Wheeling Hospital

History of Greater Wheeling and Vicinity
(Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1912)
pp. 436-39.

The Wheeling Hospital. - The Wheeling Hospital and Orphan Asylum, popularly known as the North Wheeling Hospital, is the oldest in the city. It was founded in the year 1850 by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Richard D. Whelan, the charter being granted by the state of Virginia on March 12, 1850. Bishop Whelan was the first president of the institution, and Henry Moore the first secretary. The Rev. Father John Brasill was also prominently connected with the early days of the institution.3

For about three years the institution was in charge of paid nurses, being located in a building near the site of the present convent of St. Joseph. In April, 1853, a number of the Sisters of St. Joseph were secured from St. Louis by Bishop Whelan, and from that time until the present the hospital has been conducted by that order. On their arrival it became necessary to find a new location, and for about six weeks the hospital occupied the Zane residence, on Chapline street.

It was then removed to the Metcalf property on Fifteenth street, beyond Jacob, and remained there until the year 1856, when the removal was made to the present site. At the time of this removal the charter was amended, and the members of the first board of directors were M. Riley, N. Crawley, John Black, B. H. Watson, Thomas Askew, John White, James Quigg, Jacob Kiger and William A. Edwards.

The first Mother Superior of the hospital was Mother Agnes Spencer, of Philadelphia. She was soon recalled to St. Louis for another post, and Mother Protase became her successor. In the year 1860 this community was separated from the jurisdiction of St. Louis, and has since been independent.

On December 8th, 1860, Sister Immaculate Feeny, a sister of George Feeny of this city, became Mother Superior of the institution and was in charge throughout the stormy days of the Civil war. She is still one of the most prominent Sisters of St. Joseph's of this section, having been stationed at St. Joseph's convent for the past several vears. In spite of her advanced years, her faculties are as keen as those of a young woman, and her memory of those stirring times is remarkably clear.

The hospital was thrown open to wounded soldiers of the North and South alike, and Mother Immaculate often cared for Union and Confederate lying side by side. She remembers particularly the time that Morgan's raiders swept through Ohio, the hospital being crowded with soldiers terribly wounded in the fierce engagements between the raiders and the Union cavalry. Mother Immaculate is the only sister living who was connected with the hospital at that time.

The original building of the present hospital was purchased from Michael Sweeney, and wings have been added from time to time. The last of these was erected in the year 1905, under the auspices of the Rt. Rev. Bishop P. J. Donahue, at a cost of $60,000, raised by private subscription. Recently a series of porches for patients requiring open- air treatment was built, and plans are now preparing for a new south wing to correspond with the one built in 1905, thus completing the symmetry of the building, and providing for the increased accommodations demanded.

Bishop Whelan, the founder, was succeeded in 1874 by the Rt. Rev. Bishop John J. Kain, and he in turn was succeeded in 1894 by the Rt. Rev. Bishop P. J. Donahue, who has ably directed the affairs of the Wheeling diocese since that time.

The orphan girls of the diocese were formerly kept at the hospital, but in 1895 a site for an orphans' home was secured at Keys Lane, Elm Grove, by Bishop Donahue, and the girls were removed to that place, adding much badly-needed room for patients. At that time Mrs. Jane Carney donated a strip of land adjoining the girls' home as a site for a boys' home, the orphan boys having been previously sheltered by the Xaverian Brothers on Thirteenth street.

The hospital at the present time has twelve Sisters of St. Joseph, and a large staff of skilled nurses, all of whom are under the direction of Mother Superior Dominic. During the year 1911, 1,958 patients were treated, of whom 250 were charity cases. The total amount received for the care of the 1,958 patients was $32,718.64, and by the aid of bequests and donations the hospital debt was reduced to $3,126.55. The demands on the hospital are greatly in excess of its capacity.

The present board of directors is composed as follows: President, Rt. Rev. Bishop P. J. Donahue; secretary. Chancellor Edward E. Weber; directors, George Dusch, Sr., George J. Mathison, P. J. Greene, E. B. Carney, George S. Feeny, John Coleman, Hon. T. S. Riley and Dr. Charles A. Wingerter.

3. An act to incorporate the Wheeling Hospital, passed March 12, 1850: "Be it enacted by the Genera] Assembly, That the holders of stock hereinafter authorized to be subscribed for, shall be, and they are hereby constituted and made a body politic and corporate by the name of 'The Wheeling Hospital,' for the purpose of carrying on a hospital in or near the city of Wheeling, and also, a pesthouse (or hospital for persons having contagious or infectious diseases) without the said city and in the county of Ohio. * * *

And provided, That it shall not keep or maintain within said city, any person having a contagious or infectious disease. * * *

"Subscriptions for said stock may be made or received by Simeon P. Hullihen, Matthew H. Houston, Henry Moore, Jacob S. Shriver and Charles W. Russell. * * *"

Amended by act of February 21, 1856: "The holders of the stock heretofore subscribed for in the corporation created by this act, now amended, and of the stock hereinafter authorized to be subscribed for, are hereby constituted, made and continued a body corporate by the name of Wheeling Hospital; for the purpose of establishing, keeping and carrying on an orphan asylum and a hospital in or near the city of Wheeling. * * *"

Business and Industry

West Virginia Archives and History