Nursing Careers for Young Ladies Offered by Union Hospital in 1911

The first class of the Union Hospital School of Nursing in 1911.  source:  Union Hospital Annual Report in the collection of the Historical Society of Cecil County

The first class of the Union Hospital School of Nursing in 1911. source: Union Hospital Annual Report in the collection of the Historical Society of Cecil County

The first two decades of the 20th century were a time of rapid innovation for health care delivery in northeastern Maryland.  First, Union Hospital of Cecil County opened its doors to the community in 1908, filling a critical medical gap since inpatient care required travel to Baltimore, Wilmington,or Philadelphia.

As local doctors moved from treating the sick and injured at home to hospitalizing people, it became rapidly evident that the hospital needed trained caregivers to assist in the operation of the facility.  Once the medical staff pointed out the shortage of aides to provide around-the-clock care, supervise patients, and assist in medical procedures, the Board agreed to another enhancement, the opening of a training school for nurses.

Young women 20 to 30 years old who had completed one year of high school were invited to apply for admission to the inaugural class.  Candidates provided three references, including one from a clergyman who could attest to good moral character.

Pupils participated in a three year course of instruction leading to a diploma in nursing.  In exchange for the education, lectures, practical experience, and room and board, each trainee received a monthly stipend of $5 (about $125 today) and a three-week summer vacation annually.  There was no charge for tuition as the students exchanged their labor for the clinical experience.

While in the program these women carried out most patient care activities, as the institution had a small number of employees.  In 1914, the Superintendent  was Maida G. Campbell., R.N.  and the nursing staff consisted of a matron, Isabella W. Peterson, and an orderly, William S. Moore.  The superintendent also served as the head nurse, supervising 11 “pupil nurses.” These trainees did the bulk of the work, taking on everything from housekeeping, food service, and laundry to supervised care.

This apprenticeship approach was a common model in that era.  It flourished throughout the United States as it offered women an opportunity for a vocation, improved care of the sick, and decreased operational cost, as  students provided care for a minimal cost, according to the Journal of Nursing.

To fulfill their obligations eager students juggled floor duty, classes, and studying for exams.  Classroom activities included lectures, recitations, and demonstrations, the daily instruction taking place from 4 to 5 p.m.    The local physicians provided theoretical and applied lectures while the Superintendent, Miss Campbell, provided practical instruction.  Most student learning occurred at beside, as this practical experience supplemented the daily lecture.

This was all taking place at a time when it was rare for women to live or work outside the family home.  But this route provided a professional career, and these early pioneers helped open new opportunities for women as time went on.

The first six students enrolled in October 1911.  Three years later, the Cecil County News observed that an “event in local history took place in Elkton” on June 17, 1914, “when the first class of the Training School for Nurses of Union Hospital graduated and diplomas were presented to four young ladies who had completed the course.”

At the ceremony, the credentialed professionals, Alice Mary Denver, Stella Sanbourn Graves, Mary Turner King, and Georgia May Miller, proudly dressed in white uniforms received the coveted Union Hospital Cap and diploma while standing on the stage of the Opera House in Elkton.   “All commencements are interesting, but this one was unusually so, marking the entrance of our local hospital into a new sphere of usefulness.”  These professional nurses had learned the hospital routine, sat in classes, and observed surgical and obstetrical procedures.

The institution admitted a class annually, except for 1922.  The last cohort to graduate from the school received diplomas in 1927, apparently.  After that year, a commencement exercise has not been located and it is assumed that the school closed.

By the time the hospital sent its last class out into the world, professional diplomas in hand, 40 nurses had learned the practice by providing service to the hospital and demonstrating the required competencies.  They thus received the Union Hospital School of Nursing Diploma as they began a professional career.

First nursing class graduates.  L to R:  Mary King, Alice Denver, Stella Graves, Georgia Miller.  Source:  Union Hospital: Celebrating the first 100 years.

First nursing class graduates. L to R: Mary King, Alice Denver, Stella Graves, Georgia Miller. Source: Union Hospital: Celebrating the first 100 years.

Application for enrollment.  Source:  The annual report, 1911 in the collection of the Historical Society of Cecil County.

