Candace Corrigan
707 N Spring St
Murfreesboro, TN 37130

(615) 904-0085


Radio Portraits inspired from women's diaries written 1779-1959

Dr. May Cravath Wharton
Doctor in Tennessee Highlands

There were no doctors in Cumberland County, Tennessee when Dr. May Wharton moved to the area in 1917. The closest hospital was 85 miles from her home. In her autobiography Doctor Woman of the Cumberlands she recounts her many travels by mule or horseback through rugged terrain to meet the profuse medical needs of the mountain community. Through the efforts of May Wharton and her staff the Cumberland Medical Center was established in 1950.

Doctor Woman of the Cumberlands

The conductor came and said to me
We were runnin' right on time
And the very next stop was to be my own
On the Tennessee Central line
From the high and the rocky ridge tops
To the hollers of hemlock pines

On the foggy October 1917
Hear the lonesome whistle whine
That I was a doctor and I was a woman
It could not be denied
I came to these mountains a sickness was raging
And so many people had died
On a horse or a mule I would travel
Some nights I wished I could fly
To do what I could for the people that suffered
And soothe their anguished cries

Many's the night a knock at the door
And I'd follow some young child alone
Through the darkest of woods, crossing white water
To a cabin where sorrow had grown
And the family and neighbors all gathered around
Sang in a mournful tone

That God's will be done,
And the angels had come to carry their loved one home
I learned about life from the people
Who lived on this rugged and hazardous land
I learned how to pray in some hard situations
Where I begged God to guide my hand
I lived in these mountains the rest of my life
Might not have been what I planned
But my heart has grown and I'm proud to be known
As a doctor from the Cumberlands.

Song Source:
Doctor Woman of the Cumberlands
, Uplands Cumberland Mountain Sanatorium, Inc. 1972

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