Rosamund Spoerhase

Rosamund Spoerhase

~  A Pioneer Midwife
By Louise Lindgren

By the time Rosamund Flick Spinner Spoerhase, age 47, reached Snohomish County as an accomplished midwife, she had survived the birth of a daughter, a Sioux attack on her town, death of two young sons by measles, years alone as her husband fought in the Civil war, the murder of that man after war’s end, re-marriage at age 26, the birth of ten more children (with the death of one of those), and a trip across the continent in a boxcar from Minnesota to Arlington, Washington.

Rosamund was born in Germany in 1844, but grew up in New Ulm, Minnesota. At age sixteen she married Lieutenant John Spinner of the Union Army, settling in the town of her childhood. A daughter and two sons were born, with both boys dying of measles at an early age. The young mother was only 18 years old in 1862 when New Ulm was attacked by desperate, starving Sioux, who revolted while most of the military were away fighting the Civil War. New Ulm had few defenders, and the settlers withdrew to four brick buildings.
Rosamund took refuge with her husband on the second floor of the brick Dakota House, where she molded bullets, loaded muskets, and fired on the attackers with one of only two rifles that were in town. When relief finally arrived from Fort Ridgely only the four brick buildings remained. All wooden residences and businesses had gone down in flames. Four hundred fifty whites had lost their lives, along with an unknown number of Sioux. (This was a key event in the tensions that culminated with the tragedy of Wounded Knee in 1890.)
Rosamund and John quickly rebuilt their home. He left to fight in the Civil War, and she lived alone with her remaining child until war’s end in 1865. Upon his return John went into the meat business with William Spoerhase, but on the day before Christmas 1866 he was stabbed in a local tavern, dying in Rosamund’s arms.
Several more years of widowed survival passed before January 1870 when Rosamund married the business partner, William Spoerhase. In her mid-twenties she began a new life that would result in the birth of ten more children, nine living to adulthood. She had plenty of experience with childbirth, assisting her mother who served as midwife to numerous friends and neighbors.
In 1891, after the death of their youngest child, William and Rosamund decided to follow friends that had moved to Arlington, Washington. Rosamund was forty seven years old when they packed their children aboard a box car bound for the wilderness of the Stillaguamish Valley. Arriving on a Saturday evening, the newcomers found Arlington to be a small village where thirsty loggers were unwinding after a hard week’s work in the forest. The Stillaguamish River at the edge of town was at flood stage.
Shelter for the night was to be the home of their New Ulm friends, the Schlomans, who had homesteaded across the river from town. After firing rifle shots to attract that family’s attention, a shovel nosed dugout canoe emerged from the darkness of the opposite bank. Ben Schloman welcomed them to climb aboard, but Rosamund said, “No way are we attempting to cross a flooding river in the dark. We didn’t come two thousand miles to be drowned ….”
How they spent that night, worn out from the journey, is not recorded, but eventually they made it to Schloman’s, where they regrouped and stored some of their belongings. Purchasing fresh supplies, they hired members of the Stillaguamish tribe to transport them by canoe 25 miles upriver to Whitehorse, where Spoerhase planned to claim a homestead. One canoe rolled over, dumping its precious cargo of grocery staples in the river. Quick retrieval and a hastily built fire salvaged some goods, including a huge and solid lump of sugar, but the flour could only have been used as paste. A sodden tent shelter had to suffice until they built a log cabin, with hollow cedar trees used to protect food, pigs and chickens from rain and wild animals.

Spoerhase Family, 1920 – Back Row – Bertha, Toni, Meta, (3 Kraetz sisters) William Spoerhase Sr., Cosi Schloman Center – Rosamund Spoerhase Front Row – Rose, Margaret, Almeda W. (three Kraetz sisters), Helen, John Kraetz, John Wrage. All cousins and Rosamond’s Grandchildren.

In mid-winter, after two months in the soggy forest, Rosamund decided she and the youngest four children would return to Arlington, so the children could go to school and learn English, German being the language they spoke at home. William and his older boys remained at Whitehorse, cutting shingle bolts for cash income.
Rosamund, an outgoing social person, sought out doctors Phillips and Teager, Arlington’s first physicians, as well as Matilda Teager, proprietor of the drugstore. The newcomer’s nursing skills were highly valued, and during ensuing years she became a well known pioneer midwife from Darrington to Silvana, traveling by canoe as well as horse and buggy.
This pioneer midwife never really retired. In 1898, they sold the Whitehorse land and business, building a new home on sixty acres south of Arlington which they cleared and farmed until 1912. That year, her 68th, she delivered two grandsons the same day, several miles apart. Also that year they sold the farm to their son Alex and built another home for retirement in Arlington. Her last midwife service was for one of her great granddaughters in 1926 at age 82. Rosamund passed away in August of that year.
By the time she died she had assisted six successive Arlington doctors not only with births, but with an incessant string of logging injuries. She had delivered all ten children for her grand-daughter, Anna Kraetz, who was proud that she never needed a doctor for a birth. Her home remedies for diarrhea and laxatives from the berries and bark of cascara trees, as well as a secret black salve for rash and boils were sought after by many.

Rosamund’s involvement in church, two lodges, and the grange was appreciated by all who knew her, and her death created a huge void, particularly with the many mothers who could no longer receive her ministrations in their time of need. It may be for the best that she did not live long enough to see that takeover of birth by the scientific medical community in mid-century, but she surely would have applauded the resurgence of respect that well-trained midwifery finally has achieved.

Interview and hand-written information provided in 2007 by Loren Kraetz of Arlington for primary information about his great-grandmother.
Dewees, William P. A Compendious System of Midwifery. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea and Blanchard, 1837.
Varney, Helen. Nurse-Midwifery. Boston: Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1980
© 2009 Louise Lindgren, All Rights Reserved; WLP Story Number 60

Ida Noyes McIntire, M. D.

