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State of
Mississippi

News Excerpts

 
Source:  Boston Traveler (Boston, MA)  Page: 2
Dated: November 29, 1844
Mentions:
There is no insane asylum in the state of Mississippi among other states.
Source:  Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, GA) Volume: XXX  Issue: 126  Page: 2
Dated: Friday, Aug. 10, 1866
MISSISSIPPI LUNATIC ASYLUM - Gov. Humphrey, of Mississippi reports to Gen. Howard that the Insane Asylum of that State is so crowded that he is daily compelled to refuse admission to white citizens, and is therefore unable to provide for the imbecile blacks.  The reverses of the war subsequent to the bankruptcy of the people and present sufferings for food and clothing, are thought to be the reasons for this increase of lunacy.
Source:  Cincinnati Daily Gazette - Ohio
Dated: Dec. 28, 1869
     The Rev. John SAMPLE, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in Mississippi, having looked over the recent election returns in that State, calls for a day of fasting and prayer, to petition that the hand of affliction may be moved from the people of Mississippi.
Source:  San Francisco Bulletin - California
Dated: Dec. 29, 1869
     In View of the result of the recent election, an un reconstructed clergyman in Mississippi, Rev. John SAMPLE, of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, has recommended to the people of that State that they observe Thursday, Jan. 14th, as a day of fasting and prayer to God to relieve them from the hand of the oppressor, that "their afflictions may be removed or rendered tolerable."
Source:  Norwich Aurora (Norwich, CT)  Volume: XXXVI  Issue: 20  Page: 2
Dated: Wednesday, May 18, 1870
INSANITY PLEA
    
An exchange says:
     "Gov. Alcorn, of Mississippi, has sent a special message to the State Legislature in regard to the plea of insanity in trials for murder, manslaughter, and assaults with intent to kill.  He recommends that in all cases in which that plea is interposed, the question shall be tried in equity, the prisoner to be held in custody meanwhile, without bail, to await the decree.  If the decree shall be that the prisoner is sane, he shall then be tried, as such, for the crime committed; but if he shall order him to be confined in a lunatic asylum, and in that portion thereof designated for the 'dangerous insane.'  In the case of assault with intent to kill, this confinement shall be for the term of one year; in case of manslaughter for the term of three years, and in a case of murder for a period of five years."
     This, as can be seen at once, does not meet the case.  A man may be insane when he commits the act of murder, as it is claimed McFarland was; and the jury endorsed that claim by their verdict.  But no one claims that McFarland is insane now.  So with the perpetrator of any other murder, where the claim of insanity is set up.  The insanity is at the time of the commission of the act; when under trial, the man is, or is supposed to be, sane.  If he were not, his trial would be a farce; for who ever heard of trying a notoriously insane man for a crime?
     It is meant that the point shall be first determined whether the murderer was sane at the time of the murder, and, if he was, that he shall be tried, and, if convicted, punished, no one can object to that, provided the man continues sane up to the time of his trial and punishment.  But this Mississippi Governor proposes the punish a man who was insane at the time of the murder, but who may be sane now, by sending him to a lunatic asylum, to be confined among "the dangerous insane," - a course of treatment, one would suppose, very well calculated to make a man insane if he was not so before.
Source:  Cincinnati Daily Gazette (Cincinnati, OH)  Page: 4
Dated:  Saturday, Sept. 3, 1870
Notice to Builders
     SEALED PROPOSALS will be received by the committee appointed by the Legislature of the State of Mississippi, under and by virtue of "an act to provide for the repairs of and additional buildings to the Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum." approved July 21st, 1870, until 12 o'clock, M., on TUESDAY, the 6th day of September next, for the erection of two new wings to the State Lunatic Asylum.  Each of said wings to be one hundred and forty-eight feet long by thirty nine feet wide, and to be three stories high.  Said wings to be built of bricks, cemented on the outside, and covered with a slate roof.
     Plans and specifications will be on file at the room of the committee, in the State Capitol, in the City of Jackson, Mississippi, on and after the 22d day of August, inst., where they can be examined by all who desire to see them.
     Bond and security will be required for the faithful performance of the work.  Each bidder to accompany his bid with the names of sureties.
     The committee reserves the right to reject any or all bids, at their discretion.
J. L. ALCORN,
Governor and ex-officio Chairman
Attest:  JOS. BENNETT, Secretary, &c. 
Source: Daily Commercial (Vicksburg, MS) Pages: 2
Dated: Monday, Feb. 25, 1878
SUPERINTENDENT OF THE LUNATIC ASYLUM.
    
