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Amazing Wabash Women: Dr. Rose Kidd Beere

In 1859, Rose Kidd Beere (1859-1927) , the daughter of the renowned Wabash lawyer and US Army Officer, Meredith Kidd and Millicent (Fisher) Kidd, was born in Wabash in the family home on Maple Street. Because her father was stationed in many western posts following the Civil War, she spent many of her formative years in the "wild west."

She returned to Wabash in the 1870's and graduated from Wabash High School in the Class of 1878. Upon graduation, Rose headed back to the West she loved so much and soon found herself marrying Edmund Burke Beere in Albuquerque, NM. Together they had three sons, Donald - Lt. Col. US Army 82nd Division World War I; Stearn - an oil drilling contractor in the California oil

fields and former Sgt. World War I; and Robert - Panhandle oil scout and writer for petroleum publications.

Her husband, Edmund Beere, died in 1894 in Minneapolis, MN. Following his death, Rose returned to the east, and entered the Woman's Medical College of Northwestern University at Chicago, Illinois, winning her professional degree upon graduation with the class of 1892. She practiced in Durango for three years, coming to Denver in 1895 as superintendent of the State Home for Dependent Children.

After the battle of Santiago in 1898, Major Kidd, her father, a Civil war veteran, wrote to her, "This is the first war of our country in which our family has no part. I am too old and your boys are too young." Rose simply replied, "You take care of my boys and I'll represent our family in this war. I can't raise a regiment or carry a gun, but I can help nurse the men who do."

She went to Manila in 1898 as a representative of the Colorado Springs Red Cross, the first woman granted permission to go to the islands on a government transport by the Secretary of War of the United States. She sailed from San Francisco in August, accompanied by seven nurses sent by the California and Oregon Red Cross organizations. They sailed on the USAT (United States Army Transport) Arizona, she left San Francisco for Hawaii then the Philippines with the 5th US Philippine Expeditionary Force.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, the military would not allow Rose to travel as a doctor. Despite this, she immediately took charge of the Manilla Government Hospital. For the next six months, she supervised the work of caring for wounded soldiers before any government nurses arrived to aid . During this time in the Philippines she also worked tirelessly to expose corruption, the abhorrent conditions that the soldiers were experiencing, and the terrible rations being served to them. Disliked by many of the army officers, she was loved and adored by the soldiers themselves. Rose earned the nickname, "Ministering Angel" because she was often seen working day and night to provide care for the dying.

Following the war, she returned to Denver, CO, and was named head physician of the Denver Government Hospital. In the following years she was awarded membership to the United States Spanish War Veterans Organization. She was the first woman in the US to be given such membership. It was also in Denver before the war, that she was made superintendent of the State Home for Dependent Children and the Denver Area County Physician. She was also a member of the Colorado State Board of Arbitration, an Assistant Health Commissioner, and Superintendent of the County Hospital.

Dr. Rose Kidd Beere spent 40 years as a practicing physician at a time when women were believed incapable of being a doctor. It is said she had a keen intelligence and a magnetic personality. Moving to Washington DC when her health began to fail, she lived with two of her sons who worked in government positions. Rose Kidd Beere died after a long struggle with diabetes on May 20, 1927 at the age of 67.

Her cremated remains were returned to Wabash and taken immediately to Jones Chapel. Final burial was in Falls Cemetery where she lies today, just a short distance from where she started the education that took her half-way around the world and allowed her a career most women at the time could not even imagine. Dr. Beere was written about years after her death in the Wabash Plain Dealer. The article was called, "Wabash Native Was a Woman Ahead of Her Time."



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