Nurses who worked in the Emergency Polio Hospital in Hickory, 1944-1945
Angels of Mercy (Nurses who worked at the Emergency Polio Hospital in Hickory, 1944-45)
Author’s note: The spellings of names and towns below appear as they were originally printed in newspaper articles.
The nurse roster as complied by Miss Greathouse is as follows:
Miss Ethel M. Greathouse, Louisville General hospital, Louisville, KY., superintendent of nurses; Mrs. Leola P. Cahoon, M.C.V. School of Nursing, Richmond, Va., assistant superintendent; Mrs. Maude A. Gallamore, Philadelphia General, Philadelphia, Pa., supervisor; Miss Virginia M. Smith, Grace, Morganton, acting superintendent.
Mrs. Ester Nifong, State, Raleigh; Miss Margaret F. Pendergraph, Watts, Durham, Miss Annie Mae Milton, James Walker Memorial, Wilmington; Mrs. Mattie P. Dixon, Retreat, Richmond, Va.; Mrs. Bertha S. Moody, Mt. Sinai, Philadelphia, Pa; Miss Laurie V. Griffin, Highsmith, Fayetteville, married, left for army 2/21; Mrs. Irene Eudy, Highsmith, Fayetteville; Miss Iris McGimsey, Grace, Morganton, night supervisor; Mrs. Marie Highsmith, Mercy, Charlotte; Miss Ollie Ada Styers, St. Leo’s, Greensboro, in army; Mrs. Mazie W. Shoffner, St. Leo’s, Greensboro; Miss Agnes Williams, James Walker Memorial, Wilmington; Miss Catherine A. Crowell, St. Leo’s, Greensboro.
Miss Nancy Sullivan, St. Leo’s, Greensboro; Miss Zyra Hall Brannes, South Baptist, New Orleans, La.; Miss Esther L. Fagan, Mary Black Memorial, Spartanburg, S.C.; Mrs. Geneva F. Aubol, Mary Black Memorial, Spartanburg. S.C.; Miss Dora Emily Wooten, Mary Black Memorial, Spartanburg, S.C.; Miss Kathleen J. Matthews, Watts, Durham; Miss Evelyn Jean Graham, Watts, Durham; Miss Martha E. Prevost, Baptist, Winston-Salem; Miss Grace H. Taylor, James Walker Memorial, Wilmington; Miss Merline Myers, St. Leo’s, Greensboro; Miss Sara C. Courts, St. Leo’s, Greensboro; Miss Dupree Phillips, Rex, Raleigh; Mrs. Gypsy B. Braswell, Burrus Memorial, High Point, husband in army overseas; Miss Grace M. Altman, Rex, Raleigh.
Miss Anna C. Mangum, Watts, Durham; Miss Pearl Rogers, Florida Sanatorium and Hospital, Orlando, Fla.; Miss Jessie L. Matthis, Fla. East Coast Railroad, St. Augustine, Fla.; Mrs. Aurora Wakefield, Meriwether, Asheville; Miss Eileen Glenn, St. Sinai, Milwaukee, Wis.; Mrs. Carrie C. Townsend, Long’s Statesville; Mrs. Clara W. Spencer, Chicago Memorial, Chilcago, Ill.; Mrs. Lalah D. Putman, Shelby hospital, Shelby; Mrs. Mae Monroe, Rocky Mount hospital, Rocky Mount, husband in navy overseas; Miss Grace C. Clodfelter, Guilford General, High Point; Mrs. Martha R. Smith, St. Luke’s, Jacksonville, FLa.; Miss Helen Payne, Hotel DIeu, New Orleans; Miss Carrie Toups, Hotel DIeu, New Orleans; Miss Bett Hudson, General, Wilson.
There were at least sixty others—perhaps part-time, filling in, taking their precious vacation time—who assisted Lake Hickory’s young polio victims.
Below is a poem written by one of the nurses who worked in the Hospital - this is taken from the book "Grit: the story behind the miracle"
By Ellen Lipscomb, R.N.
In Western Carolina in June of ‘44
There came a disaster like had never come before,
An epidemic of infantile paralysis sprung up over night
That people from far and near were called in to fight.
There was a fresh air camp near Hickory,
A little industrial town,
And the undernourished children had been brought here
From miles and miles around.
They were quickly evacuated when the epidemic came
To provide a place for children whose bodies were wracked with pain
A hospital was in the making in no time at all,
And soon Red Cross Nurses began responding to the call,
Almost over-night new buildings began to grow
And into the Emergency Center donations began to flow.
The census kept on rising, daily ‘twould increase
Till folks began to wonder—was it never going to cease?
All summer long the epidemic raged
With cases scattered throughout the state,
Then early in September
The census began to fluctuate.
The Kenny Packs, hydrotherapy and exercises they had received
Enabled many to smile again for their aching bodies were relieved.
So after months in the hospital where those treatments were performed
‘Twas good to see so many children sent home undeformed.