By Sandra Schumacher
Ida Noyes could have easily moved into the eastern blueblood society that enticed so many young women who were in her position. Instead she chose a life of human service both in education and in medicine. By the time she was born in Rhode Island in 1859, her family had been in this country over two hundred years settling first in Newburyport, Massachusetts in 1634. Her paternal ancestors numbered several who chose the life of Minister and most graduated from Harvard University. The Rev. James Noyes, also a Harvard Graduate, was one of the first trustees and founders of Yale University.

It should come as no surprise that there is little written about the accomplishments of her maternal ancestors, except for the poor Margaret Noyes who was declared a Witch. This fate would not fall upon Ida Noyes whose parents were on the move: by 1860 they were in Stowe, Maine and by 1864, Detroit Michigan where she attended primary school, high school and graduated from the University of Michigan in 1881.

Ida Noyes experienced a pivotal moment while a student at the university. Her chosen field was Journalism, but while studying the Latin/Scientific course, she became interested in the field of medicine. Following her graduation, she taught in the Detroit public schools for five years while she continued studying medicine at the Michigan Medical College.

Soon she married B.N. Beaver and they moved to Dayton Ohio. There she became active in the W.C.T.U. and became an important public speaker on their behalf. She was one of three women who helped found ‘Bethany Home’….a refuge for “repentant and outcast women.” Ida had not forgotten her love of medicine and her desire to heal, so she entered Woman’s Hospital Medical College in Chicago, a department of Northwestern University, and received her M.D. degree in March 1891. She interned at the Woman’s Hospital for a few months, then moved to Denver Colorado and began the practice of medicine where she specialized in the diseases of women.

It was Denver’s altitude that provided the impetus for her to move after divorcing Mr. Beaver and remarrying the ex-governor of Colorado, Albert W. McIntire. They spent a few years in Cleveland Ohio before settling in Everett Washington in 1901, where Dr. McIntire opened her medical practice and private hospital at 3129 Colby. She actively worked in the successful Washington women’s 1910 campaign for suffrage. McIntire spoke to groups, helped gain continuing press coverage for the cause and frequently opened her clinic office for meetings of the Everett Suffrage Club.
Ida Noyes McIntire was known as a highly gifted woman, active in local charities who considered human service life’s highest calling, just as many of her New England male ancestors had two centuries before. Her decision to serve in the medical field was courageous considering the era in which she lived. When she died in 1932, it was no surprise that she left the bulk of her estate for the welfare of retired Congregational Church ministers in the state of Washington. It was her final tribute to her remarkable family and the last act of human service from a woman who lead the way for other female doctors in our community, and a person who exemplified leadership qualities that all can aspire to.

1860 Federal Census, Stowe, Maine

Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs: Noyes, Schenectady NY History

Illustrated History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties, by Shiach, Eilliam Sidney eds. pub 1906 page 905

Issues of the Everett Daily Herald, and the Labor Journal and Votes for Women, 1909-1910.

Obituary, The Everett Daily Herald, June 29, 1932

© 2008 By Sandra Schumacher All Rights Reserved;  WLP Story #49

Dorothy Otto Kennedy

Travel the world? Yes!   Supermarket? No Way!

Dorothy Otto Kennedy at 100 years old.

She saw the first automobiles come to Puget Sound, and she witnessed the birth of the Internet. She dined with a sheik in a Cairo nightclub, met aborigines in Australia, saw magnificent waterfalls in South America and enjoyed symphonies in Vienna and Berlin. She talked for hours in Nepal with the Sherpa guide who climbed Mt. Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary. In Tehran she saw the Shah of Iran’s crown jewels. She traveled to every country on earth but Antarctica.  But she never set foot in a grocery store.

Not once. In all her 102 years, Dorothy Otto Kennedy, one of the state’s first female pharmacists, a woman whose family endowed a scholarship and distinguished professorship in her name at Washington State University, never set foot in a supermarket.

Everything she needed – bread, milk, vegetables, ice to keep things cold – was delivered. “Dorothy explained forthrightly, “I never liked to cook so why bother going to the store for fancy foods?”
Dorothy Otto Kennedy at 100 years old.
An articulate, expressive woman with a sweet disposition and ready smile, Dorothy was born July 15, 1895 in Tacoma and moved to Everett when she was five. Her decision to travel to Europe after graduation from Everett High School in 1912 was summarily vetoed by her mother. Dorothy wanted to attend Stanford, but there wasn’t enough money, so she set off for WSU with hopes of becoming a physician. University officials told her flatly that because she was female, there was no way she would be allowed to be a doctor.

“They shuffled me off to pharmacy school,” she said. “There were four women and 35 men, and it was rough right from the start.”

Thanks to hard work, good professors and a head for numbers and equations, Dorothy graduated in 1916 and immediately went to work at a pharmacy in Reardon, and then one in Seattle, always working 15-hour days. After finding out her friend made considerably more managing a major department store, Dorothy began to wonder if a career in pharmacy was worth it.

And so, in 1920, Dorothy went to Harvard to study wholesale merchandising. Graduate work allowed her to travel to stores throughout the east coast. When she got her degree, she was offered a management job at Macy’s. “It was cold, cold, cold, and they wanted me to say four years!” she recalled indignantly. “I said no and went to Baltimore to become personnel manager of a large department store.”

A friend in that city insisted on introducing Dorothy to her cousin, a young lawyer named David Duff Kennedy. Dorothy was not impressed. “I was such an awful tomboy, too busy doing my own thing to pat attention to men,” she said. “I didn’t like anything he said, anything he did, anything about him.” With an impish grin, she added, “But he did have a car.”

Love would find a way and David and Dorothy married in 1922. Five years later they moved to Everett with son Robert in tow. Before long, daughter Mary was born. “Everett was busy, busy, busy,” Dorothy said. “We saw this little old house on Grand Avenue and bought it, thinking we would only be there a couple of years.”

Losing all their money in the 1929 stock market crash ended their plans for a larger home so the Kennedys remained in the little house as Duff, and then Bruce came along. By 1939 it was clear Dorothy would have to return to work. She passed the state exam for license reinstatement and went back to putting in 15-hour days in local drug stores.

