Woodard-Herring Hospital and School of Nursing

A Brief Historical Sketch Of

 The Woodard-Herring Hospital

 Wilson, North Carolina

Respectfully submitted to the Board of Trustees

of the Woodard-Herring Hospital on July 26, 1964

Eva Lucas Young (Mrs. B.S.)

Published March 1964


Wilson Sanatorium

                Wilson’s first hospital, the Wilson Sanatorium, was established in 1896 by Dr. C.E. Moore and Dr. Albert Anderson, two of the state’s leading physicians.  They were recognized throughout the South as pioneer hospital executives.

                Dr. E.T. Dickinson and Dr. A.F. Williams became members of the staff.

                The building was erected on land adjoining the present Post Office Building.

                At this time it was difficult to persuade patients to enter a hospital unless some dire emergency existed.  The Hospital, in the opinion of many, was a place to go only if surgery were necessary or as a last resort, when days were numbered.  This feeling was soon overcome by the gradual better acquaintance and understanding of the institution.  Often the 22 beds were filled.

                One of the first passenger elevators was installed in the sanatorium.  Nurses, doctors and patients appreciated this new convenience, but the old female cook and laundress considered it a “work of the devil” and continued her many trips to and from the kitchen by way of the stairsteps.  She also is reputed to have feared electrocution to such an extent that she rejected another modern invention, the electric iron.  She always kept her flat irons on the stove and did her ironing well but in a safe manner.

                    The first graduating class of nurses in 1899 consisted of three members: Effie Morris (Mrs. Martin Faratoro), Minnie Oldham and Annie Morris.  Three graduates of the school served in World War I: Emily Morton (Whitley), Gay Johnson and Ella Flye Lumley.  The sanatorium closed in 1922. 

 The Mercy Hospital 

                The Mercy Hospital was established in 1913 on East Green Street and was one of the earliest of Negro hospitals in the state.

                There is a competent medical and nursing staff in charge of this institution.  Close co-operation with doctors in other hospitals has always existed.

                In 1928 the hospital was reorganized on a community basis under the control of a Board of Trustees.

                Mercy Hospital has served patients from Wilson, Greene and Pitt Counties.  It will close its doors upon the opening of the Wilson Hospital which will serve all the people of Wilson and nearby communities.

The Carolina General Hospital 

                The Carolina General Hospital, located on Pine Street, will also be absorbed into the new hospital.

                It has served the town and surrounding territory since 1920.  It has always been justly proud of its competent staff which has included some of the best loved and most staff which has included some of the best loved and most highly respected doctors in Wilson.  A new clinic is being erected near the Wilson Memorial Hospital by and for the medical staff of the Carolina General Hospital.

Contentnea Pathological and Clinical Laboratory 

                In 1929 the Contentnea Pathological and Clinical Laboratory was established.  This institution was short-lived and most of the staff was absorbed by the existing hospitals.

Moore-Herring Hospital 

                In 1913, Dr. C.E. Moore left the Wilson Sanatorium and with Dr. B.S. Herring established the Moore-Herring Hospital.  They rented the Meeks’ house across the street from the incomplete hospital building and used it for office and hospital until the present building on the corner of Douglas and Green Streets was ready for occupancy.  Dr. K.C. Moore, son of Dr. C.E. Moore soon became a member of the staff.

                Miss Annie Morris served as Superintendent of Nurses until 1926.

                In 1920, Dr. C.A. Woodard, upon discharge from military service, joined the staff, and Dr. C.E. Moore retired to private practice.  In the same year Dr. Wade H Anderson came into the organization and remained until 1929. 

                The following list of Doctors subsequently became affiliated with the hospital:

                                Dr. G.E. Bell – 1930

                                Dr. M.A. Pittman – 1930

                                Dr. Paul P. Lane – 1932

                                Dr. Ralph L. Fike – 1934


                The Moore-Herring Hospital was incorporated to 1933.  Dr. C. Woodard, Dr. G.E. Bell and Dr. M.A. Pittman were the incorporators.

                The following were elected to the Board of Trustees: Doane Herring, George Stronach, H.G. Connor, Jr., T.J. Hackney, C.F. Young and Troy M. Myatt.