From a long list of able and worthy applicants the Governor has appointed Dr. T. J. Mitchell, of this city, Superintendent of the Lunatic Asylum.  Dr. Mitchell's qualifications, in every particular, are of the highest order.  He is thoroughly educated in his profession, and brings to his medical learning the experience of a long and laborious practice.  To these qualifications he combines executive ability, and a humane and generous nature.  Nothing that study and conscientious effort can accomplish to promote the comfort and effect the cure of the unfortunate beings entrusted to his care, will be left undone.  We feel it our duty to give these assurances with the utmost confidence to the public, and especially to the immediate friends of the inmates of the institution.  Politically, Dr. Mitchell is a thorough Democrat, whose every hope and aspirations are centered in the State of Mississippi, with which his fortunes have been identified from boyhood down to the present hour.  - Jackson Clarion
     It affords us pleasure to add our testimony as to the eminent fitness of Dr. Mitchell, for the responsible position assigned him by the Governor and the Senate.  He is a thorough, manly gentleman, and his qualifications are unquestioned.  It will doubtless be gratifying to those who affected to regard Dr. Compton, as the only man in the State competent to manage the Asylum for the Insane, to learn that Dr. McWillie, who has been for several years the very efficient, and capable assistant of Dr. Compton, will continue to hold the position for which his attainments and experience admirably qualify him.
Source: Clarion (Jackson, MS) Volume: XLIX  Issue: 11  Page: 2
Dated: Wednesday, Mar. 17, 1886
The State's Charitable Institutions.
    
The Joint Committee to Investigate the State's Charitable Institutions have made an interesting report, in some particulars not very creditable to the management of the East Mississippi Insane Asylum.
     Concerning this Institution the Committee report that its affairs are not conducted on business principles.
     The expenditures have been extravagant and the prices paid excessive.  The trustees exercise no oversight over the affairs of the institution, but simply act as an auditing board.
     The accounts are not kept in a business-like manner, and the Committee recommend that the system of bookkeeping practiced at the Lunatic Asylum at Jackson be adopted.
     The Steward has paid his private accounts out of State funds; "but in every instance except one - and in that the account has not as yet been passed upon by the trustees - the proper amount was refunded before the investigation was ordered by the Legislature."  The Committee "do not commend" this action of the Steward in mingling his private matters with those which were official.
     The purchase made by the Steward for the Asylum were injudicious and the prices extravagant.  Pianos, accordeons and lace curtains were purchased and paid for out of the "Support Fund," when it must have been apparent that this fund was about exhausted.
     "The action of the trustees in the selection of a Steward was not business-like.  He is unskilled in the duties of the position for which he was selected - without commercial experience and knowledge; and this is the testimony of the majority of the business men at Meridian - who were examined.  We think the trustees erred in their selection, and much of the management is due to this mistake on their part."
     The Asylum pays farm laborers $15 a month and boards them.
     The cost per patient is $227 a year against $135 at the Lunatic Asylum here.
     In pleasing contrast with the Committee's strictures on the East Mississippi Lunatic Asylum is the highly commendatory manner in which they speak of the State Lunatic Asylum at this place.  Here everything is lovely - just as it should be.  Not a single improvement is suggested in the management.  The articles purchased are such as are needed, and the prices paid most reasonable.  The books are properly kept, and the system of book-keeping at the Asylum is recommended as the standard for all the State Charitable Institutions.  Dr. Mitchell the Superintendent, and Dr. McWillie his assistant are especially complimented by name, and Steward McGill has been so faithful over the affairs of the one institution, that he is recommended by the Committee as a suitable person to act as purchasing agent for all.
     The general management of the Deaf and Dumb Asylum is reported to be good; but the system of book-keeping employed is not business like.  Too much has been paid for many of the articles purchased.  The cost per capita annually is $200.  This the Committee think this too much.
     The management of the Blind Asylum is also reported to be good, and purchases have been made at moderate prices.  The cost per capita is $300, which the Committee, think can be reduced.  There are only 33 pupils, though the building is capable of accommodating many more.
Source:  Clarion (Jackson, MS) Volume: 49 Issue: 46  Page: 2
Dated: Nov. 17, 1886
Jackson as a Market
    
