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This is a picture of Mary Reid-Lusk in her much later years, according to Washington County Historian Jeremy Elliott.

“From the bio below you can easily judge that she was quite the woman!,” noted Elliott. “She will officially be included in the new UGRR display opening next month at the Stevens Museum” 

Mary Reid was the daughter of Reverend Isiah Reid Sr., a South Carolina Covenanter, who left the South to escape the atrocities of slavery and settled on Walnut Ridge in 1817. 

When her older brother Samuel entered medical school at the University of Louisville, it is said Mary, who had an unquenchable desire for learning, studied everything her brother’s classes could offer and had a thorough understanding of the medical profession by the time of his graduation. 

At the age of 18, she married the Reverend Robert Lusk, a traveling minister from Pennsylvania, who had degrees in theology and medicine. 

He also reportedly had an extensive library consisting of over 1,100 titles, which assisted in furthering Mary’s medical knowledge.

She was soon, riding her horse all over the county and surrounding counties, to assist pioneer settlers with any and all medical needs. 

This included child birth and performing surgery.  Women medical practitioners at this time were referred to as “Grannies” and this is how she garnered the moniker, Granny Reid-Lusk.

Her stout abolitionist views were inherent and reportedly she became heavily involved with assisting her brothers, Thomas and Isaiah Jr., with running the Reid Line of the county’s UGRR.  

Some even claim she was the “real” manager of that line. 

Undoubtedly, she was one of the most important people in Washington County, involved with the overall operation, due to her medical knowledge, aptitude and willingness to help any human being in need.

 

Later in life, Mary Reid-Lusk appeared before a state medical examiner’s board, which awarded her with a doctorate in medicine.