Thursday, November 11, 2010

Adam Thompson - Revisited

A few weeks ago I got a parcel from the Ontario Archives regarding a request I had put in for Adam Thompson's records.  It was so much more then I ever expected!

Adam Thompson arrived in Canada 25th of May 1885 with his widowed father and 4 siblings (not including Adam).  Adam was the 6th of 9 children born to Thomas & Nancy/Agnes Thompson.
Not long after his arrival in Canada Adam's sister Elizabeth married.   Within 2 months of that event Adam was transferred from the Barrie Gaol (Jail) to the Hamilton Asylum (aka Ontario Hospital).  We aren't sure what happened to him that put him in the Barrie Gaol unfortunately.  That will be my next project.
Here is a brief description of Adam on his admittance:
Aged 23 years.  Native of Ireland.  Occupation farm labourer.  Single.  Religion Presbyterian.  Supposed cause of disorder not stated.  Said to be harmless.  Habits of life not stated.  Degree of education fair.  County of Simcoe warrant (resident of Co. Muskoka).

His date of admission was November 27th 1885.

He is listed as being harmless and quiet.

The interesting thing was the doctors notes that are attached to his transfer from the Barrie Gaol.  As well the letters from his brother John Thompson to the doctor checking on his condition.

One of the doctors assessments:

His insanity does not always appear to of a demonstrative character.  I base my opinion chiefly on his appearance and his statements to me regarding his head which he says he can generally tell by feeling it with his fingers whether it is right or not.  Also on his history which is that of an insane man.  Subject to fits of uncontrollable temper which lead him to acts or attempts acts of violence.  He has been I understand subject to wakefulness at night when he will pace his chamber for hours together.

Adam escaped from the Hamilton Asylum in December of 1887.  He was on his own for almost 2 years before he was re-admitted in Feb of 1889.

Some of the letters between the doctor and John during that time are interesting.  After a year missing Adam was considered 'Eloped' from the Asylum.

One of the letters from John to Adam's doctor dated December 27th 1887:

Dear Sir,
I did not receive your telegraph you sent or else I would have attended to it.  I received the letter you sent on the 23rd of December.  I am sorry that I did not know in time that my brother Adam Thompson was going to be discharged or I would have met him.  I would like very well to know where he is at present.
Yours Truly, John Thompson

Doctor's reply dated December 30th, 1887:

Dear Sir,
Regarding Adam Thompson
That he was not discharged in the ordinary way or we would have notified you to care for him.  He ran away from us on November 5th and could not get trace of him as I telegraphed you of his escape.  We have heard nothing of him since.  As he was quite able to take care of himself I do not think he has come to any harm.  It would well to enquire at the at the telegraph office why my message was not delivered to you.

Almost 90% of the entries after his re-admittance in 1889 are exactly the same.  He is quiet, speaks very little.  Keeps to himself.  Health wise he is in perfect health.  He does what he is asked and is a model patient. 

Adam was at the Ontario Hospital/Hamilton Asylum until his death in 1928.  He was buried at the Woodlands Cemetery in Burlington Ontario.  No family was listed on his death certificate. 

Everything I found answered some of my questions, but raised more!  How long was he ill before the incident that put him in the Barrie Gaol and transfer to the Asylum?  Was he ill when he lived in Ireland?  What did he actually have?

I wonder if anyone other then John (his brother) knew he was there...   I'd love to be able to find his stone and go and see it.

1 comment:

  1. That is so neat that you got those records and letters. I'm kind of jealous. I'd look into my family, but I know my cousin has done all the research and has a full book on it. He is supposed to give me a copy sometime of his findings for the McLean's. :)