An Unexpected Journey

This post written and copyrighted by Doris McCraw







I thought I might write about Black Hawk and Keokuk this time, but I was given the gift of an unexpected journey into another persons life. While talking to a friend from the museum in Victor, Colorado the name of Kate Yont came up. It seems the museum had been given some of her items but they had no record of her in the area.  To me that was like being given the keys to the kingdom. Off I went on the journey to find this women and what connection she had to Victor. The following is what I found on my journey of exploration.

In 1873  Katherine Eliza Geiger was born in Jackson, Michigan in to John and Mary (Ver Planck) Geiger.  She attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and graduated in 1896. She moved to Denver, Colorado in 1897. That same year she received her Colorado license #2514 to practice medicine. She was twenty-five at the time.  1897 also saw her marriage to Jesse Grant Yont, a 1895 graduate of the University of Michigan.

Jesse Yont, according to some records graduated with a law degree, but he also played football while in college and with two ‘professional’ teams in Denver. www.

Around 1900 he is living in Victor, and his family probably came with him. While there is no record of Kate practicing medicine in the area, there is a probability she did.

Jesse in football uniform
Jesse in football uniform

The next time we hear of Kate is when Jesse fell about 60 feet in the Strong mine in the Cripple Creek/Victor area on June 6, 1903. The newspapers state he was scalped from the fall, but did not crack his skull. There was some question about whether he would survive, but he did.  This was also the first record I found of Kate in the area.

The family returned to Denver and Kate resumed her practice. The couple divorced around 1920. There were two children from the union and it seems both remained with Kate.

kate yont md

While in Denver Kate was the assistant gynecologist at St. Anthony’s Hospital.,  She also was involved with the Flower Mission, a nucleus of the Visiting Nurses Association, worked as the resident physician at the Florence Crittenton Home and was well-known to the Italian community for helping in their naturalization process.

She died December 7, 1943 in Denver. Colorado.

I had not thought of including Kate in the doctors in the Pikes Peak region, but it seems fate had other ideas.  Like I said, an unexpected journey. Thank you for tagging along with me.

Follow my haiku post five days a week at:

Below is the link to my non-fiction piece on the first state film commissioner in the United States included in this book.

“Film & Photography on the Front Range” can be purchased online at:







18 thoughts on “An Unexpected Journey

  1. Doris, even though she was a doctor, it was probably hard being a single parent back then. It’s amazing that you have found, yet another lady doctor from that era and that area. Cher’ley


    1. Cherley,

      The more I research the more I realize that women were doing what they intended to do, regardless of the times and circumstances. They are amazing.

      Thanks for your encouragement. Doris


  2. That’s fascinating that so many more women were out and working than is the common picture of the times. Of course, there were farm women and immigrants working in the factories. I guess the restrictive picture applies much more to middle and upper class women. Great post.


    1. Kate,

      The more I research, the more I come to realize that our picture of the past is out of focus. A lot of these women came from middle and some upper class families. Just goes to show what we can learn when we dig in.

      Thank you for the support and encouragement. Doris


  3. Interesting! We never really know what kind of unexpected turns our research or journeys are going to take, do we? We just need to stay open to the unexpected, like you did/do. 🙂


    1. Stephanie,

      It did catch me by surprise, but I shouldn’t be, for I find when you are in that mind set, things seem to come to you. I just didn’t expect it to come from this source. Still it is fun. Thanks! Doris


  4. Doris, you amaze me! I love the fact that although you had something else in mind to write and this tidbit of information came along you chose to run with it instead. I love moments like that! The story of Kate Yont is intriguing not only because she moved out west but also that she was involved in many organizations that helped her community. Then, to divorce a husband (which was definitely a stigma in those days) and move back to Michigan to practice took a lot of courage. I know I say this every time you write a post but keep ’em coming. I love them!


    1. Linda,

      Thank you. She, however, did not return to Michigan, but remained in Colorado which I think is even more amazing. She didn’t have family to fall back on.

      If all goes well, these women will end up in stories of these women and the times in which they lived. I’ll keep you all in the ‘loop’. Thanks for the support. Doris


  5. Once again, Doris, you’ve enlightened us and helped tell a story of a woman pioneer, who “pioneered” in so many areas! Thank you for sharing these ladies with us — so enjoyed your post!


    1. Thank you so much Gayle. I guess it’s true, the story will find you if you are worthy. I just hope I can do them justice. Doris


  6. Great photos and a lovely story to add to your selection, Doris. The way you ‘encountered’ the woman, almost fortuitiously, probably means you’ll remember her more easily in the future – at least that’s what I think I’d be like.


    1. Nancy,

      I am just so happy that she landed in my radar. The curator at the museum was thrilled with what I found and they may be doing a exhibit of her and the items donated tot he museum. That really made me happy. Doris


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.