Friday, July 4, 2014

Whoa, Nellie

The Detroit Free Press, October 1, 1908
How does that breezy modern rock summertime song go? "With a squeeze and a sigh and that twinkle in your eye... la de la da" Or something to that extent. Whichever way, it was basically the same method that landed Nellie Bishop in the nuthouse. Except that she wasn't in love and the object of her disaffection was a Reverend named Frank Fitchett.

Mrs. Bishop had accused the holy man of winking and rolling his eyes at her in church--obviously a moral offense for the day--and she attempted to swear out a warrant for his arrest. Furthering the insult was the congregation's mockery of her mannerisms at the reverend's instigation which caused her great embarrassment and shame. But in the he-said, she-said world of that time, when husbands readily shipped their wives off to asylum for disobedience, his testimony was of greater authority. Off she went to Eloise.

The fact that she claimed to be indigent upon arrival didn't help her credibility as the big brother sleuths soon discovered bank books from several establishments on her person. These fiduciary instruments showed that her coffers weren't overflowing but sufficiently enriched in the amount of $2,422.55.

The Detroit Free Press, October 4, 1908

No comments: