Miscellaneous Newspaper Articles

Articles regarding individuals sent to the asylum and more.


WINCHESTER DEMOCRAT, Tuesday, June 16, 1896
"Arthur W. Platt, who, while an attendant at the Eastern Kentucky Lunatic Asylum at Lexington, in 1885, killed patient Jesse Tyree, of Rockcastle County, has been arrested in Oxford, Eng.  Platt escaped immediately after the killing.  No trace of him could be discovered until recently.  At Rochester, N. Y., before sailing for England, his native land, he was naturalized as Ed. R. Taylor.  He was arrested at Oxford, charged with stealing.  The Scotland yard detectives, having been informed of the Tyree murder and learning that Platt had been arrested this morning, cabled Sheriff Gross to that effect.  Steps will be taken immediately to bring Platt to America for trial."
from same paper, June 26, 1896
"Green H. Hall, a prominent farmer of Powell county, was tried for lunacy and sent to the asylum in Lexington."

Contributed by Mary Doyle Johnson,


"Maud D. Riley was adjudged insane at Richmond Saturday and ordered sent to the Lexington asylum.  This makes three lunacy trials there last week, and ten since January 1." 

Contributed by Mary Doyle Johnson,


Headings:  Dr. Wagner's Condition, Lexington, Ky., July 2
"Dr. John W. Wagner, of Bellevue, whose name was connected with the Pearl Bryan tragedy, and who was adjudged insane and sent to the asylum here, now shows no signs of insanity, and may soon be dismissed.  Dr. Wagner has been a mystery to the asylum authorities since his confinement."
Contributed by Mary Doyle Johnson,



"John Board, colored was tried before Judge Haggard Friday and judged a lunatic; he was ordered to the asylum."



Headline:  Attempt at Self-Murder, Richmond, KY, July 23

"E. H. Ballard, a Paint Lick farmer, was tried here for lunacy, and Wednesday morning was taken to the Lexington asylum.  He made five attempts to end his life.  He belongs to one of the largest families in the county."

Contributed by Mary Doyle Johnson,


WINCHESTER DEMOCRAT, November 13, 1896

Heading:  Lexington, KY Nov 12

William Fox, a colored barber, was sent to the insane asylum Wednesday.  Fox's hallucination was that he had been delegated by the Almighty to make speeches for McKinley.

Contributed by Mary Doyle Johnson,



Heading: Sent to the Asylum    

Coroner Crim was tried before a jury Friday, adjudged to be insane and was ordered to be sent to the asylum.  This makes a vacancy in this office which Judge Haggard will fill by appointment.  Mr. Crim was liked by everybody and his many friends will regret to learn of his great misfortune.

Contributed by Mary Doyle Johnson,


"Sheriff Gross, of Fayette, will leave next week for London to bring to Lexington for trial Arthur Platt, who murdered a patient in the asylum at Lexington several years ago."  Read the Lexington Morning Herald article....

Contributed by Mary Doyle Johnson,


WINCHESTER DEMOCRAT, February 11, 1898

Prominent Madison Farmer Sent to the Asylum

"E. H. Ballard, of Paint Lick, brother-in-law of the late Col. A. M. Swope, and one of the wealthiest and best-known farmers of Madison county, was adjudged insane Wednesday, and ordered to the Lexington Asylum.  He imagined his cattle were starving and his family in want and Tuesday threatened to cut his throat with a razor.  He is seventy-four years old."

Contributed by Mary Doyle Johnson,



"Aggie Sydner, an old colored woman who claims to be 105 years of age, and who looks nearly that old, was tried before Judge Evans and a jury Wednesday and sent to the lunatic asylum at Lexington.  She claims to have two husbands, one of whom is John the Baptist."  (Mary, I suspect that should be Snyder, but the paper says what I typed.)  (Some are funny, but sad.)

Contributed by Mary Doyle Johnson,


WINCHESTER DEMOCRAT, February 15, 1898

Insane From Alcoholism, Richmond, Ky., Feb. 12

"Albert Long, a young man aged 17, living near here, took his first drink of whisky Christmas, and so good was the liquor that he got roaring drunk.  Since then, although no intoxicants have passed his lips, all effort of his friends to sober him has failed, and Friday he was pronounced insane from alcoholism, and ordered to the Lexington asylum.  It is not stated what brand of whisky he drank."

