Soothing Sayre

By RUSS HATTER Asst. Curator Capital City Museum Published:

I first heard about Julia Sayre from Kenneth Chism who has made many donations and loans to the Capital City Museum. He showed me the portrait of Julia Sayre that accompanies this article.

J. S. Towles of The State Journal interviewed Julia in the early 1940s. She was 81 years old at the time. And still on the job. She was working on the third floor of the hospital when it was located on Steele and Third Streets. She really didnt want to take the time to talk as she had her duties to attend to.

Towles said Julia was the type that was never told what to do. She knew exactly what to do and just did it.

When a water pitcher was empty she would fill it. When a patient wanted a bed pan or needed moving to relieve their suffering there was Julia Sayre, tripping down the halls for four hours a day despite her 81 years. She said she loved her work and would never retire.

Towles reported she was 29 when her son was working at the original Kings Daughters Hospital, which was then located in a dwelling house across from Bacons blacksmith shop on East Main Street.

One day she needed some groceries and went to the hospital to ask her son if he would get them for her. He agreed to go, with consent of the supervisor, and before Julia could get out of the hospital they had asked her to help them with a patient. She helped and continued working there for 52 years.

Julia remembered a case that stood out in her mind. The following is in her own words as recorded by Towles:

I was reared by Sim Major (S. I. M. Major was the editor of the Kentucky Yeoman newspaper, mayor of Frankfort for many years and resided at 519 Ann St., currently The Meeting House Bed and Breakfast) who owned the old Yeoman place. Nicest people in the world. No, I was never a slave. That was taken care of several years before I was born.

Now, there was an interesting case that stands out in my mind. There were two Hutchison sisters brought to the hospital who had been badly frozen in their home near Millville. A brother was left behind and he died. I think the two sisters finally left the hospital but they were horribly frozen.

Yes sir, I grew up with this hospital, but I dont want any publicity. I just love to help and I dont want to leave. Im still active, too.

Age finally took its toll on Julia and her role was reversed, she became the patient and was waited on by others. She lingered for nearly a month after that Christmas Day photo in the hospital, dying Jan. 26, 1957.

I dont know where she is buried. I wish I did. I would like to spend some time with her. Julia Sayre was truly a Frankfort treasure, an angel of mercy.

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