Patterson (nee Branscombe), Emily Susan (1835  -1909)

  • See Memorial Nursing Portrait collection, Fonds 18, Series 3, Subseries 7

Nora Duncan immortalized Emily Patterson in her poem “The Heroine of Moodyville” for her daring trip in 1883 on stormy seas, piloted by a Native in his dugout canoe, to give treatment to Mrs. Erwin, the wife of the Port Atkinson lighthouse keeper.

She had arrived with her husband and four children at Hastings Mill on Burrard Inlet in 1873.  In 1874 they moved to Moodyville.  While not a trained nurse, and was proficient in the effective use of herbal potions and remedies. Many stories attest to her success as midwife and giver of first aid and treatment to white settlers and natives alike.

Contents of Biographical File

  1. Shore, Helen L. “Emily Susan Patterson:  Vancouver’s First Nurse”, BC Historical      News, Summer 1993, pp. 20-21.
  2. B & W photograph