DAR honors Homesteader, nurse ‘Miss Amy’
by Diane Alenitsch Chronicle contributor – Dec 11, 2020
Family, friends and The Crab-Orchard Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, recently joined together to honor Amelia Young Cox Harshman, 1890-1988, affectionately known as “Miss Amy.”
Harshman, an original Homesteader, was the first registered nurse to work for the Homestead Project.
After graduating from the Lincoln Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Knoxville in 1911, she lived and worked in many communities throughout central East Tennessee, finally setting in Crossville.
She undertook the job as one of the few interviewers of prospective Homestead applicants and as the Homestead project nurse.
Granddaughters Susan Martin of Florida, Jessie Brown of Nashville and great-granddaughter Sarah Brown were in attendance celebrating the life and accomplishments of Harshman. Unable to attend was granddaughter Amelia (Larry) Howell.
As the granddaughters shared stories of their grandmother’s life, many friends also in attendance that day were reminded of their own stories of Miss Amy.
Susan Martin recalled when she attended one Homestead Reunion Weekend, her name tag read “Amy Cox” as her Homestead ancestor. One gentleman approached her very excited calling out “Amy Cox!” as he spied her name tag. Martin informed him that Amy Cox was her grandmother. He smiled at her and said he was very happy to meet the granddaughter of the nurse who delivered him in a Homestead barn.
Harshman once said she “welcomed nearly 250 babies” in her five years as the Homestead project nurse.
She was a Gold Star Mother with the loss of her son, who served as a B-17 pilot during World War II. She helped organize the Hospital Auxiliary serving as its first president. She was active in the American Legion Auxiliary and served as the first “Poppy Day” chairman.
One particular story was shared about Harshman purchasing a vehicle to take more than 950 students to Knoxville for vital eye exams and glasses at no cost to the families over a six-year period.
Among Cox’s many roles, she worked as the first school nurse, lobbied for the first health department in the county, and later worked at the Crossville Hospital.
Harshman was a leader and educator within the Homestead community, Cumberland County and beyond. She will always be remembered for helping those around her.
One of Harshman’s accomplishments included her role as regent of The Crab-Orchard Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. Not only was she a founding chapter member but served as regent twice, from 1955-’57 and then again 1959-’61.
Two trees were donated to the Homestead House Museum on Pigeon Ridge Rd. in Crossville to commemorate Harshman and her work in the community and as regent of The Crab-Orchard Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution.
At the close of the ceremonies honoring Harshman, Charlotte Reynolds, vice president general, Daughters of the American Revolution, presented her family with the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Certificate of Award “Women in American History,” honoring her lifelong work and sacrifices she made for her community.