World War II brought a shortage of pharmacists and Everett General Hospital asked Dorothy to operate its pharmacy. That meant she had only to run (she never walked) two blocks to work. And, it was only an 8-hour day! She also taught pharmacology at the hospital’s nursing school. She worked alone at General for 22 years until her retirement in 1962, when she was replaced by three people. Her hard work paid off. She put all of her children through Stanford University.
Finally free to travel, Dorothy tried cruises and tours, but eventually flew off to foreign climes on her own schedule, going wherever curiosity took her. “All my men were in the services,” she said proudly, “so I went to visit them.”

Bob was stationed in Taiwan with the Air Force, Duff was in Germany with the Army, and Bruce was sailing up and down the coast of Africa as a Navy doctor. Dorothy went to all those places and beyond, returning to some again and again.

“You have no concept of the size of Africa,” she said. “It’s so beautiful.” She held a smooth stone sculpture in her hands and reminisced about India and the Orient. She spoke of an elephant picking her up by its trunk and of staying with a friend in Greece for several months. She was 86 when she last visited China.

For the last eight years of her life, Dorothy lived independently in an apartment at Washington Oakes, a retirement home that was once Washington Elementary School, the very school all of her children had attended. She kept in touch with people she had met in her travels, went to the opera and the symphony, gardened, played bridge, served as a deacon at First Presbyterian Church in Everett, mentored a group of nurses and had great fun with her family.

When she became nearly blind, she got a computer that greatly magnified print and kept on reading. “I think it’s too bad some older people just sit and don’t have any interests,” she said. “They can keep up on things, on history, on politics. People need to do something, not just sit.”

And with that, Dorothy excused herself to prepare to go out to lunch. She loved going out – as long as it was not to the grocery store!

Sources: Personal interview with Dorothy Otto Kennedy, June 1995

© 1995 Theresa A. (Teri) Baker, All Rights Reserved;  WLP Story # 45

Electa Friday

by Sandy Schumacher

Electa Rossman Friday will ever be linked with the story of this community’s progress’ stated the Illustrated History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties, yet considering the impact she had on the medical community of this county, her name could certainly be referenced as the ‘missing link’.

Electa Friday, Courtesy of the Everett Public Library Northwest Room

Electa Friday spent her life serving the community by opening the first training school for nurses, and later opened and managed the new Everett Hospital built in 1904. Hers is definitely a name to be remembered in any study of the medical establishment of Snohomish County.
After finishing her education at Hahnemann Medical College in Chicago in 1878, Electa Rossman returned home to Hartford Wisconsin where she resumed life in the upper Midwest approximately thirty miles northwest of Milwaukee. Her father and uncle had settled in Hartford Wisconsin prior to statehood and started the Rossman’s Saw Mill along the scenic Rubicon River in the 1840’s. Electa’s parents were both born in New York State, but like many easterners of the 1840s, moved to settle the upper Midwest as it was crossing from Territorial into Statehood status

It may have been her mother’s story about her own relocation that encouraged Electa to move west, or it may be that after her marriage the northwest held the same promises to her and her husband as the Wisconsin Territory did for her parents forty-five years earlier. She married Henry Friday in Hartford Wisconsin in 1884, a young man reared on a farm in Hartford. After they were married he went to work for the railroad, which ultimately brought him to the west coast on business and over time the opportunities of pioneering in the northwest were apparent. When the Fridays arrived in Everett in 1893, he began a lifelong career buying and selling real estate. Coming to Everett seemed appropriate since two Friday brothers and their families had settled on the peninsula as early as 1890 and were a part of the city’s initial development.

Prior to the arrival of Mrs. Friday, the Articles of Incorporation of the new Everett Hospital stipulated that the eight men who were named as Trustees would elect twenty-five women to manage the running of the hospital. Construction began in August of 1893 in the 3300 block of Broadway and the first patient admitted in January 1894. In 1897 Electa Friday was appointed Superintendent and General Manager also known as the ‘matron’ of Everett Hospital and it was not long before she began the first training school for nurses. She served the community in this position until 1900 when she resigned. In 1904, while the Board of Trustees was deliberating on the poor financial status of the hospital, Mrs. Friday presented them with a proposal to develop a private hospital in the 3500 block of Hoyt Avenue, which was accepted and the existing hospital was sold. Mrs. Friday returned and resumed management of the Everett Hospital for four months pending the construction of her new hospital in the 3500 block of Hoyt Avenue.

Electra Friday on the right with nurses in the hospital. Courtesy of the Everett Public Library Northwest Room

On October 6, 1904 The Everett Herald announced that the recent opening reception of the new Everett Hospital had been declared the ‘social success of the week’. Mrs. Friday proudly received guests in the reception hall surrounded by palms, while nurses conducted tours of the new facility.

The new Everett Hospital contained a general hospital with maternity ward and a school of nursing as well as an area to treat special cases. Mrs. Friday took on the additional responsibility of Deputy Sheriff which was necessary by ‘reason of her caring for certain classes of patients at the hospital’, so states the writer of the Illustrated History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties, 1906, [pp 914-15.]

The first Everett Hospital on Broadway, 1902. Courtesy of the Everett Public Library Northwest Room

Electa Rossman Friday died at age sixty on April 21, 1916 having forever left her mark on the hospital business and education of nurses in Snohomish County. Her obituary refers to her as a ‘pioneer resident and well-known Nurse’, an overly simplistic description of a woman whose life in the service of others made a significant impact here and improved the operation of the Everett Hospital. It was she who changed the hospital management style from a twenty-five person management team that lacked both leadership and financial training to a hospital model that was structured and run as a business.

She was praised in her obituary as the person who ‘developed the institution to its present high standing’ while living a life that others could aspire to. But her life’s story lay there, waiting to be rediscovered and shared. A link no longer missing, but found, valued and placed in its rightful home among the great leaders in Human Services during the development of Snohomish County.

