IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.
updated 08/28/2018

Odds & Ends

State Insane & Inebriate Asylum
located at Independence, Buchanan co. Iowa

Until the Clayton county asylum opened in 1880, the majority of the county's insane and inebriates were placed in the State Asylum, although a few were cared for at the county hospital. After 1880 many continued to be sent to the State facility for various lengths of time due to the limited space in the county asylum. Some individuals were sentenced by the court to serve a sentence for chronic drunkeness & hopefully be 'cured' at the inebriate part if the asylum.

Unless otherwise credited, the following items were compiled and transcribed by Reid R. Johnson or S. Ferrall for Clayton co. IAGenWeb.

Additions for this page are welcome. Email them to the coordinator.

See also: Clayton co. Poor Farm & Asylum


Elkader Register, Thur., January 31,1878
Mrs. Benton took charge of Sarah Carlson, of Mendon township, who is again returned to the asylum at Independence. This is the lady we spoke of a few weeks ago as having returned from the asylum apparently cured but unable to converse in her native tongue, the Swede language. Her case is certainly a pitiful one, and she is entitled to sympathy from all good people.

Elkader Register
, Thursday, April 25, 1878 -
John F. Beyer, of Elk township, having been ajudged insane, was on Monday brought to this place by Deputy Sheriff Place, and on Tuesday, the Sheriff, accompanied by Dr. Chase, took Beyer to the Independence insane asylum.

Elkader Register, Thursday morning, August 8, 1878 -
John Barney of Read township was brought in on Monday evening by Sheriff Benton and Deputy Place on a charge of insanity, made by his family. He was examined by Drs. Chase & Purdy on Tuesday and adjudged insane. Deputy Sheriff Place started for Independence with Barney yesterday morning. We believe Barney was an inmate of the asylum in 1873, and since his discharge has not been considered of sound mind, though he has labored on his farm and attended to his business affairs until lately.

Elkader Register, September 26, 1878 -
Ole Oldberg, a native of Sweden, and for many years a resident of McGregor and vicinity, was brought over Thursday, and was adjudged insane by the commissioners, and ordered to be taken to the asylum at Independence. Sheriff Benton assisted by John Prior, took him to Independence leaving on Friday and landing safe at the asylum Saturday. They returned Sunday from the asylum at Independence, bringing two insane persons from the assylum [sic] who were pronounced incurable, and will be cared for in our county hospital. Their names are Hiram Davis and Benjamin Castor; the latter has been an inmate of the state assylum from this county for the past fourteen years.


The cost of maintaining Clayton County's Insane, is a heavy tax, and is growing from year to year. We now have 32 persons under treatment at the state asylum at Independence and 8 in the county asylum. The expense for care of our insane at Independence, for 1878 was $4,800, and for those in the county asylum, including all conveyance and other expense for insane was $1,400 making a total expense to the tax payers of $6,200 for the past year. ~Elkader Register, January 16, 1879

Elkader Register, December 18, 1879 -
Last Monday morning some excitement was created and considerable curiosity aroused by the discovery of an insensible and apparently almost lifeless young man in the Court House. Restoratives were immediately applied, and he was afterwards identified as Wm. Goodin an insane man whose home is in McGregor. He had formerly been in the asylum at Independence, but was taken home a few weeks ago an account of failing health. On Sunday night he escaped from the men who were guarding him, and, securing a horse, evidently rode all night, reaching this place early in the morning. His horse was found tied on the east side of the public square and he probably entered the Court House while the janitor, Mr. Chambers, was gone for his breakfast, after having opened the building. Mr. Goodin, the young man's father, arrived here Monday afternoon and took him on Tuesday to the asylum at Independence. - from the Fayette County Union

Elkader Register,
December 25, 1879 -
Mrs. Gilster, wife of Henry Gilster of Monona township, has been adjudged insane, and will be removed to the asylum at Independence, this week. She has six small children who will be left to the care of the distressed husband.


