Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Millionaire Angel Wannabees, Melancholy Mothers & A Couple Suicides

Here's another downer story from the early 1900s about a father committing suicide and a mother going mad and being sent to Eloise, leaving three children more-or-less orphaned.

Annie Neuman of 453 La Salle Street lost her husband Emil to suicide in the fall of 1904 and for the next year was plagued with an incessant brooding melancholia. So much so that she was no longer able to look after her children when neighbors intervened and had her sent to Eloise. The children were being kept among the neighbors until Neuman's mental health returned or in the case that it worsened they would be put into institutional care.

Emil Neuman had suffered from stomach ailments and rheumatism for some time before his suicide. Having been unable to eat for several days, on the day of his untimely death, he arose in the early morning hours, went to the kitchen, procured a razor and slit his own throat. Mrs. Neuman found him the next morning when she went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast. The couple were married for 10 years.

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This is a bit of a mysterious story mainly due to the marred scan of this story from the Detroit Free Press, September 17, 1913. The good part is that you can make out half of it and the gist of it is that Jacob Goldfrene, a Detroit financier, was passing out million dollar checks to police officers and presumably anybody else who came in contact with him. According to police, when he was found on Hasting Street calling on those passing by to witness that he was related to angels. The bad news is that I can't find another source for this story or even another person named Goldfrene in any Google search which leads me to believe that his name was misprinted in the paper.

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Frequently when a mental patient from Eloise was deemed cured or was released due to improvement in their mental health it was often followed by a return to the institution or a tragedy. In William Rowe's case it ended in suicide 3 months after a stint at the asylum. He was found in the attic by his wife after she had gone out to make a phone call. Initially she couldn't track him down at the house or around the neighborhood and as a last resort checked the attic where she found him hung. She ran from the house and flagged down two men, Frank Ritter and A. F. Martin, who determined that Rowe was dead and summoned the coroner, who confirmed it.

Detroit Free Press, March 27, 1907

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