The esteemed Meridian News has been engaged for some time in boosting the claims of the capital of the "Mighty East," which is right enough; and in doing so it not infrequently makes good natured comparisons between Meridian and other towns in the State, but always to the advantage of Meridian.
     At a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees of the State Lunatic Asylum at this place, the purchasing agent submitted certain bids he had received for the privilege of furnishing the Asylum with its supplies for the third quarter of the current year, and though there were bids from several cities outside the State, the contract was awarded to merchants residing in the city of Jackson.  We quote the bids accepted as follows:
 
2 bales standard 4-4 brown domestic 5.22
2 bales 8 oz. Lowels 8.225
50 sacks prime Rio Coffee 13-1/8
25 sacks prime Rio Coffee 12-7/8
1000 pounds C. R. bacon 6.86
5000 pounds dry salt pork 6.28
179 bbls. roller process flower first quality (per barrel) $4.31
Sugar cured hams 10.78
10 sacks fine salt (per sack) $1.33
5 bbls. rice 3-7/_
1 sack black pepper 16
Apple cider vinegar (per gallon) 16
5 tons bran (per hundred) 88
6 tons ship stuff (per hundred $1.015

     The prices quoted are for the yard or pound of the article named, and the figures represent cents and fractional parts unless otherwise specially indicated.  The contract was closed on Wednesday of last week.
     Now if the News can show that Meridian has sold goods of the kind mentioned to the East Mississippi Insane Asylum at as low prices as Jackson has sold to the State Lunatic Asylum, we will be in the humor to acknowledge the superiority of Meridian over Jackson as a market.  The tax-payers of the State would be interested in a comparison of the figures.
     In this connection we take the opportunity to commend the admirable management of the State Lunatic Asylum, in all its departments, and especially in that presided over by Steward McGill, who is the purchasing agent for the institution, and is the right man in the right place.

Source:  Clarion Ledger (Jackson, MS) Volume: 53  Issue:  Page: 4
Dated:  Thursday, Jan. 30, 1809
DOCTORS DIFFER.
     Dr. Mitchell
, in his report as Superintendent of the State Lunatic Asylum, takes strong ground against the proposition to establish a separate Asylum for the colored insane.  The Doctor also discussed the subject in a paper read at the last meeting of the State Medical Association.
     On the other hand, Dr. C. A. Rice, Superintendent of the East Mississippi Insane Asylum, comes to the conclusion that "it would be wise to furnish another Asylum for the negroes, and separate the races."  He estimates that there are three hundred insane negroes in Mississippi, and thinks that is not only necessary, but that it would be economy to erect an Asylum with capacity for five hundred patients.
     The Committees on Humane and Benevolent Institutions will of course give this subject due consideration, and make such provision as will relieve the jails of scores of unfortunates who cannot be admitted to either Asylum for want of room.
Source: Biloxi Herald (Biloxi, MS) Volume: VIII  Issue: 22 Page 1
Dated: Saturday, Feb. 27, 1892
INSURANCE ON STATE BUILDINGS
Since the fire at the lunatic
asylum, some of our confreres of the press are urging that policies of insurance should be taken on all state buildings.
     We do not see it that way.  There is a profit, and a large one, to the insurer.  That is the way insurance companies make their money.  They pay their agents a big commission, and have a good profit left.  It may be good or bad policy for individuals to insure against fire.  It is a mere matter of calculation of the cost.  One man may be able to take his own risk and another not.  The same rule should apply to the state.  Can the state of Mississippi afford to take its own risk on its public buildings?
     We think it can.  The capitol and other public buildings have been standing for more than half a century, the first loss has been that of the Jackson lunatic asylum, and if the cost of insurance on all buildings for the last forty years should be computed at the regular rates, it will be found to be much in excess of the value of the asylum.
     The state of Mississippi is able to carry its own insurance, and let it be so.
Source: Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA)  Page: 16
Dated: Monday, July 6, 1896
EAST MISSISSIPPI  INSANE ASYLUM.
Established in 1882, the Lunatic Asylum Being Full.
Brief History of Its Successful and Capable Management.
----
How Patients, Male and Female, Are Occupied
----
Dr. Buchanan, the Able Superintendent,  is the Right man in the Right place.