By the quarterly report of the superintendent of the insane asylum at Independence we learn that Clayton county has 27 patients there at a cost of $853.51 to our taxpayers. ~Elkader Register, October 28, 1880

Elkader Register, January 29, 1880 -
Last Monday morning the residents of Monona and vicinity were startled by the report that Mrs. Morrison, a highly respected lady who lived just over the line in Allamakee county, about 1 1/2 miles from Monona, had committed suicide, Sunday night by cutting her throat. The deed was done in an insane fit to which she has been subject for a number of years, having twice been an inmate of the insane asylum at Independence. Her husband had lately met with some financial troubles and it is thought that it weighed heavily on her mind and caused her to commit the deed She leaves a kind and loving husband and three children.

Elkader Register, July 15, 1880 -
The Dubuque Telegraph of last week contained the following: "The other evenig Alonzo Hague ,a crazy man from Clayton county, who was being taken to the asylum at Independence, escaped from his keepers, and raced over half the city before he could be caught."


The number in the insane asylum from this county is steadily increasing, and the county is now supporting nearly 50 in the asylum at Independence, and our county asylum. We think no other county in the state, excepting Dubuque, has as large a number of insane. ~Elkader Register, February 10, 1881

Clayton county has now 27 insane at the asylum at Independence, being kept there at a cost to the county of $168 per year, each. There are also 12 at the asylum on the poor farm. ~Elkader Register, July 29, 1881

Elkader Register, Thur., Jan. 6, 1881, Home News column -
Sheriff Place went to Independence, yesterday, to convey William Callaway, of Cox Creek township, to the insane asylum at that place.

Elkader Register, Fri., May 20, 1881 -
Lizzie Williams, who has been residing with John Downie, in Boardman township, mysteriously disappeared on the 17th inst., and has not since been seen. She was 50 years of age, and when last seen wore a dark water proof dress, brown shawl with white stripes in it, dark straw hat or sundown, has a careworn appearance, sly disposition and carries a tin water pail, and is supposed to be insane. Any one knowing of her whereabouts, will confer a favor by sending information to L. H. Place, Sheriff of Clayton county, Elkader, Iowa. Later - Mrs. Williams was found in Read twp., by Sheriff Place, Thursday evening.

Elkader Register, May 27, 1881, Home News column -
Sheriff Place escorted Lizzie Williams to the insane asylum at Independence, last Friday, and on Monday took Michael Barrett, of Read township, to the same place. We are sorry to state that Miss Ida Preuss, daughter of Christian Preuss of this township, died at the asylum for insane at Independence, on Sunday last, and was buried in the cemetery, Elkader on Wednesday.

Elkader Register, Fri., July 15, 1881, Home News column -
On his return from Independence, where he had been to take Eben Colby, Sheriff Place brought back John Daugherty and M. Barrett, as incurable, and placed them in the county asylum.

Elkader Register, July 22, 1881 -
Sheriff Place will take a Mrs. Irish, of Mallory twp, to the Insane Asylum at Independence, today.

Elkader Register, August 19, 1881 -
Miss Mina Preuss, the young girl who was recently returned from the insane asylum at Independence as cured, died at the residence of her parents, in this township on Tuesday. She was about 17 years of age. Her death was very sudden she having been up and around the house in the forenoon, apparently enjoying her usual health. The funeral occurred Wednesday, and a large number of friends were in attendance. (see Minnie Preuss' entry in Clayton Co. Register of Deaths, Book 1, pg 15, entry #163 on this website)

Sheriff Place went to Independence last Thursday to convey Mrs. Catharine Humbrodt of Giard twp., to the insane asylum.

Elkader Register, Fri., September 9, 1881, Home News column -
On Tuesday Julia W. Thompson was conveyed to the asylum for insane, at Independence. Miss Thompson's is a sad case. She was a resident of Wagner twp., is but 16 years of age, and on account of sickness is now a raving maniac.

Elkader Register, Fri., September 9, 1881, Home News column -
August Schmidt, of Garnavillo, mentioned in our last issue as having been beaten and robbed of a watch in Dubuque, is again in trouble. The Times says that on Sunday last, while services were being held at the Baptist church, in that city, Schmidt threw a rock through the window. He was arrested, and has since been declared insane. He is laboring under the hallucination that all ministers are engaged in the work of corrupting the morals of the people, and he deems it his duty to obstruct their work. He is now in the insane department of the Dubuque jail. (see below, Sept. 16th)

Elkader Register, Fri., September 16, 1881, Home News column -
Young Schmidt, of Garnavillo, who was found at Dubuque in a deranged condition, has been sent to the asylum for insane at Independence.


