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History of Dayton, Ohio 1889
Chapter Twenty-Seven

(page 666)




Public Institutions-St. Elizabeth Hospital-Dayton Asylum for the Insane-Widows' Home-Children’s Home.


            ST. ELIZABETH HOSPITAL was started in a small way, in 1878, by two of the Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis. These Sisters were Emilie and Columba, who, on the 2d of July of that year, rented a small two-story brick building on Franklin Street, near Ludlow Street, and there commenced to prepare for hospital work. Tile first patient was a man who had had his arni crushed in a railroad accident. Upon solicitation sufficient aid to furnish the house for the purpose to which it was to be devoted were soon forthcoming. A staff of physicians, who devoted their time and labor gratuitously to the work, was soon obtained. Applicants for admission soon became quite numerous, and it was evident that St. Elizabeth Hospital had not, been established any too soon. At once an additional two-story frame building was erected on the premises, and then there was accommodation for forty-one patients. Sister Emilie was the superintendent for about one and a half years. She was succeeded by Sister Columba, who remained in charge until 1886, when she was succeeded by Sister Lamberte, the present superioress.

            It was not long before more room was needed, and the sisters selected six acres of land in Browntown, and began the erection of a much larger building, the corner stone of which was laid September 17 1881, by Rev. Father John F. Hahne. This building is constructed of brick, the main building being five stories high and 50x46 feet in size. There are wings, on either side of the main building, each 40x35 feet in size. There are also two rear wings, each building on either side of the main building, each 25x26. In the rear of the hospital is a is a building 43x45 feet in size, which is utilized for kitchen, laundry, and boiler-house purposes. Store rooms and other rooms are in the basement. These building cost sixty-five thousand dollars. The following-named physicians have constituted the staff of the hospital since its establishment: President, J. C. Reeve, M. D.; consulting physicians and surgeons, John Davis, M. D., T. L. Neal, M. D., E. Pilate, M. D., from 1879 to 1883, when J. M. Weaver, M. D., took the place of John Davis. This class of physicians remained the same until 1886, when the number was increased to six, and has consisted since that time of J. C. Reeve, M. D., J. M. Weaver, M.D., E. Pilate, M.D., A. H. Holding, M.D., J. S. Beck, (page 667)  M. D., and P. N. Adams, M. D. The visiting physicians and surgeons from the establishment of the hospital up to January 1, 1883, were as follows: Drs. H. S. Jewett, J. D. Daugherty, and W. J. Conklin. From that time to 1886 the visiting physicians were Drs. J. S. Beek, P. N. Adams, A. It. Iddings; for the next two years, Drs. C. H. Humphreys, Calvin Pollock, and G. B. Evans, and for 1888, Drs. G. C. Evans, J. C. Reeve, Jr., and D. C. Lichliter. From January 1, 1883, to 1888 the visiting surgeons were Drs. W. J. Conklin, J. D. Daugherty, and H. S, Jewett; and for 1888 they were Drs. W. J. Conklin, H. S. Jewett, and  C. H. Humphreys. D. W. Greene, M. D., has been oculist at the hospital since 1885.

            Previous to 1852 there was but one asylum for the insane in the State of Ohio. On the 30th of April, 1852, the legislature of the State passed an act entitled, "An act to provide for the erection of two additional lunatic asylums." The board under this act was composed of Professor IT. A. Ackley, E. B. Fee, 1). B. Woods, Charles Cist, and        Edwin Smith. An appropriation of one hundred and forty thousand dollars was made for the building of the two asylums, and the board visited various eastern asylums for the purposes of familiarizing themselves with asylum architecture, and of thus being better qualified to superintend the erection of the necessary buildings, whenever a selection of a location should be made. On the 7th of July the board met at Cincinnati, and on the 8th at Dayton, and resolved that a donation of fifty acres must be made before any place or city could be considered a candidate for the location of either of the two asylums. On the 10th of July, after several votes had been taken and other places defeated in their bids for the Southern Ohio Asylum, Dayton was selected as its site. The selection of the ground was made September following, the land selected being the northeast corner of Section 32, in Van Buren Township. On the 6th of the month the county commissioners appropriated $590 toward paying for the land, the balance of the purchase money being donated by citizens.

