White Deer Land Museum

Lemuel Ganell von Brunow – Red Cross Nurse

Lemuel Ganell Smithers was married to Dr. Vittorio E. von Brunow on March 22, 1920. Born November 6, 1893, she was the daughter of Lemuel N. and Laura Bell (Sowell) Smithers. She was their youngest child and their only daughter. Her older brothers were Claude and Roy. She was so small that she was always called by her nicknames, “Lemmie” or “Biddie.”

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

Lemmie’s father, in 1881, went to the Spur ranch in Dickens County and worked there for sixteen years. Then he bought 2,600 acres and operated his own ranch in that part of Texas .

Lemmie’s mother, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Asa J.L. Sowell, was a direct descendant of Andrew J. Sowell, Texas historian and revolutionary hero.

Lemmie attended Simmons University and later received her nurse’s training at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Amarillo . She graduated with the highest honors in her class and then was sent to Camp Travis near Austin as a Red Cross nurse at the time Spanish influenza was rampant.

She was sent to New York and was scheduled to go overseas when World War I ended on November 11, 1918. In New York she caught a cold which developed into pneumonia. This contributed to her bad health in later years.

Lemmie came back to Amarillo and was a nurse at St. Anthony’s Hospital where she met Dr. Brunow. She came to Pampa to live with him in the white frame house at 101 South Cuyler.

This was a time when doctors made house calls, even in the country, and Lemmie went to assist Dr. Brunow on his calls. One of his calls was to the home of Guy and Maude Andis about twenty miles south of Pampa on SH 70. Bob Andis was born there in 1922.

In 1924, Mrs. Lemuel G. von Brunow was elected commander of Kerley-Crossman Post 334, American Legion. She was the first and only woman to be elected to this position (at that time).

Lemmie’s niece, Mrs. A.G. Brown of Hereford , lived with the Brunows and went to Pampa High School at the time the red brick Brunow Building was being constructed in 1926. Mrs. Brown’s father was a law enforcement officer at Borger in 1926-27 and did not want his daughter attending school there. Mrs. Brown lived in the white frame house after it was moved to 825 West Kingsmill and also in the new Brunow Building .

Every day during the construction, Lemmie went to watch the men at work on the new building to be sure that everything was the way she and Dr. Brunow wanted. The Brunows had a large apartment in the building and a beautiful roof top garden on top of the building. They took their two white dogs for walks on the roof top.

A picture of a castle in Germany hung on a wall of the Brunow apartment, and Dr. Brunow said that it was his family home.

Lemmie made a lasting impression on Neva (Mrs. E.C.) Mackie. Neva’s parents, George and Minnie Wells, who were living near McLean, made a trip to Pampa in a covered wagon loaded with half-gallon jars of wild plums which Minnie had canned. They camped for the night beside a windmill and a big tree near the present vicinity of Lefors.

The next morning the Wells family came on to Pampa and parked their wagon near the First National Bank. Neva, about eleven years old, went in the back door of the Brunow Building to sell jars of plums. Lemmie wore a beautiful rose satin robe, and Neva thought surely this woman was very rich.

After being in failing health for some time, Lemmie became seriously ill in the summer of 1936 and died on August 5. Dr. Brunow was hospitalized because of an automobile accident and was unable to attend her funeral. She was buried in Fairview Cemetery near her father, L.N. Smithers, who had died in 1932. After Dr. Brunow died on May 7, 1941, he was buried beside Lemmie.

Soon after Lemmie’s death, Kerley-Crossman Post 334, American Legion presented a resolution of deep sympathy and condolence to Dr. Brunow and his family. The resolution, signed by C.E. Cary, chairman, J.W. Woodworth and C.J. Maisel, was published in the Pampa Daily News and a copy was spread upon the minutes of the post.

In his column, “People You Know,” Archer Fullingim, city editor of the Pampa Daily News wrote this tribute:

1918 when the Four Horsemen ravaged the earth, and soldiers sickened, stiffened and died like flies of the dread plague known as Spanish influenza in army camps, there was a Red Cross nurse at Camp Travis who carried a bucket full of pills and a heart full of courage as she went among the sick and dying soldiers, giving a smile to this one, a cherry word to that one — serving humanity as well as her country. Soldiers spoke their last messages for loved ones to her. She held their hands while they gasped their last breath, and today we mourn the death of “Lady Lemuel” von Brunow … and in our mind’s memory recur the words of a song that was written for such as she: “Mid the war’s great curse, stands the Red Cross nurse, she’s the rose of No Man’s Land!”

Drape the flag of our country over the coffin of Mrs. V.E. von Brunow! Salute her as you file by her casket for she served her country gloriously! Uncover your head when the hearse passes by, for being a woman and a Red Cross nurse she was more than a patriot!

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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