Same issue Heading: Results of His First Drunk

"Albert Long, a young man aged 17, living near Richmond, took his first drink of whisky Christmas, and so good was the liquor that he got roaring drunk.  Since then, although no intoxicants have passed his lips, all efforts of his friends to sober him up has failed, and Saturday he was pronounced insane from alcoholism and ordered to the Lexington asylum.  It is not stated what brand of whisky he drank."

Interesting that the almost-same article appeared twice in the same issue!

Contributed by Mary Doyle Johnson,



Heading:  A Lunatic

"Geo. Merz, was tried before Judge Evans and Jury yesterday on a charge of lunacy.  He is a native of New Orleans, and is evidently a highly educated man.  On most subjects he seemed rational, but was wild on a financial scheme which he connected some way with Masonry.  The jury found him insane and he will be taken to the asylum.  He had been an inmate of a Southern asylum at a previous period."

Contributed by Mary Doyle Johnson,



Jackson Will Be Returned, Lexington, Ky., April 15

"Superintendent Wiley, of the Eastern Kentucky Insane asylum, who recently gave Dr. S. S. Johnson permission to visit his sister in Augusta, Ga., where on Wednesday he tried to commit suicide, had a telegraph from that place Thursday night saying that the doctor will be returned to Lexington as soon as he is able to make the trip.  Dr. Johnson was a prominent dentist in this city until about one year ago, when he lost his mind while at an Ohio summer resort."

Contributed by Mary Doyle Johnson,



Conditional Pardon 

"Last Monday, Gov. Bradley pardoned John S. Harrod, sent to the penitentiary from this county on the charge of mule stealing.  The pardon is a conditional one and is on the condition that Harrod be taken to an asylum having been adjudged a lunatic by the Franklin Circuit Court, and should he recover he must be returned to serve out a two year sentence--Mt. Sterling Sentinel-Democrat." 

Contributed by Mary Doyle Johnson,




An Unfortunate Family

A special from Owingsville says:  "Few persons have been so unfortunate as the Deatly family of this county.  In April, 1894, L. P. Deatly, with his three sons, Lee, William and George, came from his home, in the northern part of this county, to Owingsville, to attend County Court.  During the day, William Deatly stabbed Mark Cline, a neighbor boy, to death in a livery stable at this place.  He was arrested and his examining trial held, and in default of bail was sent to jail.

"In a few days L. P. Deatly, the father, together with Lee and George, were arrested, charged with conspiracy to murder Mark Cline.  At the October term of Circuit Court, the men were placed on trial, and they were finally convicted.

"William was sent to the penitentiary for life, and died a raving maniac in the penitentiary at Eddyville. 

"L. P., the father, after being confined at Frankfort for some time, was removed to the asylum at Lexington, and died only a few months since.  A telegram has just been received here from the authorities at the Frankfort penitentiary, stating that George Deatly is hopelessly insane and cannot long survive."

Contributed by Mary Doyle Johnson,



"Henry Woodard, aged forty-three years, and one of the best colored men of our city was tried before Judge Evans Tuesday morning and adjudged a lunatic.  Officer Calmes took him to the Lexington asylum Tuesday."

Contributed by Mary Doyle Johnson,


WINCHESTER DEMOCRAT, Friday, December 16,1898

"Malinda Jones, a colored pauper from the County House, was tried before Judge Evans yesterday on a

charge of lunacy, and was sent to the asylum."

Contributed by Mary Doyle Johnson,


The Morning Herald (Lexington, Kentucky); October 10, 1900

Escape of Henry Meriwether

A Lunatic Escaped

A patient named Merriwether, of Frankfort, escaped from E. K. (Eastern Kentucky) asylum Tuesday afternoon. He was walking about the grounds with other patients and took fence leave.

The Morning Herald (Lexington, Kentucky); October 10, 1900

Returned to Asylum

Henry Merriwether, the patient who escaped from the Eastern Kentucky Asylum Tuesday, returned to the institution Wednesday morning. It is supposed that he wandered aimlessly about the grounds during the night.

