Cumberland County


Learn more about the history of nursing in Cumberland County


  • An interview of Public Health Nurse Elizabeth Thompson was conducted by Nurse Jane Plyler for her Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) Thesis in 1980.  Plylers' Masters Thesis and the original recordings can be found in the Southern Collection in Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • Katie King, RN, BSN and African American nurse who was in the WWII Cadet Nurse Corps
  • Article about Nurse Daryl Elder who served in first Gulf War
  • Newspaper article about Elizabeth McMillan Thompson being honored by the Zeta Phi Beta nursing sorority as the 1956 Woman of the Year.
  • See Major General Patricia Horoho in the biography section of this website.
  •  Vernice D. Ferguson was a nationally and internationally respected nursing scholar, known especially for her work with cultural diversity.  She was born in Fayetteville, NC, earned her BSN from NYU anmd Bellvue Nursing Center in 1950 and a Master's Degree from Columbia Teachers College in 1957.  From 1972-1980 she served as Chief of the nurisng department of the National Institutes of Health.   Vernice Doris Ferguson (June 13, 1928 - December 8, 2012) was an American nurse and healthcare executive. She was the nursing department head at the National Insitutues of Health Clinical Center for several years, then served as a nurse executive with the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs for twelve years. Ferguson held faculty appointments at several American universities, including the U of Wisconsin, the U of Illinois, Georgetown U and the U of Maryland.   She was named a Living Legend of the American Academy of Nursing was the second American named an honorary Fellow of the Royal  College of Nursing in the United Kingdom and received several honorary doctorates.  She was president of ithe American Academy of Nusing, Sigma Theta Tau and the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care. 

Vernice Ferguson was a senior fellow in the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, holding the Fagin Family Chair in Cultural Diversity from 1993 to 1997. In addition to serving on the Penn Nursing Board of overseers from 200-2007, she was a frequent visitor to Penn Nursing, where she mentored faculty and students, gave lectures and was the speaker at the 1991 commencement.  From 1980 to 1992 she was the assistant chief medical director for nursing programs in the Department of Veterans Affairs. In this position she was responsible for the largest organized nursing service in the world, with more than 60,000 nursing personnel. Prior to this assignment, she was the chief of the Nursing Department at the Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health. She received her RN degree from New York University in 1950 and a master's degree from Teacher's College of Columbia University in 1957. She is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Nursing of the United Kingdom, the second American nurse so honored. She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She is the recipient of eight honorary doctorates and two fellowships, one in physics, the other in alcohol studies. In 2008, Ms. Ferguson received the Freddie Lifetime Achievement Award from the Royal Academy of Nurisng in the UK.. She was also awarded the Mary MAhoney Award from the ANA,the R. Louise MCManus Medal for Distinguished Service to Nursing, the NLN's Jan McVicar Outstanding Nurse Executive Award.


  • Thomas, Mary Teague, Papers, 1941-1993 - Mary Teague Thomas (1922-2012) began her career as an operating room nurse and spent forty-five years working in hospitals and in public health administration, becoming Director of Nursing for the Cumberland County Health Department in Fayetteville, NC in 1977. The Mary Teague Thomas Papers include photographs, letters, postcards, clippings, brochures, pamphlets, notes, textbooks, plaques and other documents related to her nursing training and long career in public health administration; letters from patients and soldiers during WWII; clippings documenting the changing role of public health nurses; and a scrapbook of historical clippings about the history of public health nursing in North Carolina.
  • Housed at the Western NC archives in Asheville, NC

Schools of Nursing


  • Article about integration of the Army Nurse Corps at Fort Bragg in WWII.
  • "A student nurse looks at public health".By Lelon Lambe, student at Highsmith Hosptial School of  Nursing.  The Health Bulletin, Feb 1948, pg 7-9.
  • Photograph of Nurse Jessie M. McVane - pioneering African American public heath nurse in Fayetteville.


Fayetteville City Directory 1928:

Red Cross Nurses: Miss Lucia Freeman, R. N., Director Health Education, Court House; Miss Martha E. Flinn, R. N., City School Nurse; Miss Olive Goldthorpe, Supt. Preventorium.