Amelia Young Cox Harshman, R. N., a Knoxville Nursing Pioneer

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In 1905, we moved to Maryville, where [sister] Jessie entered the Preparatory Department of Maryville College. An excellent student, she was awarded a scholarship her second term. I did not go to school that year.

Dad worked for Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Clark. The Clarks were wonderful people. They had no children of their own. They became interested in our family, and Mrs. Clark persuaded Jessie to enter nurse’s training at the Lincoln Memorial Hospital which was just opening in Knoxville. [Jessie Young Norton wrote her own obituary, in which she said she began at LMU, but completed her training at Tennessee Hospital in Nashville in 1911.]

[The family moved to Louisville (Blount County).]

Dad, now unemployed, went to Massachusetts. Mother felt she must go to work to help feed the family. She took a pneumonia case in Knoxville. While on duty she contracted double pneumonia followed by emphysema and was near death in Lincoln Memorial Hospital where Jessie was in training. No hope was held out for her recovery, but she was finally dismissed from the hospital and sent home to die. She came by train on a cot in the baggage car and four of our neighbors met the train and carried her the mile to our house. It was about 9 p.m. when she arrived, and I’ll never forget a kind neighbor, Mrs. Wilburn, who came over with a pitcher of fresh milk and waited with Helen and me for her arrival. I was able to care for her with help from the good people of Louisville. When it looked as if she could not live much longer, the station master, Leon Sutton, took it on himself to wire Dad to come home and bring Ralph. Miraculously she did not die and gradually began to improve.

After our five-month free school was out, our school was extended for those who could pay a small fee. [Sister] Helen and I attended, and I paid our tuition by taking the first and second grades into another room and hearing their reading and spelling lessons. Near the beginning of the next school year, the young man who was to teach at Love’s School House died suddenly of a ruptured appendix. I applied for the school, went to Maryville to take the teacher’s examination, and got a first grade certificate. So in August I began teaching a small one-room school with thirty pupils, ranging in age from five to seventeen years. I enjoyed this very much.

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