Disease and Health:
Insanity, Smallpox, and General Health Attitudes
"Insanity Cases in Walla Walla County: 1860s"
By Errin R. Edlin
Was found to be insane in 1866, appointed a guardian and shipped off to the Vancouver asylum. Soon thereafter he died and his estate came into contention. Petitions were filed against his guardian for not fulfilling the terms of his contract to give Rémond the necessary and needed care and for failing to account in the proper time frame for Rémond’s properties. At the same time, the court appointed and administrator for Rémond’s estate due to his lack of a known will. The administrator posted notice for claims against the estate (or debts to it). A man, Giroux, came forward claiming to be the nearest relative of Rémond as a cousin, and claimed a portion of the estate. Further research turned up an actual heir, Joseph Rémond Jr. who was living in Quebec and was the only documented child of Rémond and his wife Catherine who had died _______. After Catherine’s death, Rémond apparently left Quebec (or East Canada as it was called at the time) and ended up in Walla Walla. His son was left with a maternal uncle in Quebec.
Some of the documents in the file are in French, and there are several from officials in Quebec, including depositions from the church where Joseph Rémond the elder and Catherine were married, the birth of Joseph’s son recorded, and Catherine interred.
Joseph Rémond’s estate was in such contestation because he was a blacksmith and had a great deal of monies and properties of larger-than-average value.
Mention was also made in the large case file of a settlement with Narcissa Rémond wherein Joseph was awarded a horse (or two) from Narcissa’s land and they were considered even. Unfortunately there were no other documents relating to that specific case and the relation of Narcissa to Joseph is unknown.
Julia Ann Washburn:
Is declared insane and to need “such medical treatment as can be had at an insane asylum alone”. Mrs. Washburn’s husband petitioned the court stating that he was unable to “procure for her the necessary treatment and hospital attention”. H.A. Babcock and Isaac Saunders testified that they knew Mr. B.M. Washburn to be “insolvent”. The findings of the court are unknown as there is no documentation of such in the case file.
Maria/Mariah Lane (possib. Sane, Sand, or Land):
Missionary/Father D.T. Halde petitioned the court to find Mariah/Maria insane and unsafe to be “at large” and recommends her for the asylum. He notes that she has $507.00 and requests to be appointed as her guardian, which he is. Dr. J.M. Hunter finds her to be insane and a candidate for the asylum because her condition is such that she should not be “allowed to go at large”. Her guardian then swears that all she possesses is the $507.00 and some clothing and that the clothing went with her to the asylum. An itemization of expenses is also in the case file and the total of the itemized expenses comes to $507.00. This is perhaps due to the last entry – a payment of the “Sisters” of $137.75. Given the odd amount of this payment, it stands to reason that whatever remained of Maria’s money after all other necessary expenses, was given to the Sisters for her care. The 3rd to last entry, before that for the Probate Judge, is also to the Sisters for $220. It is unknown whether that is a flat fee for placement or ?.
An affidavit signed by E.E. Taylor, states that “Fitspatrick Russel is suffering under mental derangement and is unsafe to be at large”. Dr. A.J. Thibodo is then summoned to examine Mr. Russel at the “house immediately below the Jail House” as to his mental condition. A citation is also in the file commanding that Mr. Russel be brought to the same location. Dr. Augustus J. Thibodo then examines Mr. Russel and certifies that he is “a person of unsound mind and a proper person to be confined.” A Grand Jury then submits to the Probate Judge a petition stating that they find “in the common Jail… an Insane person by the Name of Fizpatrick Russell which said person is suffering under mental derangement and unsafe to be at large” and requesting the judge to “take charge of said insane person and place him in the asylum”. The results of this petition are unknown.
Fanny is found to be insane and given into the guardianship of John A. Green. W.G. Langford later files a petition with the court stating that he is “informed and believes” that Fanny’s estate is worth “from five thousand to ten thousand dollars” and that Mr. Green has failed to either render sufficient bond or an inventory of Fanny’s estate and “has in his estate and person(?) all of the effects of said estate”. That he has “failed to pay the current and necessary expenses of said Fanny Williams” and Mr. Langford petitions the court to protect her estate and “take steps to secure the safety thereof”. Mr. Green counters (with the assistance of Mr. Fargo) and his guardianship is retained. Mr. Green later claims as expenses and compensation, a very large sum of money from her estate, including compensation for a diamond ring, diamond cuff links, and a gold watch and chain which he claims to have been “lost” by his ward. His base charge for transport to Vancouver is over $200 alone. It is perhaps worth noting that Mr. Fargo (who helped Mr. Green retain guardianship of Fannie Williams) is later arrested for fraud (?), posts bond with others signing on for surety, and skips town, leaving his ‘friends’ with the bond debt.
