Friday, August 7, 2009
The Stars for a Light Cheney Duvall, M.D. #1 by Lynn and Gilbert Morris
Cheney Duvall graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Women's Medical College which was the end and the beginning of her long road to becoming a doctor. Now she would secure a position and be a good doctor. But this was in a day when women were accepted as nurses but not usually as doctors. When Asa Mercer arranged to take a large group of single women to Seattle he needed to hire a physician. He met Cheney and was delighted to hire her as a doctor for the women and as chaperon, too. The ship left New York and would sail to Havana, Panama City, San Francisco and finally Seattle. They were barely underway when many women were laid low by sea sickness. This included Dr. Duvall. Her male nurse, Shiloh, was a great help as he was not affected by the motion of the ship and sea. The voyage was a time to truly get to know each other on board since they were "captive" in a small area floating on the waves. Not only was there sickness of the body which Dr. Duvall did her best to treat, greed and jealousy were major problems. Even the Pinkertons and Panamanian guerrilla forces were involved in the journey to the newly settled west called Seattle. Cheney set out to be a good doctor for the women and then return home in six months. She learned that one never knows what will happen next.