Thursday, March 24, 2011

Crittenden County, Kentucky Lunacy Records 1844-1849

For some time I have been searching for the one place in Crittenden County that lists those persons who were deemed mentally incompetent. Thus far, these records have been found in county court, circuit court and as loose papers. It wasn't until 1906 that these records are kept in a separate book in Crittenden County.

 After the initial referral of mental incompetency was made by the Commonwealth Attorney, a jury of twelve men heard the facts and determined the condition of the person's mental state. The following entries are indexed under Idiots in the Crittenden Circuit Court Order Book A (1842-1850). Later Circuit Court Order Books (through 1856) have no listings for Idiots in the indices. 

Lewis Nelson, about age 40,  has been a citizen of Livingston now Crittenden County for about five years and has no property to support either himself or his family and is  found to be a lunatic and has been for about six years. He has a wife and eight children. Henry L. Cartwright appointed to convey Nelson safely to the asylum.  30 April 1844, page 94.

Clement R. Stewart, about 23 years of age, is single and has no family. He has no personal property but has 115 acres of land.  He has been a resident of Crittenden and Livingston counties for the past 4-5 years. His father has been dead several years and left no property; his mother is not a resident of this state and has no property. The jury decided Stewart had been a lunatic for upwards of two years. The Deputy Sheriff was appointed to convey him to the asylum. 17 October 1844, page 143.

Stokley Molsby is an Idiot, according to information filed by the Commonwealth Attorney.  After hearing the evidence, the following verdict was returned: We do not believe Stokley Molsby to be an Idiot. 21 April 1846, page 208.

This date the Commonwealth Attorney made known that Hiram Yarnall is a lunatic. Yarnall, age 37, is a farmer, single, has been insane occasionally about 14 years, is tolerably well educated and his natural temper is mild, affectionate towards relations and his general health is good; his estate is worth about $1,000. The jury deemed Yarnall a lunatic and Aaron Yarnall was appointed to take  charge & custody of Hiram Yarnall.  23 April 1846, page218.

Anderson Brown, age 35,  is reported to be of unsound mind. Brown has 160 acres of land, wagon and two horses worth $500, all his property is in Illinois; he has been roaming about , has no home in this state and his debts amount to more that the value of his estate.  Jesse B. McMican and Willis McMican to convey him to the asylum and Jesse McMican to take charge of Brown's estate.  29 May 1849, page 525.

It appearing to the satisfaction of the court that Anderson Brown, a Lunatic, has been restored to his proper mind and Jesse McMican discharged upon making settlement. 26 September 1849, page 606.

It is reported that John D. Boyd is a person of unsound mind. He was brought into court and a jury returned the following verdict:  Boyd, age 48, a miller & farmer, is a lunatic. He is married and has two brothers who are insane; his education is moderate or ordinary and his natural temper is rather mild. He owns about 800 acres of land upon which is a flour mill and saw mill and has personal property. C.C. Cole appointed to take charge of Boyd & provide him with diet, clothing &c.  28 September 1849, page 616.

Copyright on text and photographs
by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog


Sue F. said...

Thanks for sharing these...really fascinating!

Genevieve said...

Very interesting. Later on the census had a block that could be marked if a person was a "Lunatic" or an "Idiot". I have wondered whether the decision to mark the block was made upon the family's recommendation, or the census-taker's observation and/or knowledge.