November 6, 1888: A Declaration of Insanity Sends Wife of Samuel Knouse to Harrisburg Asylum for the Insane


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA

November 6, 1888: The Commission on Lunacy has declared that Mary Knouse, wife of Samuel Knouse of Boyertown, is insane.

She is 62 years old and has continuous hallucinations, insisting that other women are visiting her husband. She takes his revolver and prowls around the house looking for them.

She imagines her husband is trying to poison her and frequently sleeps on the garret stairway. She also leaves the house for several days at a time and no one knows where she disappears to.

Judge James Ermentrout has ordered that she be removed to the Harrisburg Asylum for the Insane.

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