Henderson County


Learn more about the history of nursing in Henderson County


  • Jones, D.B. (1985) My first eighty years. Baltimore: Gateway Press, Inc. Memoir of Nurse Daisy Barnwell Jones
  • Nurse Ruth Hollingsworth wrote an article in the Heritage of Henderson County by G.A. Jones, editor, Hunter Publishing Co. 1985.  She wrote the Hendersonville Chapter of the Women's Christian temperance Union Flower Mission opened a one room infirmary to care for the sick.  In 1915, Mrs. Annie Patton donated land to build a hospital for Hendersonville which was named in her honor, Patton Memorial Hospital.  It opened in 1916 with a nursing school (which was discontinued in 1922 for reasons that are not clear).  Nurse Veal was the first Superintendent 1912-1916, followed by Nurse Rose Hemphill 1917-1920, Nurse Montgomery, 1920, Nurse Sullivan, 1922, Nurse Elizabeth Camp, Nurse Donnie Bass, 1930, Nurse Etta Graham, 1932, Nurse Etta Hall, 1933, Nurse Esther Faircloth and Nurse Bess Spearman, 1936.  Nurse Ruth Hollingsworth was Superintendent from 1933-1940.  She was paid $40 a month.  Until the 1940s there was one RN on night duty for the whole hospital.  In addition to patient care, she was also charged with keeping the furnace fed with wood in the cold months.



Linda Ann Ocker Mashburn grew up  in Hendersonville, NC and was the daughter of  Mr and Mrs. Arthur Ocker.  After graduating from Mt. Holyoke College in MA in 1963, she decided to become a nurse and graduated from the Hartford, CT Hospital School of Nursing.   Mashburn joined many idealistic young people in the 1960s by working to improve conditions in rural Appalachia.  She and fellow nurse Rae Ann Gaserowski along with many people in the community founded the Hot Springs Health Center. 

Mashburn first visited Hot Springs in 1969, when she was setting up health fairs throughout a five-state region for the Council of Southern Mountains and the Presbyterian Church.  The Hot Springs area had not had a physician for a number of years, Madison County did not have a hospital and the trip to the hospitals in Asheville or Johnson City, TN was arduous and dangerous due to poor road conditions and rough winter weather.

After moving to Hot Springs,  Mashburn and Gaserowski accepted part time jobs in 1970 and went to work with a Board of local people  writing grants, securing supplies, getting legally incorporated and recruiting staff to set up the Hot Springs Health Center.  The first small, mainly volunteer run clinical opened inMay, 1971.  Mashburn was the Executive Director as well as a nurse at the Clinic.  From these humble beginnings, the  Hot Spring Health Center has grown into a four site, multi million dollar agency that provides physical, dental, mental, pharmaceutical and home health services throughout Madison County.  It is one of the county’s largest employers.



  • Frances Schneider of Hendersonville, a nurse during World War II, has a lifelong history of
    serving others. A community volunteer, she spearheaded the establishment of a health
    clinic and day care center for migrant workers. This center is now known as the Blue Ridge
    Community Health Center, open year round and available to all residents in need. She
    established the Henderson County Dispute Settlement Center, a program that offers parties
    in a dispute the chance to settle their claim without going to court, and chaired the first two
    years of the governing board. Schneider has been president of the Welcome Wagon, a
    member of the League of Women Voters and a Red Cross volunteer. Ms. Schneider has
    earned the Governor's Award for Volunteerism, was named VFW Woman of the Year in
    1988 and was recognized during Women's History Month in 1990.


  • Article in the [Henderson] Times News on June 25, 1977 pg 1 by J.T. Fain describes the work of Nurse Leila Patterson.


