Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sue Dimmock

One of Ocracoke's early school marm's was Sarah Owens Gaskill (wife of Benjamin Decatur Gaskill) who ran a small private school near the lighthouse in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

Sarah was a cousin of Susan Dimmock (1847-1875). Both women grew up in Washington, NC.

Susan Dimmock (1847-1875)

After Susan's father died (at the outset of the Civil War), Susan moved with her mother to Boston. She enrolled as a student in the New England Hospital for Women and Children, then applied for admission to Harvard. The faculty denied her request, noting that "this faculty do not approve the admission of any female to the lectures of any professor." No other schools in the United States would accept her, so she applied to the University of Zurich Medical School, where she was accepted.

After completing her studies, Susan Dimmock returned to the United States to practice medicine. In 1872 she became a member of the Massachusetts State Medical Society. She was the first woman member of the North Carolina Medical Society. Unfortunately, she was drowned when a ship she was on struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic, and sank. Susan Dimmock was only 28 years old.

Although not ever a full-time resident of Ocracoke, Susan Dimmock's connection to the island and her legacy lives on. Several island children have been named for her.

For more information about Dr. Susan Dimmock, click here.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Water Tank Caper. This is the link:


  1. Anonymous8:51 AM

    Retarrier Ledges, the Retarrier ledges off the coast of Sicily caused the shipwreck. The links provided that info. And I too suppose Havard saw the error of their ways and now with such a large endowment, application to this school is encouraged even if you don't have the bucks you do need the grades and a great essay.

    1. Local legend has it that Susan Dimmock's ship struck an iceberg in the N. Atlantic. The Isles of Scilly are off the SW coast of England. The Retarrier Ledges are part of this archepelago. They are not off the coast of Sicily (an island in the Mediterranean).

    2. Anonymous11:56 AM

      My Bad.