MOUNT VERNON — The dedication of the Historical Marker commemorating the career of Dr. Jane Payne will take place at 2 p.m. Friday, June 1, at the Buchwald Plaza at the corner of Gambier and Main streets.

The Ohio History Connection will be represented as well as local dignitaries.

Refreshments and reception will follow at Crickets on South Main.

The effort to obtain the marker for Payne was organized by Questors Chapter 159, which announced its fund-raising drive in January of 2017. They also obtained a $750 grant to help pay for the marker.

Dr. Payne was one of the first women doctors in Ohio. Born in Bristol England in 1825, she came to America with her family in 1832. Her father, Henry Payne, became an Episcopal missionary in Ohio. Due to childhood injuries and infections, Jane was lame and her eyesight was limited. Her desire to become a physician was encouraged by her father and through her apprenticeship with doctors John Russell and Matthew Thompson in Mount Vernon.

In 1860, Jane enrolled in the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and in 1861, she graduated as the valedictorian. She returned to Mount Vernon in 1861 and set up her medical practice, advertising in the newspaper, “Free Healthcare for Women and Children.”

She practiced for 20 years and died of breast cancer in 1882. She is buried at Mound View Cemetery on Wooster Road in Mount Vernon.

She went down in the history of Knox County as a “He” until her obituary by Leckey Harper, owner and editor of the Democratic Banner, was discovered.

Karen Smith, secretary of Questors, said they are working with the Russell-Cooper House to have Dr. Russell’s office and relics open for tours as well. Dr. Payne did her two years of internship with Dr. Russell at his office.

The research on Payne was done by Dr. Lorle Porter, retired history professor at Muskingum University, who described it as a “frustrating job” because the doctor left no paper trail.

Porter wrote the book, “Unexpected Healer: The Story of Jane Payne, M.D. in 19th Century Mount Vernon, Ohio.”


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