Discover the men behind one the region’s most familiar household names. Who were Drs. Willis and Knighton, and what did they do for the field of medicine in their community? Exhibit highlights include original oil portraits of the medical giants, artifacts and material culture associated with their tenure and professional lives.

Gaines Quilt


Twelve year old Viola Gaines came to Tri-State Hospital from her home in Bienville Parish in the spring of 1930.  Viola had been diagnosed with a cancer on her knee.  The young girl needed many treatments requiring her to remain quietly in bed.  To aid her in passing the long hours, Viola's doctors and nurses gave her this quilt with instructions to embroider on it anything she wanted.  She chose the names of her doctors and nurses and her own plus “Tri-State Hospital Shreveport, La.” 

Eight names are stitched on Viola’s quilt.  They are doctors Willis, Senior and Junior, Hatcher, Smith, Edwards and Cloud as well as two nurses Patterson and McCrary.  Doctors Willis are James C Willis and his son, James Junior.  Doctor Hatcher is likely Dr. Albert D. Hatcher while Dr. Edwards may be Dr. Harold G. F. Edwards, a prominent local physician who was a local pioneer in radiology and X-ray treatment. 

Doctor Smith is Dr. S. Murray Smith, a Tri-State Hospital “house doctor” or resident who formed a special relationship with Viola.  We’ve been unable to find information on Dr. Cloud or the two nurses, Patterson and McCrary.  If you know anything, please let us know.

During her treatments, the young girl bonded with Tri-State’s doctors and nurses and she with them. The relationship begun in her hospital bed continued even after Viola left for home in the fall. 

We know Dr. Smith, among other Tri-State nurses and doctors exchanged letters with the ill child  they affectionately called “Flapper”.  Unfortunately, none of her letters or cards have survived.

Dr. Smith, a graduate of Centenary College and the Baylor University Medical School, would briefly practice at the time of Viola's admittance.  He would go on to a distinguished career in aviation medicine with the U.S. Air Force.  Dr. Smith passed away in 1983.

After returning home to be with her family, Viola died on March 22, 1931.  She was just two weeks away from her 13th birthday.   Her smile and courage would be remembered by all.

Location in Museum





The quilt, photographs, cards and letters were donated by her family Brenda Bishop Grimm, Vicky B. Lee, and Terry Simmons hoping her memory not be forgotten.

100 Years