Note: (added by submitter) Henry Meriwether [TMSI #24770] was the son of Junius Meriwether and Charity Harp of Frankfort, Kentucky. He was found in the 1900 census living at the Eastern Kentucky Asylum for the Insane in Lexington, Kentucky. He was not found after that date. It is thought that he died and was buried at the asylum where there are thousands of unmarked graves.

Courtesy of Valerie Brock


Owingsville Outlook, 1903.

Insane- Nathan Kinney, until recently, living with his son near Bethel, was adjudged insane at Mt. Sterling and taken to the Lexington Asylum last Thursday. He is over 60 years of age. M. C. Gudgall, of near Sherburne, Accompanied the party taking him there.

Courtesy Carol Lovitt,


1910-03-29 [HOSPITALS. EASTERN STATE.] [Leader. p. 1 col. 2] 700963

So affected was Andrew McMullen, a young man whose home is near Natural Bridge on the Lexington and Eastern railroad, by the failure of his mother, Mrs. McMullen, to recognize him when he visited her at the Eastern Kentucky Asylum in this city Tuesday morning, that his mind became unbalanced half an hour after he left that institution and he had to be arrested by Patrolman Robert Hale and other officers and placed in a cell at the police station.
Source: The Leader, Lexington, Ky., 29 March 1910, p. 1. col. 2; Contributed by Ann Minter (


Miller Loses in His [Illegible] Against Brown Jury Finds for the Former Official of Infirmary (News Article)
Source: The Leader, 31 March 1910 p. 12. Contributed by Ann Minter (

Committed to the Asylum
Andrew McMullen, aged 37 years, was tried on a lunacy charge, in the Fayette Circuit Court yesterday, found to be of unsound mind, and committed to the Eastern Kentucky Lunatic Asylum. McMullen was arrested Tuesday by Patrolman Hale and other officers with some difficulty, while wandering aimlessly about Main street.
Source: The Leader, 31 March 1910. Contributed by Ann Minter (

See also Andrew McMullen Obituary


Leader (Lexington, KY), p. 5 col. 4, 12/23/1913

In State Hospital

Mrs. Lillie Gibson, of Nicholasville, who shot and killed Mrs. Ida Smith at High Bridge last September, was brought to Lexington Monday evening and placed in the Eastern State Hospital.

Courtesy of Lisa Sanden


Bourbon News, Paris, Ky.-Friday Jan. 12, 1917

Two Adjudged Insane

Mrs. Horatio N. Wilkins, well-known and highly-respected Paris woman, was tried in Judge McMillan’s Court, on a lunacy charge. The jury adjudged her to be of unsound mind, and ordered her committed to the Eastern Kentucky Hospital for the Insane at Lexington.

Mrs. Wilkins is the widow of Horatio N. Wilkins, who will be remembered by the citizens of Paris as conducting a tin shop and stove store at the corner of Main and Fifth streets on the site now occupied by the Bourbon-Agricultural Bank and Trust Co.’s building. She was twice married, her children, Charles Ross and Horatio (“Birdie”) Wilkins, having died some years ago.


On the same day, a nineteen-year-old colored girl was adjudged insane and was ordered sent to the State Hospital. The two unfortunates were taken to the institution together.

Courtesy Mary Hatton


Thousandsticks newspaper Middlesboro KY - August 10, 1911

To fight dread Pellagra

Meeting of State Physicians in Corbin To Consider Situation

Corbin, KY, Aug.9 - Physicians from all parts of the State are here today in consultation with a government specialist discussing the prevalence of pellagra, which has been discovered in Eastern KY and in the insane asylums of the State.

Among the physicians present are Dr. McCormick of the State Board of Health, who called the conference, Dr. Vernon Robbins of Louisville and Dr. Smock health officer of Jefferson county.

A number of the victims of the disease appeared before the doctors, who examined into their habits, the food and manner of life, in an effort to determine if possible the real cause of the disease. The physicians will continue their work until tonight and will go to Lexington to prepare a report.

The claim that there are several hundred cases of the disease among the foreigners in the mountain counties is declared to be a gross exaggeration, but the doctors throughout the State are determined to do everything in their power to keep down the malady. It is likely that some plan of campaign against the scourge will be decided upon at today's meeting.

