The Way We Were: Pleasing manner and exceptional ability |

The Way We Were: Pleasing manner and exceptional ability

Mahala Ruddell, Research Coordinator, Park City Museum

Last week we looked at Isabel Grant and her time at the Miner’s Hospital. Born in Nova Scotia, Grant held the position from the hospital’s opening in 1904 until 1906, when she resigned to marry William Buck, superintendent of the Silver King Coalition mill. Today, continuing the investigation of the women who ran the hospital, we’re looking at the women who succeeded Grant.

Margaret Mockler took over as head nurse after Grant left. Within her first few months, she had treated cases of typhoid, tonsillitis, appendicitis, and mining accidents. The Park Record acknowledged that her "earnest, hard work and exceptional ability as a manager and popularity as a nurse" kept the hospital running smoothly. To her, the paper said, "the institution owes much of its success."

Margaret left the hospital in 1910. The Record noted that she would be "greatly missed" but that she was stepping up to take "a more lucrative and less arduous position as head matron of the La Grande, Oregon hospital."

Mary Trafford took over for Margaret, though she stayed less than a year before she was succeeded by Anna E. Hanson in August 1910. Originally from Nebraska, Anna came to the hospital with "the highest kind of recommendations and years of experience in hospital work," the Record said at the time of her arrival. Miss Hanson was loved in the community and showed up often in the Record, which reported on the work she did, social visits she received, and the "well earned" though infrequent vacations she took. She served the hospital for nearly three years.

Anna left, "with the love and esteem of hosts and friends," in May 1913, taking with her the "well wishes" of the community. She and her sister, also a nurse at the hospital, were headed off on a grand adventure, a "tour of the Old World."

The Miners Hospital saw a quick succession of matrons after the departure of Miss Hanson, including Ella Groom, M.M. Balding, Rose Bauman, and Ivy Guthrie. Then, in 1915, a new matron arrived to stay a while. Katherine Walsh settled well into her new role. She was loved by "every patient who entered the hospital, and won naught but praise from those in authority of the institution." She had a "pleasing manner," "gentleness in caring for the sick," and a "clever executive ability," said the Record. To the "sincere regret" of the entirety of Park City, she resigned in 1918. Though she had no permanent plans following her departure, the paper reported that she intended to "enjoy a vacation in California."

Recommended Stories For You

Katherine was succeeded by Anna Varnell, though by that time the hospital was in decline. It closed in 1919, and a new matron did not walk through its doors until Margaret Clarke arrived on the scene in 1922, reopening the hospital under new management.

Join us here next week for a look at the hospital during Margaret Clarke’s tenure.