Jane Wilkes

Jane Wilkes of Charlotte, NC was one of the first women to volunteer to nurse sick and wounded Civil War soldiers at both the Wayside Hospital and the Confederate Military Hospital in Charlotte. These early nursing volunteers formed the Ladies Hospital Association. In 1876, as President of the Women’s Aid Society of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Charlotte, Wilkes led the effort to establish the first civilian hospital in NC, the Charlotte Home and Hospital (soon renamed St. Peter’s Hospital). A nursing school opened at St. Peter’s in 1899. By law and custom, St. Peter’s Hospital and School of Nursing served only white citizens. Wilkes saw a need for a hospital for Charlotte’s African American community, so in 1892 she spearheaded the fundraising for Good Samaritan Hospital which opened that same year. Good Samaritan opened a nursing school to educate African American women in 1902.  Jane Wilkes, Civil War Nurse from Charlotte wrote a letter to the Historical Department of the Charlotte Observer on may 20, 1896 page 4, describing the Confederate Hospital in Charlotte.

Pollitt, P.A. and Reese, C. (1999). Jane Renwick Smedburg Wilkes. American History of Nursing Bulletin, Spring, 4-6.