FANNIE EMMA SOUTHERN
Fannie Emma Southern, whose life has been one of splendid service in the nursing profession, opened the first hospital in Marysville in 1908 and has been at the head of the Rideout Memorial Hospital here since that time. She was born at Southern’s Stage Station, Shasta County, California, a daughter of Simeon Fisher and Sarah Emma (Lafferty) Southern, both of whom were natives of Kentucky, the former born September 6, 1827, and the latter November 5, 1837. Simon F. Southern was a descendent of Ludwig Fischer, who emigrated from Germany to America in 1732, settled in Culpepper County, Virginia. The latter married Barbara Blankenbaker and their son, Stephen Fischer, wedded Mary Magdalene Garr. The Garr family of Frankenhofen, Bavaria, emigrated to America in 1732, sailing from Rotterdam on the ship “Loyal Judith” and arriving in Philadelphia on the 26th of September of that year. In 1519 the Garr family was presented with the “Stamwappen” or family crest by Emperor Charles V for their “true and loyal services.” The above Stephen and Mary Magdalene (Garr) Fischer were the great-grandparents of Simeon Fisher Southern, the father of Fannie Emma Southern. Simeon F. Southern enlisted in Company A, Second Kentucky Volunteers, when the Mexican War broke out in 1845 and was seriously wounded at the capture of the city of Mexico. At the close of the war he was assistant forage master under Captain Rufus Ingall, who was in the command of Colonel E. J. Steptoe. He spent the winter of 1854-55 in Salt Lake City during the uprising of the Mormons under Brigham Young and came to California with Colonel E. J. Steptoe on his march to Oregon in 1855. Simeon F. Southern was married to Sarah Emma Lafferty, who came to California via the Isthmus of Panama in September, 1855, and was a representative of an old Kentucky family of Scotch and Irish descent.
Fannie Emma Southern pursued a grammar school course at Redding, California, and in 1900 entered the School of Nursing in San Francisco, from which she was graduated in 1902. Thereafter she served as surgical nurse and superintendent of nurses until May, 1905, when she embarked upon an educational tour, visiting all the leading hospitals of New York, Washington, D. C., Baltimore and Chicago. In July, 1905, Miss Southern and two other nurses opened the Florence Nightingale Hospital in Chico, California, where the only other hospital at that time was a small one used by the Diamond Match Company. Miss Southern and her associates started with three beds, without capital or encouragement, their principal assets being their enthusiasm and determination to succeed. They closed the hospital there in 1908 and in May of that year opened the first hospital in Marysville, in the home of Mrs. Phoebe M. Rideout at Fifth and E Streets, on the site of the Marysville Hotel. Mrs. Rideout had turned over her home to the medical profession for a hospital and Miss Southern leased it. In 1918 she moved into the present Rideout Memorial Hospital at Fourth and H Streets, Marysville, which was built by Mrs. Rideout in memory of her husband. Miss Southern is still leasing the hospital and has conducted the same most successfully to the present time. In 1919, in partnership with George P. Harrington, she purchased twenty acres of land in Sutter County and planted the tract to peaches. The same year she purchased another twenty-acre tract of bare land, which she planted to peaches now in bearing and in 1922 she bought twenty acres more. She likewise owns other realty in Marysville where she is highly esteemed as a woman of marked business and professional ability.
The Democratic Party finds in Miss Southern a staunch supporter of its principles. She was in charge of the juvenile detention home in Marysville from the time of its inception in May, 1909, until July, 1918. Fraternally she is identified with the Order of the Eastern Star and with Marysville Parlor, No. 162, N. D. G. W., of which she was president in 1915. She assisted in organizing the Marysville Golf Club, became a charter member of the Soroptimist Club and is also a member of the Marysville Art Club. Miss Southern was the first woman to join the Yuba-Sutter Fish and Game Association of Yuba County, and is also a member of the Sportsmen’s Club of California. Her name is likewise on the membership roll of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Marysville. She became a charter member of the California State Nurses Association and was made treasurer of the first nurses’ journal edited by the California State Nurses Association. During the great influenza epidemic in 1918 Miss Southern devoted her entire time to the management of a “flu” hospital which the Red Cross established in the old high school building at Marysville. A decade before, in 1908, she had established in memory of her sister, Belle Southern, a “little Jim” free bed in the hospital for crippled children, which she maintained for several years. She has also educated two children who would otherwise have been denied the advantages of school training. Thus her activities have covered a broad field of usefulness and her life has been one of unselfish service for the good of humankind.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.