Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Insane Woman's Deed (UPDATED)

I've finally discovered why I never found further information on the murder of Rebecca Tiernan by Lulu Turbenning at the Wayne County Asylum. The main reason being that both of their names were spelled wrong in the various newspaper articles. I realized this when checking the Eloise census for 1900. Even though the names were spelled wrong (Tunian and Turpining) there, too, it set me on a course of action. Wherein, I discovered that Rebecca's surname was actually Tireman and Lula's, Terpening. Louisa Terpening to be exact.


The break came while searching seekingmichigan.org records for a Rebecca that died in Wayne County in 1900. The search was facilitated by the fact that there were no Rebecca Tiernans or Tuinans in the database. Of course, it showed up near the end of the search as Pireman but the town of Nankin made it seem a good probability. And it was. If only the clinical records of Terpening were that easily unearthed!

Annual Report of the Board of State Auditors for the State of Michigan, 1901
While Terpening's history before her incarceration at the asylum somewhere around 1894 is a mystery, her direct future afterwards is certain. She was sent to the Ionia Asylum on October 4, 1900 by recommendation of Supt. Marker of Eloise. The 1930 and 1940 censuses shows that she was still incarcerated at Ionia and died April 26, 1949 in the same city.

Biennial Report of the Michigan State Board of Corrections and Charities, 1903
As for Tireman, her life path is similarly clear from her time at Eloise and after. She was part of the esteemed Tireman family (think Tireman Ave.) of Detroit. Her brother being John Tireman, the real estate mogul and philanthropist. While I've yet to discern what course of action led her to the asylum, she arrived around the same time as Terpening, circa 1894, while in her late 20s. Her burial plot is in Woodmere Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan.

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