Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Cheer, Polish Jeers & The Death Of A Looney


The Christmas of 1911 was a relatively happy affair at Eloise thanks to the kind gifts of Mrs. W. C. Hensler, wife of a noted Detroit engraver of the time, who offered up large stockings full of gifts to the county charges.

A particularly poignant passage from this article mentions poor Charles Augustus, a feeble-minded black boy, who was seemingly unable to distinguish a piece of simple candy from any other object and after picking it up and smelling the treat set it back down to resume his aimless running about of the room.

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With a name like Looney you might have mistaken Miss Mary Jane for an asylum patient but she died at the hospital from illness in August of 1933. She had only been ill four days when she passed. Originally from Iowa City, Miss Looney was 54 years old and is interred at Holy Sepulchre cemetery.

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Katarzyna Stolpinska had great disdain for Lottie Reszkie and wanted her removed from a certain Polish society. So she sent a thousand or more letters to various people who had the power to remove Miss Reszkie from the said society. In her first bout of hateful death-wishing letters and postcards in 1904 she was arrested and charged with disseminating obscene material through the mail system but was saved by her parish priest and sent to Eloise as an insane patient.

Having been deemed cured she was returned home. In 1908 she continued her campaign against Julius Ploch, a Polish tailor and the editors of the Polish Daily. During her 1908 trial she was set free due to a technicality. The mistake arose from the letters being transcribed to the indictment against her in English though they were penned in Polish which was apparently a cause for dismissal.

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