© 2006 Sandra Schumacher All Rights Reserved;  WLP Story Number 37 ~

Phyllis Dana

Nursing career leads to Pearl Harbor and life of travel, 1917 – 2006

by Teri Baker

Phyllis Dana corresponded with members of her nursing unity at Pearl Harbor for sixty years. (Photo courtesy of Senior Source Newspaper)

She didn’t want marriage, nor did she want to teach school. Phyllis Dana wanted to do something else with her life, something that was still worthwhile, would support her financially and would satisfy her soul. She chose nursing.
After graduation from Everett General Hospital’s nursing school in 1939, Phyllis joined the Red Cross Nursing Program. “We were told we would be called upon in the event of a national disaster,” she said. “I thought, floods, earthquakes – of course I would want to help. So I signed on the dotted line, then went out and got a job.”
While working in a Seattle tuberculosis sanitarium, she learned that nurses were needed in Hawaii, and that the government would pay their fare. Phyl loved seeing new places. Born in Evanston, Ill., she lived in Belgian Congo where her parents, Jack and Eva Dana, were Methodist-Episcopal missionaries. When she was nine, the family went to New York and then to Lake Stevens, where she graduated high school in 1935. Now Hawaii beckoned.

“They gave me $85 to travel on the Lurline, a luxury liner,” she said. “We were in steerage, but how many people did I know that could say they had traveled by ocean liner!”
In December 1940 Phyllis stepped onto an island perfumed by millions of brilliant blossoms. “I lived and worked in Honolulu and enjoyed everything and everybody,” she said with a laugh. “It was wonderful. There was big old dumb me – and there were men everywhere!”
A few weeks later, she received a notice that read, “You will report April 15, 1941 to Pearl Harbor.”
Orders? It seems that membership in the Red Cross Nursing Service meant she was now in the United States Navy! She cried all the way to Pearl, then rolled up her sleeves and went to work in the base hospital. By June she was an ensign, which she was delighted to discover qualified her to leave the nurses’ dormitory and live in officers quarters.
One day as she and her roommate, Nellie, were getting ready to go on a picnic with a couple of fellows, Phyl looked out the window and commented, “Those planes are coming in kind of low.”
“Ignore them and get dressed,” Nellie urged.
In minutes, eight wards would fill with burn victims as fuel oil belched from the stricken USS Arizona and turned the channel into an inferno. It was December 7, 1941. The Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor.
There was no time to be afraid. It would be three days before she had a chance to shower. She worked eight hours on and four hours off for more than a month. “Later, when we finally had time to think, we were positive we would be taken prisoner,” she said. “We lived with that fear until March or April. When someone complained about the food, we would say, ‘It beats fish heads and rice,’ and there would be no more complaints.”

Phyllis returned to the states in a convoy evacuating military personnel and their families. Violently ill, she and three other Navy nurses cared for 150 sick men, women and children. “We had no escort so we had to travel at 40 knots and zigzag every seven and a half minutes,” she said. “It took us five miserable days to get to San Francisco.”

“It took three days for her to get a ticket home to see her mother. Phyl recalled, “It gave me a chance to unwind so that by the time I got to Mom’s house, I was a human, not a robot.”

A few days later, returned to Pearl Harbor, saluted and promptly fainted. A short time in sickbay and it was back to work. “With all these men around, I also did a lot of cooking,” she said. “Food was good and plentiful. There was no gasoline for driving, no liquor. I tell you, it was one healthy place!”

Her next duty station was Annapolis. She had been going with a naval officer, but something in her said she would be happier single. “I saw what Navy families and kids went through,” she mused. “I didn’t want to be a Navy wife.”   It was a decision she never regretted. After assignments stateside and then in Panama, Phyllis resigned her commission. She stayed in Panama for three years as a civilian nurse and then went to the National Institute of Health Research Hospital in Washington, DC, where she worked for three years in the heart surgery postoperative unit.

“In those days, children came in a week ahead of their surgery,” Phyl said. “The nurses took care of them, dressed them and came to love them. But there were so many children that didn’t make it through the surgery. It just got too hard for me to take.”

Because the FDA wanted her to teach, she went to the University of Washington, earned a degree in communications, then went back to NIH as a psychiatric nurse. In 1966 came home to be near her aging mother, and spent the next 11 years nursing at American Lake Veterans Hospital near Tacoma. She retired the day she turned 60.

She visited friends all over the states for a couple of months and enjoyed it so much she spent the next decade housesitting along the west coast. “I had the time, I could read a map, I had a car, so why not?” Phyl reasoned. “I had a charming time, met lots of favorite pets, saw old friends.”

Phyl also ventured to Australia, New Zealand and the British Isles, and then settled in Everett, and finally, in Marysville. She gave up driving after she backed into a cement wall. “I decided someone else could have been there, and it scared me,” she said. “It’s one thing to bang up yourself, but you could also bang up someone else. So, I did the responsible thing and stopped driving.”  Crumbling vertebrae forced Phyllis into a more quiet life, but with a wonderful attitude – “It’s a beautiful day, the flag is flying and I’ll make it,” she said. “It will be slow, but I’ll make it. The very fact that I can live alone is a privilege”

She read voraciously and wrote long letters to a network of friends, including nurses from her unit at Pearl Harbor. “Navy people retire all over the place,” she said. “All are active women doing exciting things. At reunions and when we correspond, we talk about families, not Pearl Harbor.”

Phyl remained close with her brother and sister and their families. “We’re always having parties,” she said. “I have a good life with lots of friends. Life is different, but it’s not dull!”

For Phyllis Dana, life is what she had intended it to be. She supported herself doing something she loved and that others will always value and appreciate. Hers is indeed a worthwhile life.

Source: Personal interview with Phyllis Dana, October 2001

© 2001 Theresa (Teri) A. Baker. All rights reserved

The Lady Managers of Everett’s First Hospital

By Candace Trautman

Nurses at Everett's Hospital. Electa Friday is on the right. Courtesy of Everett Public Library
Nurses at Everett’s Hospital. Electa Friday is on the right. Courtesy of Everett Public Library

Everett’s rapid growth in the early 1890s provided jobs for laborers on the bustling waterfront and in the area’s logging, mining, and railroad camps. Poor living conditions contributed to epidemics of smallpox, diphtheria, and typhoid. Accidents and steam-engine explosions also regularly disrupted life for many. Most laborers lacked families and stable homes for long-term convalescence. Steamboats transported them to hospitals in other, more established Puget Sound cities. In 1892 a core of Everett’s humanitarian, civic-minded women garnered the support of their local physician, Dr. W. C. Cox, and together they convinced the city council to form an organization to build Everett’s first hospital. The volunteer efforts of these Gilded Age women, often the wives of prominent businessmen, helped bring this hospital into existence. A board of twenty-five Lady Managers ran it for a decade and they deserve recognition for steering it through the serious economic difficulties associated with the Depression of 1893.