Application for enrollment. Source: The annual report, 1911 in the collection of the Historical Society of Cecil County.

94-Year Old Relative of Officer Killed in Line of Duty in 1915 Attends Wilmington Police Ceremony

94-Year-Old Francis J. Tierney, the nephew of Wilmington Officer Francis X. Tierney attended the ceremony. Patrolman Tierney’s end of watch was March 1915.

May 8, 2015, the Wilmington Police Department unveiled a memorial wall honoring the ten members of the Wilmington Police Force who have been killed in the line of duty .  A member of the current police academy, the 96th class, read the roll call of WPD’s fallen officers, as the individual plaques were uncovered.

The young recruit, who will soon be patrolling city streets, solemnly read each name.   About half-way through the roll call he announced in a deep voice, Police Officer Francis X. Tierney, End of Watch, Saturday, March 6, 1915.  Died from gunfire.

Patrolman Tierney, 31, was shot and killed as he and three other lawmen attempted to arrest two suspicious men who were attempting to pawn two watches.  When the officers arrived the men fled and exchanged shots with the authorities.  The patrolmen chased the suspects into a nearby stable where Patrolman Tierney was shot and killed and the other officers were wounded.  The two suspets were taken into custody and the man who killed the patrolman was executed on May 14, 1915.  Patrolman Tierney had served with the agency for only three months.

Wilmington Patrolman Francis X. Tierney, EOD March 6, 1915  source:  Delaware Police Chief's Council  http://depolicechiefscouncil.org/in-memoriam.html

Wilmington Patrolman Francis X. Tierney, EOD March 6, 1915 source: Delaware Police Chief’s Council http://depolicechiefscouncil.org/in-memoriam.html

The recruit added that a relative of the patrolman, Mr. Francis J. Tierney, 94, was present for the ceremony. After the memorial was over I made my way to the front of the room and talked to Mr. Tierney.  He had been named for the young city policeman and we talked about that.

I also inquired so to whether he knew Dr. Helen Tierney and he said, yes that was his sister.  There were 11 children in his family. So I mentioned how much I had enjoyed working with the retired professor and scholar of women’s studies as she returned back home to Newark, DE and eventually started living in the family cottage along the Elk River.  He said, you know I built that house on the River.

At least I had a chance to let him know that in local history circles Dr. Tierney’s work hasn’t been forgotten.

The Memorial Plaque for Officer Francis X. Tierney, End of Watch, March 6, 1915.

The Memorial Plaque for Officer Francis X. Tierney, End of Watch, March 6, 1915.

 

Dr. Tierney Published Highly Acclaimed Women’s Studies Encyclopedia

Since 2015 marks the 95th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, I have been examining the topic of extending the right to vote to women.  While investigating the regional perspective, I recalled the work of Helen Tierney, professor emeritus in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin (UW).  A women’s studies scholar, she helped establish the program at UW-Platteville as the discipline grew out of the resurgence of the women’s movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Scholarship was scarce “in the brand-new world of women’s studies” and what was available on “the other half of humanity” was scattered in various academic fields, Dr. Tierney observed.  Thus she decided to publish the Women’s Studies Encyclopedia to meet the needs for an authoritative reference.  When the title appeared in 1989, the Library Journal called the first edition a “best reference book,” adding that it “was a landmark achievement providing concise definitions and historical context for students and scholars alike.”

Upon retiring from academia in the mid-1990s as the dean of the history department, Dr. Tierney returned home to the Newark area.  After a period, she started volunteering at the Historical Society of Cecil County about the time we reactivated the Society’s newsletter to provide members with a value added product.  Dr. Tierney took on the task of managing our serial publication since we didn’t have an assigned editor and for a number of years she carefully produced a quarterly, bringing high quality, original articles to readers.

During her retirement she also decided to update and expand the Encyclopedia since research on women had proceeded rapidly, feminist thought had grown and branched out, and conditions for women had “changed markedly in some area of life, for good and for ill, and little in others.”  While editing submissions, the professor added new entries to the expanding body of knowledge, and she was interested in how the women’s suffrage movement had evolved in Maryland and Delaware.

