Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Mayrands and Cadas: A Brief Study in Bi-National Madness

You may or may not have read a previous posting concerning the murder of Ida Cada, a former Eloise patient, at the hands of her brother Henry Leo Cada but I have uncovered some new information on the family. As I stated before, Henry, Ida and both parents did time in various mental hospitals. Henry also claimed that his father was murdered at Eloise (the insinuation is that the hospital staff did him in) and the slaying of his sister was an attempt to save her from further shock treatment. Which, according to him, stemmed from a pact that the two had made. Regardless, it seems that the mental illness spread beyond the confines of 83 East Cicotte Street in River Rouge and the immediate family into several branches of their lineage.

Spurred on by a relative of the family who is on one of the Tales of Eloise Facebook group I uncovered the following a few days back:

Searching for death certificates of the immeditae family to see if others had died from suicide or while at Eloise I came across two stillborn infants that the couple had in 1906 and 1912. Which wasn't uncommon at the time but two things struck me about the first one: 1. the death certificate spelled the cause of death as "still borned" [sic] and 2. it seems to list the undertaker as Gilbert Cada himself. Not that I'm suggesting that he killed the child but it does seem eerie, especially if he wasn't an undertaker! Since I don't know I won't speculate but the explanation also misspells "borned" and much of the writing seems to match Cada's own signature on the right hand side of the paper. Unless the English lexicon was altered it seems like a mistake that a physician wouldn't make once let alone twice. Either way, burying your child might turn you insane.

The main thing that came from the research though was that Henry and Ida Cada's mother was also named Ida (Mayrand). She was from Pike Creek, Ontario and her husband -- their father -- Gilbert (not to be confused with the sibling named Gilbert; there's more to come from the Gilberts!) was also Canadian, hailing from Puce, Ontario, as the newspaper articles had mentioned. The significance of that is that I could now snoop on the Mayrands. Though it took some trial and error to decipher the last four letters of the name from the scrawls on the documents.

What I found seemed to confirm the newspaper reports of insanity in the family. Although I didn't take the time to figure out who was who in the family, the fact that these family members all came from the same towns in Canada and resided in or near River Rouge was all the confirmation I needed. Plus the father's name seems to always be Joseph on the certificates so it's good enough for me to assume (Plus I found this obituary for Mary (Damm) Mayrand several hours after this writing which confirms it all.).

The one that stuck out the most was Steve Mayrand whose place of death was Nankin. Since Nankin was comprised of many of the modern cities we know as Westland, Livonia, Wayne, Inkster, etc., back then, including Eloise, it was safe to assume that he died at the hospital. Sure enough, he died of "Acute Melancholia after Influenzza" which sounds an awful lot like suicide to me even though "Valvular disease of heart" was stated as a contributory. Either/or he goes into the patient database. yeah I know, I'm insane myself.

The next one I checked was a sad and alarming case. Little Florence Mayrand died of malnutrition just after 1 month and 8 days of being born on September 13, 1918. The father is listed as Steven and though the mother's name seems to be Marie on one and Mary as the wife on Steven's, both resided at 18 Beaumont in Detroit. That Steven died only 5 months later may have nothing to do with the story but the melancholia part seems to coincide.

This last one leaves little to speculation. Joseph A. Mayrand, born to Joseph Mayrand and Mary Damm, died of a "Gunshot wound to head while temporarily insane". Seeing as this was in 1917 and the previous two deaths occurred in subsequent years directly following each other, this family has a long string of tragedy.

This last find I came across only a few hours ago and is pretty self-explanatory beyond the "what is it exactly?" factor. From what I can gather it is an old newspaper article about either Gilbert Sr. or Jr. (assuming that they were such, my guess is that it's the son) that the River Rouge Historical Museum puts out in newsletter form under the heading of "Sentimental Journal". Ha, they should see my not-so-sentimental journal entries concerning River Rouge. Whichever it is it's in their July 2009 edition which covers July 3, 1930. Meaning that the previous Sunday would have been June 29th? Enjoy the hijinx despite the clumped together syntax.

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