28 April 2014

Amanuensis Monday: Sanitarium Commitment of Elsie Rue Surpluss (nee. Hall, 1883-1957)

In 1980 my mother decided to investigate the reasons behind the commitment to the state sanitarium of her maternal grandmother Elsie Rue (Hall) Surpluss.  Here is the letter she received in reply.  As always, you can click on it to enlarge --

December 1, 1980 
TSH #: 083 21 R-266 
Dear Ms. Cox: 
Your letter of August 1, 1980 requesting information regarding the above-named person was received and a response sent to you on august 20, 1980 explaining there would be a delay in submitting the information.  I have now found the time to abstract some data from the microfilmed medical record which is as follows: 
PATIENT: Elsie Surpless was admitted October 21, 1913 from El Dorado (Butler County), Kansas.  She is described as a white female, married, housewife, Protestant, with an 8th grade education.  Birthdate is indicated as January 21, 1883 in Illinois.  At the time of her admission, she had three children, the youngest being three years old.  Diagnosis was Schizophrenia, paranoid type.  She was placed on parole as improved on August 29, 1955 to the Hickey Boarding Home, 219 Jay Street, Topeka Kansas.  She was discharged while on parole as improved but not restored.  She died on February 11, 1957. 
HUSBAND: Alex Surpless, same address as the patient at the time of her admission, died sometime prior to her parole from the hospital. 
CHILDREN: Three. Ralph Surpless of 2235 South Buchanan, Topeka, Kansas, Mildred Austin, no address, and the third child is not identified to name or sex.  The record does indicate Ralph was appointed his mother's guardian by the Shawnee County (Topeka, Kansas) Probate Court. 
PARENTS: Father born in Illinois and a farmer; mother born in Illinois and a housewife.  They are not further identified. 
SIBLINGS: Three.  Sister, Ina Sanit, sister Mrs. J.E. Long, 205 South Topeka Street, El Dorado, Kansas, and one brother not identified. 
I hope this information will be helpful to you in tracing your ancestors. 
Very truly yours, 
Mrs. Elzora M. Homan, ART
Medical Records Administrator
Wow.  The number of errors is breathtaking.  I have no idea as of yet if the errors were on the microfilm or by the transcriber.  We can begin with the most obvious, it is "Surpluss," not "Surpless." :-)  Husband seems right.  Children seems right.  The unnamed child is my grandmother Thelma (Surpluss) Gibson.  Parents information is correct, although what is not mentioned is they migrated to Kansas.

Much of the mistakes are in the transcription for "Siblings."  She did have three, but they were two brothers and one sister.  And none of them were named "Ina Sanit."  Presuming that is actually an abbreviation for "In a Sanitarium" that too seems to be false.  There is no record of any of her siblings being in a sanitarium nor any reason to suspect it.

Another problem is I can find absolutely no record of the "Hickey Boarding Home."  I need to keep looking.

Elsie Rue (Hall) Surpluss was my great-grandmother on my mother' maternal side.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

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