Physician Susan Dew Hoff (November 24, 1842-January 2, 1933) was one of the first women licensed to practice medicine in West Virginia. She was born Susan Matilda Dew in Hampshire County, the daughter of Dr. William Henry Harrison Dew and Jane Davis Dew. The family later moved to West Milford in Harrison County where her father practiced medicine. As a girl, Susan spent time in her father’s office and made house calls with him. He wanted her to become a doctor, but medical colleges were not open to women at the time.
Susan married James Hoff in 1869, and they had five children, one of whom died in childhood. While caring for her family, she continued to read her father’s medical books and discuss medicine with him. After he died, Susan had a dream about her father that inspired her to study for the state medical examination. In April 1889, at the age of 42, she traveled to Wheeling by herself to take the two-day test. She passed, receiving the highest score of the group.
Hoff practiced medicine in West Milford for more than 40 years. In the early years, she made house calls on horseback, charging $1 for each call plus $1 per mile. The charge for delivering a baby was $5 plus travel expenses.
She died at the age of 90 and is buried in West Milford. A clinic in West Milford that provides free health and dental care is named the Susan Dew Hoff Memorial Clinic in her honor.
Last Revised on December 03, 2012
West Virginia Women's Commission. Missing Chapters: West Virginia Women in History. 1983.