Hinkhouse, Myrtle, 1883-1975
Myrtle Jane Hinkhouse, a doctor, teacher, nurse, and missionary, was born on November 26, 1883, near Wilton, Iowa. Her parents were Rufus and Anna Smiley Hinkhouse. The family moved to the West Liberty area in 1901. In 1902, Hinkhouse taught in rural schools for two years. She then attended Parsons College and, after graduating from Iowa College in Grinnell in 1908, taught for another two years. In 1910, she began studying at the Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia, completing in 1914. After a year of internship at the Infirmary for Women and Children in New York City, she entered a life of mission work.
In 1916, she went to her appointment in China, originally given to her from the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions in 1905. She served in Tengchoufu for two and a half years as a physician to personnel at the mission. She then moved to Peking to train nurses, do clinical work, and teach at the North China Medical College. In 1924, she was sent to the Paoting Fu Mission Hospital until March 1943, when she and other foreigners were placed in a Japanese internment camp. In September, the internees were released. Hinkhouse docked in New York City on December 1st, 1943.
In 1946, she returned to China in Tali, just off of the Burma Road, and served for two more years. Afterward, she made the 100 mile plus trip inland China. She moved back to West Liberty in 1949 and began to lecture and write about her experiences, as well as volunteer in Berea, Kentucky to provide medical care to people living in Appalachia. In 1975, she died at the age of 92.