            The original contract for building the asylum at Dayton was let to Daniel Richmond & Company, for $67,350.50. On June 22, 1854, Joseph Clements, M. D., was appointed by the board, superintendent of the asylum, and during the same year Dr. C. M. Godfrey, of Ottawa, was appointed a member of the board. During the first year the number of patients was fifty-nine, and the current expenses were $4,900.52. In April, 1856, the board was re-organized, and on the 23d of the month, Dr. J. J. McIlhenny was elected superintendent.  The number of patients was 133, and the current expense $13,23.14.  In 1857, the number of (page 668) patients was 161, and the current expenses $28,781.65. For 1858, the number of patients was the same, and the expenses $26,309.70. In 1859, a workshop two stories high was erected and a lake made, 156 patients were received, and the current expenses of the institution were $25,180.13. The next year there were 157 patients, and the expenses were $28,142.75. In 1861, there were 159 patients, and the current expenses were $32,630.59. April 15, 1862, Dr. Richard Gundry was appointed superintendent, the number of patients for the year was 161, and the current expenses $24,043.13. In 1863, the cumber of patients was 163, and the current expenses $31,254.06. In 1864, the number of patients was 162, and the current expenses $41,584.93. In 1865 the number of patients was 171, and the current expenses $48,623.17. In 1866, the number of patients was 170, and the current expenses $46,362.55. In 1867, the number of patients was 172, and the current expenses $45,452.88. In 1868; the number of patients was 174, and the current expenses $46,130.25. In 1869, the two new wings to the building which had been authorized to be erected in 1866, and which up to that time had cost $290,000, were occupied for the f irst time. The number of patients for this year was 255, and the current expenses $61,471.99. In 1870, the number of patients Was 481, and the current expenses $99,285.73. In 1871, the number of patients was 531, and the current expenses $103,273.82. The number of patients in 1872 was 609, and the current expenses $98,310 58.

            In this year Dr. Gundry was selected to complete the Athens Asylum, and was succeeded as superintendent at the Dayton Asylum by Dr. S. I. F. Miller. In 1873, the number of patients was 569, and the current expenses $87,000. Dr. Miller resigned as superintendent, and Dr. Rutter acted as superintendent until a successor was appointed. In 1874, the number of patients was 526, and the current expenses $90,367.36. Dr. Clark succeeded Dr. Rutter as superintendent, and served about two years, when he resigned, and was succeeded by Dr. L. H. Landfear, who was appointed in 1875. This year the number of patients was 578, and current expenses $86,213.29.  In 1876, the number of patients was 596, and the current expenses $91,173.85. In 1877, the number of patients was 571, and the current expenses $88,000.  In 1878, Dr. D. A. Morse was elected superintendent, the number of patients was 492, and the current expenses $87,255.01. In 1879, the number of patients was 578, and the current expenses $101,035.33.  During 1881, telephones were put in the building, new gas works built, and an adequate water system completed, at a cost of somewhat over $15,000.

            (page 669) In 1883, the trustees of the asylum were: S. A. Baxter, M. D., president; C. M.  Godfrey, M. D., J. M. Milliken, and J. D. Kemp, M. D., H. A. Tobey, M. D., was the physician, and Mrs. H. A. Tohey, matron. For 1884 the trustees were: John D. Kemp, M. D., president; C. M. Godfrey, M. D., J. M. Milliken; H. A. Tobey, M. D., physician, and Mrs. H.. A. Tobey, matron. For 1885 the trustees were: Joseph Clegg, president; C. M. Godfrey, M. D., S. A. Baxter, M. D., Hon. Peter Murphy, Jacob Linxweiler, Jr.; C. W. King, M. D., physician, and Mrs. H. A. Tobey, matron. For 1886 the trustees were: C. M. Godfrey, M. D., president; S. A. Baxter, M. D., Hon. Peter Murphy, Joseph Clegg, Jacob Linxweiler, Jr.; C. W. King, M. D., physician, and Ruth A. Bacon, matron. For 1887 the trustees were: Hon. Peter Murphy, president; S. A. Baxter, M. D., C. M. Godfrey, M. D., Joseph Clegg, Jacob Linxweiler, Jr.; C. W. King, M. D., physician, and Mrs. C. W. King matron. For 1888 the trustees were: S. A. Baxter, M. D., president; C. M. Godfrey, M. D., Joseph Clegg, Jacob Linxweiler, Jr.; C. W. King, M. D., physician, and Mrs. C. W. King, matron. For 1889 the trustees were: Jacob Linxweiler, Jr., president; C. M. Godfrey, M. D., Joseph Clegg, Hon. H. L. Morey, Calvin D. Wright; Calvin Pollock, M. D., physician, and Mrs. Laura J. Pollock, matron.