----
    
(Special to the Picayune.)
     Meridian, Miss, July 5 -- In 1882, the state lunatic asylum being already full and not capable of accommodating all the insane in the state, the legislature made another asylum.  As an inducement to locate it at Meridian, the city of Meridian donated a site, with 560 acres of land.  A commission was immediately appointed, by Governor Lowry and the lands were acepted, and as soon as everything could be got in shape, the building was commenced, but the commissioners found that they were somewhat handicapped, inasmuch as the law said they should erect a building to accommodate 250 patients, with only $50,000.  All estimates submitted went beyond these figures, but the committee, taking certain responsibilities upon themselves let the contract to Mr. G. W. Covert, promising to ask the next legislature tro make good the deficit.  The building was not completed before the next legislature met in 18874, and at this session the commissioners submitted their report, and asked for enough money to finish the work according to the plans submitted.  After quite a fight over the matter, an additional appropriation of $34,000 (m/b $31,000) for finishing the building, and $25,000 for furnishing and equipping it was made.
     The work was completed in December, 1884, and on Jan. 12, 1885, the asylum was opened for the reception of patients, with Dr. C. A. Rice as superintendent and Dr. J. M. Buchanan as assistant physician.  The jails were then full of insane people, and it was but a short time before the asylum had its full quota of patients.
     Since the organization there have been 1127 patients admitted to the asylum, and a summary found in the last biennial report shows the following results:  About 30 per cent were discharged as restored, 25 per cent were either benefited or became harmless, and were removed by relatives; 20 per cent died, and the remaining 25 percent were still in the asylum.  There has been no discrimination made, and all were taken as long as there was room, so with no restrictions as to admissions, these figures compare favorably with like institutions.  It is said that many patients are not sent to the asylum until it is too late to benefit them by treatment, but where they are sent as soon as the trouble first appears, the results are very satisfactory when the grave nature of the disease is taken into consideration.  We find that the physicians do not rely entirely upon drugs in the treatment of mental troubles, but they put great stress upon diet, exercise, and diversions.  They try to find some kind of employment for all who can do anything, and in many ways try to give the patients something to think about except their real or imaginary troubles.
     Many of the men are from the country, and these are employed on the farm and garden, while others find something they can do in the shops, such as cabinet work, mattress making, and other industries.  The women do lots of fancy work, and many find employment in knitting, sewing and household works.
     The grounds in front of the main building are beautifully terraced, and laid out in flower beds - all done by the patients and the yards are still kept in order by them.  What is now a really beautiful lawn was, at the time of the building of the asylum, an old pine field, but time and labor has wrought a wonderful change.
     Speaking of improvements, it is safe to say that with the additions made from time to time and improvements added from year to year the property and buildings of the asylum are worth twice what they were when the building was first completed.  All machinery, including boilers, engines, dynamos, electric lights, fire engine and laundry are first class and complete.  The farming land is rolling and hilly, but it is kept in a fine state of cultivation, affording an abundant supply of vegetables for the patients, and the field crops, consisting of corn, oats, hay, potatoes and peas, have usually been good.  There is also a nice herd of graded Jerseys, with a few full-blooded cows, which supply the asylum with enough milk for all the sick, and those needing special nourishment.  They don't go in for breeding fine hogs, but have a good drove of common hogs.
     The legislature allows for the support of this asylum $130 per patient, which amount covers everything in the way of expense, but for the last four years the per capita expenditure has not reached that amount.
     There have been only two superintendents since the opening of the asylum.  Dr. Rice served five years and Dr. Buchanan, the present superintendent, has been in charge a little over six years.  Dr. Buchanan served two years as assistant physician in the Arkansas lunatic asylum and two years under Dr. Rice here, so when he entered upon the duties of superintendent he was familiar with the workings of hte institution.  The doctor is progressive and has many other improvements in view.  He has just completed a new addition, in which is a large dining hall, where all the mild and convalescent patients will take their meals.  The old dining-rooms will be converted into associated dormitories, and this will give room for about fifty more patients.  Just above the dining-room is a large hall, which is used for a chapel and general assembly hall.  The water supply has not been as good as desired, and a contract for boring an artesian well has been let to a New Orleans firm; this well is guaranteed to furnish 100,000 gallons of good water per day.  A water tower high enough to give sufficient pressure to throw water in any part of the building is also under consideration, but no action will be taken on that until the well is completed. 
     These are some of the points briefly outlined of this splendidly-managed institution.  The Picayune correspondent will add, in conclusion, that the new board of trustees - K. Threefoot, E. T. George and J. F. Parker of Ellisville - are all good men and the harmony with the superintendent.
Source: Daily Herald (Biloxi, MS)  Volume: 1 Issue: 171  Page: 1
Dated: Tuesday, Feb. 28, 1899
SMALL POX
Six Cases in the Mississippi Lunatic Asplum
     Jackson, Miss., Feb. 27 - County Health Officer McLean today reported to the State Board of Health six cases of small-pox near the lunatic asylum, north of this city.  The board of health has ordered compulsory vaccination of all persons in the neighborhood.  The state lunatic asylum contains 900 inmates and a quarantine was established.
Source:  Gulfport Daily Herald (Gulfport, MS) Vol: II  Issue: 153  Page: 1
Dated: Saturday, Mar. 5, 1911
State Lunatic Asylum Crowded.
LUNATIC ASYLUM CROWED
    
