The Grand Hotel building

The Grand Hotel is located in downtown Mount Vernon.

MOUNT VERNON – The Chautauqua Series welcomes Julia Geiger portraying Doctor Jane Payne, the first woman doctor from Knox County and one of the first women doctors in Ohio, on Thursday, Feb. 13.

This first person living history program will be held at the Grand Hotel (12 Public Square) at 7 p.m., doors open at 6 p.m. The Grand Hotel is totally accessible for those with special needs such as wheelchairs, walkers or strollers.

Jane Payne always held an interest in medicine and apprenticed with Mount Vernon’s Dr. J.W. Russell. She graduated from Woman’s Medical College in Philadelphia in 1861 as valedictorian of her class and returned to Mount Vernon to begin her practice. She faced many struggles, not only from the male dominated society and profession, but also because of physical disabilities. She dislocated her hip as a child that left her lame and unable to walk more than short long distances.

She also lost her sight in her left eye as a child from a bout of measles. Her right eye was also impaired. She did not let these disabilities get in the way and even after having two surgeries for breast cancer she served Knox County as a doctor for 20 years.

Julia Geiger has graced the Chautauqua stage for several years, bringing her history degree from the Ohio State University as well as her acting and writing skills to bring to life, strong women that she believes are good role models. She has portrayed Roseanna McCoy of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s, Olive Oatman, captured by Native Americans in the 1800’s and Mary Jemison taken by Native Americans in the 1700’s.

Opening the program will be Bill Miller, playing many acoustic songs on traditional instruments that would have been heard during the life and times of Dr. Payne.

The Chautauqua Series presents monthly first person living history programs on a year round basis, the only programming of this kind in the United States. The programs are donation based so that all may attend, enjoy and learn. The series is organized by Elixir Presents and is made possible in part by a grant from the Ariel Foundation and KPAC and supported in part by the Grand Hotel.

For more information on this program and future programs in the series, visit or or call 740-392-3018. If you would like to receive a gentle reminder by email on the Sunday before each program, please send a request to Mike Petee at

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