                At the first meeting of the Board of Trustees on November 28, 1933, the following doctors were appointed members of the Active Medical Staff: G.E. Bell, M.A. Pittman, P.P. Lane and C.A. Woodard.  Dr. Woodard was elected Superintendent of the hospital

                One episode in the history of the Moore-Herring Hospital which has probably been forgotten by many took place in 1928 – the “depression” year.

                In order to curtail expenses, the Moore-Herring Hospital and the Carolina General Hospital merged personnel and facilities.  The doctors had offices in the Moore-Herring building and all patients were put in the Carolina General.  The nurses of both organizations resided and worked there.  This arrangement lasted for about a year, at which time the two hospitals again became separate units.


                On April 27, 1935 the Moore-Herring Hospital, Inc., still retaining ownership of the property, filed a resolution to change the name of the hospital to the “Woodard-Herring Hospital”.  This change was immediately made official. 


Wilson’s First Nurses


                An adequate evaluation of the nurses in a hospital is ________ with the rating of the institution by the professional standards.  Their real worth can be judged one heart.  A good nurse commands by her quiet service, respect, admiration, confidence and affection of the students.  It is a solace, indeed, to know that one is near responds to every call with a smile.


                The actual training for the nursing profession in Wilson began in 1896 at the Wilson Sanatorium.  The first graduation class of nurses in 1899 consisted of three members: Effie Morris (Faratoro), Minne Oldham and Annie Morris.


                In 1913, when Dr. C.E. Moore and Dr. B.S. Herring published the Moore-Herring Hospital, Miss Annie Morris was employed as Superintendent of Nurses, in which capacity she served until 1926.


                “Miss Annie” as she was affectionately known, upheld precept and example very high standards for the students.  Her influence has been marked throughout the years.  She is still in the minds and hearts of those who knew her, a professional inspiration, and in a sense, a “public” saint.


                Miss Annie, in addition to being Superintendent of Nurses, served as anesthetist, operating room supervisor, politician, housekeeper, purchasing agent and night supervisor.  She was on call twenty-four hours and she just did not find time for a vacation.


                The senior nurses instructed the students in basic nursing procedure.  The doctors taught the technical and professional subjects in night classes.  Miss Annie taught, the occasion arose, valuable lessons in manners, morals and personality. 


                The first four students enrolled at the Moore-Herring Hospital in 1913 graduated in 1916.  At that time student nurses were not taken in by classes to be enrolled at a specific time.  If a student dropped out or graduated, another applicant could be admitted to fill the vacancy.


                Upon enrollment the student was given a book of rules and regulations to be kept and studied throughout her training.  Each applicant was required to serve a probation period of one month and could not wear a uniform until her acceptance by the superintendent.  At that time she was given a pattern (usually an old uniform) and material which was kept in the hospital for sale to the students.  The uniform consisted of a blue and white striped shirt waist dress, a gored white apron, kerchief, white hose, white cap and Oxford shoes.  Now and then a girl would appear in “high heels” – just to add a little glamour. 


                The pay?  Each student received $10.00 per month during her first two years and $12.50 per month the third year.


                Occasionally, a student nurse did outside or special nursing 18 to 20 hours a day.  For each service the hospital received $17.50 per week.


                In the early days there was no formal graduating exercise.  Upon completion of the required course, the student was called to the superintendent’s office where she was given her diploma, along with some good advice and best wishes.


                Although there was no official graduation ceremony there most certainly was a regular ritual engaged in by the students to celebrate the occasion and do honor to the graduate.  The jolly crowd gathered in the nurses’ quarters on the third floor of the building.  The graduate stood in the center of the group who actually stripped the old uniform from her.  The gaiety would sometimes reach such a strident peak that “Dr. Ben” would hasten up the steps to remind the girls that “sick folk” were in the hospital.


                The Moore-Herring was the only hospital accessible to many patients who lived as far away as Greenville, Smithfield and nearby towns.  The roads were bad and ambulance service was very limited.  Many critically ill patients would arrive by train.  Typhoid was very prevalent at that time and many patients were required to be hospitalized for long periods of time.  Delay in getting a patient to the hospital often resulted in a ruptured appendix or gallbladder or the development of critical stages of pneumonia. 


                In 1926 Miss Annie Morris resigned as superintendent of nurses to become head of the infirmary at the East Carolina Teachers’ College at Greenville, North Carolina. 


                Miss Leona Boswell was employed as the second superintendent of nurses and it was under her guidance that many changes were made in accordance with new requirements for Nurses’ Training Schools.


