Born on February 3, 1821 in Bristol, England, Elizabeth was one of nine children. Her very caring parents, Hannah and Samuel Blackwell, encouraged all of his children to learn and get a formal education. They told their kids that if they wanted something bad enough and worked hard enough, they could reach their goals in life.
When Elizabeth was young, her older sister Anna sprained her ankle terribly. Elizabeth was put in charge of taking care of Anna. In a few days Anna was up and about, and Elizabeth got much praise for doing such a wonderful job. Many people told her that she should become a doctor. Although they were joking, but the seeds for her future were then planted.
A few years later, many riots were being held in England, and Elizabeth’s father’s sugar refinery was burnt down. Many other important buildings were burnt down as well, including the city church. Instead of rebuilding the refinery, her parents thought it would be a good idea to move. They moved to New York City, New York in 1832. It would have been wiser to remain in England , though, because a lethal disease was spreading rapidly in New York, and the city was soon nearly deserted.
After living in New York for six years, their family decided to move to Cincinnati, Ohio because her father’s sugar refinery wasn’t having good business. He thought in Ohio he would have better luck. A few months before Elizabeth was about to turn seventeen, her father, Samuel, passed away. To support her family, her sisters opened a boarding school for girls. Elizabeth was given a teaching job, which she despised. She remembered how many people had wanted her to become a doctor. She knew they were joking, but she still wanted to give it a try.
Many colleges would not allow a girl into their school. She applied, and then after a rejection letter came. Finally, when she applied to Geneva College in 1847, they accepted her! When she arrived, however, it had merely been a prank. They...
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