Mecklenburg County



Learn more about nursing history in Mecklenburg County -

1906 NC State Nurses Convention in Charlotte:


A new biography of Thereasea Delerine Elder, an African American nurse who was born and raised in Charlotte and worked at Good Samaritan Hospital and the Health Department after graduating from Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing in Durham in the 1940s is out!  Here is the reference:

Frazier, S & Frazier, J. (2013). T.D.'s truths. Xlibris Corporation.

Obituary for Miss Josephine Finch from the Charlotte Observer

  • Biographical information about Nurse Josephine Finch, WWI nurse from Charlotte
  • Blanche Hayes Sansom was the first African American public health nurse in Mecklenburg County, starting in 1920.  This article from the Tar Heel Nurse describes the tributes she received upon her retirment almost 40 years later.
  • Biographical information about nurse Nancy Vance of Mecklenberg County.
  • Nurse Cleo Yongue, RN was an early African American public health nurse in Mecklenburg County.
  • Pollitt, P.A. & Reese, C.N. (1999) Jane Renwick Smedburg Wilkes:  NC nurse pioneer.  American Association for the History of Nursing Bulletin. 62. pg 4-6.  See biography section of this website.
  • Peggy Chamberlain Wilmoth, PhD, MS ‘79, BSN ’75, RN, professor, Department of Adult Health Nursing, College of Health and Human Services, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, was Brigadier General, U.S. Army Reserve and she is Commander, 332nd Medical Brigade headquartered in Nashville. She was commander for 7,000 soldiers in 67 units across eight different states and Puerto Rico. She is the first nurse in the history of the Army to be board selected to command a Medical Brigade.
  • Information about the World War II 38th Evacuation Hospital  unit  formed at Charlotte Memorial Hospital.
  • After meeting with the Charlotte Cooperative Nurses Association in 1920, Mayor Redd pledges more money for public health.
  • Jane Wilkes, Civil War Nurse from Charlotte wrote a letter to the Historical Department of the Charlotte Observer on May 20, 1896 page 4, describing the Confederate Hospital in Charlotte.
  • See Martha Pegram Mitchell in the biography section of this website.
  • Article about Suzanne Collins, RN.
  • Biography of JoAnn Dowling, RN
  • From the book "Voices" by Dr. Evelyyn Wicker:

  • Della Mae Davison Sullins, RN ’37, BSN, MSN

    I was born October 13, 1917, in Charlotte, North Carolina. My father was a cab driver and my mother was a housewife. I attended Lincoln around the age of nineteen, still a teenager, and graduated in 1937. I have many fond memories of Lincoln. We were expected to respect the upperclassmen. As part of our initiation, we had to iron their uniforms and always open the door for them, a design of their own. Student life included going to St. Joseph Church down the street and creating our own leisure activities. In the dorm we played records on the old record player, had sing alongs until it was quiet time, and played cards. We did each other’s hair in our rooms even though there was a place on the first floor for doing hair. My most difficult challenge while in school was getting up early; we had to be on duty by 7:00 a.m. and had to go back to the hospital to cover staff shortages. Excerpts from my nursing career include the following:  I was the first nurse in the state of Alabama to receive a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Tuskegee Institute; this also means that I was the first Black nurse to receive that institution’s bachelor of science degree. Later I attended Indiana University in Indiana and obtained my master’s degree. The major part of my practice centered around Tuskegee Institute. I began my career as a staff nurse at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Tuskegee and progressed up the ladder to assistant chief nurse. I also taught nursing at Tuskegee Institute and assisted in setting up the nurse aide program at the Veterans Administration Hospital. I have been involved in numerous activities in the community and have received many honors and recognitions.

Schools of Nursing and Health Care Institutions

According to Kratt’s Charlotte, Spirit of the South, in 1862, Charlotte’s location on three rail lines resulted in Wayside Hospital, for the care of the sick and wounded soldiers going home and returning to the army. By 1863, extensive hospital buildings for several hundred patients were built by the Confederate government on the fairgrounds, a mile from town. By 1865, wounded soldiers in Raleigh and other cities threatened by Sherman were moved to Charlotte… The large school building vacated by the North Carolina Military Institute was used by Confederate officials as a medical laboratory. Late in the war, it also became a hospital, with Miss Maggie Graham as head nurse.” 

