A few days ago I was asked for information regarding Gehmanís Hospital in
Quakertown and the following was sent to me by
Linda. Neither one wrote this information, it was
merely passed along as many E-mails do. However, I must thank them both for
helping me, since I had no information on the Hospital.
Miss Gehman's Hospital Emma
Gehman Ruth (1881-1951) was born on the family farm in Bally. She was baptized
in the Bally meetinghouse when she was fifteen.
During her childhood she experienced unusual health problems which continued
into her teen age years. Because of her illness, she lived in Philadelphia
with a woman doctor where she received treatment and recovered completely.
Possibly because of this unusual circumstance of living outside of the
Mennonite rural, farm community, Emma, as a young women,
traveled alone to Canada, California and Florida. In California Emma took
nurses' training and began to work in the health
concentrating particularly on assisting mothers in childbirth. On one occasion
while working in Florida, she assisted in the delivery of an unwanted baby.
She brought this child north with her and found a home for him with the family
of her brother, John in Quakertown.
In 1921 Emma bought a house at Third and Juniper
Street in Quakertown. In this house she opened a hospital and convalescent
home, a facility recorded in various sources as "Miss Gehman's Hospital", "The
Gehman Hospital" or "Gehman's Maternity Hospital." Her facility prospered and
became a respected hospital in Quakertown. In 1927 when it became clear that
the community needed a larger hospital, Emma Gehman was on the committee
plan a new facility. Her building was purchased by two doctors who converted
it to their offices. On June 29, 1927,
Emma's services to the community were recognized as she turned the first spade
of dirt at the ground breaking ceremony. She appears, in her uniform, on a
photograph of officials at the occasion.
As part of her sales agreement in closing the hospital,
Miss Gehman promised not to open another health center within ten miles of
Quakertown. The new hospital opened in 1930 and is today a major regional
facility. After leaving Quakertown, Emma moved back to her hometown of Bally,
married Harvey Ruth, and opened "Ruth's Convalescent Haven."
Ruth, -- Emma, daughter of Abraham and Annie (Good)
Gehman, was born June 29, 1881, near Bally, Montgomery Co., Pa.; passed away
Aug. 12, 1951, after an illness of eight weeks; aged 70 y. 1 m. 13 d. In 1896
she became a member of the Mennonite Church at Bally and remained a member
there all her life. In her earlier years she traveled rather extensively,
having spent time in Canada, California, and Florida. She established a
private hospital in Quakertown, Pa., and operated it for about seven years. At
the end of that time when the "Miss Gehman Hospital"
was replaced by a large community hospital, she was given the honor of
breaking the ground for the new institution. Having sold her hospital but
wishing to continue her profession she purchased a farm near Bally for the
purpose of conducting a convalescent home. June 29, 1929, she was united in
marriage to Harvey S. Ruth, of Quakertown, Pa. Together they moderated the
large house on the farm and erected additional building for the housing of the
helpers required in conducting "Ruth's Convalescent Home." In 1942, they
decided to retire. From 1944 to 1947 they resided at the home of her
stepdaughter (Mrs. Warren Strawsnyder) at Bethlehem, Pa., and in 1947 entered
the Eastern Mennonite Home at Souderton, Pa. Funeral services were held in the
chapel at the Home at Souderton on
Aug. 15, followed by services the next day at the church in Bally. Elias Kulp
officiated, using John 12: 7 as his text. The church was filed with relatives
and friends who had known and loved her during her many years of administering
to the sick and the aged. Surviving are her husband, 2 brothers (William, of
John, of Quakertown), a number of nieces and nephews, and 5 stepchildren.