The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Unpopular Delusions

    MAN SHOT.--A man by the name of Reese was shot on Butte Creek, in this county, on the 29th day of December last--it is not known by whom. Indeed, the whole affair is enveloped in mystery. The following is, briefly, the story told us: A stranger was seen driving off some horses. Mr. Reese went up to him, when he (the stranger) asked Reese whose horses those were; Reese answered, "Some of them are mine, and the rest are my neighbors'." The stranger remarked, "You are a d--n liar, sir, and have been stealing horses long enough, and I am going to put a stop to it." Suiting the action to the word, he deliberately leveled his rifle and fired. The ball, which was a small one, grazed the chin and passed through the neck of Reese. Reese was alive at the latest accounts, but it is thought he cannot recover. Reese is every way a worthy and honorable man. It is supposed that a crazy man, known as "Dutch Henry," is the person who did the shooting. He has not been arrested.

Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, January 3, 1863, page 3

    MR. REESE, the gentleman who was shot by "Dutch Henry" on Butte Creek, on the 29th ult., is still in a dangerous condition, but strong hopes are entertained of his recovery.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, January 10, 1863, page 2

    ARRESTED.--"Crazy Henry," the man who shot Mr. Reese near Jacksonville, has been arrested and will be sent to the insane asylum. Mr. Reese is not yet out of danger.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, January 16, 1863, page 3

The "Crazy Henry" Case.
    East Portland, January 16, 1863.
    In the Jacksonville Sentinel of the 10th inst. appears the following article:
    "ANOTHER INSANE PERSON.--'Dutch Henry,' alias Henry Bleecher, the person who shot Mr. Reese on Butte Creek a short time since, is in custody, awaiting the completion of the arrangements to send him to the insane asylum at Portland. He is hopelessly insane, and the unfortunate affair on Butte Creek shows him to be a dangerous person. If we understand the facts aright, he was sent, not long since, from Lewiston to Portland, as an insane person; was examined by two physicians and put into jail there. He set the jail on fire, and was, by some hocus pocus, suffered to escape. He came to this county, wandered about in the mountains while, amusing himself by driving stock hither and thither, and now, after having dangerously wounded one of our citizens, is to be sent back to Portland, with a consequent expense to this county of over three hundred dollars. Such are the beneficent operations of our insane law! Why was he not kept at Portland while there? Did the examining physicians pronounce him sane? or was he suffered to go at large simply because, by firing the jail, he showed himself to be a dangerous man? Are none but the quiet and harmless to be kept in the state establishment?"

    In reply, I would state that on the morning after the firing of the jail, I spoke to Marshal Grooms and suggested the propriety of his making out the necessary complaint to the County Judge and have "Dutch Henry" examined as to his sanity. Mr. Grooms informed me that he was put in jail temporarily and that Mr. Arnold, Deputy Sheriff, had received a letter from Dutch Henry's brother, requesting Mr. Arnold to take care of him. Mr. Arnold summoned Drs. Davenport and Hawthorne, who pronounced him insane, whereupon Mr. Arnold said he would keep him for a day or two, and if no improvement took place, he would have him sent to the asylum. I afterwards learned that Dutch Henry had got well and left the city.
    I have frequently called the attention of citizens and officers to insane persons running at large in the streets of Portland, who I considered dangerous, and they were duly committed to our asylum for treatment. We have ample accommodations for patients, and receive every one that is sent to us according to law.
    Jackson County has furnished us one of the most dangerous patients that an asylum ever possessed, and this at a time when our accommodations were few for such cases. We have ministered to "his mind diseased," notwithstanding that the majority of persons who had any communication with him were fearful of being killed. This patient, John Hodgens, is now convalescing.
    The "state establishment" will accommodate any kind of persons or patients who are sent to it.
    Will the Jacksonville Sentinel do us justice by publishing this.
Yours, respectfully,
    A. M. LORYEA, M.D.
        Attending Physician.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, January 17, 1863, page 2

    ALLEGED INSANITY.--A colored man named Mat Banks, formerly a barber here, was arrested yesterday on a charge of insanity. Very little evidence was adduced to prove the charge and Judge Duncan, very properly feeling that no man should be deprived of liberty except on just grounds, ordered that another examination be had.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, September 11, 1869, page 2