Information about Carolina's Medical Center and the Charlotte Memorial Hospital School of Nursing: 

  • Shinn, Jerry. A Great Public Compassion: The Story of Charlotte Memorial Hospital and Carolinas Medical Center. Dallas: B Williams and Associates, 2002.

  • Photograph of Charlotte Memorial Hospital nursing students in 1946, studying diseases of the eye.

Information about Presbyterian Hospital and School of Nursing:

Charlotted nurses

  • Faris, J.C. (1967)  A history of Presbyterian Hospital.  North Carolina Medical Journal.  Mar; 28(3):100-1
  • Presbyterian Hospital: The Spirit of Caring 1903-1985. Dallas: Taylor Publishing Company, 1991.

History of the Presbyterian School of Nursing (PDF) 

Information about Good Samaritan Hospital and School of Nursing:

  • Good Samaritan Hospital and School of Nursing 
  • Carlton-LeNey, I. (2000). Women and interracial cooperation in establishing the Good Samaritan Hospital.  AFFILIA 15(1) pp.65-81.
  • Hoover, E & Lewsi, C (2009). Good Samaritan Hospital and the North Carolina Medical College circa early 1900: JAMA 101(4) 377-381.
  • Rann, E.L. (1964)  The Good Samaritan Hospital of Charlotte, NC.  Journal of the National Medical Association 56(3) pg 223-226.
  • Wilkes, J.R. (1906)  The history of St. Peter's Hospital, Charlotte, NC: for thirty years, from January 1876 to December 1905.  Charlotte:  Elam& Dobley.
  • Wyche, M.L. (1938) The history of nursing in North Carolina.  University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill, NC. (has information about St. Peters and Good Samaritan Hospitals).
  • Archives of the Good Samaritan Hospital found at the NC State Archives in Raleigh, NC
  • Mitchell, M.G. & Perzel, E.S. (1979)  The echo of the bugle call:  Charlotte's role in WWI.  Dowd House Preservation Committee:  Charlotte, NC.
  • Annual Reports for 1893, 1898, 1902 and 1909 found in the Empera Collection, EP 39-Good Sam - 1893-09-01 In the Robinson Spangler Carolina Roon at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library.
  • information about Good Samaritan from a special section of the Raleigh News and Observer, May 5, 2002
  • Article by Stewart Lillard about Good Samaritan Hospital

Information about Mercy Hospital and School of Nursing: 


Information about St. Peter's Hospital and School of Nursing:

  • Hospital and training items (1902).  American Journal of Nursing. 2(7). p. 523 ( article about St. Peter's Hospital School of Nursing first graduating class: Susie Mott, Effie McNeill, Annie Powers).
  • Historic information about St. Peter's Hospital, the first civilian hospital in North Carolina.  It was founded by St. Peter's Church (Episcopal). A scrapbook about St. Peter's Hospital is located in the NC State Archives in Raleigh, NC.
  • Survey and research report on the old St. Peter's hospital, 1977, Nov 1,  by Dan Morrill.  Found at the Charlotte Mecklenberg Historic Commission.
  • Wyche, M.L. (1938) The history of nursing in North Carolina.  University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill, NC. (has information about St. Peters and Good Samaritan Hospitals).

Information about UNC Charlotte School of Nursing.

cover image

Information on other Schools of Nursing and Institutions of Health

  • Information about the Charlotte Sanatorium  found in Annual Report of the Board of Public Charities of North Carolina, 1910 on Pg 62, Presbyterian Hospital pg 66.
  • Photograph of the Charlotte Sanatorium.
  • Article about the Charlotte Sanatorium in the Mecklenburg Times, 9-2-1926.
  • Records from the Mecklenburg Co. Health Department, including quite a few records about public health nurses are available in the special collections at the Atkins Library at UNC-Charlotte.

Harding, H.P. (1966).  The Charlotte City Schools.  Found in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library.  There is information about schools of nursing in the 1960s.

