Monday, November 21, 2011

The Separate Undoings of Caroline Mitchell, Albert Stemmelen & Jane Lilly

Dated May 4, 1867 and from the Detroit Free Press, this is one of the earliest stories I've come across about Eloise. It concerns the death of a deaf mute poorhouse inmate named Caroline Mitchell and her demise via a train accident. I'm not sure why if you were deaf that you'd be walking on a train track but so mote it be. Either way, the mention of Alexander Blue of Livonia is a pleasant detail that offsets the cold action of the train conductor who kept on his merry way so as not to cause delays for those expecting a delivery.

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Jane Lilly Went Insane in 1902. She broke out in 1907 and stole a car. She went to her home in Detroit that was no longer hers and wreaked havoc in the old neighborhood looking for the family she left 5 years previously when sent to the asylum. Not being able to find them she inexplicably (other than she was mentally ill) went to the police station and said that her husband was tossing furniture around and beating the kids. The police, after investigating and learning of her condition, promptly returned her to Eloise.

Unless there was another Jane Lilly who was at Eloise for 10+ years during the same duration of time, she drowned in an "accident" at the asylum lake. Here's her death certificate:


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I've posted about Albert Stemmelen in the past but had never seen his mug before finding this article in the Detroit Free Press from September 28, 1907. He's kind of the quintessential creep from an Edgar Allan Poe story or a B horror movie.

Since the story is put together so well below I'll only say that he murdered his infant daughter by throwing her off the Belle Isle bridge into the Detroit River where she drowned. He later expressed sorrow for his deed and briefly escaped from Eloise.

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