In 1888, the 25-bed Retreat for the Sick, the forerunner to Norfolk General, was opened in downtown Norfolk. At this time there were fewer than 200 hospitals in the entire country. In 1892 the Retreat for the Sick opened the first nursing school in Norfolk. The hospital moved to a new location in 1896 and was renamed Norfolk Protestant Hospital in 1898. The hospital moved again in 1903 and witnessed a fire in 1906, though no lives were lost. Norfolk Protestant was renamed Norfolk General in the 1930s.
Mattie Terrie Shackleford was born 22 February 1877 in Virginia to James Richard and Mary Ann (Terrie) Shackleford. She graduated from the Protestant Hospital of New York and worked as a superintendent there. In 1918, Shackleford was called into service at Camp McClellan and sailed overseas as a member of the Base Hospital 41, University of Virginia. After the war, she worked for the Serbian Relief Committee of America as nurse and lietutenant before becoming the nursing supervisor at Pittman Sanatorium and taught home health nursing. Shackleford never married, but considered Tarboro, North Carolina, and her fellow veterans her family. She died 20 June 1960 in Tarboro.