It is also asserted that Whitley county has been the source of several cases of the disease that have appeared in the State asylums.

Twenty odd cases and three deaths have been admitted as existing in the Lexington asylum and eight cases have been reported from Hopkinsville. The Lakeland authorities have reported one case, but Dr. B.W. Smock health officer of Jefferson county in which Lakeland is located has been quoted as saying that there are more cases than in either of the other institutions. This however is denied by Supt. Gardner of Lakeland.

Quite a number of physicians and business men from Middlesboro were in Corbin yesterday to attend the meeting.

Courtesy of Dusty Pilgrim


Middlesboro Daily News Middlesboro KY Saturday October 14, 1922

Facts about Kentucky

The average daily number of inmates in the Eastern State hospital for the year 1921 - 1922 was 1,350

Courtesy of Dusty Pilgrim


Middlesboro (KY) Daily News August 30, 1926

Bring seven to Bell poor farm

Feeble - minded charges enjoy trip

Pineville, Aug. 30 -

Charles Brooks, keeper of the Bell county poor farm, accompanied by J.T. Lockard, and Esquire Harvey Hopkins motored to Lexington the last week end and brought back nine persons of feeble mind who will make their home for the time being at the county poor farm. The latter are from Bell county originally and have been in the insane asylum at Lexington for several years.

It proved to be an uneventful trip, the charges showing no disposition to make any trouble. In fact they were congenial and cheerful and seemed to enjoy the outing.

Mr. Hopkins was much impressed by the wonderful order and system that he observed at the asylum. He and his companions were given a courteous welcome by Superintendent Larue and his assistant and shown through the great institution. There are 1600 inmates at this time and although many are complete imbeciles, the order and discipline is perfect. Every fellow seemed to have his hobby and he was permitted to pursue, but when spoken to, they were all alike quick to heed and obey.

The buildings and grounds are beautiful and the sanitary measures as nearly perfect as possible. The inmates are given good food and care and for the most part seem contented.

In the party returned to Bell county were seven men and two women. The men were brought back in the cars driven by Mr. Brooks and Mr. Lockard, the women were brought by bus.

One of the women, about 20, seemed to be perfectly rational, in fact intelligent. She had been in the asylum for two years and _____? _______? (seemed overjoyed?) to be so nearly at liberty again. She was given employment by Mr. Brooks, doing house work at the farm for which she will be paid.

Courtesy of Dusty Pilgrim


Middlesboro Daily News Middlesboro KY Thursday August 19, 1926

The State's Wards

Much has been written lately of the state's wards. In Lexington, with the Eastern State hospital and the houses of reform at Greendale located here, it should not be necessary to read statements from the outside to know what conditions in the state institutions are.

Joseph E. Robinson of Lancaster, chairman of the state board of charities and corrections, speaking before the students of the Eastern State Normal school summer school in Richmond Monday, said that there are now 5,000 patients in the three state hospitals of the state, with a total capacity of 4,100. He could go further. Even if there were only 4,000 patients in these hospitals instead of 5,000, the facilities for caring for them would be totally inadequate.

The Eastern State hospital was the first institution of it's kind west of the Alleghenies. Some of the construction of 1817 is still in use. The whole plant is a firetrap. Only through the most scrupulous care have the superintendents of recent years been able to prevent a catastrophe that would bring the state to tears.

Says Mr. Robinson :

"But more than one hundred years ago the same buildings still are being used at Lexington as were there in the first place. Properly equipped, modern hospitals for the insane have achieved a high percentage of cures of mental disorders, some of them restoring as high as ? (80?) percent of their patients, but in Kentucky, with our equipment and devoted service of the men and women in charge of this work. the best we could do has been 7 per cent. Every time one of these unfortunates is restored to his family it means a savings of at least $200 a year to the state."

The legislatures and the people thus far have refused to meet the emergency which has existed and grown greater every year. In November there will be voted on at the polls a bond issue which will enable Kentucky to do what she should do for those who are mentally ill. Those who fail to give their support to this move assume their part of the responsibility for the dire results that will follow.

---- Lexington Herald

Courtesy of Dusty Pilgrim




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