Ruby M. Cusack
Although Dad and Gramp thought I was giving my full attention to straightening a bunch of rusty nails from the keg, I was really listening to their conversation. They very concerned about some person being taken away because she was elderly and had become forgetful. It seemed she also was confused about the names of family members and became easily upset to the point of tears.
As I was reading microfilm G 2 at the Saint John Free Public Library that contained the Case Book of the Lunatic Asylum for 1854 to 1862, I too was concerned at the reasons given to take people away from their homes. Hopefully the attitude that was held toward mental illness in that time period has changed.
Here is a sample of the reasons people were admitted.
The father of Charles T. of Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia stated he had been raving about six or seven weeks. An Aunt and Uncle on the Grandfather’s side had a tendency to weakness of intellect. He was not considered dangerous but did attempt to get out a window.
For the last three years, Mary R. was always complaining that something was the matter. She was jealous and this was heritary as her sister was the same. The gentleman who brought her felt she was a danger to her husband and children.
Ann suffered from diappointment in worldly affairs and was very quiet.
Catherine was disappointed in marriage last week. Nothing the matter except she had a quarrel with an uncle in Woodstock when she was highly excited.
The Reverend T. was brought from Falsmouth, Nova Scotia. He had fallen from a horse. He was inclined to mischief by fire when under an attack.
Charles A. lived in Quaco with a wife and 5 children. He left for work on Friday, quite well and was brought home deranged.
Patrick E. of Saddleback was the contact for his brother who had been brought from the Alms House, where he had spent the last 4 weeks.
The husband of Mary H. of Waterloo Street felt the doctor had not only given her medicine that was too powerful but had also administered strong doses of mercury. She had 4 children and had been out of her mind for 6 weeks.
In the Legislative Assembly Journal of 1840, the names of 70 inmates of the Temporary Asylum in the City of Saint John from January 1st to 31st December, 1840 are listed. An important genealogical fact is their place of nativity and where they are presently residing was included.
William A. aged 53 was born in the City Cork and present residence was King’s Ward of the City of Saint John.
Simeon S. was only 26, when he was brought from the Kings County Gaol, suffering from Epilepsy. He died 8 January 1840.
Forty-four year-old Henrietta L. was born in Somersetshire, England and lived in Carleton County. She was diagnosed as being Furiously Mad.
Mary W. was 45 years old and had been born in County Caven and was presently a resident of Kent County.
The Saint John Free Public Library has the Case Book of the Lunatic Asylum for 1854 to 1862 on microfilm number G2. The Legislave Assembly Journals are also there and have yearly reports on the Lunatic Asylum.
Admission is Free!
The Saint John Branch of the New Brunswick Genealogical Society, is holding their Second Annual Genealogical Fair on Sept. 21, 2002 from 10 AM to 4 PM at Millidgeville North High School, Woodward Ave, Saint John, New Brunswick.
Admission is Free!
No Registration is required
Visit the website of the Saint John Branch of the New Brunswick Genealogical Society at www.nbgssj.ca for more information.
Ruby M. Cusack is a genealogy buff living in Saint John. Send your queries to her at: 47 Jean St., Saint John, N.B., Canada, E2J 1J8. Or E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name and mailing address for the benefit of those who do not have access to E-mail. Please put Family Surname followed by the word 'Query' in the subject line. That is Smith & Jones - Query.
Ruby has a "Family History" column in the Telegraph-Journal on Tuesdays