Elkader Register, Fri., May 12, 1882, Home News column -
Sheriff Place was at Independence last week, conveying Mrs. Clark, of Lodomillo, to the asylum, returning on Saturday. He brought back Ole Oldberg and Wm. Loom, who have been pronounced incurable.

Elkader Register, Fri., June 30, 1882, Home News column -
Sheriff Place was at Independence, last week, conveying Miss Charlotte Kohler, daughter of Fred Kohler, of Guttenberg, to the asylum for insane, at that place. Miss K. is only 22 years of age.

Elkader Register, Fri., Aug. 18, 1882, Home News column -
A young man named Welton, son of D. T. Welton, who lives near Monona, having been in poor health for some time past, and supposed to be demented, gave his friends considerable alarm by wandering away from home on Sunday last. After a search on Monday, he was found in a neighboring corn field. (see below, December 8th)

Elkader Register, Fri., Sept. 8, 1882, Home News column -
Sheriff Place went to Independence, last week, conveying J.E. Davis, of Strawberry Point, to the asylum

Elkader Register, Fri., Oct. 27, 1882, Home News column -
Sheriff Place was at Independence, this week, conveying Herman Brinkhaus, of Cox Creek township, to the asylum for insane.

Elkader Register, Fri., Nov. 3, 1882, Home News column -
Adam Friedlein, of Millville, was taken to the asylum for insane, last week by Sheriff Place.

Elkader Register, Fri., Nov. 10, 1882 -
Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Sadler, an old man nearly eighty years of age, who resides near Littleport, attempted suicide by cutting three gashes across his throat with a razor. It is thought that he is insane, as there is no trouble known that would cause him to commit such a deed. (see below, Nov. 17th)

Elkader Register, Fri., Nov. 17, 1882 (note: the page is dated 11/10/1882, but the articles give later dates), Littleport Letter column -
George Sadler, who attempted to commit suicide, last week, has been adjudged insane, and sent to Independence

Elkader Register, Fri., Dec. 8, 1882 - Home News column -
A young man, son of David Welton, who resides near Luana, has been taken to the asylum for insane. He is the young man who wandered away about a year ago (sic), and after an absence of several days, was found in a corn field. His insanity is the result of a sunstroke. (see above, August 18th)

Elkader Register, Fri., Dec. 15, 1882, Home News column -
Sheriff Place, went to Clayton township, Wednesday, to take charge of an insane man, named John Bond. He brought him to the jail at this place, and will take him to Independence the first of next week.


Clayton county now has 30 insane persons in the asylum at Independence, which for the quarter ending April 1st, cost the county, $1,036. ~Elkader Register, May 4, 1883

Elkader Register, Fri., February 23, 1883. Home News column -
Torkel Rearson, of Marion township, has been declared insane, and will shortly be removed to the asylum at Independence.

Elkader Register, Fri., March 2, 1883. Home News column -
Geo. Fitzpatrick and Wm. Callaway, both of Cox Creek township, who were recently discharged from the insane asylum, as cured, have again been pronounced insane, and Sheriff Place has taken them to the asylum at Independence.

Elkader Register, Fri., March 30, 1883. Home News column -
Sheriff Place went to Independence last week, conveying Miss Rosa Moran, daughter of John Moran, of Highland township, to the asylum for insane, at that place.

Elkader Register, Fri., April 13, 1883. Home News column -
Mr. Tejick, of Monona township, and Thomas Gannon, of Mendon township, were taken to the asylum for insane, at Independence, on Saturday last.

Elkader Register, Fri., May 4, 1883. Home News column -
Kittle Kittleson, of Marion, and a Mrs. ---boldt, of Giard township, have been declared insane, and were taken to the asylum at Independence, this week, by Sheriff Place.

Elkader Register, Fri., June 8, 1883 -
John Bond, insane, was brought up from Clayton last week, and will be taken to the asylum at Independence next week. Bond had been at the asylum before, but had been discharged as cured.

