ARIZARD-L ArchivesArchiver > ARIZARD > 2003-09 > 1064251313
From: "Bernie Moore-Knowles" <>
Subject: [ARIZARD-L] AR State Insane Asylum...........Melton, Griffin, Hollabaugh and Shipman? - Michael?
Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2003 10:21:53 -0700
I saw a post to the Searcy Co. List that I think that you might find interesting. Appears there is a gentleman that is subscibed to that List, that has a list of those that were commited to the Insane Asylum in Little Rock for a certain period of years.
There was a short discussion on insanity and how it was dealt with in the early years in Arkansas and a woman that I have corresponded with in the past; Beth Walker Shipman posted updated information on a Martha Jane Melton; who apparently spent forty years in the state's asylum for treatment of what we now know to be postpartum depression from childbirth.
Kind of sad, isn't it?
But, she says that Martha Jane Melton; wife of James Alexander Shipman was placed in the asylum ran by the state after the birth of her son; Thomas. She had thrown the infant down some stairs evidently and thinks this was circa 1888 - which would put Martha Melton Shipman's death at circa 1928.
Shipman was able to have her legally declared insane, so that he could remarry. I found him in the 1910 census; with new wife; Sarah?
27 April 1910 Searcy Co., Arkansas census, Leslie Town:
SHIPMAN, James A. head M W 58 md/2 16 yrs AR TN TN
#289/358 Sarah R. wife 55 md/2 16 yrs 10/9 AR GA TN
Frank son M W 21 single AR AR AR
Bertha M. daughter F W 15 single AR AR AR
Albert son M W 12 single AR AR AR
Dallas son M W 11 single AR AR AR
Note: Where is the infant; Thomas? He was thought to have been blinded by the throw from the staircase, but Beth found that the blindness was later to be determined that cause was from a different affliction. Sort of compounds the sadness of the whole affair, doesn't it? But, am wondering who cared for and raised the blind Thomas?
Now, I have in a note from past communications with Beth, that this second wife was a Griffin - at that time, not sure if she was by birth or marriage. This 1910 census reflects the Shipman marriage as being her second.
Martha Jane Melton's sister was married to a Green Boyd Griffin. The Melton sisters were daughters of Leonard R. "John" Melton and Mary Catherine Hollabaugh.
So, just in case this was a Melton that you research - now, you know (if you did not already) what happened to poor, unfortunate Martha Jane Melton.
Phoenix, Arizona - Papa'aloa, Hawai'i
"I have Indian blood in me. I have just enough White blood for you to
question my honesty." ........Will Rogers
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