Information about Public Health Nurses

  • 1934 Report of the Charlotte Cooperative Nursing Association
  • Circa 1935 report about public health nurses in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County found in the state archives NC Board of Nursing records.
  • 1930 report on Infant and Preschool Clinics by Clara Ross, RN
  • 1927 Charlotte Cooperative Nursing pamlette (PDF)
  • 1930  Charlotte Cooperative Nursing Association report
  • "Mental Hygiene in Public Health" by Nurse Mary Porter, RN Clinician at the Mental Hygiene Clinic in Charlotte.  Health Bulletin, Feb 1948, pgs 9-12.
  • MOVIE CLIP about: Public Health Nurse Blanche Sansom at 2nd Ward School 1941
  • Black City Nurses
    Object Year: 
    Verdie Perille

    Black city nurses of the Charlotte Health Department. Seated on the first row, from left to right: Helen Glenn, Birdie Moore, Ruth Byers, Rose M. Jones, Mrs. A. E. Spears, Mrs. Gertrude Blackman. Standing, from left to right: Amanda Eason, Lillian Jenkins, Shute, Virginia Trollinger, Polly Willston, Cleo Yongue, Mary Wall Grier, Blanche Sanson, Estelle Smith Rodrickques, Louise Mason.Back row, from left to right: Hazel Blackeney (Director), Emily Nixon (Superintendent), Clara Lawrence, Dorothy Wilkins. Circa 1945-1950. Physical Description: 8x 10 glossy, black and white Publisher: Unknown


Nurse Nellie MCKenzie was the first African American nurse hired as a public health nurse in Mecklenburg County in 1919
The Charlotte Observer
Charlotte, North Carolina
06 May 1919, Tue  •  Page 15


  • Photograph of Camp Green, a WWI US Army camp
  • Photograph of nurses dining hall at Camp Green, WWI
  • Photograph of nurses living quarters at Camp Green, WWI
  • Photograph including WWII Lt and African American nurse Edna Moss, RN of Charlotte.
  • Photograph of a nurse helping with a 1918 children's dental clinic in davidson.
  • Early public health nursing timeline for Charlotte, North Carolina
  •  DVD "If they could see me now" is about and has many interviews with nurses from the 38th evacuation hosital in WWII
  • DVD "How I survived "has a few interviews with Charlotte area WWII nurses.
  • 1927 telephone directory listing of school nurses: SCHOOL NURSES Supervisor — Miss Marion Edwards (white) Misses Martha Thorpe, Iva Rudisill ("colored") Blanche Hayes (Snasom)  and Manilla Shoffner
  • List of 21 Charlotte nurses who served in WWI. -

Good Samaritan Hospital served Mecklenburg County's African American population 1901-1960

Good Samaritan Hospital


Information about Nurse Theresa Elders from:

Thereasea Elder


T.D.'s Truths by Stanley and Janice Frazier
In 1962, Thereasea was one of the first black public health nurses to
integrate the white nursing community in Charlotte.
Thereasea as an Army Cadet
At JCU's exhibit honoring the African Americans who
integrated the medical profession in Charlotte.
June, 2014

Thereasea has given me hours of her time answering innumerable questions about her community growing up, what it was like going into a KKK community as a black nurse, and the challenges which Lillie and Kate (my characters in Half-Truths) could conceivably face. One day when we were talking about race she said, "None of us were the same color. 'If you’re black get back, if you're brown stick around, if you’re light and bright you’re damn near white.' This wasn't said in our home, but it was said the streets. Even though everyone was brown and knew in general what that meant – that white blood was there—the specifics wouldn’t have been shared."

Nurses employed at Good Samaritan Hospital in Charlotte undated.

Four women in white nurses uniforms and caps in front of a brick building which says "GOOD SAMARITAN HOSPITAL"

Charlotte had a Tuberculosis Nurse in 1913 named Miss Carhart.  She was preceeded by a Miss Hawkins


The Charlotte News
Charlotte, North Carolina
19 Mar 1913, Wed  •  Page 3



The Charlotte Observer
Charlotte, North Carolina
05 May 1921, Thu  •  Page 7


The Charlotte Observer
Charlotte, North Carolina
13 Apr 1922, Thu  •  Page 21