Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

Dr. Bertha Delight Beckwith

« Back to Projects Dashboard

Project Tags

I am looking to put together the family tree for Dr. Bertha Delight Beckwith. I have posted here all of the info I have on her to date.mis it possible for us to share info in order to create a profile for her here on a I believe her grandpa was Samuel Beckwith Sr.

Woodlawn’s Lady Doctor, Bertha Beckwith

Published on June 12, 2008 Bertha Delight Beckwith

During the late 1800s, many young people from the West Cornwallis area left their home villages and moved to the United States. Some of these Nova Scotians became rich and famous in their adopted country.

Bertha Delight Beckwith was born in Woodlawn April 18, 1875, one of nine children and the daughter of Samuel and Jemima (nee Saunders) Beckwith and the granddaughter of one of the first settlers in Berwick, Samuel Beckwith Jr.

Bertha’s father was a farmer and a fisherman and the family homestead was located at the corner of the Shore Road, now called the Nollet Beckwith Road, named after her brother , born November 18, 1876. Nollet continued to operate the farm until his demise in 1942. With the exception of Nollet, all the surviving children eventually established their homes in the United States.

Bertha was very career-minded and, when her education drew to an end at the Burlington school, she moved to Saint John, New Brunswick to further her studies. Moving to the U.S., Bertha specialized in medicine, earning her degree as a registered nurse. Attending New York University, where she received her doctorate in medicine, Bertha was not the first person in the Beckwith family to become a doctor. She was certainly the first woman of that family, the first woman of West Cornwallis and among very few women in Canada overall to attain such status in an era when women did not have the right to vote and were discouraged from becoming doctors. Some universities flatly refused to accept women and others made their terms so difficult few women pursued their education in medicine beyond nursing.

World War I was an especially brutal war, but the large number of casualties and desperate calls for more doctors was not enough to override the mandate of “male doctors only” in the military. Dr. Bertha Beckwith was more concerned with aiding the victims and, rather than not participate at all, she chose to go overseas and serve as a nurse. She was considered to be the first female doctor to practice the art of physiotherapy on wounded soldiers.

If Dr. Beckwith had witnessed more than her share of atrocities, she never said so, but shortly after her return to the U.S., she gave up practicing medicine and became an actress on the New York stage. The New York Times newspaper reported “Miss Bertha Delight Beckwith, a talented Nova Scotia girl, is making a name for herself in New York City. She appeared in musical monologues and has a most pleasing personality and demonstrated great ability. The Times wishes the talented young woman success in unbounded measure.”

A service held at Riverside Church in New York City indicates Bertha Beckwith probably spent the remainder of her life there prior to her demise in August of 1967. She now rests in the Burlington Cemetery, near the home where she was born.

Also see

Samuel H.V. Jr.Beckwith (b. 6 February 1840, d. 1 June 1905)

Samuel H.V. Jr.Beckwith (son of Samuel Hustis Vincent Beckwith and Mary Sanford) was born 6 February 1840, and died 1 June 1905. He married Jemima Saunders, daughter of Walter Saunders and Margaret Toole.

Notes for Samuel H.V. Jr.Beckwith:

Information gotten from Sanford's Genealogy Book

They had 6 children, one of whom was Bertha Delight Beckwith, B. 19 April 1876. It has been my pleasure to exchange many letters with Dr. Delight who is still active in 1965. Dr. Delight excelled in school and college in public speaking and completed her two year course at the New York School of Expression in one year. She was the first to broadcast a Shakespearean Play, the first Children's program, the first to give readings with musical background and the first to give Biblical readings over the then new medium, radio. In 1917 she enrolled at New York U. and Post Graduate Hospital for practical experience in Medical Therapy and sailed for France in 1918 with the First Physiotherapy Unit of the U.S. Army. She served for three years and on her return obtained her Doctorate. Intensely patriotic, she has a great love for her adopted land and also the land of her birth, something she holds in common with many of us born in Nova Scotia who have lived our lives in the United States. She is a member of the Colonial Dames of the 17th Century; National Society of Patriotic Women of America; National Society Daughters of the Union of which she is Chaplain; a member of the English Speaking Union of the United States; Canadian Women's Club of New York City;Daughters of the American Colonists; is a Pilgrim of the United States and was an honored guest at the dinner given H. R. H. Prince Philip in New York in 1794. From information in Dr. Delight Beckwith's letters I gather the following. "In the summer of 1820, Grandfather (Samuel Beckwith Sr.) with two of his brothers went to Berwick (Nova Scotia). One was a Medical Doctor, the other a Lawyer. One went to Halifax, one to Lockhartville and grandfather remained in Berwick. It was then little more than a wilderness with only paths thru the woods. He was a surveyor, singing school teacher and J. P. He surveyed roads through Berwick and the Annapolis Valley, to the top of Long Point Mr., to Harborville and Black Rock and surveyed the land for the wharfs on the Fundy Shore. he had the first singing school in the valley. He built a large Colonial home in Berwick where he took his bride (Mary Sanford). This home remained in the Beckwith family for many years and is now owned by Charles Saunders (1962). Delight says she can remember her father tell of how his mother would go far and wide to visit the sick. She was well versed in the use of herbs, so necessary in that day as doctors were many miles away and even she had to go on horseback to reach the sick. She had a wonderful way with the children."

Children of Samuel H.V. Jr.Beckwith and Jemima Saunders are: Bertha Delight Beckwith MacMasters, b. 19 April 1876, d.

Bertha Delight Beckwith, "New York, County Naturalization Records, 1791-1980"

Name: Bertha Delight Beckwith Event Type: Naturalization Event Date: 1918 Event Place: New York, New York, United States Age: Birth Year: Birthplace: Volume: Declaration of intention index 1913-1924 Bar, Louis-Bernstein, Sam GS Film number: 001522214 Digital Folder Number: 005395004 Image Number: 02079

Bertha D Beckwith in household of Rachel I White, "New York, State Census, 1905" Name: Bertha D Beckwith Residence Place: Manhattan, New York, New York Age: 25 Birth Year (Estimated): 1880 Birthplace: Nova Scotia Relationship to Head of Household: Lodger Race: W Gender: Family Number: 805 Page: 15 Reference ID: 26 GS Film number: 1433100 Digital Folder Number: 4518321 Image Number: 00633

	Household	Gender	Age	Birthplace

Head Rachel I White F 39y United States Lodger D C Shield F 30y United States Lodger Mary Mcwilliam F 27y Canada Lodger Bertha D Beckwith F 25y Nova Scotia Lodger Margart Stewart F 30y Canada Lodger Sarah Hickey F 38y Canada Lodger Jean Campell F 38y Scotland Lodger Hanna Lister F 23y Canada Lodger Myine Lister F 38y Canada Lodger Adelaide Rush F 40y United States Lodger Dorothy Wilson F 24y Canada Lodger Jessie Smith F 25y Canada Lodger Mary Maloy F 30y Canada Lodger Susanna Hatmaker F 38y United States Lodger Grace Puttnam F 33y Canada Lodger Susie Hayward F 33y United States Lodger Elizabeth Bechtolf F 38y Germany Lodger Ellen Berggren F 20y Sweden Lodger Minie Lauge F 26y Germany Lodger Julia Taft F 20y United States Lodger Bertha Brombacker F 20y United States Lodger Anna Frazer F 24y Canada Lodger Annie Listson F 22y United States Lodger Louise Doyle F 24y United States Lodger J C Billings F 23y United States Servant Minnie Gunderman F 18y United States Nephew Frank Peters M 19y United States