Before Morningside

Prior to the Morningside Hospital years, the Department of the Interior contracted for care of Alaskans at the Oregon State Insane Asylum, now known as Oregon State Hospital (Salem).

Between 1901 and 1903, 69 Alaskans were sent to there, 31 of whom were later transferred to Morningside. Six men died while in Salem, including:

  • William Johnson, d.23 Aug 1901 (age 30, b. England)
  • Thomas A. Wilson, d. 9 Jan 1902 (age ___, b. England)
  • Alexander H Carpenter, d. 30 Mar 1902 ( age ___, b. ___)
  • Robert Sweet, d. 9 Nov 1902 (age 48, b. American)
  • Wm. Ukas, d. 24 Jun 1903 (age ___, b. Alaska)
  • Louis Bronson, d. 27 Jun 1903 (age 68, b. Germany)

On January 11, 1902, the Oregon Statesman published Thomas A. Wilson’s obituary. They reported that he committed suicide by jumping from a third floor window. The article went on to say:

“Wilson was committed to the Insane Asylum from Alaska, and he had recently shown marked signs of improvement. When realizing that he was in an insane asylum, he was very much distressed. He had thus far shown no signs of suicidal tendencies, and was generally considered a model patient.”

One of the interesting aspects of this is that the six men who died at the Oregon State Insane Asylum may be among those whose remains are in the copper canisters I wrote about on September 15. Another lead to follow the next time I’m in Oregon.

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