Jessie (Benson) Strong Price

Compiled by her great-grand-daughter, Kimberley Keenan.

Jessie (Benson) Strong Price with her grandson Simeon Wesley Stringer. Jessie was the midwife when this baby was born.

Jessie Benson was born in St. Jones Within in 1892. She was one of eight children born to Joseph John and Priscilla (Smith) Benson. She had two children, George (1913-1967) and Priscilla (1915-2003), with her first husband, William Strong (1890-1919). After becoming widowed, she married Stephen Price (1875-1958) of Loreburn. They had one child together, Alma (1925-2012), and resided in Little Heart’s Ease.

Just after the birth of Alma’s first child, Jessie got the call to go to St. John’s for midwifery training. The course took six weeks. Jessie received her License to Practice Midwifery from the Department of Public Health and Welfare on May 19, 1945. She was 52 years old. Her 1943 Handbook of Midwifery by Sir Comyns Berkeley in hand, she soon began taking over the practice from Eliza Martin. Alma used to keep count of the babies her mother delivered but lost count in the hundreds. Jessie would travel all around the area, even as far as St. Jones Without in an open motor boat in the winter. Whoever needed her would come and bring her to the expectant mother. She would then stay with them until the baby came and usually for a day after. Compensation was $10 a baby. Jessie was the presiding midwife over all the deliveries of the remainder of her own grandchildren.

Jessie continued to practice midwifery until she took sick with stomach cancer in the spring of 1958. She died in July, 1958 in Adeytown and is buried in Little Heat’s Ease.

Jessie’s Midwifery Certificate

 

Jessie’s handbook

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Special thanks to Kimberley Keenan for this information and images.