Fraser: Remembering the incredible life of ‘Doc Susie’
September 12, 2008
The incredible life of Dr. Susan “Doc Susie” Anderson will be the highlight of a free Grand County Characters presentation, brought to the Juniper Library by resident and performance artist Kathy Naples.
Anderson graduated from the University of Michigan, an “authentic lady physician.” Naples’ presentation begins around the time Anderson first arrived in Fraser in 1907 as a semi-invalid suffering from consumption. The doctor arrived at a time of tremendous growth and change in the Fraser Valley. It is said that she had to prove herself by first treating an injured horse before the locals would have her treat their injuries and illnesses.
During the Prohibition, Anderson, like many upstanding small-town citizens those days, was “deputized,” to assist in law enforcement’s efforts to uncover hidden alcohol stashes. During that time, she was famous for “uncovering six pints of hooch in the occupied bed of Mrs. George Carch of Fraser.” Mr. Carch received summary trial in county court, was sentenced to 30 days in jail, and had to pay a $300 fine as a result.
Doc Susie remained in Fraser, practicing medicine, for almost five decades and her home is still standing.
The Cozens Ranch Museum also holds an extensive display of her tools and equipment.
Naples has been with the Grand County Characters for about six years and also plays Maggie Crawford, Mary Owens Jones and Mary Elizabeth Cozens. It was her portrayal of Cozens that convinced Dave and Joe Kelly that she was ready for a bigger role. Dave said she does a tremendous job.
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“She has her doctor’s bag and almost the same outfit … When she really dresses up, she looks an awful lot like Doc Susie,” he said. The two approached her about the opportunity when the actor playing Doc Susie moved away. Naples has since embraced the role.
A librarian by trade, Naples is a long-time resident of Grand County and her valuable research lends authenticity to the Grand County Characters group. Her daughters, Katelyn and Heidi, have also contributed to the characterizations of younger Grand County pioneers. Her husband, Dave, plays David H. Moffat, Ezra Cozens, and William Zane “Billy” Cozens, Jr.
Kathy has been portraying Anderson for at least three years with the Grand County Characters group ” a non-profit organization formed in the late 1990s. Its volunteers are “dedicated to the accurate portrayal of Grand County and Colorado history,” presenting educational and entertaining programs by invitation for public and private events.
Characters available for portrayals include those of some of the most influential Grand County citizens: Edward Louis Berthoud, Frank S. and William Newton Byers, Butch Cassidy, Mary Elizabeth Cozens, Mary York Cozens, Sarah (Sadie) Cozens, William Zane “Billy” Cozens, Jr.; William Zane “Willie” Cozens III, Maggie Crawford, Grenville M. Dodge, Charles and Elizabeth Jones Free, Bertha “Bertie” and Lewis Gaskill, Granby Hillyer, Alice “Ali” and John “Laps” Lapsley Ish, Susan M. Johnston, Mary Owens and Solomon Jones, Sophie Linke, David H. and Frances Moffat, Jacob “Jake” N. and Laura Miner Pettingell, Etta Place, Anna Rohracher, Charley Royer, Frank Selak, Leonard Sloss, Preston Smith, Sundance Kid, William “Ute Bill” Jefferson Thompson, Joseph “Judge” Wescott, Charles “Texas Charley” W. Wilson, and Josephine “Josie” Young.
To become a member or to book a character, visit http://www.grandcountycharacters.org.