Lincoln County


Learn more about nursing in Lincoln County

Reflections: Sparkling Cider by  Bettina Sentell, a nurse from Lincolnton, NC published in The American Journal of Nursing      Vol. 98, No. 7  (Jul., 1998), p. 50              

Hettie Mable Reinhardt was born on January 6th, 1879 to John and Philecta Reinhardt of Lincoln County.  She was one of North Carolina’s early nurses, graduating from the Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing in 1910.  Her leadership abilities were quickly recognized and she became the Assistant Superintendent of nurses at Mission Hospital in Ashville.  In 1915, most of Europe was involved in World War I.  Russia was an ally of the European countries fighting against Germany and other Axis governments.  Reinhardt was one of 12 nurses selected by the American Red Cross to work in a military hospital in Kiev, Russia.  The trip to Kiev involved sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, which was in itself a field of battle, and traveling by dogsled, as Kiev is about 30 miles from the Artic Circle.  Each nurse cared for 60-70 patients a shift.  Due to the advances of the Axis armies, this hospital and its personnel had to be evacuated about six months after the US nurses arrived.  Reinhardt came back to North Carolina, but when the US entered WWI in 1918, Reinhardt was the first North Carolina nurse to volunteer her services.  She served in France until the war was over.  Reinhardt again returned to North Carolina.  She became involved with the North Carolina Nurse Association serving in almost every office, and on every committee including being President from 1932-1934.  Reinhardt passed away on December 26th, 1953 and is buried in Lincoln County.

Lula Renwick Warlick
Nurse Lula Gertrude Renwick Warlick, RN was one of the most outstanding nurses to come from NC.  

Lula Warlick, RN, an African-American nurse from Lincolnton, NC.  She . Warlick served 23 years as the head of nursing at Mercy Hospital (now Mercy Douglass) in Philadelphia, during the 1920s and '30s. She started its school of nursing, which became one of the most important schools responsible for educating African-American nurses who were excluded from attending other schools due to segregation.

Nurse Helen Sullivan Miller (see Durham County) wrote a book titeld "The history of Chi Eta Phi" and in it she writes a brief biographical sketch and has a photograph of Nurse Lula Warlick.  It reads:

Miss Lula G. Warlick received her preliminary Education in the Public Schools of Charlotte, North Carolina and the Normal School of Scotia Seminary in Concord, NOrth Carolina.  SHe entered the School of Nursing of Lincoln Hospital in New York City [graudated in 1910].

Her first position was Head Nurse at Lincoln Hospial leaving there to accept a postion as Assistant Superintendent of Nurses at Providence Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.  Later she served as Dorector at General Hospial #2 in Kansas City for three years.  She came to Mercy Hospital as Director of Nurses in 1920 and served in that capacity for 23 years.  At that time the hospital was poorly equipped and was not accredited with the Board of Examiners of Pennsylvania.  Through the untiring efforts of Miss Warlock, the School gained accreditation in Pennsylvania and New York.


Student nurses were affliliated with the Visitng Nurse Society of Philadelphia, Henry Phipps Insitute, Philadelphia General Hospital for Communicable Disease.

Miss Warlick has received many awards:  The Mary E. Mahoney medal from the NAtional ASsocaition of Colored graduate nurses: A Medal from Mercy Hospital for outstanding services rendered (Aliumnae Association); a watch from the Womens' Auxillary of Mercy Hospital for outstanding service; a Loving Cup from School of NUrisng, General Hospital No. 2 Kansas City for services rendered.

Miss Warlick took post graduate courses at Iowa University, Columbia University and University of Pennsylvania.  While active in Nursing she held membership in the PEnnsylvania State Nurses ASsocaition, League of NUrsing, Lincoln Hospital Alumnae Association., the American Red Cross,  The Philadelphia Chapter of Barber Scotia College.  She was very active in teh Presbyterian Church.

Travel added to her education and experiences as she frequently enjoyed visiting the larger cities of her country, also Bermuda and none countires in Europe.  Her main interest was and is young women; trying to aid them to prepare themselves as good nuses, citizens and wives.  

Miss Warlick retired from active nursing in 1943 due to illness, but her interest and work will continue to be with adn for nurses.

Lula Warlick took the helm of the nursing school at Mercy Hospital in 1920. She built it into one of the nation's top nursing schools for African-Americans at a time when it was difficult for African-Americans to go to nursing school.

 More on nurse Warlick from Tiffany Collier, University of Pennsylvania, Bates Center for Nursing History:
Mercy Hospital Nursing Staff, Ms. Lula Warlick standing, 3rd from right

Mercy Hospital Nursing Staff, Ms. Lula Warlick standing, back row, 3rd from right

Lula Warlick

Lula Gertrude Renwick Warlick, RN was one of many African-American nurses from the Jim Crow-era South who forged their careers in the Midwest and Northeast. A native of Lincolnton, NC, Warlick attended nursing school at the Lincoln Hospital School for Nurses in New York, graduating in 1910. Warlick went on to hold supervisory positions at Provident Hospital in Chicago and Kansas City General Hospital No. 2 in Missouri before she became the superintendent of nurses at Mercy Hospital in 1920.

At Mercy Hospital, Lula Warlick gained a reputation as a stern leader who demanded excellence from both students and staff. For instance, when Ms. Warlick wanted to discipline a student nurse, she would take their cap away in public. The cap was a symbol of professional dignity, therefore its removal constituted a deep humiliation. However, Warlick wasn’t a sadist who derived pleasure from making her charges suffer needlessly, she was a realist who understood what is now known as the ‘black tax,’ which is the notion that African-Americans have to work twice as hard to achieve parity with their white counterparts. In a segregated health care system, the nurses of Mercy Hospital faced a career where most of the doors would be closed. Lula Warlick trained her nurses to be tough enough to break those doors down if necessary.

In addition to being a tough superintendent, Lula Warlick worked hard to innovate and lead Mercy Hospital School of Nursing to excellence and community engagement. For instance, she lectured a course entitled “Ethics, Professional Problems, and Survey of the Nursing Field,” which focused on providing students with practical solutions to professional issues. The school also led initiatives to educate on health and sanitation by holding lectures at area churches. In 1924 Warlick instituted a four month course affiliation in public health nursing where students trained at the Henry Phipps Institute and the Visiting Nurse Society. In addition, Mercy Hospital received endorsement by the Pennsylvania State Board of Examiners for Registration of Nurses, the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and the Welfare Federation of Philadelphia.

Warlick retired in 1943 after twenty-three years of service. In a document published by Mercy Hospital entitled “For the Health of the Race,” it is noted that the high standards of the hospital were not only a testament to the city of Philadelphia, but to the work of African-American people across the nation, which speaks to the importance placed on providing health care to the community during this time, as well as the monumental significance of nursing administrators like Lula Warlick, who left a lasting impact on the surviving members of the Alumni Association of Mercy Douglass that is felt to this day.  – Tiffany Hope Collier

Article written by Nurse Warlick about Mercy Hospital in Philadelphia.
Also see "Lula Warlick" on pages 198-199 of the History of Chi Eta Phi by Helen Miller.