I recall Helen studying those old Delmarva newspapers to see what elusive leads could be uncovered.  It can be challenging to find evidence of emerging social movements and civil disobedience that are centered outside the regional norms in local weeklies.  Of course, the highly respected academic with a doctoral degree in ancient Greek history from the University of Chicago was fully aware of the limitations of her sources.  But, research requires a careful study to validate or rule out the availability of traces to the past, and I remember those long ago conversations as she unearthed elusive pieces of surviving evidence.

Helen died October 31, 1997, just days after she penned the introduction to the new volume, but her colleagues, family and publisher arranged for the second edition, a three volume work, to be brought to term.  The family donated Dr. Tierney’s papers to the Historical Society of Cecil County, so as my research interest turned to this civil disobedience movement, I recently examined her field notes to follow her line of investigation on the regional perspective. The data is scarce as anyone working with social movements in rural areas will recognize, but the surviving materials from Dr. Tierney’s labors nearly twenty years ago gave me the perspective of the nationally recognized scholar on this untapped regional subject.  She would be pleased to see that her scholarship is tapped for regional studies.

For Resisting Invading Pennsylvania Liquor Agents, Sheriff Given Gold Badge Containing Diamonds

Newspaper article on the gift of solid gold badge to Sheriff Thomas J. Mogle.  source:  Cecil Democrat, Sept. 2, 1970

Newspaper article on the gift of solid gold badge to Sheriff Thomas J. Mogle. source: Cecil Democrat, Sept. 2, 1970

Despite the ups and downs of the “Pennsylvania Liquor Border War,” Sheriff Thomas J. Mogle stood his ground, corralling Keystone State Law Enforcement Officials who dared cross the Mason Dixon Line while also resisting calls from Annapolis to cease the skirmishes.  With the bitterness increasing and the disruptions in Maryland trade growing, the Sheriff sternly warned trespassing officials to highball it out of the county.  “If we are further provoked, I will as sheriff and office holder of this Constitution, form a posse and patrol the entire border of Pennsylvania and Cecil Line County Line,” the county’s top cop warned.

The firm stand of the unique Cecil County Lawman was greatly appreciated by liquor retailers near the State Line, so they didn’t forget the Sheriff when the intense primary campaign of 1970 heated up. In September,  Mogle visited the Conowingo area, knocking on doors and stopping by businesses.  One of his calls took him to the Midway Inn and there he was given a gold sheriff’s badge containing 40 diamonds.

Presented by William Webb the owner of the establishment, the businessman said it was for “representing people in the Conowingo area,” the Cecil Democrat reported. A crowd of well-wishers watched as the gold-badge was placed in Mogle’s hand.  The people “appreciated the county’s officials stand on the “Pennsylvania Liquor War,” the weekly newspaper reported.  As for the Sheriff, he said it had made his 15 years of hard work in the police field worthwhile.

The Sheriff lost the primary election that year.

He stood by you. Now he needs your support . . . A campaign advertisement for Sheriff Thomas J. Mogle.  source:  Cecil Democrat, Sept. 2, 1970

He stood by you. Now he needs your support . . . A campaign advertisement for Sheriff Thomas J. Mogle. source: Cecil Democrat, Sept. 2, 1970

Citizens Kept Informed About Lincoln Assassination, In the Age of Instant Communications

The Cecil Whig, April 22, 1865, contained complete coverage of the assassination of President Lincoln.  The Civil War era papers are available at the Historical Society of Cecil County.

The Cecil Whig, April 22, 1865, contained complete coverage of the assassination of President Lincoln. The Civil War era papers are available at the Historical Society of Cecil County.

On April 15, 1865, residents of Cecil County awoke to alarming news about the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.  On that Saturday, as the darkness of Friday night faded and people prepared to celebrate Easter, residents started to go about their early spring business.  However, as they peacefully slept, the telegraph wires across the nation crackled with disturbing messages for military commanders, police authorities, and newspaper editors.

Hours earlier, late on Good Friday Evening, Lawrence A. Gobright, the Associated Press (AP) reporter, sat alone in the AP telegraph room in Washington, D.C.  It was a slow evening.  The City was celebrating, the rebels were defeated, the Presidential Party was attending a play at Ford’s Theatre, and all the dispatches for the morning papers had been sent.