                A State Standardization Board had been formed and surveys were made.  A schedule of minimum requirements had been adopted and these had to be attained in order to meet the classification standards.


                The applicants, after 1926, were required to keep complete and accurate records of each student.  A definite curriculum was set up.  Longer service in dietetics, obstetrics and pediatrics was required.  Regular and uniform classes for a nine months term of systematized instruction were planned along with regular study hours.  More thorough teaching during the probationary period was given to the study of ethics, personal hygiene and practical nursing procedures.  Students were required to spend at least three years in the training school in order to receive a diploma.


                The changes were gradual, but very high standards were set and each student had to conform to the requirements.  An annual inspection was made by the State Educational Director of Nurses’ Training and any necessary recommendations were made.


                In 1931 there was a surplus of nurses and in order to better this condition the Standardization Board suggested that the training schools establish a ratio of one nurse to every three patients.  The use of student nurses for special and outside duty was also abolished.


                At this time nurses’ salaries were very low.  Graduate nurses working in the hospital were paid $20.00 per month and maintenance.  Some nurses were working for room and board and a few had difficulty finding a job.


                The first formal graduation exercises were held for the Class of 1929 in the First Methodist Church.  Because of the depression there was not another until 1936.  From that time it has become an annual affair with the picture of the class appearing in the Wilson Daily Times.


                In 1941 affiliation with Dr. Sidbury’s Babies Hospital at Wrightsville, North Carolina, was arranged for study and training in pediatrics.  A course in dietetics was taught in the Wilson High School and chemistry, with laboratory facilities, was given at Atlantic Christian College.  Further study in medical nursing, obstetrics and dietetics was arranged by affiliation with the University of Maryland Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland.


                Dr. George Mitchell taught a class in medical nursing for several years.  Dr. Harry Willis gave instruction in diseases, symptoms, treating and nursing in the eye, ear, nose and throat.  The medical staff of the hospital held classes in their respective specialties.


                In 1943 the Cadet Corps were organized and the Woodard-Herring Hospital graduated 29 cadet nurses.  This course lasted until the end of World War II.


                In 1946 the affiliation was changed from the University of Maryland to the James Walker Memorial Hospital, Wilmington, North Carolina, and in 1951 to the Gallagher Hospital, Washington, D.C. and later to Duke Hospital, Durham, North Carolina.  For the study of psychiatry and care of the mentally ill, arrangements were made for student nurses to spend three months of the senior year at Dorothea Dix Hospital, Raleigh, North Carolina.


­­                The School of Nursing which was established in 1913 graduated 177 students in its thirty-eight years of service.  Progress was advanced during this time by the following superintendents of nursing:


Miss Annie Morris

13 years

Miss Leona Boswell

  (Mrs. Gabe Smith)

15 years

Miss Emma Lee Ellis

    (Mrs. Wade Pate)

3 years

Mrs. Ettie Bowdish

   (Mrs. A.C. Lamm)

2 years

Mrs. Audrey Matthew Mallard

4 years

Mrs. Frances Flye Hollowell

1 year


Wilson School Of Nursing Organized


                The Wilson School of Nursing was organized in 1951 with Miss Myra Maxwell as director.  The student nurses have dormitory and class rooms at the Eastern North Carolina Sanatorium.  The Wilson “Jaycees” donated a passenger bus to the school for transportation of the students.


                Practice training is obtained at the Woodard-Herring and Carolina General Hospitals.  Financial arrangements are made in accordance with the regulations agreed to by the director of the school and the hospitals.


                The superintendent or director of nurses in the Woodard-Herring Hospital since the establishment of the new school are:


Mrs. Frances Flye Hollowell

1 year

Mrs. Joyce Goforth

2 years

Mrs. Rebecca Poythress

16 months


Mrs. Stella Winstead has held the position since 1955.


Alumnae Association


                The Alumnae of the Woodard-Herring Hospital, although they cannot increase in number, constantly adhere in loyalty to their Alma Mater.  Their Alumnae Association is a very active and enthuasic organization.  They put on record the activities of the members-employment, marriage, children and their whereabouts.  This data is included in the annual letter of the secretary to each member. 


                The Wilson School of Nursing has its alumnae organization and has provided by its constitution and by-laws an invitation to the members of the Woodard-Herring Alumnae Association to become members if and when they should desire to do so.


