Watauga County


Learn more about the history of nursing in Watauga County



        Image result for Mary Shook RN Boone NC          Mrs. Mary Shook, first health care provider at Appalachian State UniversityImage result for Mary Shook nurse ASUImage result for Mary Shook RN Boone NC

    • Cook, S. (1990) Dr. Frances Farthing.  Watauga County Times Past. This is an article about nurse Frances 
    • Farthing
    • .Image result for Frances Farthing LENOIR rHYNE
    •  Photograph and article about Anesta "Tiny" Glovier, RN the school and community nurse for the Valle Crusis School for Girls run by the Episcopal Church.  She and her husband Monte were at the Valle Crusis Mission from the Depression years until their retirement in the 1940s.  From "The spirit of Mission" an Episcopalian Magazine  June/July 1938 p 297-298 
    • Article about Dorothy Vance, RN, from The Blowing Rocket, May 15, 1997 pg 9 "Nurses Honored at Blowing Rock Hospital"
    • Article about Lela Snyder, a WWI RN titled "A life of helping others"  in The Blowing Rocket May 29, 1997, pg 10
    • Eason, J. ( 2009) Sweeting appointed to health commission. Watauga Democrat, Boone, NC. This article is about Nurse Practitioner Sue Sweeting being appointed to the NC State Commission for Public Health. She also served on the Blowing Rock City Council and the Watauga County Commission.  Image result for sue sweeting
    • Video of Public Health Nurse Amy Louise Fisher of Watauga County, 1934.
    • Palmer, K. (1938) "A day with the Boone District nurse". Federal Writer's Project interview.
    • An interview of Public Health nurse Amy Fisher was conducted by Nurse Jane Plyler for her Masters Thesis in 1980. Plylers' Masters Thesis and the original recordings can be found in the Southern Collection in Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Nurses who worked at the "old" watauga County Hostpial (opened in 1937 and is now known as Founders Hall on the Appalachian State University campus) include:
Edna Heinzerling (First Director of Nursing), Helen Rominger, Gunta Lukibitz (? spelling) Owlsley, Dare Harrison, Sarah Prevatte (Assoc Director of Nursing), Rose Bolick (ER), Bonnie Beach (ER, maybe OR), CLeo Rhyne (OR Supervisor), Sue Simmons (Director of Nursing in the 1950s), Betty Shook (first CRNA), Kate tester (LPN), Jean Cable, Kathryn Stapleton
Nurses who worked in teh "New" (1967) hospital included (were there in the eyars of 1969-1973):
Frances Young, Bessie Reynolds, Linda Elledge, Pat Light, Lennis Moody, Nancy Haas, Faith Houk Furman
Nurses who worked in the ASU infirmary from 1950s=1970s included:  Mary Stevenson Shook, Nina Martin, Issa Saylors, Lucille Hovis.
Nurses who worked at the Watauga County Health Department included:  Jo Harrison, Orbie Ward, Mary Nell Marsh (Director of Nurses), Irene Clawson, Lois Harrell.
    •  Articles from the Watauga Democrat newspaper are below.

    • Blowing Rock  -  Juanita Rose Brown Tobin

      Born on February 12, 1915 to Charles F. and Hattie Young Brown.  Her mother grew up on Ransom Street and was educated at the Skyland Institute.  She married a “saw mill man” from Mortimer and the Brown family moved around quite a bit when Juanita was young. She made frequent trips back to Blowing Rock to visit and occasionally live with her grandmother.

      Juanita graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in 1944. For twenty years, she worked as a psychiatric nurse at Dorothea Dix Hospital, the state psychiatric hospital in Raleigh.  She remembered “I worked in Broughton Building, the worst building on the hill (Dix Hospital). The census averaged 66 patients, one third chronic schizophrenia and mental retardation, one third criminal, and one third drug/alcohol addiction and youth acting out.”  She returned to Blowing Rock to take care of her mother in the early 1980s.

      Tobin is primarily remembered locally as a poet.  She recalled “Sam Ragan convinced me I should write poetry. I was forty two and I was taking a class from him at State College in Raleigh. I was working as a psychiatric nurse at Dorothea Dix Hospital. I thought if I could learn to write, I could teach some of my patients. I felt like that would help them.”  

      Juanita authored six books of poetry in her life: Ransom Street Quartet, License My Roving Hands, white family saga, The Crooked Pine, In Grape Time, Kingpins and China Dolls, Zekes and a Zillion Cats. She won many awards, was published in Image result for Juanita Poet Blowing Rock NC

    • numerous publications and wrote a column for the Blowing Rock Paper from 1989 until she lost her sight in 2005.  Towards the end of her life, Tobin moved from her home on Ransom Street and lived at the Blowing Rock Extended Care facility until her death on January 22, 2007.

