Woman of the Century/Harriet Beecher Conant

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CONANT, Miss Harriet Beecher, physician, born in Greensboro, Vt., 10th June, 1852. Her HARRIET BEECHER CONANT.jpgHARRIET BEECHER CONANT. father, E. Tolman Conant. was a life-long resident of that town. His immediate ancestors were natives of Hollis. N. H., and those more remote lived in Salem, Mass., and were of Puritan descent Her maternal ancestors were among the early inhabitants of Londonderry, N. H., which was settled by a colony of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians in 1719. Dr. Conant's childhood was spent on a farm. Being second in age in a large family, she early showed her natural gift as a leader and an organizer. Educational advantages in the rural districts of New England were somewhat limited, but she improved every opportunity to acquire knowledge. The death of her father, when she was quite young, changed the tenor of her life. The plan of an academical course of study was dropped, and in practice she accepted the principle of doing the work which came to her. She began to teach in the public schools of Vermont. After a good degree of success there, she went to Unionville, Conn., where she remained six years, the last three as teacher in the high school. From there she was called to be principal of the public schools in St. Johnsbury, Vt., which responsible position she held for three years, when she was obliged by ill health to resign. Going to Minnesota in search of strength and rest, she was enabled, after a time, to carry out her long-cherished wish, and she entered the medical department of the University of Minnesota in October, 1888, and was graduated in the class of 1891. Through the influence of the dean, she received the appointment of resident physician in the South Dakota Hospital for the Insane in Yankton, the duties of which office she assumed the day after receiving her diploma.