Just after 10:00 p.m., theatergoers from Ford’s Theater suddenly burst through the door, blurting out that the president had been shot.  Gobright sent out a brief flash, according to Today in Media History.  The telegraph bulletin that went to stations all along the network read:  “WASHINGTON, APRIL 14, 1865, TO THE ASSSOCIATED PRESS, THE PRESIDENT WAS SHOT IN A THEATRE TONIGHT AND PERHAPS MORTALLY WOUNDED.”

The keys clattered with urgent orders for the authorities as the manhunt went on.  About 1:30 a.m. on April 15 Secretary of War Edwin Stanton updated the wires with an official bulletin containing the essential facts for the nation:  “War Department, Washington, April 15, 1:30 a.m.  Maj. Gen Dis.  This evening about 9;30 p.m. at Ford’s Theatre, the President while sitting in his private box with Mrs. Lincoln, Mr. Harris, and Major Rathburn was shot by an assassin who suddenly entered the box and appeared behind the president. . . . The pistol ball entered the back of the President’s head and penetrated nearly through the head.  The wound is mortal.  The president has been insensible ever since it was inflicted and is now dying.”

Throughout the long night the death watch went on as the mortally wounded President struggled to live, but his breathing ceased at 7:22 p.m.  The horrible news about the assassination reached Elkton about 6 ½ o’clock Saturday morning, the Cecil Democrat reported.

Most telegraph stations, especially in the smaller towns, signed off the line in the early evening.  At the end of the shift, the operator sent the customary transmission, “Good Night.”  That alerted overnight offices in larger places that the shift was over at many points along the line.

Thus the terrible news wasn’t picked up in Elkton until the telegrapher returned for business the next morning.  But as he began his shift the receiving machine was clicking continuously with those alarming messages and word rapidly spread around town.

The entire community was shocked by the announcement and it was hard for many to realize that such a horrid deed had taken place, the Democrat added.  Across the county there were scenes of disbelief that Saturday when news of the murder of the President became more widely circulated.

Cecil County’s newspaper were weekly during that age, so the publications headlined the story with all the details the following week.  However, between the wires and special editions of the dailies, the county was kept updated about the horrifying news as the search went on for the killer.

In New Leeds, six miles north of Elkton, Judge James McCauley wrote in his diary:  “April 14 Good Friday –  Am at work digging garden – planted some kidney potatoes – Abraham Lincoln President of the U.S. was assassinated in the theater at Washington.”  He apparently went back and penned that line after he heard the news Saturday morning.

On April 19, Judge McCauley penned a note:  “This is the day of the funeral of President Lincoln, which observed in all the cities and towns and is beyond question the most generally observed of any funeral celebrated . . . It is the anniversary of the Baltimore riot of 1861.”

The age of instant communications had arrived in small towns along the northeast corridor decades earlier as the telegraph network stretched between Washington, D.C., and Boston, MA.  These wires carried the first news flash about a President’s assassination within a short time of the occurrence of the tragedy.

The Diary of Judge James McCauley.  source:  Historical Society of Cecil County.

The Diary of Judge James McCauley. source: Historical Society of Cecil County.

The Cecil Democrat carried complete coverage of the assassination of President Lincoln.  This Civil War era newspaper is available at the Historical Society of Cecil County.

The Cecil Democrat carried complete coverage of the assassination of President Lincoln. This Civil War era newspaper is available at the Historical Society of Cecil County.

Border War Flares Up Over Cheap Maryland Booze

All's quiet on the western front the sheriff reports during the border with the Pennsylvania Liquor Board.  source:  Cecil Whig, Dec. 31, 1969

All’s quiet on the western front the sheriff reports during the border war with the Pennsylvania Liquor Board. source: Cecil Whig, Dec. 31, 1969

Bitter border disputes have sometime erupted between Maryland and Pennsylvania.  The first kicked-off in the late 1600s when the precise boundary between the two colonies was unclear.  That led to a long period of conflict and a series of bloody incidents referred to as Cresap’s War.  Once the Mason Dixon Line settled that matter, those incidents faded into the past.  However, this wasn’t the last time conflict erupted on the border.  A late 20th century flare up could be called the “liquor war” and here is the story about those incidents.

