed to her interest in medicine by opening a pharmacy beneath her offices in Portland, OR.