    ROUGH ON JACKSONVILLE.--Last week a colored man, named Mat Banks was examined before Judge Duncan on a charge of insanity. The principal evidence was to the effect that he disturbed his neighbors by praying and singing hymns. One being asked defense he had to make, he remarked that "Jacksonville was getting to be a mighty rough place, if a poor man couldn't pray to his Heavenly Father without being jerked up on a charge of being crazy." He was discharged.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, September 25, 1869, page 3

    GONE MAD.--A young man, by the name of Wetzel, who has been working in the tin trade for some time past, at this place, was seized with a strange fit of hallucination last Thursday night. He fancied he was wedded to the handsome and accomplished daughter of a respected citizen of this place, and insisted on sending the old gentleman out on the ranch, and "keeping hotel" himself for a while. The old gentleman could not see it in that light, and as the infatuated young man persisted in taking possession of the establishment by force if necessary, the city marshal was called in, and he was taken to the calaboose.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, December 4, 1869, page 3

    SENT BELOW.--"Mat," the colored barber, who was arraigned before Judge Duncan some time since on the charge of insanity, and liberated for want of proof, was again brought before the Judge on Saturday last, found insane, and ordered to be taken to the Asylum.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, December 11, 1869, page 3

    WETZEL, the young man who cut such strange capers last week, was found insane by the Court and ordered to be taken below to the Asylum; but, at the urgent solicitation of his brother the order was suspended, and he was permitted to take him home with him, to try if his reason could be restored to him without sending him to an asylum.

Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, December 11, 1869, page 3

    A man named Higinbotham from Eagle Point come to town this week and stated that he had stabbd Wm. Worlow at that place and wanted to authorities to take him in charge. The whole thing proved a hoax, however, arising from a disordered mind, caused by drink.
"Local Items," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, December 27, 1884, page 3

Came in Safe.
    The man reported in the Tidings last week as having jumped from the stage and run off into the brush while partially demented made his way back to the stage road again after the driver left off pursuit of him, and was brought to town the next day on the stage. He found shelter along the road overnight and did not suffer from exposure. He remained in Ashland one day, and then started for Sacramento. While here he talked in a way which showed that he was still under the hallucination that the stage drivers wanted to kill him.
Ashland Tidings, December 4, 1885, page 3

    AN INSANE MAN.--Jacob Ellis, an old bachelor who has lived alone on his claim on Wagner Creek for [a] number of years, became insane this week, and on Wednesday evening called at G. H. Lynch's place, and told Mr. Lynch that the men at Wagner Creek saw mill were trying to kill him--that they had a machine working underground under his cabin that would kill him. Mr. Lynch allowed him to remain at his house, but just after the household had retired Ellis grew wild, said "they" were after him, and rushed upstairs and out on a roof flourishing a big knife. Two neighbors, Messrs. Pervin and Goddard, were called, and they, with Mr. Lynch, brought Ellis to Ashland in the night, keeping him at the town jail. About daybreak he escaped from them, and, it is supposed, ran off into the mountains back of town. Up to last evening no trace of him had been discovered by parties searching for him, and it is feared he has perished of cold if he remained out over last night.--Tidings.
Oregon Sentinel,
March 20, 1886, page 3

    John Dowes, a bridge carpenter at Medford who was in the city jail with the jim-jams, cut his throat with a pocket knife about 4 o'clock a.m., Saturday. He had lost considerable blood when discovered, and has since been in a critical condition.
"Items from Medford," Valley Record, Ashland, December 3, 1888, page 3

Cut His Throat.
    John J. Dowes, the boss carpenter of the force at work on the bridge across Bear Creek at Medford, attempted suicide on the morning of the 8th inst., after having been arrested on a charge of drunkenness, by cutting his throat with a pocketknife. He was discovered two hours later in a critical condition by the keeper of the lockup and medical assistance saved his life, although he had made three deep cuts in his throat, one penetrating the upper cavity of the windpipe. He had a close call, having lost much blood before he was discovered, and his condition was regarded as dangerous for several days afterwards; but he is now recovering.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 13, 1888, page 3