Augusta Plummer Foster, the first Lady Managers’ President, arrived out West with hospital management experience. The term “Lady Managers” received national recognition in the early 1890s from the Board of Lady Manager’s who ran the Women’s Building at the 1893 World’s Columbia Exposition (commonly known as the Chicago Worlds’ Fair). At the fair, prominent American suffragettes, experienced civic leaders, important businessmen’s wives, and other educated women hosted the International Council of Women’s Congress. Fair coverage exposed the management skills of women and their successes in running numerous urban settlement houses, hospitals, women’s prisons, asylums, and reformatories. Foster’s experiences back East prepared her for leadership and personally connected her with Easterners associated with the Everett Land Company and local business developments.

Nurses at Everett’s first Hospital. Courtesy of Everett Public Library

Everett’s first hospital,
Courtesy Everett Public Library.
The Lady Managers needed about $5000 for the construction of a wooden building with a thirty-bed capacity. They grew their account at the Everett National Bank with hopes for opening a non-denominational, community hospital by fall of 1893. The traditional paternalistic model for 19th Century hospitals promoted a well-run home with the goal of restoring health and returning the sick and injured back to productivity. This required a strictly-run schedule centered on good care and hygiene along with regular meals. With lofty humanitarian pride to guide them, Lady Managers solicited funding: cash, city lots, annual memberships or subscriptions, and attendance at community events. Annual membership dues cost $3 per person and before the hospital opened, $50 purchased a lifetime membership. After it opened, people paid $100 for lifetime membership and spent $150 to endow a bed. Public entertainments garnered the most journalistic enthusiasm.
The culture-starved of Everett eagerly embraced community events sponsored by the Lady Managers. Events included plays, suppers, dances, concerts, bazaars, and picnics. A formal winter ball held in the empty building of Clark’s new department store officially kicked off fund-raising in January of 1893. Well-heeled socialites purchased $1.50 tickets per couple to dance and dine in style, and they raise $345. News articles described each woman’s elegant ball gown, the dinner menu served by the Hotel Monte Christo staff, and the decorations at Clark’s store. Other reports likened the event to bees swarming the cultural hive and they also exposed Everett’s intense rivalry with Seattle. Thirty Everett businessmen threatened to withdraw support for the hospital if the Lady Manager’s employed a Seattle band instead of local Everett musicians!

Everett’s first hospital

In the summer, ground-breaking ceremonies commenced, complete with Masonic rites and a buried time capsule. Slayton, Downey & Co. built the hospital to designs by Berglund & MacKenzie. However, the Depression of 1893 hit hard that summer and slowed down the efforts to open the hospital debt-free by fall. Simple, inexpensive community fund-raising events continued to gather support, but at a slower pace than anticipated. Events included plays and a steamboat ride for 50 cents to a picnic at the Tulalip Reservation. By fall, the economic downturn created the need for specific fund-raisers, such as the “Furnace Dance”. With moderately priced 25 cent tickets, the dance netted $40. Fall and winter events included a concert and the first annual Christmas bazaar with booths of donated items and inexpensive food choices. Chicken salad and oyster stew – the highest priced items – cost 25 cents per serving. Baked beans, veal, ham, coleslaw, cakes and pies ranged from 5 – 20 cents per item. The bazaar brought in about $200 and helped the hospital open the doors in January of 1894.

The following may not be a complete list of Lady Managers, just those listed in news accounts. If you have information on Lady Managers, please contact the Northwest Room at the Everett Public Library.

March 1893:
President, Mrs. Augusta Plummer Foster; 1st Vice President, Mrs. W. G. Swalwell; 2nd Vice President Mrs. L.K. Church; 3rd Vice President, Mrs. J. J. Clark; Secretary, Mrs. S. S. Neff; Treasurer, Mrs. C. D. Fratt; Additional Members: Mesdames James M. Vernon, C. P. Moore, B. S. Grosscup, R. M. Mitchell, E. D. Smith, M. Swartout, J. J. Rutledge, R. McFarland, D. F. Powers, G. L Hutchings, Stephen Knowlton, D. S. Hawley, S. F. Robinson, W. De F. Edwards, Edward Mills, H. M. Turrell, E. C. White, W. C. Butler, and Miss Annie Brown.

April, 1893: Mrs. Schuyler Duryee

Apr, 1896: Emma L. Edwards, Secretary.; Mrs. Baird, Treasurer; Mrs. Foster, President resigned due to a move to Tacoma, new President Mrs. C. C. Brown

April, 1901:
President, Mrs. C. C Brown; Vice Presidents: 1st VP Mrs. L. E Thayer, 2nd VP Mrs. W. G. Swalwell, 3rd VP Mrs. Walter Thornton, Secretary Mrs. W De F Edwards, and Treasurer Mrs. Bert A. Vollans. Other Members, Mesdames: J. T. McChesney, W. G. Bickelhaupt, E. A. Nickerson, T. B. Sumner, F. Schofield, C. E. Hill, W. F. Hall, Ella Jarman, E. L. Bailey, C. G. Smythe, C. I. Marshall, George St. John, R. B. Hassell, F. A. Wheelihan, Rexford, A. A. Brodeck, F. A. Clark, A. C. Campbell, A. L. Manning.

Feb, 1903:
Mesdames: C. C. Brown, W. de F. Edwards, W. G. Swalwell, L E. Thayer, F. Schofield, B. H. Vollans, Edgar Bailey, James B. Best, F. K. Baker, A. A. Brodeck, H. W. Bell, W. G. Bikelhaupt, J. A. Coleman, J. H. Gillett, H. Lansdowne, C. G. Smythe, George E. St. John, T. B. Sumner, Walter Thornton.

