With the exception of Darwin, the Boyd and Cleo Fergus children were born in Jones Hospital in Hillsboro, Oregon. Grandpa liked to joke that every time he hung his pants on the bedpost Grandma ended up pregnant again but the truth was she had a difficult time of it.
They waited almost two years for baby Darwin, born February 3, 1937 in Malad, Idaho. Then two and a half years for their next child Dorothy, born August 14, 1939 in Hillsboro, Oregon. Cleo’s doctor, anxious to leave on vacation induced labor, hoping to hurry things along. Both mother and child had a tough time and fought hard to survive. Afterwards, the doctor advised the couple not to have any more children. Boyd and Cleo prayed about it and did not have a good feeling about following the doctor’s advice, so the decision was made not to consent to the surgical procedure.
Less than two years later little Dorothy contracted pneumonia and was admitted to Jones Hospital. Cleo was pregnant at the time and the stress of her child’s illness and hospitalization induced labor. So, with both mother AND daughter in the hospital another baby was born to the family on February 26, 1941. They named him Howard. This time labor and delivery went smoothly.
While Cleo recovered from the birth of her son, she could hear Dorothy calling out, “Daddy, let’s go milk the chores.” This was little Dorothy’s way of calling out for her daddy. At home she loved to wait for him on the ledge outside their house and then follow him around while he worked.
On March 24, 1943 another little boy joined their family. They named him Golden Maughan, Monty for short. Fast forward a couple of years to when Boyd worked in Portland at the shipyards. One night after he’d taken the car to work little Monty started screaming in pain. Cleo suspected his hernia. Without a car, telephone or close neighbors all she could do was pray for help. That prayer was answered a short time later when Boyd returned home because of car trouble. Thankfully it was an easy repair, and they were able to drive Monty to Jones Hospital where doctors operated on him to repair the hernia.
The stress of having another child hospitalized caused Cleo to go into labor again, a repeat of Dorothy’s hospitalization and Howard’s birth. So on January 6, 1945 their last child, a little boy named Gary joined their family. At first Cleo cried because she’d hoped for another girl. But afterwards she felt so sorry, for she would not have traded her sweet little blonde-headed boy for anything. During her long recovery Cleo would often hear Monty call out to her, “Good morning mommy, this is Monty!” Eleven days later she was able to take both boys home.
The story of Jones Hospital is an interesting one that begins with Hillsboro woman Minnie Ede Jones. At age 18, the oldest of ten children, Minnie was put in charge of the household and children while her twice-widowed mother worked outside the home. She earned a reputation in the community for her industry, order, cleanliness of household and common-sense ways.
In 1918, that reputation led to a job running Dr. J.O. Robb’s home-based hospital after he was called to duty during World War I. The hospital was small with only six beds, but it served the community well under Minnie’s watchful care, during his absence. After his return Minnie was determined to run her own facility and to that end bought a 2-story home at the corner of 7th and Baseline in Hillsboro and began recruiting doctors. She was successful and within two years, six doctors used her home hospital for delivering babies, performing surgery, and patient recovery. She needed to expand, so she bought a larger home on 7th between Baseline and Oak streets. This property, along with additional properties acquired over the years, comprise the Tuality Community Hospital complex as it now stands.
Dorothy Fergus was born in this “home” hospital in August of 1939.
Thanks to Minnie’s thrift and hard work the hospital thrived even during the Great Depression, providing a living for her family and allowing her to save roughly $23,000, enough money to begin construction on a new hospital building in the Fall of 1939.
The new one and a half story structure, with half of the first level buried below ground was built at 328 South 7th Ave. in Hillsboro. The new building included a nursery, separate obstetrical and surgical facilities, medical laboratory, x-ray room and more including $9000 worth of brand new medical equipment. The public was invited to an open house and treated to a buffet meal to celebrate the hospital’s opening in February of 1940. Howard, Monty and Gary Fergus would be born in this facility during the years 1941-1945.
For several generations of residents (Hillsboro and outlying areas) including our own ancestors, Jones Hospital specialized in one thing more than any other: childbirth. And Minnie Jones was at the forefront of care as a skilled midwife. According to hospital records she delivered or assisted in the births of several thousand babies over the course of her 34 years running the hospital. It is not inconceivable that she was present at the birth of each of the Fergus children born in Oregon.