Adjudged Insane.
Walla Walla Union.
    Mrs. Sarah C. Linder, wife of Henry C. Linder, living near Prescott, was brought before Probate Judge Eagan on Friday evening for examination as to her sanity by Drs. N. G. Blalock and J. E. Bingham, and was adjudged insane. This is a peculiar case, and is classed as one of "mania and dementia." She is only 25 years old, and the mother of two children, the youngest being only two years old. She had her first attack just after the birth of her first child, the spell only lasting a few days. Another attack occurred about six months since, that being also of short duration. But twelve days ago she was seized with persistent mania, which has clung to her ever since. Her husband, who made the complaint, testified that she said she saw and talked with the devil and claims to have witches in her clothes, and also has many other delusions. During a portion of the time her condition was maniacal, she having tried to kill her neighbors and her children; the attacks seem premeditated, though she has no design at suicide. Mrs. Linder, when brought before the physicians told the same story of interviews with the devil, and stated that she had burned her underclothes in an effort to drive out the witches that infested them and the bedclothes to kill the devil. Her demeanor throughout the examination was that of a crazy person, though she displayed no signs of violence. Sheriff McFarland will leave for Steilacoom with her today. Mr. Linder is deserving of sympathy, and it is hoped that his wife will be speedily cured.
Times-Mountaineer, The Dalles, Oregon, October 5, 1889, page 3

A Maniac of Many Years Describes
It---Musing Over Immortality---His Fad To Be the "Radish King."

    I was once insane, and I often muse over my experience. There are of course many kinds of insanity. Some mental disorders take place so gradually that even the closest companions of the victim are at a loss to remember when the trouble began. It must have been this way in my case. One evening, after an oppressively warm day, a day when I experienced more fatigue from the heat than ever before or since, I sat on my porch fanning myself. "This arm that is now in motion," I mused, "must one of these days be dust. I wonder how long will the time be."
    Then I mused upon the evidence I had of immortality. I could do things that other people could not accomplish. I had gone through battle after battle, and though bullets sang and struck around me as thick as hail, yet I remained uninjured. I had passed through epidemics of yellow fever. My idea gained strength as I mused, and I was convinced that I should live forever. No, this cannot be, for death follows all men alike.
    Yes, I am to die like other men, and I believe that it is my duty to make the most of life; to make money and enjoy myself, and to educate my children. I wanted to be rich, and I began to study over an imaginary list of enterprises.
    At last I hit upon radishes. People must have radishes. They should be in every shop. They could be dried and sold in winter. I would plant fifty acres with radish seed, and people all over the country would refer to me as the "radish king." I would form a radish syndicate, and buy up all the radishes and travel and be admired. I hastened to the house to tell my wife that she was soon to be a radish queen. At the breakfast table I said, "Julia, how would you like to be a radish queen?" "A what!" she exclaimed.
    I explained my plan of acquiring great wealth, and during the recital she behaved so curiously that I was alarmed. I feared that she was losing her mind. Finally she seemed to understand. She agreed with me, but told me not to say anything more about it. After breakfast I saw her talking earnestly with her father, and I know that she was explaining to the old gentleman how she intended to pay his debts when I became known as the radish king. The old man approached me with much concern, and told me that I needed rest and that I must not think of business.
    He was old and sadly worried, and I promised him that I would not think of business. Pretty soon I went out to inspect my radish kingdom. Looking round, I saw the old man following me. From the field I went to the village. I approached a friend and I told him how I intended to become rich. He seemed grieved, and I saw at once that he was contemplating the same enterprise. It seemed mean that he should take advantage of me and I told him so. He tried to explain, but he made me so angry that I would have struck him if my father-in-law had not come up and separated us.
    I tried to calm myself, but could not. Those who had been my friends proved to be my enemies, and I was determined to be avenged, but before I could execute my will I was seized by several men. My father-in-law did not attempt to rescue me, and I hated him. I was taken to prison. My wife came to see me, but she did not try to have me released. I demanded a trial, but no lawyer would defend me.
    Then I realized that the entire community was against me. I became so wroth that my anger seemed to hang over me like a dark cloud.  It pressed me to the floor, and held me there. Men came after a long time and took me away, I thought, to another prison. One day a cat came into my cell, and I tried to bite her. She made the hair fly, but I killed her.
    I don't know how long I remained here, but one morning the sun rose and shone in at me through the window. It seemed to be the first time that I had seen the great luminary for months. A mist cleared from before my eyes. My brain began to work, and suddenly I realized that I had been insane. I called the keeper, and when he saw me he exclaimed, "Thank heaven!" and grasped my hand.
    I was not long in putting on another suit of clothes and turning my face toward home. A physician said that I was cured, and everybody seemed bright and happy at my recovery. I went home. My wife fainted when she saw me and learned that I had recovered my mind. I asked for my little children. and two big boys and a young lady came forward and greeted me. I had been in the asylum twelve years.--Pearson's Weekly
Valley Record, Ashland,  January 8, 1891, page 1