Miss Jennie E. Huntley, the first matron of the hospital, helped nurse five patients in the first month of operations. She lived on the first floor of the hospital and arrived out West with nursing experience in Massachusetts and New York. Her first floor location also oversaw the reception area and surgery rooms while the second floor housed patient wards. The third floor provided extra space for future beds and the nurses’ quarters. A nursing school started in the late 1890s and produced seventeen new nurses. The basement hummed with laundry and cooking facilities, but by 1901 Everett’s population expansion stretched the hospital’s capabilities. The

Photo of Hospital expansion

Lady Managers appealed for funding and raised $3000 for renovation and expansion. By 1903, up to seventy patients per month strained the Lady Managers’ ability to pay the bills, especially since they refused to turn away poor patients who could not pay their fees.
Many factors contributed to the Lady Managers’ financial strains. Certainly Everett’s rapid expansion contributed to the need for change, however, larger issues on a national and cultural level also contributed to this strain. A major cause stemmed from rapid advancements in scientific knowledge that revolutionized the practice of medicine. Scientific progress created a new model for hospital care based on an accurate diagnosis. Laboratory testing, bacteria’s role in infection and disease, aseptic surgical techniques, and new diagnostic equipment – particularly X-rays – all changed the nature of hospitals and patient care. Doctors specialized in different fields of medicine and could no longer afford to own all the equipment needed for accurate diagnosis. The physicians on hospital staffs grew and they all demanded modern facilities equipped with the latest inventions. In other words, the hospital model transitioned from the well-run home into a professionally managed, cash-transition institution with a market-based approach. In 1904 the era of volunteer management drew to a close as the city looked to plans for a new, private hospital.

In 1904, Mrs. Electra Friday, a former matron at the first hospital, ushered Everett into a new phase of medical history and opened a private facility, Everett General Hospital. The new hospital signaled a step towards modernization, but the Lady Managers also shared in modernizing Everett. Over fifty women served diligently on board positions for a dozen years, and even greater numbers assisted with the annual bazaars, fund-raisers, and community events. Even though the board ended, the structure they helped create continued to serve the community as a Norwegian College and School for Normal Training. The building’s sale also extended the Lady Managers’ community influence by providing funds for purchasing books at the new Carnegie Library. The dozen years of civic-minded, humanitarian work by so many volunteer women helped care for Everett’s sick and injured as the area modernized from a Puget Sound boom-town into a well-established young city.

—Information on the Lady Managers comes from 1892 – 1904 news articles from The Everett Herald, The Everett Times, The Everett News, and The Everett Daily Herald assembled by David Larson in two Everett Hospital binders, Everett Public Library’s Northwest Room Collection
—Whitfield, William. History of Snohomish County, Washington. Chicago: Pioneer Historical Pub. Co, 1926.
—General information on the term “Lady Managers” and their work at the Chicago World’s Fair comes from “The Board of Lady Managers, 1888 – 1893” (pages 285 – 310) in Barbara White’s The Beecher Sisters (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), and from The Congress of Women held in the Woman’s Building, World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893: with portraits, biographies, and addresses. Mary Kavanaugh Oldham Eagle, Editor (Cleveland: Hamilton, 1894).
—In the 1890s, most established hospitals in the Puget Sound were run by churches and denominational institutions. The Catholic Church helped Everett’s Catholics start Providence Hospital in the former Hotel Monte Christo in 1905. See Whitfield, Vol. I, p. 782 for Catholic hospital work in Everett. See Nancy Rockafeller & James W. Haviland (Editors) for general history of medicine in Seattle in Saddlebags to Scanners: the first 100 years of medicine in Washington State (Washington State Medical Association, Education & Research Foundation, 1989.)
—For the shift from the home – family model for hospitals to the modern industrial-organizational model, see “Preface” (ix-xvi) and Charles E. Rosenberg’s Introductory essay, “Community and Communities: The Evolution of the American Hospital” (pages 3-17) in The American General Hospital: Communities and Social Contexts, edited by Diana Elizabeth Long and Janet Golden (Ithaca: Cornel University Press, 1989).

©2008 Candace Trautman;
WLP Story #52

Dorothy May Brand Anderson, M. D.

Stanwood’s Beloved Town Doctor
by Members of the Stanwood Area Historical Society

Medical School of Pennsylvania


Dorothy May Brand Anderson was born March 17, 1913 to Emily Mae Knox Brand and George Edwin Brand in Bellingham. She was the second of five children. After graduating from Whatcom High School in 1930 she attended boarding school in Seattle while thinking of becoming a missionary. In the Fall of 1931 she entered University of Washington as a Pre Med major, graduating in 1935. She was accepted into the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania from which she eventually received her M.D. degree in 1941.

Medical school was delayed due to a bout of Tuberculosis during her 3rd year and a relapse about the time of graduation. Each time she returned to Seattle and entered Laurel Beach Sanatorium in West Seattle. During her second stay Dr Dorothy assisted the medical staff once she was stable. It was then that she met Richard Douglas Anderson, also battling TB. They married September 10, 1944 in Bellingham at Dr, Dorothy’s home church, First Baptist.

July 1, 1945 Dr. Dorothy began her internship at Seattle Children’s Orthopedic Hospital but was interrupted in January 1946 as she awaited the birth of her first child, Rebecca M Anderson (Coufal) born March 31, 1946. In August Dr. Dorothy returned to her internship while her husband stayed home with Rebecca. In response to an ad in the Seattle Times they visited Camano Island. They talked to Pete Jensen, local pharmacist in Stanwood (where Bank of America is now) and found him receptive to a lady doctor in town. They soon bought 5 acres with a house and barn on Good Road and only 3 miles from town.

Dr Anderson in front of her office
Dr Anderson in front of her office

Much remodeling occurred over the years (including the addition of a bathroom). During the first 2 years of practice Dr. Dorothy shared Dr. Wheeler’s (a dentist) office space (on the brick street in west Stanwood) while Dick built her an concrete block office building of her own (next to the fire station that is now Leatherheads).

