Mecklenburg County

County History: 
Quick Facts
  • County seat: Charlotte, NC
  • Population: ~1,115,4482 (2020 census)
  • Second most populous county in NC
  • Atrium Health is the public hospital authority of the county
  • Mecklenburg county website
People and Biographies
Notable individuals from nursing history.
  • Dorothy A. Cabaniss (1940s): 1st LT Cabaniss was recruited from Charlotte Memorial Hospital, Charlotte, N.C. by Dr. Addison G. Brenizer who was organizing a base hospital unit. Nov. 10, 1942 she joined the Army Nurse Corps and took the oath of office. Nov. 21, 1942 she arrived at Lawson General Hospital, Atlanta, Ga. Jan. 21, 1943 they were sent to Camp Wheeler, Macon, Ga., for training. They were forming the 111th General Hospital. They left Camp Wheeler and arrived at Camp Anza, Calif. July 6th, 1943. They sailed on the US Army transport Uruguay on August 3, 1943. They arrived Sept. 10, 1943 in Bombay, India. On Sept. 13th they boarded His Majesty's Troop ship The Nevasa and sailed for Calcutta. Then they rode an Indian river boat from Dhubrito to Pandu. They stopped and spent time at a Baptist Mission Hospital. Then they rode an Indian train and arrived at Chabua. On Oct. 5, 1943 they had the 111th General Hospital up and running with 165 patients. A year later they had 900 patients. Dorothy was stationed there until Oct. 1945, when she came back to the States and was stationed at Battey General Hospital until she was out of the Army.
  • JoAnn Neal Dowling ( ): Dialysis and kidney transplant nurse who went into nursing administration later in her career. An autobiographical sketch for Dowling can be found attached in the Resources section below.
  • Thereasea Delerine Elder (1927-2021): Early African American public health nurse in Charlotte. She worked at Good Samaritan Hospital and the county Health Department.
  • Josephine Finch (1910s): World War I nurse from Charlotte. (Biographical sketch available through the Doughboy Center.)
  • Martha Pegram Mitchell (1917-2019): World War II nurse from Charlotte, NC.
  • Blanche Hayes Sansom (1920s): Early African American school nurse.
  • Nancy Vance (1886-1942): Pioneer public health nurse.
  • Jane Renwick Smedburg Wilkes (1827-1913): Civil War nurse and founder of the Ladies Hospital Association in Charlotte.
  • Peggy Chamberlain Wilmoth ( ): 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.
  • Cleo A. Yongue (c.1920s): Early African American nurse who worked for the Charlotte Health Department for 36 years. An oral history interview with 90-year old Cleo Yongue available through the Brooklyn Oral History project.
Special Topics
Special topics and events from the county's nursing history.
  • Wayside Hospital
    • 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.”
Additional resources for further research.

Health Care Insitutions

Books, Articles and Publications

  • Dock, L. (1922). History of American Red Cross nursing. MacMillan Company: New York, pp. 400-402. Excerpt in attachment section of this page.
  • Faris, J.C. (1967). A history of Presbyterian Hospital. North Carolina Medical Journal, 28(3), pp.100-101.
  • 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.
  • Mitchell, M.G. & Perzel, E.S. (1979). The echo of the bugle call:  Charlotte's role in WWI. Dowd House Preservation Committee: Charlotte, NC.
  • Newman, A.M., & Haney, D.H. (2018). Miss Bonnie's nurses: The first fifty years of nursing at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. J. Murrey Atkins Library: Charlotte, NC.
  • Presbyterian Hospital: The Spirit of Caring 1903-1985. (1991). Dallas: Taylor Publishing Company.
  • Porter, M. (1948). Mental Hygiene in Public Health. Health Bulletin, pp.9-12.
  • Shinn, J. (2002). A Great Public Compassion: The Story of Charlotte Memorial Hospital and Carolinas Medical Center. Dallas: B Williams and Associates.


Newspaper Clippings

Compiled by: 
Phoebe Pollitt