Wednesday, July 13, 2011


a letter from JAY C. SMITH
 to Eugene H. Halverson
1 January, 1997

Now about my the daughter of my Great Grand parents, Aunt Rene:  She was the voluntary practicing nurse of the town of Torrey for many years.  Sort of the unofficial RN and very voluntary on her part and most always without pay.  Maybe at times, she would be given a dollar bill or a silver dollar, or as much as a five dollar bill by some who could afford it and wanted to justly recompense her medical service.  Over a number of years she must have delivered half the babies in born in Torrey because doctors were few in Wayne County.  Travel was slow and the roads were rough.  And many times the baby would be born before the doctor would arrive.  Even if the doctor arrived in time for the delivery Aunt Rene was already there to do what ever was needed and the doctor would have her stay and assist him with the delivery.  And then she would always make follow up visits very voluntarily as needed.  She was very experienced and skilled in sewing up wounds and setting broken bones if the doctor was not available. 

Now, about her prescribed medication and treatment for childhood illness:  I received in my childhood treatment for about every illness I ever had.  (Please don't think I am trying to make fun of her treatment or trying to belittle it because I am not.  It was just the way it was in those days)  The Torrey grapevine communication system was very good about letting her know of any illnesses in town.  And if she knew of any illness she did not have to be requested to come.  She would just take off on her own to see if she could help.  So, I was treated many times by her for every childhood illness I ever had.  For a head-ache or a stomach-ache or a fever.  It seemed the first wave of medication was either:  an enema or some kind of physic.  There were three kinds of physics:  milk of magnesia, castor oil or epsom salts.  I got so I hoped that milk of magnesia would be prescribed and lastly castor oil.  I hated castor oil.  As I grew older I heard from talk around town that if a kid showed resentment or disrespect they always got castor oil as the first wave of medication.  What really counts with me was I know her nursing service to the town of Torrey was very valuable and needed and was not appreciated as much as it should have been.  I heard her claim that she learned from her father (Jorgen Smith) much about her nursing ability. 

Sincerely and with love for the family,
taken from RAINBOW VIEWS
by Anne Snow

Anna Laurine Smith Holt was a practical nurse and mid-wife.  The pioneer conditions under which she lived tended to push her into this type of activity.  Nearly half of her married life was spent in Notom and Fruita, places away from doctors or other nurses.

Having a calm cheerful disposition and unusual skill in treating the sick, she was often called to help in cases of illness and trouble.  She delivered fifty-five babies alone and assisted doctors at other times, afterwards nursing their patients. 

The material rewards were not great, for she often received no pay, and in some cases she herself supplied the sick with necessities.  Through such work required sacrifice, she loved to help others and in so doing found joy and satisfaction. 

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