Graduates of the Western Maryland Hospital Nurses’ Training School, 1911

Posted by | February 24, 2011

Please welcome guest author Carol Wald. The following post ran on Wald’s blog Photographicus Baltimorensis on February 21. “This blog is a product of my preoccupation with Baltimore’s many early professional photographers and the thousands of portraits they took of Baltimoreans between the 1860s and the early 1920s,” Wald tells us.

It’s battered, worn, chipped and torn, but someone once cared enough for this photograph to identify each of these young 1911 graduates of Western Maryland Hospital’s Nurses’ Training School:

Front row (seated), left to right: Carrie Drucilla Wagner, Ada Brotemarkle, Mary McNeill Williams

Standing, left to right: Margaret E. Conroy, Mary Ward Stevenson

The Baltimore Sun printed a small announcement of the event:

Cumberland, Md., May 18–The graduating exercises of the nurses’ training school of the Western Maryland Hospital will take place at Emmanuel Parish House, Monday evening, May 22. The graduates will be Misses Mary McNeill Williams, Moorefield, W. Va.; Carrie Drucilla Wagner, Hyndman, Pa.; Ada Brotemarkle, near Cumberland; Miss Mary Ward Stevenson, Keyser, W. Va., and Miss Margaret Conroy, Mount Savage, Md.

I have only been able to trace a few fragments of their lives.

Carrie Drucilla Wagner (Carrie was short for Catherine, not Caroline), born April 1890, was the daughter of Hyndman, Pa. coal miner and grocerJohn H. Wagner and his wife Amanda.

Ada Brotemarkle came from an old Bedford County family.  Her great-great-grandfather,Friedrich Christoph Brodmerkel, was born in Germany in 1745 and died in Cumberland County, Md. in 1823. Ada was the daughter of Bedford County farmers Milton Brotemarkle (1854-1916) and Mary Eliza Anderson Brotemarkle (1851-1907). They are buried in in the cemetery attached to Centenary United Methodist Church, in Allegheny County, Md.

Ada married North Carolinian John Henry Johnson in 1918. They lived first Edgecombe County, North Carolina, where their two children were born: Nellie Johnson (abt. 1922) and David Milton Johnson (b.24 July 1923). In 1930, they had returned to Allegheny County, Md., where they lived in in Wills Creek. John was working as a quarry laborer.

Mary McNeill Williams (b. Apr 1885, Hardy Co., W. Va.) was the daughter of farmer Edward Williams (1831-1902) and Anna Elizabeth Van Meter Williams (1853-1929); both her parents are buried in Olivet Cemetery, Moorefield, Hardy Co., W. Va. In 1930, Mary was living at home with her parents in Moorefield, and working as a private nurse. Her father may have served with the Confederate army during the Civil War.

Margaret E. Conroy (b. Sep 1876) of Mount Savage, Allegheny Co. Md., may have been daughter of Irish immigrant miner Timothy Conroy (b. Feb 1828). In 1920 Margaret worked as nurse in Frostburg, Maryland’s hospital.

The building on Baltimore Avenue these women trained in was dedicated in 1892. It seems likely this photograph was taken on the hospital’s grounds.

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