Sophia Pottgen was my 4th great grandmother. She was born Sophia Ross in Prussia, to Frederick Ross and Sophia Ketterhoff. I found her sad obituary in the 18 Jan 1877 issue of the Alton Telegraph, (Alton, Illinois).2014-12-26_0003

SAD OCCURRENCE
Death of Mrs. Sophia Poettgen.
Mrs. Poettgen, an old resident of this city, living on Tenth street, near Langdon, was found dead in her bed, last Thursday morning, by Freddy Rudershausen, who went to her house at that hour, on an errand. Deceased had resided alone, refusing to have company. Her health had been poor for several years and her death was not entirely unexpected by her neighors. She was found lying on her bed, with her clothing on, and from indications had probably been up and down all night, fire still being alive in the stove in the room. Deceased appeared very much attenuated, as though she had suffered from long continued illness. She was a native of Prussia, born in 1809, and has been a resident of Alton almost 42 1/2 years.
From the evidence offered we learned that she had not been seen alive since Tuesday afternoon.
Mrs. Louisa Thornton, daughter of deceased, Fred Rudershausen, aged 11, and Bridget Powers, aged 14, were examined, after which the Coroner’s jury, empaneled by Jon Quarton J.P., with Dr. Hardy as foreman, found the following verdict:
“We, the jury find the deceased, Mrs. Sophia Poettgen, came to her death at her home in Alton, on the 11th day of January, 1877, from congestion of the lungs consequent upon chronic catarrh.” It is supposed that deceased was possessed of considerable means. Her will was left in the care of her son-in-law, Mr. Thornton. She leaves three children, two daughters and one son, all arrived at the age of maturity. She was about 68 years of age.

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Lucie Weeks worked with the deaf her whole life.  Here is an article I found in the 15 May 1966 issue of the Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph.

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Miss Weeks Named to OSU Post
Miss Lucie Weeks, supervising teacher of the lower deaf school at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind has received an appointment on the faculty of the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
She will assume her duties June 20 on the teaching staff of the Speech and Hearing Department and will be director of hte National Education Association Project LIFE. Language Improvement to Facilitate the Education of Deaf Children. In this capacity she will program teaching machines and captioned films for the deaf.
Miss Weeks came to Colorado one year ago from the Santa Monica, Calif. school system where she taught and was active on the executive board of the California Association of Teachers of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children. She also served there on the Professional Committee of the Santa Monica Schools.
Miss Weeks is a recognized authority in the field of the education of young deaf children as she has been published in professional journals and newspapers in California and in Mexico.
She is author of a series of pamphlets entitled “From Parents to Parents”. These pamphlets are used as aids to aprents of handicapped children in several fields.
Miss Weeks has been active in several civil organizations in Colorado Springs including Altrusia.
She expresses regret in leaving this city to go into a large complex such as Columbus, but feels that the opportunity to make a significant contribution to the education of the deaf is both a duty and a privilege.
She will retain her home in Colorado Springs in anticipation of returning at the end of her five-year project in Columbus.

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John Agee, Jr. was my 4th great-grandfather. He is buried in the Agee Cemetery, which is back in the woods outside of Woolwine, Patrick county, Virginia. I’m not sure what year this stone was added, but it was definitely many years after his death.

John Agee, Jr.

Born 1782  Died Unknown  (According to the inventory of his estate, he died 15 Feb 1852).

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I don’t have very much information on Henry Thornton. I know that he was born in 1866 to James Patrick and Louisa Pottgen Thornton. He died on 31 Oct 1918 and was buried in Hubbard, Dakota, NE.

The rest of his life was a mystery to me, until I found this short blurb in the newspaper about him:

2014-12-29_00232 Dec 1910, Dakota County Herald, Dakota City, NE
Henry Thornton of Hubbard was brought to this place last Saturday and a charge of insanity lodged against him. He was taken to Norfolk Wednesday by Deputy Sheriff Fueston and placed in the asylum.

In the 1910 census, he was living in Hubbard, NE as a boarder and working as a laborer.  His mother was living as a boarder with another family.  His sister Ellen Thornton (my line) had recently moved to Sioux City, Iowa with her children as she was a widow with many kids to take care of and wasn’t getting enough business in Hubbard (she worked as a milliner).

I looked online and found that “Norfolk” was the state insane asylum.  And now I’m really curious as to what happened to him.  He died in 1918, so I can’t look in the next census to see where he was living.  I’m not sure how long he was in the asylum (or if it was a permanent thing).  Any ideas of where I should look?  I’ve never looked through that type of record before and am not even sure what might be available.  Thanks!

  • Belva Pedrick Dalidowich - January 28, 2015 - 6:20 pm

    Maybe he wasn’t really insane. They didn’t know squat about mental problems in those days if you fooled around in such a way as to be funny and amuse people they thought you were nuts. If you got angry a lot you were nuts, if you were depressed or sad you were crazy and once in there you never got out. They starved you, beat you, kept you in a straight jacket or restrained to a bed. If you were normal it would make you insane. Eventually they killed you either by starvation other kinds of neglect. Some were chained to beds in a cold dark basement for years and fed once a day and bathed once a month. It was horrible. There is no telling for real what horrible stuff happened to him and even if he was insane and there is a chance he was only depressed, they killed him with abuse or neglect or starvation. Sometimes I think the people who worked in those places were insane. How could they treat human beings that terribly and get away with it, only there and so they were the crazy ones getting a job that allowed them to be as cruel as they wanted to be. You’d have to be someone nuts to do that to sick people. They also gave them drugs that made them act insane so when or if a relative came to visit they would look so bad the relative would be glad they put them there. I think they still do that today in some places. Mental heath care has not advanced as much as people think. I have a mentally ill son and I had him committed the things that happened to him were horrible and six stiches were denied. Not one nurse or doctor knew how he got them. I do. A doctor put those stitches in and no one wants to say why it was needed. He was unable to talk plus they kept him full of Haldol which was used during WW2 to make prisoners go insane. I was legal guardian and refused to allow him to be medicated with Haldol ever again. I am so sorry for poor Philip Thornton. He probably had a small problem that could have been dealt with, Maybe he was born with downs syndrome or was sad over some bad things that happened to his family or himself. He needed a professional to talk to but instead got chained to a bad and called a mad man. What a sad story.ReplyCancel

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