Willamina’s husband, Phillip Shauble, petitions the court to find his wife insane and a candidate for the asylum in Vancouver. Dr. John Boswell examines her in the presence of the judge and finds her to be “insane and laboring under mental derangement” and thus unsafe to be at large and a “proper subject for the insane asylum”. In addition, he states that, insofar as he can determine, she is around 33 years old, was born in Germany, and moved to Walla Walla from Wisconsin four years ago. Also that she has been “insane at intervals for six years, cause of insanity unknown” and that her current condition is quiet and of good physical health. The judge then finds her to be legally insane and that she be sent to the asylum at Vancouver, and that her husband has “sufficient money and property to pay all charges” for her transport to Vancouver and her care at the asylum there. A year and a half later, Dr. J.M. Hunter also examines her and finds her to be insane, suffering under mental derangement , incompetent to care for herself and not to be allowed “at large”. Martha Addington also petitions the court the same day, claiming that Mr. Schauble has “left his said wife unprovided for” and that she needs care only available at an insane asylum. (I believe that Dr. Hunter and Martha Addington are some of the people who run the asylum.) The court then orders the Sheriff of Walla Walla county to “seize the body of Mrs. Schuable wife of Phillip Schuable and commit it to the county jail for safe keeping”. A few months later Mr. Schuable petitions the court that he sent his wife to the asylum for care and requests to be made her guardian and given rights to sell property held in her dower and jointly by them, that he may pay her bills because most of their property is tied into “real property” or real estate (land, buildings and such rather than money).
A later citation for September 1882 orders Wilhelmina Schauble to be brought before the court and again examined for sanity. A certificate is then produced by the Hospital for the Insane of Washington Territory at Fort Steilacoom which certifies that Mrs. Schauble has been received and admitted that day (Sept. 22, 1882) as an indigent patient from Walla Walla county. Wilhelmina is examined again and found to be insane, suffering under mental derangement, not safe to be “at large” and a candidate for the asylum. She is found to be approximately 59 years old, born in Germany, married, and determined to have been insane Feb. 24, 1864, and July 26, 1865. Her insanity is “imbecility” (“melancholia” has been crossed out) and her present condition quiet and health good. “Supposed to have been pre____(?) insanity at first – as the first symptoms came on after confinement with twins in Spring 1862.”
Dr. A.J. Thibodo examined Mr. Isham and found him to be of unsound mind and fit for confinement. H. Krebs(?) finds Mr. Isham to also be of unsound mind and unsafe to be at large and puts forth that he will need to have a guardian appointed to see after him and his property. Over a year and a half later, James McAuliff petitions that Mr. Isham is insane and unsafe to be at large and ought to be sent to the asylum at Minncillo (Monticello). Following is a document from the asylum, with the same date:
Insane Asylum W.T.
Oct. 21st 1868
Received at Territorial Insane Asylum at the hands of William Huntington an Insane person named Noah Isham of Walla Walla County Washington Territory whose commitment was duly presented signed by H.M. Chase Probate Judge of said County and bearing the seal of office.
Huntington & Son
Keepers Insane Asylum W.T.
Judge H.M. Chase
We take pleasure in informing you that we are now enlarging our buildings and thoroughly renovating and refitting our establishment for the accommodation of our patients and hope that for the future we shall be able to give entire satisfaction to the friends of patients Mr Hays one of the former keepers has sold out to O C Huntington and Mrs H. E Huntington Formerly landlady of Columbian hotel in Portland is now matron of the Asylum and has entire control of the female inmates.
We shall do everything in our power to control the Asylum in a proper and satisfactory manner
Respectfully submitting the above we remain yours truly
Huntington & Sons
Insane Asylum Near Monticello W.T.
October 23rd 1868
H.M. Chase Esqr
Also included is a receipt for the payment and taking out of an ad for the auction of Noah Isham’s estate by his guardian O.P. Lacy in September of 1870. Specifically the auctioning of a house and lot in Walla Walla. As well as an earlier receipt for notice of the impending sale should anyone have a claim against the property. Also included are receipts from the county treasurer for payments due on behalf of Noah Isham. Finally, there is a notice from the Hospital for the Insane dated May 20th 1880 informing the Walla Walla County Probate Judge of the death of Noah Isham, “an indigent patient committed to this hospital from Walla Walla County”.
James William Bowers:
Dr. S. Kinsey filed an affidavit petitioning the court April 23rd 1866 regarding James William Bowers, claiming him to be insane, unsafe to be at large, incapable of caring for himself, and a subject for the insane asylum. Mr. Bowers was examined by Dr. J.W. Hunter and as filed May 2nd 1866, was found to be of unsound mind but not a fit subject for the insane asylum; no reason is given. The final ruling in this case is not contained within the file.
Elizabeth A. Pilcher:
J.H. Lasater filed an affidavit November 24th 1865, stating that “from observation, information and belief’ Elizabeth was of unsound mind and fit for the asylum, and that her and her friends were “in destitute circumstances and therefore unable to defray the expenses and charges of conveying to or treatment at said asylum”. Dr. J.H. Day, after being summoned by the court, examined her November 24th 1865 and found her to be “laboring under partial idiocy” and that “her mind and condition might be much improved in a well regulated assilum and humanity may demand a trial in her case.” No conclusion to this case is contained within the file.
Harrison Campbell, Fannie’s brother and only surviving relation in the west, petitioned the court on August 14th 1867, claiming that Fannie was “suffering under mental derangement,” and unfit to manage her own affairs or to be at large. Fannie was a minor under the age of eighteen years old and about to “depart and live in a state of adultery with one James McFarland(?)”. Her brother requested that the court make an evaluation and determination of her sanity. Fannie was commanded to appear before the court for examination. Physician A.J. Hogg on August 15th 1867, examined Fannie “separately from any other physician” and found her to be of sound mind. There are no further documents in the file.