Taken to the Asylum.
    On Monday evening Dan'l. Whetstone, a young man aged somewhere in the twenties, and a son of D. Whetstone, living a few miles west of Medford, was taken to Jacksonville and confined in the county jail, and on Tuesday he was pronounced insane by the examining physician, Dr. E. B. Pickel, and the same evening he was taken to the asylum at Salem by Sheriff Barnes and F. V. Medynski.
    Last Friday his wife, who is a daughter of J. W. Dowell, of this city, noticed that he did not appear quite right, in that he commenced tearing things to pieces in his blacksmith shop and did not desist until he had many of the tools heated and hammered into all conceivable shapes. On Monday he drove to town, in company with his wife and child, and instead of preparing to return home when the proper time arrived he drove his team into the center of one of the principal streets and there sat in his wagon for several hours. His condition haying been made known, J. H. Bellinger's services were called into use and, in company with Joe Hill, he was persuaded to accompany them to Jacksonville, where he was confined as above stated.
    The young man was similarly afflicted three years ago last May, and was at that time taken to the asylum and after a few months' stay he returned all right, and it is thought he will be quite himself again when he has undergone a similar treatment. His hallucination runs in the channel of mechanical engineering, he having studied that business, and his condition right now is thought to have been brought about by there having been a steam thresher at work in his neighborhood recently. He showed no symptoms of violence and was told when starting for the asylum that his services were required by Mr. Medynski in selecting an engine for the distillery.
Medford Mail, August 28, 1896, page 2

    A man in Spokane who has been taken in charge by the authorities imagines that he has a phonograph somewhere inside of him that persists in talking, notwithstanding his efforts to keep it quiet. He became so worried with his futile endeavor that his distress of mind drew the attention of the police. The great trouble with the phonograph is that it talks on its own hook, so that the poor man can't hear himself think. The most remarkable thing in connection with this phonograph business is that the fellow found out he had one. Lots of fellows have phonographs inside of them with Waterbury attachments, but their discovery is almost always made by the fellows who have to listen to them grind.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, September 7, 1900, page 7

Kingston Lunatic Thinks He's Poached Egg
and Is Looking for Toast to Sit On.

    Kingston, Ont., Oct. 27.--Kingston can boast of a good many things of which it is proud, but the latest [boast] it can make is a little bit eccentric. Of all the crazy men with queer delusions there is none to compare with that of an individual who is confined in the insane asylum in this city. He thinks he is a poached egg, and for twenty years he has been looking for a piece of toast big enough to sit down on. When visitors come and meet him he always approaches them with the request for a moment's conversation in private. As he is perfectly harmless the keepers do not put any restrictions upon him. If you grant his request he whispers in your ear:
    "Have you got a piece of toast about you?"
    "No," you say. "What is the matter with you? Are you hungry?"
    "Hungry!" ejaculates the man. "Why should I be hungry? I get plenty to eat. I'm tired. I'm a poached egg and I'm looking for a piece of toast to sit on."
    Naturally this request leads to laughter, and the poached egg retires in high dudgeon, but he comes back regularly on the arrival of the next batch of visitors to see if he can't have better luck. All sorts of things which look like toast have been supplied to the man, but he wants the real thing, and as chairs and couches are not made out of toasted bread he is obliged to go on making his perpetual plea to visitors. In all other respects the man seems normal, and if this crazy idea could only be got out of his head he might obtain his discharge. As he persists in his delusion, he will probably spend the rest of his days in the asylum.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, November 4, 1900, page 7.  This is most likely a hoax; the same story was told of other asylums.

