Thursday, April 19, 2012

Physician's certificate for Jane Clark Brown

My great-great grandmother Jane Clark was born in November 1846 in Adams County, Ohio to Benjamin Daniel Clark and Hannah Carrigan.  She  married Thomas Brown in 1866 and they had three children: Joseph Daniel, Ida May and Hannah Ellen.  Thomas divorced her in 1873.

Jane's life took a dramatic turn in December 1880 when she was committed to the Athens Lunatic Asylum, Athens, Ohio.  She resided there for nearly 40 years until her death on 5 August 1918. 

Mystery surrounds Thomas and Jane's life and especially Jane's life after the divorce from Thomas and her ultimate institutionalization.  The family story was that she died and Thomas remarried.  Thomas remarried alright - in 1881.  The children were separated.  Joseph remained with Thomas and his second wife and Hannah went to live with Mahlon Clark, Jane's brother and his wife Margaret Hill Clark.  I don't know where Ida May, my great-grandmother, went and who raised her. 

Fortunately, I have been able to begin unraveling Jane's story.  I obtained her commitment records from the Ohio University Library Manuscript Collection.  Click on each image below for a larger image.  The documents will be transcribed eventually.  

Notable information in these documents includes:
  • The physician testified that "menstrual derangement" was the physical cause for her insanity.  I have since learned that such diagnosis was commonly used at that time when no other one existed.
  • Mahlon Clark was a witness.  There is a possibility that he was her brother.
  • Silas Hill, another witness, was possibly Margaret Hill Clark's father. 
Leave a comment if you have any questions about this information.

Physician's Certificate
page 1a

Physician's Certificate
page 1a (btm) and 1a (back)

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