Saturday, June 20, 2015

Making Connections from an old Newspaper

I saw this post on Facebook yesterday by "The Ancestor Hunt" that notifies us of Kansas (my home state) Online Historical Newspapers. It points us to the "Chronicling America" site at the "Library of Congress" which has images of The Barton County Democrat, 1885-1915. 

As my good genealogy fortune continues (my cousin Kate Keller calls me "The Ancestor Whisperer"), in the first issue I browsed, I saw this article. 

The title "Oscar Maupin Insane" caught my eye. Seeing the word Insane would catch my attention anyway and I'd look at it, since I was born and grew up in Barton County (Great Bend, KS). But I recognized the Maupin name too. My step-mother's step-mother was Laura Casper Maupin.

The news clippings are hard to read, so I've transcribed it.

Oscar Maupin Insane. South Side Farmer becomes Violently Insane--is taken to Asylum

Oscar Maupin, one of the well-known young farmers of Comanche township, went violently insane last week, and was finally brought here for safe keeping, later being adjudged insane and was taken to the asylum at Topeka.

For several weeks the neighbors of Maupin have been of the opinion he was losing his mind, on account of his peculiar actions and have been of the opinion that something should be done, but all had hated to interfere in the matter. Last Wednesday morning he went to the home of Harvey Fletcher, and finding Mr. Fletcher alone, proceeded to give him what he termed was an initiation to rid him of rheumatism with which he has been a cripple for years, being practically helpless, and it was only from the fact that Mrs. Fletcher and a man named Noble, who works for Fletcher happened to come in and rescue him that probably saved him from serious injury. 

His mind seems to be affected on account of religion and he said that he was merely trying to rub the cramp out of Fletcher's limbs which the devil had put there and that the devil was responsible for his crippled condition and that he could cure him. He is especially opposed to the use of whiskey or tobacco and stated that a man was sure to go to hell if he used either of these.

When tried before the probate court he discoursed at length on various subjects, going from one subject to another in a rambling manner and clearly demonstrating that he was in anything but a sound frame of mind, but attempting no violence, but after being placed in a cell became very violent and broke up about everything there was that was breakable, even twisting off the water pipes and flooding the cell, and put on a show that will be remembered by the sheriff and his deputy for some time. He tore the water pipes loose from their fastenings and with these as a pry tore off the locks in the steel bar shutter on the inside of the window, and then broke out the glass and tore the frame to pieces, and attempted to bulge the bars of the window. He tore the heavy canvas and leather cot to bits as though it was paper, and treated his bed clothes in like manner. 

He was finally placed in one of the steel cages and gave no further trouble, and also gave not the slightest bother when being taken to the asylum. His father came out from Missouri on hearing of his son's affliction and told Sheriff Brown that the young man had had a similar attack about seven years ago and had been confined in an asylum for some time.

Maupin has been a resident of the south side for five or six years and has a wife and one small child. He is a man well liked by all who know him, and it is to be hoped that his affliction in only of a temporary nature. 

As I read the article I also recognized the Fletcher name. I had a grand-aunt named Sarah Fletcher, who was married to my grandfather's brother Merritt Flanders. Many of my Flanders ancestors lived in the Comanche Township area of Barton County. So before I could go to bed last night, I had to do some detective work to see if I had any connection to this Harvey Fletcher and if my step-grandmother was connected in any way to Oscar Maupin. 

I prepared this diagram to show what I discovered.
You can see Harvey Fletcher at the top left. He's an uncle of Sarah Fletcher, who was married to my granduncle Merritt Flanders. I'm listed on the right side as Mary Rebecca Margheim.

In the diagram below that, you see Oscar Maupin at bottom left, and see that he's a 4th cousin once removed of Laura Casper Maupin who was the 2nd wife of H. James Jones, whose daughter Phyllis Jones was my step-mother (as wife of Ernest Margheim at bottom right above).

I worked until midnight, but ended my day knowing how I was connected to the two principle characters in that news article from January 2, 1914 in the Barton County Democrat.

1 comment:

Michelle Ganus Taggart said...

I just love newspapers! That is quite the article and makes me wonder what eventually happened to him.