            In 1881, the average number in the asylum was 591; for 1882, 582; for 1883, 591; for 1884, 589; for 1885, 608; for 1886, 607; for 1887, 600; and for 1888, 559.

            According to the report of the superintendent of the asylum, made November 15, 1888, there had been received since the opening of the institution, September 1, 1855, 3,307 male patients and 3,156 female, a total of 6,463. There had been discharged as recovered, 1,483 males and 1,302 females, a total of 2,785. There had been discharged as improved, 330 males and 373 females, a total of 703. There had been discharged as unimproved, 399 male and 397 females, a total of 796, and as not insane, 2 males and 1 female, a total of 3. Adding to these, the transfers to other asylums and the deaths, there had been discharged from the asylum 3,041 males and 2,869 females, a total of 5,910, leaving in the asylum on November 15, 1888, 266 males and 287 females, a total of 553. The Women's Christian Association for the Support of Widows and Destitute Women was organized November 26, 1870. The following were the first officers of the association: Mrs. J. H. Winters, president; Mesdames J. B. King, W. Herr, and H. N. Stephens, vice-presidents; Mrs. J. H. Thomas, corresponding secretary; Miss Maggie Cox, recording secretary ; Mrs. II. D. Carnell, treasurer. The fiscal trustees of the association were John H. Winters, R. W. Steele, and C. H. Crawford. (page 670) The association became an incorporate body under the name of the " Women's Christian Association of Dayton, Ohio, for the Support of Widows and Destitute Women." They were thus enabled to receive the property of the old Dayton Female Orphan Asylum, which they did in 1872. The home, after being put in complete repair, wits opened for the reception of inmates February 8, 1875. Mrs. A. L. Connelly was the first matron. She was succeeded, in September, 1875, by Mrs. Addle Broadrup. Any widow of good moral character over sixty years of age, belonging to Dayton, may be admitted to this home upon the payment of one hundred dollars to the endowment fund, and furnishing her own room and clothing, and paying funeral expenses; but women destitute of home, friends, or funds are admitted temporarily. Every inmate is required to pay for her board, either in money or work, and those who have employment outside of the home may enjoy its benefits by paying two dollars per week.

            The association has a committee which regularly visits the county jail, infirmary, workhouse, and city prison; an employment committee, which finds work for those willing to perform it; a band of women to look after fallen and tempted women; a visiting committee of volunteers in every ward, to answer calls of distress; and a committee which holds regular services in the wards of the hospital at the Soldiers' Home. The entire work of the association is voluntary, and the institution is supported by private donations. In 1881, $10,733 was raised by subscription for the erection of a new and larger Widow's Home, and W. P. Huffman gave two acres of ground for a site. The work of construction was immediately begun, and the new house was ready for occupancy very soon thereafter. The committee having the home in charge in 1883 was as follows: Mesdames John II. Winters, James R. Young, C. E. Corp,  Abia Zeller, and D. E. McSherry. In 1884, the committee was the same, except that Mrs. W. D. Biekham took the place of Mrs. C. E. Corp. In 1885, the committee was enlarged by the addition of Mesdames H. Wyatt and C. E. Corp. In 1886 and 1887, the committee remained the same, as likewise in 1888. The committee for 1889 was as follows: Mesdames John H. Winters, J. R). Young, W. D. Biekham, Abia Zeller, J. M. Phelps, H. Wyatt, and C. E. Corp. Miss Carrie Brown is treasurer, and Sallie E. Guion matron.

