Sue Young Histories

Myra King Merrick 1825 - 1988

January 13, 2008

myra king merrickMyra King Merrick 1825 - 1988 graduate of the Central Eclectic Medical College of Rochester and the first female General Physician in America and the first female physician in Ohio.

Merrick was founder, President and Professor of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children at the Cleveland Homeopathic Hospital College and practitioner to John D Rockerfeller and all the Standard Oil families, founder and President of the Women’s & Children’s Free Medical & Surgical Dispensary, forerunner of the Woman’s General Hospital, and one of the first female members of the American Institute of Homœopathy.

Merrick was born in Hinkley, Leicestershire, England, the daughter of Richard and Elizabeth (King) Merrick. She immigrated to Boston with her parents, worked in cotton mills, and moved to Cleveland in 1841.

After marrying Chas. H. Merrick in 1848, they moved to Connecticut. When her husband became ill, Merrick entered medicine to support her family and care for her husband.

As far as can be determined, she attended lectures at Hyatt’s Academy, New York; studied with (homeopath) Levi Ives (at Yale), New Haven, Conn.; was trained at Nichol’s Hydropathic Institute (under Mary Sargeant Gove-Nichols); and received her M.D. from Central Medical College, Rochester, N.Y., in 1852.

Returning to Cleveland in the 1850s, Merrick developed a thriving medical practice, especially among the rich and influential, such as John D Rockerfeller’s family. During the Civil War, while her husband served in the Union Army, she also ran the family lumber business.

Since the Western Homeopathic College was closed to females, Merrick helped establish Cleveland Homeopathic Hospital College for Women in 1867, serving as president and professor of obstetrics and diseases of women and children.

In 1878, Merrick and former student, Kate Parsons, founded Women’s & Children’s Free Medical & Surgical Dispensary, forerunner of the Woman’s General Hospital. Merrick was president until her death.

Merrick, who divorced her husband in 1881, had 2 children, Richard L. and Arthur (d. 1864). Her daughter-in-law, Eliza K. Merrick, practiced medicine with her. Merrick was a member of the Unity Church and the Homeopathic Society. She is buried in Elyria, Ohio.

cofounder of the (Cleveland) Homeopathic Hospital and Medical College for Women, Myra King Merrick, a Cleveland resident, graduated from the Central Eclectic Medical College of Rochester, New York in 1852.

Dr. Merrick returned to Cleveland where she became the first woman to practice medicine west of the Alleghenies.

Merrick was a keen homeopathic historian.


Any views or advice in this site should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment, especially if you know you have a specific health complaint