Wake County

County History: 
Quick Facts
  • County seat: Raleigh, NC
  • Population: ~1,129,410 (2020 census)
  • Wake County is served by three hospital systems: Rex Hospital, WakeMed, and Duke Raleigh Hospital. Rex Hospital is the oldest hospital in the capital city, and had the first nursing school in the state.
  • Wake county website
  • Wake Health & Human Services Department
People and Biographies
Notable individuals from nursing history.
  • Clara Adams-Ender (1939- ): Nurse who served as Brigadier General in the U.S. Army from 1961-1993.
  • Julia Choate Baxter (1920- ): Korean War nurse, born in Raleigh.
  • Ruby Brooks ( ): Nurse who served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. An article and video about her nursing career were published in the Raleigh news: Navy nurse dedicated life to career. (2009, November 11). WRAL. Available online at https://www.wral.com/news/local/story/6399722.
  • Rose Ehrenfeld (1877-1961): State Director of Public Health Nursing in the 1920s.
  • Blanche Catherine Hayes ( ): St. Agnes graduate and Red Cross nurse in Tarboro. She was the first African American school nurse in NC.
  • Ruth Warren Holleman (1924-2011): Holleman was a graduate of Mary Elizabeth Hospital School of Nursing, and the Nurse Anesthesia Program, Bowman Gray School of Medicine/North Carolina Baptist Hospital. Ruth served as chair of Rex Hospital's Department of Anesthesia and later as nurse anesthetist for Dorothea Dix Hospital. She also provided volunteer anesthesia services for St. Agnes Hospital, Central Prison, and Butner Hospital. (Memorial for Ruth Warren Holleman can be found on diginitymemorial.com.)
  • Marie Mason (1940s): World War II nurse and Campbell University's first nurse. A biographical sketch about Marie Mason is available in the Campbell University Magazine: Liggett, B. (2013). The First Nurse. Campbell University Magazine. Available online at https://magazine.campbell.edu/articles/the-first-nurse.
  • Dorothy Stevens Montague (1940s): Dorothy Stevens Montague, RN, was commissioned a 2nd Lt, upon her graduation from Rex Hospital School of Nursing, in the Army Nurse Corps as an operating room nurse on 1 May 1942. She was from Raleigh, NC. She was assigned to the 5th Evacuation Hospital in England (APO 230). She arrived in France in June 1944 as part of the invasion force. She was from Smithfield.
  • Flora Wakefield ( ): Wake County public health nurse, she served as president of NCSNA and was supervisor of public health nurses for the Wake County Public Health Department circa 1937-1963.
  • Ruth Will ( ): Public health nurse in Wake County. An article and photograph of Will are available in the December 1961 edition of The Health Bulletin, pp.2-4.
  • Mary Lewis Wyche (1858-1936): Known as the "Florence Nightingale" of North Carolina, she was the founder of Rex Hospital School of Nursing.
Additional resources for further research.

Health Care Institutions and Schools of Nursing

Articles and Publications

  • Elliott, B. (1961, December). We go where we're needed. Raleigh Times. Article about Wake County public health nurses.
  • Hall, I.H. (1946, January). Amanda Bunch, Midwife. The Health Bulletin, p.13.



Newspaper Clippings

Compiled by: 
Phoebe Pollitt