April 19, 1889: Susan Dew Hoffone Licensed to Practice Medicine in W.Va.

Susan Dew Hoff

On April 19, 1889, Susan Dew Hoff passed the state medical exam, becoming one of the first licensed women physicians in West Virginia history.

As a youth, the Hampshire County native had moved with her family to West Milford in Harrison County, where her father was a doctor. She sometimes accompanied him on house calls.

And he encouraged her to pursue a medical career, but medical colleges were closed to women in the mid-1800s.

As Hoff raised a family of five, she self-taught herself by reading her father’s medical books and discussing medicine with him.

In April 1889, at age 42, she traveled to Wheeling to take the exam. Not only did she pass, she received the highest score of anyone in her group.

Hoff practiced medicine in West Milford for more than four decades. In the early days, she made house calls on horseback, charging $1 for each call plus $1 per mile.

She died in 1933 at age 90. A West Milford clinic that provides free health and dental care is named the Susan Dew Hoff Memorial Clinic in her honor.