Cecil County liquor stores near the Mason Dixon Line get plenty of customers from Pennsylvania, as shoppers from the Keystone State sprinted across the border to load up with cheaper booze.  Those quick runs, driven by cut-rate prices and lower taxes, caused a border war to flare anew in the 1960s as the Commonwealth’s Liquor Control Board (LCB) agents made forays in Maryland to spy on Pennsylvanians buying cases of whiskey here.  The LCB was determined to put a stop to the loss of revenue to the state store system, but Cecil County Sheriffs were just as equally determined to put a stop to the espionage.

Things got particularly heated in December 1969 as interstate trade flourished.  The invading agents, hiding off at a safe distance, were staking out Maryland retailers, watching through binoculars the comings and goings of cars.  When they spotted Pennsylvania cars loading up cases of whiskey, they radioed across the border, advising men on the other side to seize the car.

None too happy with this spying, local retailers complained to Sheriff Thomas Mogle.  The county’s top lawman was sympathetic, and issued a stern warning to the invading inspectors to “get out of Cecil County.”  The next time they returned, one of the Pennsylvania enforcement officers was put behind bars, the sheriff slapping a charge of disorderly conduct on the man.  Shortly after that in another incident, Deputies arrested four Keystone state lawmen staking out a Conowingo tavern.  Sheriff’s Capt. Virgil Greer explained to the Baltimore Sun that “they were harassing the public by sitting there and taking down license numbers.”

Nonetheless, disruptions in trade continued so the Sheriff sternly warned the trespassing officials to highball it out of the county.  The “businessmen were getting very nervous about it.  Some of them were grouping in patrols and riding in patrols in search of the   agents,” he told the Sun.  When the fourth encounter occurred in less than a month, the sheriff was ready to form a posse to protect the county’s border.  “If we are further provoked, I will as sheriff and office holder of this Constitution, form a posse and patrol the entire border of Pennsylvania and Cecil Line County Line.”

While awaiting a hearing at the jail, one agent was asked by the Whig if he planned to come back to the county again.  He replied, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”  Asked why they chose to come in unmarked cars, another said:  “I can say nothing.”

At one point it seemed an agreement had been hammered out so things could cool off.  The LCB officers agreed to notify the sheriff with details about the stakeout, providing the date and time of the surveillance, the location to be observed, and the make and model of their vehicle.  But that agreement broke down as the LCB said the sheriff tipped off the liquor stores.

Once seven agents were arrested in a two week period, Attorney General Francis Burch tried to bring some peace to border wars.  After meeting with Mogle, he announced a cease fire, but it was an uneasy peace.  Mogle told the Cecil Whig, he was going to stick to his guns.  “it is obvious that this fellow, Mogle, is doing what he wants to,” a Pennsylvania spokesperson remarked.

With the arrests continuing into 1970 the Attorney General said he would not prosecute LCB agents, but the arrests continued in spite of the warning.  Finally Burch sent a stern letter warning that if the sheriff persisted he would have no choice but to take over the cases himself and they would be dismissed.  “We’ve been had,” the sheriff concluded.  After the Attorney General said he would not permit Maryland officials to prosecute any more cases, the trouble quietly subsided for a number of years.

But the border games flared up whenever the LCB launched an intensive campaign to monitor and arrest people transporting liquor across the line.  In the late 1970s, Cecil County was strictly enforcing a registration law, which required 30-days notice from the LCB.  One investigator complained his nets were coming up empty.  “I haven’t gotten any since registration began said Richard Feeney an LCB enforcement officer.  He used to nab two bootleggers a day in Cecil County, he told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In 1979, John F. DeWitt was sheriff as Keystone State officials stealthily prowled around Cecil County looking for Commonwealth residents heading back with trunks full of inexpensive Maryland booze.  The Pennsylvania agents were charged again, and that case made its way through the courts, DeWitt explained the merchants thought they were being staked out for a hold-up.  A former Sheriff, Edgar U. Startt, who was by this time a whiskey salesman, recalled warning a Pennsylvania agent if snuck in Maryland and was seen on the highway he would be charged with moving violations.

