The Nurse - The Real Mrs. Annie Elizabeth Saunders

Setting the Scene

Cobalt Adventure's nurse character was based on the real life Annie Elizabeth Saunders, Cobalt's first nurse. She was born around 1870 and graduated from Warneford Hospital in England in 1885. She left England in March of 1906.

She arrived in Cobalt with borrowed train fare and only 50 cents to her name. Her brother helped her get established and soon she was running a small hospital on Lang Street with the help of Mrs. Jessica Dixon, a young Englishwoman who had married a local engineer.

A photograph of the staff of the Cobalt Mines Hospital with Mrs. Annie Saunders seated in the middle.

Staff of the Cobalt Mines Hospital: Annie Saunders is the nurse seated in the middle

Nursing was difficult in Cobalt. Mrs. Saunders had trouble finding help and complained of the "unsanitary and other primitive conditions". Equipment was hard to get and even the hospital beds were too small. It was impossible to keep patients warm in the winter as their feet hung off the end of the cots.

A photograph of Nurse Annie Saunders and another woman walking down a wooden sidewalk on Argentite street in Cobalt.

Two Nurses on Argentite Street. The one of the left is likely Annie Saunders. 1906

By 1909, her hospital was deeply in debt. She finally accepted the offer of the Temiskaming Mines Managers Association to buy her hospital and keep her on as Superintendent. She worked there until after WW I and eventually returned to England. She finally ended up in Los Angeles, California.