Miss Sadie North, Red Cross Nurse

Sadie North
was born on May 25, 1875 in Brunswick, Georgia although her death certificate
and obituary incorrectly list her birth place as Illinois.  Her family left Georgia for Western North
Carolina during a yellow fever outbreak in 1884.  After three years in Asheville they moved to
Brevard in 1887.

The only
child of well-educated parents, Sadie received a college degree through
correspondence courses.  She went on to
teach school in the county and at Brevard Institute.  She also received a degree in nursing through
correspondence school, after which she worked for local doctors and at
hospitals in Asheville and Hendersonville.

In March
1934 Sadie North began working as a teacher in the WPA.  Her home-making classes included home
nursing.  In July 1935 she was certified
in first aid after completing coursework at the First Aid and Aquatic School of
the American National Red Cross held at Camp Carolina.  It was from these beginnings that she learned
to swim and ride a bicycle while in her 60s. 

In addition
to her work in adult education with the WPA Miss Sadie taught first aid on her own
time.  Her efforts eventually led to
Transylvania being the first county in North Carolina to include first aid
instruction as part of the WPA adult education program.

Miss Sadie relaxes in her rocker.

She became
the official National Red Cross instructor for Transylvania County, training
both pupils and additional teachers.

Miss Sadie
would put those skills to good use over the years as she rode her bicycle thousands
of miles to visit communities throughout the county were she taught first aid
and tended to injured and ill residents. 

March 24,
1949 was declared “Sadie North Day” by Mayor Varner.  Ted Malone of the American Broadcasting
Company presented Miss Sadie with a Good Citizen certificate in a ceremony that
was broadcast on over 220 radio stations nationwide. 

Magazine called Miss Sadie “a 77-year-old dynamo” in a September 8, 1952
pictorial feature showing her mowing her grass with a non-motorized reel mower,
weaving, typing, playing the violin, caring for a happy baby, singing in the Methodist
church choir, swimming, and pedaling her bicycle down an unpaved road. 

Miss Sadie
North passed away on October 12, 1966 and is buried at Oak Grove cemetery in
Brevard but many still remember Transylvania County’s Red Cross nurse who rode
her bicycle all over the county teaching first aid and who taught hundreds to
swim at Camp Carolina.

Photographs and
information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library.  Visit
the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about
our history and see additional photographs. 
For more information, comments or suggestions contact Marcy at
[email protected] or
828-884-3151 X242.

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(828) 884-3151

212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712