Elkader Register, Fri., August 31, 1883. Home News column -
It has been well known to many of our citizens for some time, that L. V. Davis, of this place, has upon occasion become somewhat shattered in mind, and so much so as to become violent. About two weeks since he had one of these attacks, and became so frantic that his son's family, with whom he lived, were obliged to flee from the house in the night. Since that time he has been confined and watched with the hope that he might become more rational, but such not being the case it was decided best to take him to the Independence hospital for the insane. It is to be hoped that he may return with a fully restored mind.

Elkader Register, Fri., October 26, 1883 -
Sheriff Place was at Independence, Monday, conveying Walter Sheppard, of Mallory township, to the insane asylum.


Elkader Register, Fri., January 4, 1884. Home News column - 
On Saturday last John Kramer of this place was taken to the hospital for insane, at Independence, where he will receive skilled attendance, and may recover from his malady.

Elkader Register, Fri., February 1, 1884 -
On Monday Chas. Woodward was removed to the asylum for insane at Independence by Sheriff Borman. This is a very sad case, and excites the sympathy of all. Not long since the father died in the hospital, and now the son, and only support of an aged mother is afflicted with the same malady, and has to be taken away.


Elkader Register, Wed., June 24, 1885. Home News column - 
On Monday, Mr. S. G. Butts, of Garnavillo township, accompanied by his wife, came to Elkader to transact some business, and while here he became insane. He was taken in charge by the officers, and will be taken to the asylum at Independence.


Elkader Register, October 16, 1890 -
Rheinhardt Barakse, who was recently taken to the asylum for insane at Independence, committed suicide at that place on Friday by hanging himself. ~contributed by Audrey Haught


Elkader Register, Thur., April 18, 1901. Local News columns
Sheriff Benton on Saturday took to Independence, Moses Darling, an insane patient aged 8_ (Looks like 84.) years, whose home was at Strawberry Point, and on Monday also went to Independence with Lars Gregorson of Marion, who is afflicted with a religious mania.

Elkader Register
, Thur., June 20, 1901. Local News column.
Sheriff Benton accompanied by Fred Soll, on Friday evening, took John Duede to the hospital for the insane at Independence.

Elkader Register
, Thur., October 10, 1901. Local News columns.
Oscar Nelson, a McGregor young man was taken to the hospital at Independence Friday. He was afflicted with a suicidal mania.

Elkader Register, Thur., October 31, 1901. Local News columns.
Sheriff Benton went to Independence to-day with Dennis O'Leary, of Mendon, who was declared insane.


Elkader Argus, Wed., Jan. 7, 1903, Local Items column -
John Hagensick, of this township, was brought before the commissioners of insanity and adjudged insane. Sheriff Benton took him to Independence.

Elkader Argus, Wed., Mar. 4, 1903, Local Items column -
Jos. Tinker, 21 years old, of Cox Creek township, was adjudged insane last Thursday and taken to Independence. A sudden scare is thought to be responsible for his condition.
Elkader Argus, Wed., Mar. 11, 1903, Local Items column -
Sheriff Benton and Al Kimball went to Independence yesterday having in charge Frank Lutson, of Marion township. Lutson was sent to the hospital last summer but made his escape in September.
Willard Bronson, of Strawberry Point, who was the first inebriate patient sent up from this county, has been released on parole. The county still has two representatives at Independence.

Elkader Argus, Wed., March 18, 1903, Local Items column -
Two unfortunates were taken to Independence this week, Celinda Mohrman, of Garnavillo, and Mrs. Lydia Cook, of Marion.

Elkader Argus, Wed., Mar. 25, 1903, Local News column -
Ben Regal, of Mendon township, was brought before the commissioners of insanity Monday and ordered taken to the hospital at Independence.

Elkader Register, Thur., Sept. 3, 1903, District Court, Local News & McGregor News columns -
McGregor: Reddy Williams was sent to the inebriate hospital Monday, the first to go from here. He is a young man who is seldom sober, and his step father made the complaint against him.
Martha Boyd, an unfortunate young lady from Lodomillo twp., aged 19 years, was taken to the hospital at Independence yesterday, by Sheriff Benton. Her trouble is caused by epilepsy.
On Tuesday Wm. Williams, of North McGregor, was brought before Judge Fellows charged with being an inebriate and was given a year and six months at Independence.