The Commonwealth’s attorney argued that Cecil County’s annual distilled spirit sales of $16.10 gallons a person was over fives that time of Baltimore.  “It could be explained only by bootlegging activities,” he told the judge.

Store owners were posting lookouts of their own, equipped with CB radios to keep track of the agents.  Sometimes tractor trailers were parked to prevent agents from viewing the premises.  At other places no trespassing signs were posted in the woods and almost overnight no parking signs appeared on the shoulders of the public roadways in the area of liquor stores.

When Rodney Kennedy was sheriff in 2000 Pennsylvania was so worried about its residents buying booze elsewhere that Capt. Leonard McDonald of the enforcement bureau told the Philadelphia Inquirer that they had “conducted about 60 liquor-smuggling stakeouts along the border and had made about 14 arrests.”  Cecil County was being made to suffer simply because Pennsylvania booze was too high, local outlets said.  “Cecil County is the most strict county of any with deal with, Sgt. Stephen Valencic added.  “We had to go through a lot to get in there.  But we need to keep track of the borders.”

Perhaps by 2008 the Commonwealth was growing weary of all of this.  State Rep. Robert C. Donatucci, chairman of the House Liquor Control Committee, said the smuggling law was very tough to enforce.  “It requires staking out liquor stores across the border, then stopping the lawbreakers once they crossed in Pennsylvania, and in Cecil County we have to let the police know 30 days in advance.”  Only 11 people were cited in all of 2007 for illegally importing alcohol even though the law had been on the books since the 1930s.  “Enforcement is labor intensive,” he complained.

The border wars haven’t flared up lately, perhaps because Pennsylvanians have been distracted by a debate about modernizing or privatizing the state controlled distribution system.  One of the proposals as the internal political wrangling goes on is to eliminate the distribution monopoly and let competition and the marketplace deal with the price advantage that exists for consumers in the “Free State.”

The governor will disavow any knowledge of your action, if you are captured by the Cecil County Sheriff's Office.  source:  Cecil Whig, Dec. 3, 1969

The governor will disavow any knowledge of your action, if you are captured by the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office. source: Cecil Whig, Dec. 3, 1969

An Orphanage on a Chesapeake City Hilltop Once Took Care of Dependent Children

The St. Basil's Orphanage in Chesapeake City.

The St. Basil’s Orphanage in Chesapeake City.

On an overcast Friday afternoon in mid-October as rain was spreading into Cecil County, I paused on the top of “Sister’s Hill” in North Chesapeake City, contemplating the history of an orphanage that for much of the 20th century took care of dependent children.  Here is what I have been able to dig up thus far, but I plan to look more deeply into the history of the institution as there isn’t much readily available written material.

———–

The Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great (O.S.B.M), a Ukrainian Greek Catholic order, established a convent in the United States in 1911 after the Rev. Bishop Soter Ortynsky, O.S.B.M., the Bishop of the Diocese, requested the sisters.  The European nuns arrived in Philadelphia to carry on their mission, the work of teaching and caring for dependent children.

Soon after this, the sisters established an orphanage on a hilltop on a farm on the northern edge of Chesapeake City.  Ukrainians of the Delaware Valley,” an Arcadia Book by Alexander Lushnycky, has a photo of the original group of children at Chesapeake City, snapped during the summer of 1914.  In the early days, according to Lushnycky, only preschool children lived there and in the summer boys from the Philadelphia home spent the farming season in Cecil County, working and learning the trade.

The St. Basil Orphanage, alongside the C & D Canal, was caring for children between one and six years old and there were six youngsters on the farm, in 1933 according to the Census Bureau.  The Philadelphia home had seventy children, between the age of four and sixteen, according to the same source.

Today the property is vacant, the last of the aging sisters having closed up the institution.  I remember two elderly nuns still living there in the late 1970s.

More photos on the Facebook page for Delmarva History

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.741761699228508.1073741907.559457044125642&type=1