|James Addison Smith, unfortunately|
I don't have any photos of his wife or
Mary Ryland Smith was born January 25, 1896 in Logan County, Kentucky to James Addison Smith and Margaret "Maggie" Peay. Sometime between the ages of 14 and 24, her family moved to Tennessee. This would have probably been around the same time she started experiencing symptoms of Schizophrenia since it's onset typically occurs during late adolescence or early adulthood. Initially, the family lived in Memphis but by 1930, they had moved to Nashville and so it was at the Central State Hospital for the Insane in Nashville on Murfreesboro Pike that Mary finally found herself by 1935. Presumably, her parents had grown too old to care for her (they were in their 70's) or perhaps her mental condition had deteriorated beyond what they could handle.
|Central State Hospital for the Insane, courtesy|
|Central State Hospital for the Insane, probably how it looked at the time|
Mary lived there, courtesy Asylum Projects
|Tennesse State Hospital for the Insane, possibly|
a pre-modified version on Murfreesboro Pike.
Courtesy Library of Congress.
In my grandmother's genealogy notes, Mary is described as having "went crazy". Though a common, if outdated term, it probably referred to the fact that Mary was likely quite normal as a child and at least in her early teens. She may not have even developed symptoms until her early 20's so it's easy to say she "went crazy" rather than "was crazy", even if it seems to wrongly suggest something drove her to it rather than being a medical condition. It must have been distressing for a family to watch a loved one deteriorate before their eyes and be helpless to stop it. Her parents were obviously devoted to looking after her themselves since they refused to institutionalize her until they were in their 70's, though knowing that her mother Maggie was a drug addict, much of the responsibility may have fallen on James. In fact, Maggie's drug addiction may have been the only way she could cope with her daughter's tragic fate.
|The layout of Central State Hospital for the Insane|
on Murfreesboro Pike, courtesy Asylum Projects.
Click image to enlarge.
A third daughter Marjory, also an addict and also never married, lived at the family home into her 40's, perhaps initially to look after her sister only to succumb to her mother's fate. She did manage to complete two years of college and consistently work as a file clerk, though at various locations, first a railroad company, then a hardware store, and finally a manufacturing company. In 1940, she was working 44 hours a week, 52 weeks a year and making an annual $720. Today, this would be about $22,000. So perhaps her addiction occurred later in her life because it seems unlikely that she could hold a job with so many hours as an addict.
Ella was a proofreader, though it's difficult to tell how much she was making since she appears to have been unemployed for much of year when the census was taken. She had resumed work (40 hours a week) by this point but had only been back for 4 weeks time and made $68 in that time. Theoretically, if she worked 52 weeks out of the year at that rate, she'd make $884 annually. That's about $27,000 today.
Mona was a copy holder, someone who read an original document aloud for a proofreader (who reads the proof copy) and calls attention to errors. In 1930, she and her proofreader sister Ella were both working at a printing company so perhaps they worked together. However, by 1940, Mona was no longer working. By this point, Mary was already living in the institute so Mona was not staying home to care for her.
I do not think any of the these three daughters, Marjory, Ella, and Mona, ever had children (certainly Mary did not) but James and Maggie did have three other children, Madge Smith (b. abt. 1890), James Addison Smith Jr. (b. abt. 1901), and Laura Smith (b. abt. 1909), who may have so I'm listing their details in case any descendants Google them and find this useful. Madge manage to escape her father's oppressive rules by running away with a salesman she met at her father's store. Her father disowned her but she kept in touch with her mother and sisters. I'm not sure what happened to Laura, she either died or somehow managed to escape the house since she was no longer living there in 1940.
Mary died in the State Hospital on June 4, 1957 of a Cerebral Hemorrhage when she was 61 years old. There was no contributing or underlying cause listed on her death certificate which means her death was unrelated to her mental illness.
I must admit that I don't have documented evidence of the other tragedies of this family. I'm not even sure the drug addictions would have been documented to begin with, it may have been information that was passed down generations since I got this info from my grandmother. Margaret died in 1954 and there is no mention of her addiction as a contributing cause of death. Olaf's train accident though should be documented somewhere and I have searched but not found anything yet. I will update this if that changes and if anyone knows anything more about it, please let me know!
- "Tennessee Lunatic Asylum." (2013) In Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, Retrieved March 5, 2013, from Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture: http://www.tennesseeencyclopedia.net/entry.php?rec=1337
- Ancestry.com. Tennessee, Death Records, 1908-1958 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2376&enc=1
- Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
- Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.
- Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.
- Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
- "Types of Schizophrenia." WebMD. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2013. http://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/guide/schizophrenia-types
- "Schizophrenia, ( Undifferentiated Type )." PsyWeb.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2013. http://www.psyweb.com/mdisord/SchizoDis/undtype.jsp
- Measuringworth.com. "Measuring Worth - Measures of worth, inflation rates, relative value, worth of a dollar, purchase power." 1892. Web. 5 Mar 2013. http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/
- Asylumprojects.org. "Nashville State Hospital Image Gallery - Asylum Projects." 2011. Web. 6 Mar 2013. http://www.asylumprojects.org/index.php?title=Nashville_State_Hospital_Image_Gallery
- Loc.gov. "Tennessee State hospital for the insane. Near Nashville." n.d.. Web. 6 Mar 2013. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2003662356/