Jackson, Mary Evangeline

 Mary Evangeline Jackson, known as Mary Percy Jackson, physician, pioneer writer (b at Dudley, England 27 December 1904; d at Manning, Alta 6 May 2000). Deciding early to become a doctor, Mary E. Percy graduated from Birmingham University in 1927. In 1929, in response to an ad in the British Medical Journal, she travelled to Alberta to serve 2 years with the provincial department of health. Dr Mary Percy was stationed on the Battle River Prairie near present day MANNING, a district newly opened up for farming. She developed an attachment to the northern wilderness, travelling long distances on horseback to attend to patients, both Euro-Canadian and Aboriginal. Rather than return to England in 1931, she married a trapper and trader named Frank Jackson and moved to Keg River, 100 km to the north. As the department of health would not sponsor a physician for Keg River, Percy Jackson set up her own volunteer practice in her house with a lab in the basement. She again travelled great distances to attend patients, the major disease of the time being TUBERCULOSIS. Payment, if received at all, was often in kind.

In 1933 Mary Percy Jackson published her letters to England, 1929-31, in a book entitled On the Last Frontier: Pioneering in the Peace River Block. In 1988 her pioneering experiences were recounted to Cornelia Lehn in The Homemade Brass Plate, and in 1996 she was the subject of the National Film Board documentary, Wanted: Doctor on Horseback. For her dedication and service, she received many awards over the years and in 1990 was invested as an officer in the Order of Canada.