There are about seventy lunatics mostly negroes, in the various jails of the state, in excess of the accommodations of the two insane hospitals, which are full.  As vacancies occur from death or restoration to reason, other inmates are admitted in the order in which their applications are filed.  Where a person is adjudged a lunatic by a jury or by two physicians and a citizen, notice should be given to the superintendent of the lunatic asylum and along with the notice a certified copy of the judgment of lunacy, or of the affidavit of the two physicians, and the citizen, and thereupon the superintendent will send the sheriff or the jail physician blanks to be filled out, giving certain information in regard to the lunatic, necessary for the treatment and which is required by law.
Source:  Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)  Page: 2
Dated:  Feb. 7, 1930
Tramp Murderer Is Found to Be Escape Lunatic
Finger Prints Definitely Identify Man - Jackson Police Say He Is 'Dangerous.'
By Associated Press
     Paducah, Ky., Feb. 6 - Police authorities of Jackson, Miss., informed Fulton county officers today that the identity of Roy Springer, a trump, who killed Frank Barrett, Fulton merchant, and seriously wounded Bulley Huddleston, chief of police of Fulton, had been established through finger prints as that of a man whom Jackson officers had taken to a Mississippi insane asylum last week.
     In a telephone conversation with Sheriff Goalder Johnson, Fulton county, the Jackson chief of police said that two of his men last week took a man by the name of Roy Springler, who answered the description furnished by the Kentucky officers, to the asylum but that the institution refused to receive him and that they left him standing in the corridor.  That was the last they saw of him.
     The Mississippi official told Sheriff Johnson that they were dealing with a highly dangerous man.  He said that Springer had been picked up on the streets of Jackson and had been taken to the asylum from which institution he was alleged to have escaped.  He had been in the asylum on several previous occasions, the Jackson chief said, having been sent up from Tupelo, Miss.
     The condition of Chief Huddleston, whose throat was cut by the tramp at Fulton, Tuesday, showed improvement this afternoon.
Source:  Gulfport Daily Herald (Gulfport, MS)  Volume: IV  Issue: 254  Page: 5
Dated: Monday, July 28, 1913
MORE SENSATIONS IN PROBE OF MISSISSIPPI ASYLUM EXPECTED
Jackson, July 23.
    
The legislature investigating committee has hardly begun its work, and yet it has given results that are of interest and has considerably more in sight, its members say.  The only conviction so far is Leigh Watkins, assistant land commissioner, who confessed to embezzling $320 as soon as he found that the expert accountants were checking up the auditor's office.  He repaid the money and was given a sentence of one year in jail.  He declares he never was paid sympathy of the public because of his straitened circumstances, that petitions for his pardon are even now being circulated and largely signed.
     Tom Turley, steward at the lunatic asylum, has been indicted four times and there does not seem to be any escape for him.  The main witness against him, a well known character about town, named Walter Weathersby, left the city as soon as the committee got in behind Turley, but after a protracted search the police found him in hiding in Pearl river swamps, across Jackson, and landed him in Jail.  He declares he never was paid but $25 by Turley, and that was his salary for the month he worked at the asylum.  And yet Turley is said to have paid him nearly $2,000.  Turley demanded a change of venue, being of the opinion he could not get a fair trial. in this county, and the court agreed with him, sending the case to Rankin county.
PROBE NOT ENDED.
     Only one member of the board of trustees of the asylum, W. S. Hamilton, was indicted by the grand jury.  Now that the grand jury has adjourned it is understood that affidavits will be made before a justice of the peace against certain others connected with the asylum and have them turned over to the next grand jury.  Other minor employes also are expected to be hauled over the coals for petty stealing.  There seem to have been going on in a wholesale way for years.
Source:  CNN News -
Dated: March 9, 2014
MENTIONS:  A massive graveyard was discovered on the grounds of the University of Mississippi.

NOTES:
     

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