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Eloise Asylum |+|
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1839, only two years after Michigan had joined the Union, Wayne County paid $800 to buy a 160-acre farm in Nankin Township (now Westland). The purchase included a log cabin known as the Black Horse Tavern. The County erected an addition to the tavern building and used it to house 35 needy people, a keeper and his wife. They called it the Wayne County Poorhouse. Its first residents were transferred from another poorhouse at Gratiot and Mt. Elliott in Detroit . Many refused to move, claiming the new poorhouse was "too far out in the wilderness." And they were right -- at that time the corner of Michigan and Merriman was nearly two days by stage coach from Detroit. |+|
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|−|But that was what the county officials had in mind. They wanted somewhere well out of sight to send what they saw as society's dregs -- the vagrants, vagabonds, drunkards, pilferers and brawlers. With such a broad charter, it wasn't long before the feeble-minded and the insane were being housed there. Records show that a Biddy Hughes was Eloise's first official mental patient, committed by her family in 1841. She was in her mid-30s when admitted and was kept there until her death 58 years later. |+|
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|−|Prior to the 1840s, little distinction was made between rational and mentally ill inmates. A county report from the 1840s made reference to harsh restraints used to separate the mentally ill from other inmates. The mentally ill were housed on the upper floor of a farm building used to keep pigs. [[ Eloise Asylum|Click here for more...]] |+|
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Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum
On 13 January 1835 Governor Bourke sent a despatch to Britain stating "A lunatic asylum is an Establishment that can no longer be dispensed with. In this Colony, the use of ardent spirits induces the disease called delirium tremens, which frequently terminates in confirmed lunacy. The present asylum is a wretched hired Building without outlet of any kind." In his reply dated 3 August 1835, Lord Glenelg conveyed the British Government's authorisation for expenditure of NSW Colonial government funds for this project.
On 24 April 1837 Governor Bourke reported that the new asylum was approaching completion, and since he considered it impossible to find persons qualified for its superintendence in NSW, he requested that a married couple be engaged and sent out from England as Keeper and Matron. The new Superintendent and Matron, Mr and Mrs Digby, took up residence at Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum on 18 August 1838, with the first patients transferred from Liverpool Asylum and the Female Factory, Parramatta, arriving on 19 November 1838.
Following the recommendations of the Select Committee on the Lunatic Asylum in 1846, changes to administration, staffing, and record keeping occurred. Of major concern was the perceived lack of expert medical direction, resulting in the appointment on 1 January 1848 of a medical superintendent, Dr Francis Campbell, to administer the institution. Click here for more...