New Health Department Began Work in Watauga on First of the Month
                Miss Amy Louise Fisher, who has been doing welfare and nursing work in Watauga County under the Board of American Missions of the United Lutheran Church of America for the past several years, has accepted a position as Watauga County nurse with the District Health Department, it was announced Monday by Dr. William P. Richardson, District Health Officer. She began work on June 1st. The health department commenced its work in the county on May 16th, the State Board of Health having loaned Mrs. H.P. Guffy to fill in until permanent arrangements were made.
                The sanitary inspection for the eastern half of the district, which includes Watauga County, is Mr. Harry S. Webster, Mr. Webster, a graduate of North Carolina State College, served as sanitary supervisor for McDowell County and milk inspector for the town of Marion before coming to his present position.
                As soon as another county joins the district, it is expected to have one of the headquarters offices, with a clerk, located in Boone. The department offices are located over the post office. For the present, the office will be open on Tuesday mornings, at which time either Dr. Richardson, or Dr. King, the assistant health officer, will be in the office, and on Saturday afternoon.
                Dr. Richardson outlined the activities of the Health Department as follows:
                The institution of measures to control communicable diseases, including tuberculosis;
                Supervision of midwives and instruction of expectant mothers;
                Health supervision of infants, preschool children, and school children, and the encouragement of efforts to have defects found corrected;
                A program of sanitation covering homes, schools, hotels, and other places of public accommodation, and dairies;
                A Mouth Health Program in the schools put on by one of the dentists from the Division of Oral Hygiene of the State Health Department.
                The activities planned for the month of June include the commencement of the Mouth Health Program among the school children, and the institution of classes of midwife instruction. The dentist is expected to arrive to begin his work early next week.
Doctors Hagaman and Perry Meet With Parish Nurse Each Month for Examination of Children. Dr. Warfield Conducts Similar Clinic at Bailey Camp. Public Invited to Take Advantage of Free Work.
                More than forty-five million children live in the United States. Every one of these children deserves protection—that protection which will insure the child health in mind and body. The future of America and of the world depends upon the children today.  As a nation we are coming to realize this fact and are giving more attention to the problems of child welfare. On November 19 there gathered in Washington about five thousand people to attend the White House conference on Child Health and Protection. President Hoover made this statement, “If we could have but one generation of properly born, trained, educated and healthy children, a thousand other problems of government would vanish. We could assure ourselves of healthier minds in more vigorous bodies, to direct the energies of our nation to yet greater heights of achievement.”
                The White House Conference agreed upon twenty fundamental principles of child health and protection. The following are only five of the twenty:
1.       Every child should have periodical health examinations before and during the school period, including adolescence, by the family physician, or the school or other public physician, and such hospital care as its special needs may require.
2.       Every child should have regular dental examination and care.
3.       Every child should be protected from communicable diseases to which he might be exposed at home, in school or at play, and be protected from impure milk and food.
4.        Have proper sleeping rooms, diet, hours of sleep and pray, and parents should receive expert information as to the needs of children of various ages as to these questions.
5.       The rural child should have as satisfactory schooling, health protection and welfare facilities as the city child.
Expert information does not come from your neighbor but from the trained physician. He is qualified to guide you in preserving the health of your child. You have always heard that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Prevention may save your child’s life; it certainly will protect his future health and happiness.
        On Thursday after the second Sunday in each month Dr. Hagaman and Dr. Perry hold a child welfare clinic in the Daniel Boone Cabin Colony at the home of Miss Fisher, Watauga parrish nurse. Bring your child every month for a free health examination. Sick children treated at office price. Don’t wait until the child is sick—keep him well.


Dr. Richardson Announces That Classes for Midwives Are to Be Continued.
                The District Health Department will inaugurate the annual training classes for midwives next week, according to an announcement by Dr. William F. Richardson, acting District Health Officer. These classes in the past have been conducted by one of the nurses from the State Board of Health, and have consisted of only one meeting at each point. This year it is planned to hold four meetings at each point where there are midwives who do not qualify at the first meeting, and the instruction is going to be more than thorough than was previously possible. Midwives who desire to practice, too those previously registered, and those registering for the first time, will be required to attend one or more of these classes, and to meet certain other requirements.


March 2, 1944
“Plan To Speed Rate Of Military Draft” reported in this week’s newspaper, “(o)fficials of the local selective service board are expecting a sharply accelerated draft rate as a result of the President’s order for an immediate review of occupational  deferments and a speedy start on making up a 200,000 deficit in army inductions.”
In related news, “Miss Hodges Enlists in U.S. Cadet Nurses Corps” told that, “Miss Willie Lee Hodges, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Finley Hodges, of Boone Route 2, has enlisted in the U.S. Nurses Cadet Corps. She is now at Shelby Hospital, Shelby, N.C., where she is taking training.” The article notes, “Miss Hodges is the first young lady from Watauga County to enlist. She received her education at the Appalachian High School.”
June 10, 1937
“Tonsil Clinic at Valle Crucis” was an article in this week’s edition which told that, “(t)he Valle Crucis school took the form of a hospital Tuesday, when a tonsil clinic, sponsored by the county health department, was held on the premises.” The story reported that, “some twenty operations were performed, Dr. Robert H. King, Dr. H.B. Perry, Dr. W.O. Bingham, and Dr. R.H. Harmon composing the medical staff.” Three nurses assisted, including the school’s nurse, “Mrs. Glovier,” who “utilized several of her students during the progress of the clinic.”


 Image result for edna Heinzerling

When Watauga Hospital opened on Easter Sunday, April 7, 1938, Nurse Edna Heinzerling was the Superintendent of Nurses.  Nurses Grace Littleton and Rosalee Miller, both of Lumberton were the 2 nurses making up the nursing staff.  



 Watauga Democrat
Boone, North Carolina
21 Jul 1921, Thu  •  Page 1


Nursing Education

Information about the nursing program at Appalachian State University can be found at www.nursing.appstate.edu