Elkader Register, Thur., Nov. 12, 1903, Strawberry Point column -
Sheriff E. E. Benton accompanied by Frank Wood took Albert Smith and M.H. Liddy to the inebriate asylum at Independence last week.

Elkader Register, Thur., Dec. 10, 1903, Local News column -
Geo. Winch, of Volga twp., was before the Commissioners of Insanity Tuesday and sent to the hospital at Independence. Several years ago he was severely injured in the head which is thought to be the cause of his present trouble. It is unfortunate.

Elkader Register, Thur., Dec. 31, 1903, Local News column -
Miss Lizzie Lange, of Giard, was taken to the hospital at Independence on Thursday last, accompanied by Dr. Patterson, of Elkader. News has been received of the death of the unfortunate lady on Saturday.


Elkader Register, April 21, 1904, Strawberry Point column -
Sheriff Dittmer was here Thursday and accompanied Willard Bronson to Independence to be place in the inebriate asylum.

Elkader Register, September 22, 1904, Neighborhood News column -
Clay Dershan, on parole from the inebriate asylum at Independence,, was recently sent back to complete his three year's term at that institution, having violated his parole. -from the Argus


Elkader Register, Thur., February 22, 1906
Mrs. Robt. Southwell, of Wagner twp., was brought before the Commissioners of Insanity, Monday, and ordered sent to the hospital at Independence. She was taken to the hospital Tuesday by Sheriff Dittmer. The unfortunate lady has been afflicted for several years and Mr. Southwell has endeavored to care for her at home. She growing worse, it was necessary that she should be taken where she would be cared for.

Elkader Register, Thur., March 8, 1906. Garnavillo News column
Wm. Ihde leaves Wednesday for Independence to get his wife, who has been a patient at the hospital since last fall. Although for a time her case was thought incurable, her friends hoped patiently for improvement and now she can be and will be welcomed with rejoicing.

Elkader Register, Thur., May 3, 1906. Local News column
The commissioners of insanity were called to North McGregor, Monday, to examine Ed. Bergman. He was ordered sent to the hospital at Independence.

Elkader Register, Thur., June 28, 1906. Local News column
Peter Amann, of Guttenberg, was brought before the Commissioners of Insanity last Friday and on Saturday he was taken to Independence by Sheriff Dittmer and Ray Webb.

Elkader Register, Thur., September 27, 1906. Local News and Garnavillo columns.
-Miss Susan Darling, of Strawberry Point, and Miss Dena Berns, of Garnavillo, were brought before the Commissioners of Insanity, Monday, and both adjudged insane. They were taken to Independence, Tuesday, by Sheriff and Mrs. Dittmer.
-The oldest daughter of Peter Berns and wife was taken to the asylum at Independence, Tuesday. It is hoped the change may prove beneficial to her.

Elkader Register, Thur., November 1, 1906. Local News column.
J. C. Brandenberg, of North Buena Vista, was brought before the Commissioners of Insanity, Monday, and adjudged insane. He was taken to Independence Tuesday by Deputy Sheriff Ryan.

Elkader Register, Thur., November 15, 1906. Local News column
Ole A. Ruroden, of Marion twp., was brought before the commissioners of insanity yesterday, and adjudged of unsound mind. He was taken to Independence this morning by Sheriff Dittmer


Elkader Register, Thur., 27 Jan. 1927. Local News Notes column.
Tuesday C. S. Hines of Strawberry Point was brought before the Commissioners of Insanity and it was found that in his case it was advisable to send him to Independence.
Last Saturday Richard Donath of Strawberry Point was brought before the Commissioners of Insanity here and it was found necessary to send the young man to the hospital at Independence for care and treatment.


Elkader Register, Thur., August 28, 1924
Deputy Sheriff [illegible] accompanied by James [illegible] accompanied Joe Meehan, of Clayton township, to the hospital at Independence Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Meehan was [?examined by] Commissioners of Insanity [illegible] and ordered taken to the hospital.

Elkader Register, Thur., November 13, 1924. Local News Notes column.
Leo Rogers of Jefferson township was brought before the Commissioners of Insanity Monday afternoon and was taken to the State Hospital at Independence at once. The unfortunate young man is a son of John Rogers of Guttenberg and is about twenty-four years old.


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