                The Woodard-Herring Alumnae Association plans a festive “homecoming” celebration once every five years.  The most recent gathering was held in June 1963 at the “Ship ‘n Shore” restaurant.


                One of the worthwhile projects of the alumnae of “our hospital”, as they always say, is the donation of $150.00 to the Wilson School of Nursing to be awarded as a scholarship to some deserving student.


                Some of the “veterans” who have served and are still serving in the hospital and clinic are the following nurses whose names are familiar to most WIlsonians.


Mrs.   IIa Mae Farmer Raper     Supervisor,   Operating               Room

Mrs.   Emma Pate 

Superintendent   of Clinic Nurses, Emergency Room Nurse

Mrs.   Alma Lucas Ferrell

Clinic   Nurses

Miss   Nellie Garris

Clinic   X-Ray Technician

Mrs.   Sarah Scott Kirby

Superintendent   East Wing

Miss   Doris Bridgers

General   Duty, Hospital

Miss   Mary Margaret Finch

Assistant,   Operating Room

Mrs.   Ruth Boykin Price

Operating   Room Nurse

Mrs.   Lois McDonald Tipton

Assistant   Director of Nurses, Hospital

























Other alumnae of the Woodard-Herring Hospital employed elsewhere in Wilson and Wilson County are:

Mrs.   Betty Minshew Stuart

Wilson   Co. Health Dept.

Mrs.   Mildred Davis Hayes

Wilson   Co. Health Dept.

Mrs.   Dorothea Davis Daniels

Carolina   General Hospital

Mrs.   Flossie Davis Wheeler

Eastern   N.C. Sanatorium

Mrs.   Mary F. Uzzell Griffin

Atlantic   Christian College

Mrs.   Bernice Mooring Hinton

Eastern   N.C. Sanatorium

Mrs.   Coleen Edmundson Davis

Swift   and Company

Mrs.   Dora H. Holly

Carolina   General Hospital






















           The following list of Woodard-Herring Hospital Nursing School alumnae include some of the most popular and most sought after private duty nurses in Wilson and its environs:


Mrs.   Stella Mayo Applewhite

Miss   Isabel Boomer

Miss   Inez Finch

Miss   Marie Tyson

Miss   Mary Wood

Miss   Maggie Wood

Mrs.   Thelma High Jerkins

Mrs.   Christine Mooring Williamson

Mrs.   Eloise Boyette Ferrell

Mrs.   Nancy Bass Faircloth

Mrs.   Gladys Stith

Mrs.   Emily Morton Whitley

Mrs.   Iren Wiggins Beland




















Adkins,   Mrs. Cora Smith, R.N.

Broughton,   Mrs. Elizabeth Williams, R.N.

Bridgers,   Miss Doris, R.N.

Crumpler,   Mrs. Barbara Proctor, R.N.

Davis,   Mrs. Clemmie Carlyle, R.N.

Davis,   Mrs. Marjorie Renfrow, R.N.

Duncan,   Mrs. Nancy Beamon, R.N.

Durham,   Mrs. Lelia Miller, R.N.

Eagles,   Mrs. Mildred Brite, R.N.

Flowers,   Mrs. Janice Boykin, R.N.

Glover,   Mrs. Myrtle Rowe, R.N.

Holloman,   Mrs. Billie Frazier, R.N.

Holloman,   Mrs. Joyce Bass, R.N.

Jacobs,   Mrs. Lucille Boykin, R.N.

Kirby,   Mrs. Sarah Scott, R.N.

Lucas,   Mrs. Marie Boykin, R.N.

Murray,   Mrs. Mary Harris, R.N.

Moody,   Mrs. Fay Slaon, R.N.

Pollard,   Mrs. Bobby, R.N.

Price,   Mrs. Ruth Boykin, R.N.

Raper,   Mrs. IIa Mae Farmer, R.N.

Smith,   Mrs. Dorothy Price, R.N.

Tipton,   Mrs. Lois McDonald, R.N.

Woodard,   Mrs. Rose Speight, R.N.

Whitley,   Mrs. Carolyn Southerland, R.N.



Harrell,   Mrs. Marjorie Herndon, L.P.N

Jones,   Mrs. Jamie Jenkins, L.P.N.





                Wilson does not have a Licensed Practical Nurses School.  The nearest one is Wayne Memorial Hospital, Goldsboro, N.C.