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The 1878 History of Benton County, Iowa
pages 195-197
Mount Pleasant, Henry County

By an act of the General Assembly of Iowa, approved January 24, 1855, $4,425 were appropriated for the purchase of a site, and $50,000 for building an Insane Hospital, and the Governor (Grimes), Edward Johnston, of Lee County, and Charles S. Blake, of Henry County, were appointed to locate the institution and superintend the erection of the building. These Commissioners located the institution at Mt. Pleasant, Henry County. A plan for a building designed to accommodate 300 patients, drawn by Dr. Bell, of Massachusetts, was accepted, and in October work was commenced under the superintendence of Mr. Henry Winslow. Up to February 25, 1858, and including an appropriation made on that date, the Legislature had appropriated $258,555.67 to this institution, but the building was not finished ready for occupancy by patients until March 1, 1861. The Trustees were Maturin L. Fisher, President, Farmersburg; Samuel McFarland, Secretary, Mt. Pleasant; D. L. McGugin, Keokuk; G. W. Kincaid, Muscatine; J. D. Elbert, Keosauqua; John B. Lash and Harpin Riggs, Mt. Pleasant. Richard J. Patterson, M. D., of Ohio, was elected Superintendent; Dwight C. Dewey, M. D., Assistant Physician; Henry Winslow, Steward; Mrs. Catharine Winslow, Matron. The Hospital was formally opened March 6, 1861, and one hundred patients were admitted within three months. About 1865, Dr. Mark Ranney became Superintendent. April 18, 1876, a portion of the hospital building was destroyed by fire. From the opening of the Hospital to the close of October, 1877, 3,584 patients had been admitted. Of these, 1,141 were discharged recovered, 505 discharged improved, 589 discharged unimproved, and 1 died; total discharged, 2,876, leaving 608 inmates. During this period, there were 1,384 females admitted, whose occupation was registered "domestic duties;" 122, no occupation; 25, female teachers; 11, seamstresses; and 25, servants. Among the males were 916 farmers, 394 laborers, 205 without occupation, 39 cabinet makers, 23 brewers, 31 clerks, 26 merchants, 12 preachers, 18 shoemakers, 13 students, 14 tailors, 13 teachers, 14 agents, 17 masons, 7 lawyers, 7 physicians, 4 saloon keepers, 3 salesmen, 2 artists, and 1 editor. The products of the farm and garden, in 1876, amounted to $13,721.26.

Trustees, 1877: -- T. Whiting, President, Mt. Pleasant; Mrs. E. M. Elliott, Secretary, Mt. Pleasant; William C. Evans, West Liberty; L. E. Fellows, Lansing; and Samuel Klein, Keokuk; Treasurer, M. Edwards, Mt. Pleasant.

Resident Officers: -- Mark Ranney, M. D., Medical Superintendent; H. M. Bassett, M. D., First Assistant Physician; M. Riordan, M. D., Second Assistant Physician; Jennie McCowen, M. D., Third Assistant Physician; J. W. Henderson, Steward; Mrs. Martha W. Ranney, Matron; Rev. Milton Sutton, Chaplain.

Hospital for the Insane
Independence, Buchanan County

In the Winter of 1867-8, a bill providing for an additional Hospital for the Insane was passed by the Legislature, and an appropriation of $125,000 was made for that purpose. Maturin L. Fisher, of Clayton County; E. G. Morgan, of Webster County, and Albert Clark, of Buchanan County, were appointed Commissioners to locate and supervise the erection of the Building. Mr. Clark died about a year after his appointment, and Hon. G. W. Bemis, of Independence, was appointed to fill the vacancy.

The Commissioners met and commenced their labors on the 8th day of June, 1868, at Independence. The act under which they were appointed required them to select the most eligible and desirable location, of not les than 320 acres, within two miles of the city of Independence, that might be offered by the citizens free of charge to the State. Several such tracts were offered, but the Commissioners finally selected the south half of southwest quarter of Section 5; the north half of northeast quarter of Section 7; the north half of northwest quarter of Section 8, an the north half of northeast quarter of Section 8, all in Township 88 north, Range 9 west of the Fifth Principal Meridian. This location is on the west side of the Wapsipinicon River, and about a mile from its banks, and about the same distance from Independence.

Col. S. V. Shipman, of Madison, Wis., was employed to prepare plans, specifications and drawings of the building, which, when completed, were submitted to Dr. M. Ranney, Superintendent of the Hospital at Mount Pleasant, who suggested several improvements. The contract for erecting the building was awarded to Mr. David Armstrong, of Dubuque, for $88,114. The contract was signed November 7, 1868, and Mr. Armstrong at once commenced work. Mr. George Josselyn was appointed to superintend the work. The main buildings were constructed of dressed limestone, from the quarries at Anamosa and Farley. The basements are of the local granite worked from the immense boulders found in large quantities in this portion of the State.

In 1872, the building was so far completed that the Commissioners called the first meeting of the Trustees, on the 10th day of July of that year. These Trustees were Maturin L. Fisher, Mrs. P. A. Appleman, T. W. Fawcett, C. C. Parker, E. G. Morgan, George W. Bemis and John M. Boggs. This board was organized, on the day above mentioned, by the election of Hon. M. L. Fisher, President; Rev. J. G. Boggs, Secretary, and George W. Bemis, treasurer, and, after adopting preliminary measures for organizing the local government of the hospital, adjourned to the first Wednesday of the following September. A few days before this meeting, Mrs. Boggs died of malignant fever, and Dr. John G. House was appointed to fill the vacancy. Dr. House was elected Secretary. At this meeting, Albert Reynolds, M. D., was elected Superintendent; George Josselyn, Steward, and Mrs. Anna B. Josselyn, Matron. September 4, 1873, Dr. Willis Butterfield was elected Assistant Physician. The building was ready for occupancy April 21, 1873.

In the Spring of 1876, a contract was made with Messrs. Macay & Lundy, of Independence, for furnishing materials for the building the outside walls of the two first sections of the south wing, next to the center building, for $6,250. The carpenter work on the fourth and fifth stories of the center building was completed during the same year, and the wards were furnished and occupied by patients in the Fall.

In 1877, the south wing was built, but it will not be completed ready for occupancy until next Spring or Summer (1878).

October 1, 1877, the Superintendent reported 322 patients in this hospital, and it is now overcrowded.

The Board of Trustees at present (1878) are as follows: Maturin L. Fisher, President, Farmersburg; John G. House, M. D., Secretary, Independence; Wm. G. Donnan, Treasurer, Independence; Erastus G. Morgan, Fort Dodge; Mrs. Prudence A. Appleman, Clermont; and Stephen E. Robinson, M. D., West Union.

Resident Officers

Albert Reynolds, M. D., Superintendent; G. H. Hill, M. D., Assistant Physician; Noyes Appleman, Steward; Mrs. Lucy M. Gray, Matron.

Transcribed, 2006, by Tierney Ratti.

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