December 27, 1948 son Thomas R Anderson joined the family. Dr. Dorothy worked almost up to delivery but took several weeks off after his birth. It was at this point that she hired a housekeeper who also helped with the children. During these early years of the practice Dick milked a small herd of jerseys and drove school bus to supplement their income.

The first housekeeper lived near the Andersons (Edie) and was with them for about a year. Then Mazie Fitch (Simonson) stayed with them until 1960 when the children were old enough to be on their own a bit more.

Twice during her mostly solo 30 year practice which included housecalls Dr. Dorothy attempted to have a partner in the practice. The first was Dr. Hermann in the late 1950s who stayed about 2 years. In the early 1960s another woman doctor joined her for awhile. Dr. Dorothy’s staff included a full time nurse, receptionist/ bookkeeper, Dorothy Wagness.

In 1960 Dr. Dorothy designed her dream home and she and Dick bought 100 acres ½ mile closer to town with an old farm house (still on Good Rd). Dick completed building the home in 1964 and they lived there till 1988 when the farm was sold and Dr. Dorothy moved to Bellingham to be nearer her son and his children. Dick passed away in January 1986 but not before he and Dr. Dorothy completed a mission in Eastern Nicaragua and then in the inner city clinic of San Diego. There Dick became very ill so they returned home. He had heart disease for many years.

Dr. Anderson retired
Dr. Anderson retired

While Dr. Dorothy enjoyed her medical practice, she had varied other interests that she was able to enjoy more after retiring. After Dick’s passing the farm was sold and she moved back to Bellingham to be near her son and enjoy time with his 2 sons Bryte and Leif. She mostly saw her daughter’s 4 children, Leonard, Erik, Vesta and Athena for a couple of weeks during the summers where they lived on a farm in Eastern Washington.

Dr. Dorothy enjoyed many activities in retirement in Bellingham. She died December 1996 at her home after a brief illness.

Information provided by her daughter, Rebecca M Anderson Coufal and memories of members of the community; Compiled for a program and exhibit featuring Dr. Anderson in 2015 display at the 2015 Spring Tea by Exhibit Volunteers for the Stanwood Area Historical Society.

© Stanwood Area Historical Society 2015 All Rights Reserved

Choon Lee and Priscilla Roberts

Mother and Daughter’s Love Forged by Time, Circumstance and Sacrifice

WLP Story Number 15 ~
By Teri Baker

“And her children shall rise up and call her blessed.”

For Priscilla Roberts, Solomon’s words ring as true today as they did nearly 3,000 years ago. She feels humbled and honored that she is the daughter of Choon Y. Lee, and is quick to say so. Choon was a tiny, graceful woman who, at age 100 reads her Bible every day and still worked in her flower garden.

Choon was born the youngest of 10 children in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. She still remembers going into the rice fields at the age of two. Girls were not allowed to go to school, and so this farmer’s daughter worked in the fields until her mid-teens. Although the family was Catholic, tradition was observed, and Choon was cloistered at home until her marriage was arranged by a negotiator, whom Priscilla likens to a real estate agent. By custom, the bride retains her own last name.

When she was 25, Choon Lee married Myang C. Young, an educated man who owned a hotel where his wife soon went to work. Eager to help, the young bride taught herself math and learned to read. “She made my dad’s business prosper,” Priscilla says. “She was always kind to the servants and worked with them instead of being bossy. She taught me that no matter what you do, you have to be humble. Only then will you prosper in ways that really matter.”
Choon and Myang were blessed with a son, Chang Young. Ten years later, Priscilla was born. Korea was under Japanese occupation, and all boys and girls were educated through elementary school. However, only one in 100 could attend high school. When Chang did not pass the test, his parents sent him to Japan for high school, and then college.

Priscilla shyly admits she passed the high school entrance exam the first time. At the tender age of 12, she traveled alone 300 miles south to Seoul, where she attended a school established by educated women in America. “It was wonderful,” Priscilla says, “We were exposed to continental civilization. We had toilets! It was a different world.” She graduated in June 1945 and was looking forward to seeing her family again, especially since Chang had returned to Japan. But it was not to be. “All my family was in the north,” she says wistfully. “We could never foresee that Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt would divide Korea.”

Priscilla was accepted at medical school. Her father, who did not trust the communists, wrote that she should stay in Seoul with his friend, the secretary of labor for the Korean government, and that the family would move south to join her. He dared not risk further communication. Priscilla studied hard, attending classes six days a week. Eventually, her parents got word to a friend and asked him to see how their 16-year-old daughter was faring. The friend visited her at school, then crossed the barbed wire barrier to tell her parents that Priscilla had little food and was poorly clothed. In August, Choon packed a single bundle and set out to see her daughter. There were communist spies were in every neighborhood. Choon’s plans were discovered, and soldiers prevented her from leaving. The guards were more relaxed when winter came. A concerned Choon once again packed a bundle and set off on foot across the frozen earth.

“She walked 300 miles in snow storms,” Priscilla says softly. “She cut through the wires at the border and made her way to the medical school. She looked awful, like an urchin. She was so thin and so shabby.” Choon had come to care for her daughter. She took whatever job came along, no matter how hard or menial. She prayed, sold everything she had, worked, bartered, and managed to provide food and proper clothing so that Priscilla would be acceptable to her fellow students. She was determined her daughter’s dream of becoming a doctor would come true.

The sacrifices Choon made were not just material. That bitter winter night she started the grueling trip to Seoul 50 years ago was the last time she ever saw her husband or Chang and his wife and three children. The communists confiscated the hotel, and Russian soldiers took everything of value the family had. They also prevented Chang from going back to Japan.

Many years later, Choon heard that her husband had opened another hotel, but that is the only news she ever had. Many have tried, even recently, to locate Myang and Chang, but Choon simply says, “No, don’t try to find them. It will only jeopardize them, and my family will all get shot.”

