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  • Writer's pictureGena Seidenschwarz

Great Women of The Grand Prairie #3: Victoria Carle

Editor's Note: We have been unable to find a photograph of Victoria Carle in our collection. If you have a picture of her or know of one, we would love to have a copy of it. You can contact us through our website or call 870-673-7001. Thank you!

Stuttgart artist Richard Bullard was a champion of sharing women's history. His contributions to the Museum have been invaluable, including this history of one of Stuttgart's leading healthcare providers, nurse, Victoria Carle.

“It was never my good fortune to meet Victoria Carle. My first time to hear about her was when George Young brought a handcrafted teapot to “show and tell” one Wednesday morning at the Stuttgart Senior’s Center. When Victoria was young she collected small miniature objects that she must have kept in a shoebox, cigar box, or maybe a half gallon fruit jar the way I have a collecting setting in my office now.

The teapot was ceramic and Victoria covered it with builder’s putty and then pressed the small collectables into the soft surface. The teapot belonged to George Young’s wife Carolyn. George said that he knew that there was at least one more teapot that belonged to another one of Victoria’s nieces. It is said by George and other family members that Victoria was especially fond of her nieces. Being a crafts person myself, I know that the teapots are uniquely special.

Victoria was born to Edward and Carolena Carle October 16, 1907 in a wood frame two story house on Strengast Road. The road today is called Walter Carle Lane. The location is approximately ½ mile South of 22nd Street on Shannon Road and ½ mile East on Walter Carle Lane. The house was destroyed by fire at a time that is unknown to me. It was reported to me by Vickie Martin, Walter and Alice Carle’s daughter, that the house was rebuilt by John Carle, the brother of Edward Carle.

Victoria was a student at Stuckey School, located where the Townsend property is now located on the northwest corner of Lennox Road and Highway 165. I am told that Victoria regularly walked the two miles to school. My story will be more complete when old photographs of Stuckey School and class group photographs become available. Someone must have written a history of Stuckey School. There are many blank spaces in my story waiting to be filled.

In the 1920 United States Federal Census about Victoria Carle she was 12 years old, living on the farm with her parents Edward and Carolena. She also had three brothers Harry P., 14 years old, Alfred W., 8 years old, and Walter W., 4 years and 10 months.

In the 1930 U.S. Census Victoria was 22 years of age, living with Dr. S.A. Drennen family, listed as a boarder. Members of the Drennen family were Dr. Sherod A. Drennen 40, Margarete Drennen 35, Helen Drennen 14 and Sherry A. 3 months. The other boarders were Joella Henderson 39, Sam Smith 30, Helen Young 17, Irene Young 15, Minnie L. Bethge 16 and Dorothy E. Goacher 19.

In the 1940 U.S. Census Victoria was 32 years of age living with Dr. S.A. Drennen family at 18th and South Main Streets in the Eileen Drennen Memorial Hospital. Others living at this address were Sherry Ann Drennen 10, Helen Blanch Drennen 24, Thelma C. Campbell 22, and Elizabeth J. Lee 21. Victoria is listed as a nurse working 84 hours (14 hours per day for 6 days) each week for $17.30 per week. She is listed as working 52 weeks in the year 1940.

Victoria Carle was never blessed with the opportunity to attend nurse’s school. This does not mean that she was slighted in any way throughout her many years of on the job training. She worked the long hours and read the medical books and worked at the hospital for most of the doctors in the Stuttgart, Arkansas area. Because of her persistent assiduity she attained the status of surgeon’s assistant.

Victoria assisted in the births of many babies and delivered many before the doctors arrived. We know that babies do not come into this world on anyone’s schedule. Mothers were always comforted and wanted Victoria present at birthing time. We must not forget special people and insist that oral history interviews are conducted when possible.

It was probably 1944 when Victoria’s parents moved back to town and she lived with them at 702 South Anna Street. She rode a bicycle back and forth to work until she developed a lung problem. Vickie Martin told me that her father, Walter Carle, bought Aunt Vic a Plymouth car and Vickie got the bicycle.

St. John’s Lutheran was her church home and she taught Sunday school for around 50 years. She sang in the choir and was a dedicated member of Ladies Aid.”

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