Mother and Daughter Are Seized with Strange Delusions

    Chicago, August 28.--Dominated by the same delusion haunted by the same fear of unknown enemies, inseparable even in their mental weakness as they had been for years, Mrs. Anna Olovitch and her daughter Ada have been committed to Dunning by Judge Wheatley and a jury in the insane court at the detention hospital. Mrs. Anna Olovitch is 50 years old; her daughter is 20. They are Russian Jews. The girl was born in England, and the father has been dead many years.
    The daughter became seized with the delusion that some unknown enemy was endeavoring to suffocate her by blowing a deadly powder through keyholes and crevices under doors and windows. The mother sought medical aid and worried herself until she was seized with the same delusion.
Morning Astorian, Astoria, Oregon, August 29, 1903, page 1

    H. H. Alderman and Emmett Quick, deputies, yesterday brought Amos P. Spaulding, a native of Iowa, aged 55 years, to the insane asylum from Tillamook County. The only evidence that he shows of insanity, according to the commitment papers, is that he feels very rich; wants to buy everything he sees, such as buggies, sawmills, etc. He is also a long-distance pedestrian and a speedy one, too, claiming to have traveled to China and back in one night and on foot.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, October 3, 1903, page 5

Crank at White House.
    Washington, Nov. 2.--Edward S. Tanner, 33 years of age, a native of Switzerland and a crank, tried to see the President today, but he did not get far beyond the doors of the executive office before his condition was discovered. He was taken to the police headquarters, and later to St. Elizabeth Insane Asylum. His delusion was that he was being pursued by airships. He thought the President would make them stop bothering him. Tanner said he had a wife in Memphis, Tennessee.
Newberg Graphic, Newberg, Oregon, November 6, 1903, page 2

Held Up by Insane Man.
    Friday morning the neighborhood west of the Bear Creek bridge was considerably excited by the actions of an insane man, who had taken possession of the residence of C. H. Martin, terrified the family into submission and barricaded the doors. Mr. Martin runs a milk wagon and is consequently an early riser. It was about four o'clock when he opened the front door that morning, to be confronted by a stranger, who stepped inside and asked for protection against "the mob that was following him." From that time until between seven and eight o'clock the insane man held the fort, allowing no one to enter or leave the home. Finally one of the children slipped out and alarmed the neighbors, among whom was Mayor Bradshaw. Mr. Bradshaw approached the door and entered into conversation with the fellow and at last by telling that he (Bradshaw) was the sheriff and promising protection from the suppositious mob induced him to open the door and surrender, the lunatic was immediately taken to the city jail, and Judge Dunn was notified. An examination was held and he was committed to the asylum at Salem. He first gave the name of J. J. Lynch, but confessed finally that his true name was Frank Jones. In conversation with Chief Angle he told of having been confined in a number of asylums and prisons. He has lucid intervals, but any indulgence in intoxicating liquors causes him to lose his senses and he will either commit some crime, or his lunacy will become so pronounced, as in this instance, that he is immediately confined.
Medford Mail, February 9, 1906, page 1

Local Man Goes Crazy Over Prest. Calvin Coolidge
    An attendant from the state hospital at Salem arrived this morning to transfer Nels Kanute from the county jail to the state institution. Kanute is violent at times, when he can be quieted by saying: "This is President Coolidge. I want to talk to you about a new postmaster." The unfortunate man imagines he is a statesman, and spends hours at a time in imaginary conversation with the White House. He is an ardent admirer of the President, and former Attorney General Daugherty. Kanute was taken into custody after he had kicked down a door in a local rooming house, and it required five men to control him.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 9, 1924, page 3

    Robert Ehler, a resident of Jacksonville, was put in the county jail Monday, and will be given a hearing to test his sanity. Monday he walked into a Jacksonville store and tried to put his feet in a stove, while beating his chest wildly. He was taken in hand by Sheriff Jennings. Ehler has been doing odd jobs about Jacksonville all winter, and lives in a cabin on the outskirts of the county seat. He is well versed, and a fluent talker on spiritualism.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 24, 1925, page 2

    Loneliness is blamed for the mental condition of H. Eller of Jacksonville, ordered committed to the state insane asylum Thursday after a sanity hearing. Eller was taken in custody last week when he tried to stick his feet into a stove. He is 58 years old, a prospector and a native of Germany.
    According to the report on his mental condition, Eller is suffering from a mild dementia and imagines that he is washing gold when seated in a chair. He is also given to arguments on spiritualism and has hallucinations that he is controlled by "the power."

Medford Mail Tribune, February 24, 1925, page 2

Last revised April 8, 2023