Monday, September 19, 2016

Perry Langwell (1853-1916) at Indiana Central Hospital for the Insane

While searching through the Indiana Death Certificates database at Ancestry, I found this one for Perry Langwell (1853-1916), who was my maternal 3rd-great granduncle, the son of Joseph & Fanny (Reynolds) Langwell.

I was particularly interested in the fact that his place of death was the Indiana Central Hospital for the Insane, and a contributing factor in his death was listed as manic depression.

Perry Langwell death certificate, Marion County, Indiana, April 28, 1916
The reason I found his stay at the hospital interesting is that my ancestor, James Austin Davis (1850-1909) also suffered from mental illness, having spent time in the Owen County Asylum and the Northern Indiana Hospital for the Insane at Logansport, where he died.  

James and Perry were half-brothers, both were sons of Fanny (Reynolds) Davis Langwell (c1830-1883) of Owen County, Indiana.  

There were no family stories of any mental illness passed down in the family, whether by design or the fact that these facts were not known until I uncovered them.  James Austin Davis' mental illness may have set off the chain of events that led to his daughter Ida's life choices, as chronicled at my Ida Davis Mystery page.

Regarding Perry's stay at the hospital, the Indiana State Archive had some information on their website:

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I wrote off to the archives to see what the cost would be to obtain the information they had for Perry.  

Mr. LeMaster:  thank you for your inquiry.  Perry Langwell did not leave a very big paper trail.  We do not have his commitment papers.   His medical case file was not preserved.  We do, however, have his entry in the Hospital’s admission book.  It does contain both personal/family history and his diagnosis.  Also cause of death.

For a small fee, they will be able to provide me with copies of the records they have for Perry.  I will be writing off this week to obtain them and see what personal information and diagnosis is contained in the admission book.