Priscilla knows this is wisdom on her mother’s part. North Korea attacked South Korea while Priscilla was a senior at Women’s Medical College, and the school, along with the South Korean government, fled south to Puson. “My mother and I were riding on top of the train,” Priscilla says. “They were shooting at us, and people were trying to get off the train and kept falling off. We had no food except maybe one boiled egg a day. It was a terrifying trip.” Mother and daughter believe it was a miracle from God that they made it to Puson. “My mom is such a strong Christian,” Priscilla explains. “She prayed, and we escaped alive, and the Episcopal church (in Puson) provided us a shelter.”

Priscilla graduated in 1951, and at the age of 22 was Korea’s youngest doctor. She became an intern in a field hospital staffed primarily with American army physicians. Her first assignment was to perform two autopsies. She bristled inwardly, having done her share of working on cadavers at medical school, but remembering her mother’s admonition to be humble, she did what she was asked. Her supervising physician, Capt. Walter Coker, watched her closely, then asked her if she would like to go to the United States to do post graduate work. Excited, she told him how she had studied six languages, including English, in case she got such a miraculous offer. Coker helped her get a fellowship from Bowman Gray School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C. The fellowship provided her ticket, room and board, books, even a salary. Happy that her daughter’s dream was being realized, Choon once again said goodbye to a child for what might be the last time.

After finishing her internship in North Carolina, then her residency in Odgen, Utah, Priscilla met Wayne Roberts, an economics student at the University of Washington. “I didn’t want to get married,” Priscilla says. “I was ambitious. I wanted to train in America and go back to Korea to help in the orphanages. There were so many children …” In 1954 she followed her heart, wed the man she loved, and the couple settled in Seattle. Daughter Gwen and son Loren were born. Priscilla stayed home for five years to learn more about her new culture and to improve her English. But Priscilla was a doctor, and she wanted to use her knowledge and skill to help as many children as possible, without neglecting her own. “I went to Children’s Orthopedic Hospital and told them my story,” she says. “They hired me the next day and I worked there (part time) for 24 years.”

As delighted as she was with her new situation in America, Priscilla ached to see her mother. Letters were exchanged, but Priscilla’s heart was breaking at the thought of Choon, then 68, in Korea, unable to get permanent employment and living alone in a single, rented room where the water froze every winter. Choon’s church helped her get a passport, but the immigration quota was filled and a visa was denied. It had been eight long years since she and Priscilla had seen each other. “I had no power to bring her over here,” Priscilla says. “We could only pray and wait.”

When Priscilla became a US citizen in 1961, she received a letter from Senator Henry Jackson saying that if there was ever anything he could do for her, to let him know. Priscilla promptly wrote back, and the senator sent a letter to the American consulate. “The embassy contacted me and said to send a ticket and they would bring her here next week!” Priscilla says, soft brown eyes shining at the memory. “I sent her a ticket and a letter. The letter was all in Korean, except for one line in English where I wrote my address.” That line in English proved to be of great importance. Choon caught an earlier flight than expected and landed at Sea-Tac Airport at 4 a.m. with no one to greet her. There she was, a wisp of a woman in Korean dress, clutching a scrap of paper and unable to speak a word of English.

“People were so good,” Priscilla said. “Somebody read the letter. Somebody took her to a cab. She showed the letter with our address. The taxi driver knocked on our door at 5 a.m., and there was Mom!”
Just recalling that reunion brings joy to Priscilla’s face. She delights in telling how much she appreciates Choon, how loving and giving her mother is. “She visits people and calls people who have no family,” Priscilla says. “She’s always giving. Someone will give her a new purse, and a couple of weeks later we’ll see someone at church with that purse. Mom will just say, ‘If you’re looking for a job, you have to look good.’”

Giving was a way of life for Choon. No visitor left empty handed. Each must have a flower from her garden or a container of jam made from blackberries she picked and preserved herself. The only English words she knows are “Thank you,” but her eyes speak a wealth of caring, understanding and wisdom.

Priscilla, who retired in 1985 to stay with her mother full time said fondly “My mother is 100 years old and has no enemies. She doesn’t have any hatred or bitterness for anyone. She’s a wonderful blessing to everybody.”

The 150 people who attended Choon’s hundredth birthday party thought so, too. Priscilla is especially pleased that President and Mrs. Bill Clinton sent a letter commemorating the occasion. Snohomish County and the City of Mountlake Terrace both proclaimed a Choon Y. Lee day in her honor. Good Morning America’s Willard Scott sent his regards. Priscilla says, “This is a wonderful country to show such respect.”

She and Wayne have taught their children that valuing people, that giving respect and dignity, are far more important than money or possessions. Priscilla says serenely, “My mother taught me to be content with health and food and clothing and shelter. She taught me the importance of not thinking you are better than other people. She taught me to always do the right thing.”

On September 20, 1996, Choon Lee died. A decade later, Priscilla lovingly describes her mother’s last day on earth. “She had breakfast as usual, took a shower, put on clean clothes, then went to bed and went to heaven.” In accordance with Korean custom, and as Choon had asked, Priscilla and her family prepared a seven-course feast. Two hundred people came to celebrate Choon’s life, and Priscilla fed them all, as well as 50 more in the church choir. So beloved was Choon Lee that a life-size picture of her was hung in the church.

“Mom had no power, no wealth,” Priscilla says, “but every day she did three or four things for other people. She wanted every single thing she left behind to go to the church to help people. When we had the service for her, there were lots of donations, and we gave every penny to the church. “After she passed away, I was so sad,” Priscilla says. “Then my mom came to me in a dream. My mother always loved flowers, and in my dream, the sky was blue and there in the sky was every kind of flower my mom loved. She was in a beautiful white dress, and said, ‘Don’t worry about me. I’m fine,’ I still miss her, but I know she is in heaven, and that makes me happy.”

Choon’s daughter and grandchildren still speak of Choon with deep affection, respect, gratitude and joy, often commenting that Choon Lee’s life and legacy will forever be a blessing in their lives.

Source: Interview with Choon Y. Lee and Dr. Priscilla Roberts, March 1996; interview with Dr. Priscilla Roberts, December, 2006

© 2002 Theresa (Teri) A. Baker All Rights Reserved.