March is Women’s History Month, a time we proudly look back with appreciation to honor the women that shaped Carson Valley into the destination that it is now. With help from the Douglas County Historical Society and their Van Sickle Research Library, we are happy to bring you their stories. From nurses to pioneers, Carson Valley has been home to many influential women and we don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Each year the Douglas County Historical Society (DCHS) recognizes women for their significant historical contributions. DCHS reached out to the community asking for nominees to be submitted into The Remembering Women in History Project. The women nominated have their histories archived at the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center in Gardnerville. Future generations will have access to their stories, allowing them to appreciate the efforts it took to develop our beautiful Carson Valley.
Each story represents a nomination brought forth from The Remembering Women in History Project. This peak back in time features a nomination from 2001, Elizabeth Marie “Mac” Mclaughlin Brown.
“Elizabeth Brown, known as “Mac”, was born in 1896 and died in Gardnerville in 1971. After graduation from St. Mary’s Nursing School in Reno in 1916, she joined the United States Army, where she was assigned to Fort Douglas, Utah at a prisoner of war camp. While there, she contracted the flu, deadly at the time, and was put in a “death room” with other flu patients. Through her strong faith and determination, she recovered and returned to duty.
After her discharge in 1919, she returned to St. Mary’s in Reno to work. She was a traveling surgical nurse and did much of her nursing in the Gardnerville Hospital, which is now the Logan Building on Highway 395, near the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center. Once, she was called to Gardnerville to help the doctor operate on a very special case, which turned out to be the doctor’s prized pig! The operation, by the way, was a success.
Mac married John Brown, a native Nevadan born and raised in Gardnerville. Together, they managed the Gardnerville Town Water Co. for 20 years. Every first and second day of each month, Mac, who never learned to drive, would walk around town–rain or shine– collecting water fees and taking time to visit and care for the people in town. She was especially helpful to mothers with new babies. The town doctor often had Mac give his patients their shots if they were unable to get to his office. She was often found cleaning and changing dressings for people unable to do so themselves.
She was very active in many organizations in the Carson Valley, including the American Legion Auxiliary and as head of the Douglas County chapter of the Red Cross. She was also a member of the Cemetery Committee in Gardnerville.
Mac was respected throughout the community and inspired those with whom she came in contact with her honesty and kindness toward others. Her philosophy was to hold onto your faith and respect the faith of others.”
If you would like to learn more about Elizabeth Marie “Mac” Mclaughlin Brown and the rich history of Carson Valley, stop by the Museum and Cultural Center at 1477 Highway 395 in Gardnerville from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm Monday thru Saturday (excluding holidays).