28 Oct 1907 - 15 Aug 1970
Buckhannon Hospital
Class of 1930

Submitted by Sandra Shrader.
(March 2004)

Article by Mary Margaret Hiner.


     Aggie Travis chalked up quite a record the other day. She completed 40 years of nursing work at Leonard Memorial Hospital and marked the occasion with a full day's stint.

     Still full of vitality and belief that nothing is too good for the sick, she wields a heavy hand in seeing that her nursing staff gives its best to the patients. No one ever forgets her.

     It was on Dec. 14, 1926, that the young girl from Kincheloe, Agnes Walker, entered her profession. Her minister in the small Harrison County community recommended the local hospital, then known as The Buckhannon Hospital, as a starting place. She's been there ever since.

     The hospital has grown up with her. Formerly the Beer's Sanitarium, it was only two years old as a hospital when she arrived. Since she first entered the door, remodeling has been done to greatly improve the hospital; bed capacity has been increased from about 30 to 50 and the nursing staff has doubled.

     During the years she's had a couple of experiences from the other side of the bed, so to speak. In 1961 she was ill several weeks and forced to be off from work, and last June she spent 28 days in Monongalia General Hospital at Morgantown when she had cataracts removed from both eyes.

     Ten students were in training at the hospital when she began her work. They were headed by Miss Gwen Lovelace, Mrs. Betty Winchester, and Miss Pauline Skidmore, nurses long familiar to older people here.

     Through the years a very close relationship developed between "Miss Gwennie" the nursing supervisor, and Aggie. And when ill health forced Miss Lovelace to retire in the later '40s, Aggie was a natural for the job.

     She well recalls her months in training and knows they were different from the years that nursing students go through now. The work was harder physically then, she says, and most of their knowledge came through experience rather than the "book learning" necessary today. Now, as then, though, the coveted "R.N." is acquired only after state boards have been passed.

     Nursing work today is much easier, she believes, because of new methods, machines, and drugs available. When she first started her profession many things like the now common oxygen tent did not exist.

     Though there are occassionally some dull days, most of her working hours are busy ones and emergencies must be taken in her stride. She may even give the doctor a little competition once in a while, like the time she delivered a New Year's baby in the labor room while Dr. Wease Ashworth was bringing one into the world in the delivery room. "And mine turned out as well as his," she laughed.

     Since becoming a registered nurse, she has been the principal surgical nurse for the hospital, spending many hours weekly in surgery.

     Aggie has no thought of giving up work. It is her life. When not on duty, she can be found at her home, 174 Fayette Street, where she and her husband, the later Bob Travis, moved several years before his death.

     A good part of her time at home is spent in cooking since new recipes fascinate her and she always wants to try them out. Television is one of her favorite relaxations and she probably could tell the doctors and nurses on camera a thing or two.

     Doctors, the nursing staff, and hospital workers honored her last Wednesday on the 40th anniversary occasion with a gold loving cup engraved "To Aggie Travis - 40 Years of Service, from the staff of Leonard Memorial Hospital."

     They also presented her with a large sheet cake, and served refreshments during a social hour afterwards.