Nurse Margaret Smith

Nurse Smith

Nurse Smith

Nurse Margaret Smith arrived in Hodge’s Cove in October 1920 according to the October 18, 1920 issue of the St. John’s Daily Star – Misses Casement and Smith, two nurses brought out from England by Lady Harris to do outport nursing work, left by yesterday’s express to take up their duties at Rose Blanche and Hodge’s Cove respectively.

It was reported in the The Newfoundland Quarterly, Volume 21, 1921-1922 (pages 1-3) – Outport Nursing by Lady Harris:

As I was leaving for a visit to England, it was decided, in June, 1920, that I should engage three or four English nurses: and I engaged four. Two of these, Nurse Casement and Nurse Smith, returned to Newfoundland with me; the other two, who could not leave their hospitals at once, I arranged should follow in April. So, shortly after I returned from England at the beginning of October, 1920, I had the satisfaction of seeing the actual inauguration of the Outport Nursing Scheme. On the 15th October we had a little party at Government House at which his Lordship the Bishop gave a welcome and Godspeed to the two new nurses: and shortly afterwards they went off to their different destinations; Nurse Smith sent to Hodge’s Cove in Trinity Bay and Nurse Casement to Rose Blanche in the south west corner of the Island. At these two places, at the beginning of the hardest time of the year, they set to work on their mission of mercy and it was not long before expressions of the keenest appreciation began to reach me from those amongst whom they were working.

Those who understand Newfoundland will realize that the conditions under which they worked were by no means easy and it speaks volumes for their capacity and their adaptability that they so soon settled down into their surroundings. In long stretches in a motor-boat and bumpy rides in catamarans over tracts of ice and through heavy snow, by night and by day they have responded to the  calls of those  who only then began to realize what a nurse could do for them.

At Hodge’s Cove, Nurse Smith soon won the hearts of the fishermen by her capacity for taking an oar when winds and tides were heavy. But she herself is also loud in praise of the devotion of those who were prepared to come and fetch her from long distances to treat some case in which they were concerned or interested: her testimony to the men in the whole of her district is very touching. Two points culled from her letters have struck me very much:— first, the manner in which in stormy weather men and boys will come for miles in their boats or over the snow in order to fetch the nurse to a case of a friend. No labour seems too great for them. In one case, if 1 remember right, she mentions men rowing hard against wind and tide three times over a stretch of eight or nine miles in order to satisfy the needs of one case. On another occasion she drew a charming picture of the way in which, when she was returning from a case, some half dozen men had turned up at one point with their sleighs and horses in order that they might amongst them help the nurse along over the heavy track in front of her. Most of these men may perhaps have had a case to be attended to; but one or two of them had come purely because of their appreciation of the nurse. There is no question that the two nurses who have been at work the past winter have learned to appreciate in a marked degree the courtesy and kindness of the Newfoundlander.

In the 1921 census records for Hodge’s Cove, Nurse Smith is listed as a boarder with Rev. R. Fowlow and his family. She is listed as Margaret Smith, single, born October 1886 in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, year of immigration 1920, nationality British, religion Methodist, occupation Nurse.


Interesting note: The first boy Nurse Smith help bring into the world after she arrived in Southwest Arm was William Halstead Gosse of Queen’s Cove. Halstead was named after the village that Nurse Smith was born in Yorkshire, England. A baby girl from Queen’s Cove was also named after Nurse Smith – Margaret Goobie.


Transcribed by Wanda Garrett, April 2015

These transcriptions may contain human errors. As always, confirm these as you would any other source material.