Elizabeth (Sadoques) Mason1897 - 1985
One of the first Native American registered nurses in the United States.
On May 16th, 1897, Elizabeth Mary Sadoques was born in Keene, the last of Mary Watso and Israel Sadoques’ eight children. Her parents had resettled in Keene in the 1880s, having moved from the Abenaki town of Odanak in Quebec, Canada. As Western Abenaki people, the family understood that the land between Quebec, NH, VT, and into MA and NY was part of N’dakinna- the Abenaki homeland- that had been cared for by their ancestors for thousands of years.
Elizabeth Sadoques grew up on Elm St with her seven older siblings—ranging in age from 24 years older than her to 2 years older than her. In 1916, Sadoques graduated from Keene High School and entered nursing school, training at St Mary’s Free Hospital for Children in New York. Graduating In 1919, Sadoques arguably became the first Native American woman to become a registered nurse in the United States. She worked as a nurse in Cheshire County until her retirement in the late 1950s or early 1960s.
Elizabeth Sadoques returned to Keene after completing nursing school, and on August 29th, 1925, married Claude Francis Mason, a World War I veteran from Marlborough, NH. The couple lived in the Claude’s family home on East Main Street in Marlborough, where they had two children—Claudia Elizabeth (1926) and Mary “Mali” Margaret (1931). By 1944, they moved to the Sadoques family home on Elm Street in Keene.
On September 24th, 1985, Elizabeth Mary Sadoques Mason died in Keene. She is remembered by all those she cared for throughout Cheshire County. In 2019, a mural was painted in downtown Keene to honor her and her family legacy in the region.
Points of Interest
- Sadoques family archival collection, Historical Society of Cheshire County - HSCC archives
- Sadoques/Mason home, 470 Elm Street, Keene, New Hampshire
- Walldogs Mural with portrait of Elizabeth Sadoques, 9 Court Street, Keene