The purpose of this blog is not to write the history of Eloise -- as others have already done with more expertise than I ever could -- but rather to create a repository for written material concerning patients, staff, administrators and the hospital (in its various forms) itself, along with photographs and other ephemera.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

East Tawas or Bust

The South Lyon Herald, July 2, 1936
Eloise was considered a county institution and as such the vast majority of inmates were from the Detroit area. So when there was an escape the usual destination was the city. Norman Weaver had other plans in mind when he escaped in June 1936. With a wife in East Tawas he slowly headed north, making it to Milford before being picked up by police. After being interviewed concerning the murder of a young man named Robert Kenyon he was sent back to Eloise.

A Patriarch of Matricide

The South Lyon Herald, November 30, 1939
Robert Irving Latimer was one of Michigan's most notorious murderers and prisoners from the late 1800s until his release in 1939. He murdered his mother for his father's life insurance windfall and subsequently convicted and sentenced to a life-term in prison.

While incarcerated he helped organize a failed "Dynamite Plot" that would have allowed for a mass escape before finally escaping on his own with the help of a jailer, Captain Gill, the night shift commander whom Latimer had convinced that he knew where a hidden treasure was buried and would share the fortune with for his aid in escaping the penitentiary. The sensational plot worked and earned Latimer his desired freedom but carelessness resulted in capture after just one day on the run.

After winning clemency in 1939 he was released and given a job at a Ford plant. But a combination of sickness and an inability to function in society led to a trip to the poorhouse at Eloise where he lived out the duration of his life, dying in 1945 at the age of 80.

Alkie Hall

The South Lyon Herald, October 13, 1938
For many residents of Eloise the institution was akin to an open-campus school of hard knocks. Inmates frequently left the grounds to imbibe in the hard medicine of alcohol. While local saloons were the establishment of choice to procure their drink, in this case the inmates apparently chose to drink moonshine or something worse, such as rubbing alcohol, and paid for it with their lives.

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Soldier in Our Midst

Canton Observer,  October 2, 2011 (enlarge)
Although he died nearly a hundred years ago at Eloise and was buried with no fanfare in an unmarked grave at Riverside Cemetery in Plymouth, Michigan in 1916, Albert Nelson Stevens' life was hardly anonymous. A Michigan native, he enlisted into the war between the states as a 19-year-old boy in 1861 and served two stints before his discharge in 1865. He went on to have 8 children with his wife Kate Hill.

It wasn't until 2011 that Stevens would get his rightful recognition as a veteran. Historians from the Plymouth Historical Museum, while working for the groups annual cemetery walk, discovered the fact of his unmarked grave and put in a request to the Veterans Administration. A full ceremony and unveiling of the headstone took place October 19 of that same year.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Obituary for Maurice Anderson, Buried at Eloise Cemetery

The Lewiston Daily Sun, May 31, 1944
In all the years that I've been scrubbing the internet floors for Eloise material I've never come across an actual obituary for a burial at the cemetery there. With such a large extended family it would seem unlikely that Maurice Anderson would need a pauper's burial but apparently they were unwilling to foot the bill. The odd part is that they went about it as if he was being interred in just your average cemetery by putting out an obituary. But strange were the ways of Eloise so it's kind of expected isn't it?

Fifteen Jolly Normalites

Ann Arbor Argus-Democrat, November 11, 1898
Oh, to be a Normalite in the time of Eloise and to ride a trolley into the complex as VIP. Miss Bennett, I'm assuming, was the daughter of Superintendent Dr. E. O. Bennett, who ruled the roost for the last 20 years of the 19th century and was the first physician to run the institution.

Or, it could simply be a grammatical error since they obviously didn't know how to spell trolley in Ann Arbor in the late 1800s. Better yet, maybe Miss Bennett was a troll among trolls at a college called Normal. For the uninitiated, that's the name Eastern Michigan University went by before becoming true EMU.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hospital Epidemic Takes Five Lives

The Daily Times, August 17, 1942
Hospital food was renowned for tasting like crap in days past and in August of 1942 the indigent ward's menu was likely served up with microscopic bits of fecal matter at Eloise. Since most diarrhea arises from exposure to excretia, it's safe to say that shite food prepared by dirty bird hands caused five poor souls to perish. Which is still four less than Henry Cada killed for the sake of incestuous love.