  • Juanita Hamilton Webster was a nurse from Henderson County.  She graduated from the Galliger Municipal Hospital in 1941 and entered the US Army Nurse Corps.  She went with the Army to Port Mooresby, New Guinea in September, 1942.  The Japanese Army was approximately twenty miles away.  She served for 31 months.  After WWII, Webster moved to New Orleans and graduated from the Charity Hospital School of Anesthesia.  She then worked as a CRNA for 30 years, mostly in Texas and LA.  See Heritage of Henderson County by G.A. Jones, editor, Hunter Publishing Co. 1985.
  •   Lelia Patterson was born June 16th, 1883 to Mr. and Mrs. William Washington Patterson in Central Missouri.  Her mother died when she was 12 years of age.  Patterson adopted the Seventh-Day Adventists religion at the age of 16.  In 1911, Patterson started nurses training at the Port Townsend Sanitarium & Hospital, and graduated in 1913.  However, Patterson did not want to end her education here.  She wrote a letter to Dr. David Paulson at Hinsdale, Illinois to ask permission to be admitted to the three-year graduate program.  She was granted permission and entered as a senior in 1914.  After graduation, Patterson took charge of the Samaritan Inn.  Patterson continued to work in community nursing settings, but she felt a burden for missionary nursing.  In 1918, she joined a vegetarian cafeteria in Asheville, North Carolina that opened four rooms for treatments.  It is not determined at this time to how many beds the sanitarium expanded to, but it is said to be around 100 beds.  This is known today as the Mountain Sanitarium.  Patterson was a licensed midwife and delivered around 300 babies during her career.  Later, she dreamed of starting a school of nursing.  This was a successful dream, and she and Dr. J.F. Brownsbergers started a school of nursing with eight students in their first class.  Patterson was the first Mountain Sanitarium’s superintendent of nurses.  This first class graduated with three students in 1933.  When Patterson retired from nursing, she continued to work in regularly in the sanitarium admitting office, and continued to keep flowers planted and beautiful bordering the circle drive in from of the hospital and sanitarium.  One of Patterson’s hobbies was embroidery.  She would often make pillowslips and party aprons and display them for sale in the front of the hospital at the registration desk.  However, she did not keep her funds.  She paid it forward and purchased seeds and garden tools and donated them to the poor blacks.  She would give the recipients of these tools gardening lessons, and then would give a prize for the best garden each year.  Later, this group of people would refer to her as the “White Angel.” 


Health Care Institutions

  • Bailey, L.H. (1999).  Generations of excellence:  History of Pardee Hospital, Hendersonville, North Carolina.  
  • The August 23, 1887 Henderson Times ran an ad to solicit funds for the Samaritan Hospital to "provide better medical and surgical aid to the indigent people and for increasing facilities for the treatment of those able to pay their own expenses".
  • 2004 article about the Leila Patterson (Nurse) Health center in Fletcher (page 6).
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Brevard News 
Brevard, North Carolina
26 Mar 1920, Fri  •  Page 7
Mountain Saniatrium

Adams, S.A. (Feb 4, 1940). "Runs unique farm school, sanitarium”  Asheville Citizen Times no page number , found in clippings file at Pack Library in Asheville, NC

 Blackwell, C. (June 22, 1969)  “A place of service to mountain people”  Asheville Citizen Times. No date, found in the clippings file of Pack Library, Asheville, NC

 Brownsburger, J.F. ( n.d. ).  The story of Fletcher School and Sanitarium in

White, W.C. Sketches of the United Work of Small Schools and Sanitariums  pp 22-27

 “Eat at the Good Health Place”  (1921)  Advertisement in the Asheville City Directory, 1921.

 Fain, J.T. (June 25, 1977) “County has two other hospitals”  The Times of Hendersonville pg 1

 Fain, J.T. (1980)  A partial history of Henderson County”  Arno Press, NY p. 324-328

 Clayburn, J. (1985) "Mountain memories: The story of Mountain Sanitarium and Hospital School of Nursing" Collegedale Press, Collegedale TN

 Leggett, H.V.  (n.d.) “Mountain Sanitarium”  p10-11

 Shaw, L.W. (February 1, 1959)  Mt. Sanitarium is noted health resort.  Asheville Citizen Times no page number- found in clippings file in Pack Library, Asheville, NC.

 Undated pamphlet, no author  “The Mountain Sanitarium and Hospital”in  the Appalachian State University archives - see pages 8-11.

 White, E.  G. (1905)  The ministry of healing.  Found online at http://www.ellenwhite.info/books/bk-mh-contents.htm

Photographs of nurses and student nurses at Mountain Sanitarium (page 5 in Clayburn).

Photograph and tribute to nurse Leila Patterson, fist graduate of Mountain Saniatrium School of Nursing.  (Page 11 in Clayburn)
Brownsberger, E. (1939).The little bare Christmas tree.  American Journal of Nursing 39(12).  p 1291-1294.



The first contingent of U.S. Army nurses to be sent to an Allied advanced base in New Guinea carry their equipment as they march single file to their quarter on November 12, 1942. The first four in line from right are: Edith Whittaker, Pawtucket, Rhode Island,; Ruth Baucher, Wooster, O.; Helen Lawson, Athens, Tennessee,; and Juanita Hamilton, of Hendersonville, North Carolina


Nurse Pearl Waver of Asheville is appointed to the the American Red Cross Public Health Nurse for Henderson County in 1922




The News of Henderson County
Hendersonville, North Carolina
30 May 1922, Tue  •  Page 9


The Western North Carolina Times
Hendersonville, North Carolina
02 Jun 1922, Fri  •  Page 4