            The Dayton Female Association, for the benefit of orphans, was incorporated in February, 1844. By the charter the association was empowered as a body corporate with perpetual succession, and to provide with all things necessary for the comfort, maintenance, and proper education of destitute orphans and other destitute children. The association (page 671) was authorized to purchase, receive, ],old, and convey such personal and real estate and property as was necessary in carrying on the institution, to any amount not to exceed $20,000. The citizens of the county contributed means to buy the land and erect a small brick building for an asylum, on Magnolia Street, in Dayton, which was used for an orphan's home until the erection of the new one across the Miami River. For several years the Dayton Orphan Asylum was compelled to direct its energies to the securing of a sufficient sum of money to procure a home adapted to its needs. That being accomplished, the next thing was to extend aid to orphans so far as practicable. Up to May, 1863, there had been received into the institution in all about sixty different orphans, some of whom remained six or seven years and others for a shorter period. The highest number present at any one time had been fourteen, and the lowest number, four. Individual subscriptions, though solicited, had not yielded a very large income, and for this reason the number of children admitted had been limited to four, and this number was supported mainly from the income from the regular fund. The progress of the institution not having been satisfactory, it was determined to secure the united efforts of as many of the churches in the city as possible. To this end representation in thirteen churches was secured. Following are the navies of the officers elected at that time with the churches to which they belonged: President, Mrs. Richard Bates, of the United Presbyterian Church; vice-presidents, Mrs. Eliza Herr and Frances Parrott, of Wesley Chapel; secretary, Miss Mary Brown, Congregational Church; treasurer, Mrs. C. II. Crawford, First Regular Baptist Church; managers, Mrs. Dr. Smith, Episcopal Church; John Gebhart, Lutheran Church; E. E. Barney, First Baptist. Church; William  Bomberger, Wayne Street. Baptist Church; H. E Peirce, Third Street Presbyterian Church; Isabella Ramsey, St. Clair Street Church; Dr. Craighead, Miss Boyd, and Miss Fenner, First Presbyterian Church; Miss Laura Staley, German Reformed Church; Mrs. Lucretia Edwards, United Brethren Church, and Mrs. E. Heathman, Riper Chapel.

            Under an act passed by the legislature March 20, 1861, authorizing the establishment of children's homes, the commissioners of Montgomery County determined to take charge of the children in the Dayton Orphan Asylum. On February 23, 1867, C. Herchelrode, Robert W. Steele, and Dr. C. McDermont were invited to take the supervision of the institution, pending the amendment of the law under which the asylum was being conducted. This amendatory act was passed April 10, 1867, and on the 16th of that month the commissioners appointed the same gentlemen trustees, Robert W. Steele for three years, C. Herchelrode for two years, (page 672) and Dr. C. McDermont for one year. Mr. Steele was elected president and Mr. Herchelrode secretary. In June, 1867, Mrs. Laura A. Hersey was appointed matron of the asylum to succeed Mrs. Snodgrass, and Dr. H. K. Steele became attending physician. On the 13th of April, 1867, five acres of land were purchased in Harrison Township, upon which to erect a children's home, and on June 15th the contract for the erection of the building was awarded to Daniel Waymire & Co., for thirty-two thousand eight hundred dollars.

            In July, 1867, four lots adjoining the home were purchased, and the children's home was finished and opened the same year. In September, 1868, Mrs. M. A. Broadbent succeeded Mrs. Kersey as matron of the home, and in April, 1869, Perry Marker became secretary. On June 7, 1869, Joseph R. Wagoner was appointed a member of the board in place of Perry Marker, deceased. William R. Tomlinson was appointed secretary and book-keeper, and was annually reelected until he resigned June 3, 1886. On June 12, 1869, Mrs. Sarah K. Snodgrass was appointed matron in place of Mrs. Broadbent, resigned. January 7, 1870, Dr. J. C. Reeve was appointed attending physician, and on April 2, 1870, Mrs. Lavine Baker was appointed matron in place of Mrs. Snodgrass, resigned. June 1, 1871, Mrs. Anna Grady was appointed matron in place of Mrs. Baker, resigned. On the 5th of June, 1876, Hiram Lewis was appointed secretary in place of Mr. Tomlinson. On March 1, 1877, Dr. W. J. Conklin was appointed attending physician. May 6, 1878, Mrs. Mary Mants was appointed matron in place of Mrs. Grady, and on March 22, 1879, Dr. J. C. Reeve succeeded Dr. Conklin as attending physician.

            In April, 1880, C. J. Knecht became secretary of the board, and in March Mr. Knecht was appointed superintendent and clerk. In 1882, Mr. George Caswell became superintendent of the home and Mrs. Caswell matron, both of whom retain their positions at the present time. The trustees are H. H. Laubach, T. A. Legler, and James Turner. The physician at the present time is J. C. Reeve, M. D. The number of children taken care of at the home averages about one hundred.

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