Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Monday, December 07, 2009

Madness Monday: Mad Doctor vs. Insane Christian Scientist

In the course of doing a Sedgwick search at The Library of Congress database Chronicling America, I happened upon this news story, published 5 July 1900 in The Norfolk [Nebraska] News:
According to the Omaha World Herald of yesterday "the insanity commission of Douglas county has decided that an individual can refuse the assistance of a physician in case of an accident can be a Christian Scientist and at the same time be perfectly sane. This decision was handed down by the members of the insanity commission in the case wherein Dr. Robert M. Stone filed a complaint against Mrs. Josephine Sedgwick, a Christian Science woman whom he charged with being insane and a dangerous person to be at large. Mrs. Josephine L. Sedgwick is the wife of Jerry Sedgwick. Jerry Sedgwick is the man who, on June 7, was thrown from a buggy and by reason of his head striking a tree was seriously injured, but has since recovered, and that without medical aid or assistance.

"Dr. Robert M. Stone had his attention called to the accident that befell Sedgwick and hurried to his side. There he met Mrs. Sedgwick. She informed the doctor that her husband was a believer in the Christian Science faith and did not need the services of a physician, requesting that the injured man "be left alone with his God."

"Dr. Stone went away from the scene and at once appeared before the insanity commission of Douglas county where he filed a complaint alleging that Mrs. Sedgwick was insane at the time and was not a safe person to be circulating about the community."
I didn't know who Jerry Sedgwick was, but because I knew of other Sedgwick relatives in the area, I was curious to find out whether he was related to them. My first stop was WorldConnect, where I found a Jermaine Berosus Sedgwick whose wife's name was Josephine, in Mike Graham's Sedgwick2Graham Family Tree. Mike's data includes a timeline of locations for Jermaine which indicates that he did live in Nebraska at the time the above article was written. Mike also has a beautifully done website, Sedgwick2Graham, and a blog called Sedgwick2Graham: Notes from the Curator.

Really rabid geneaphiles may have noticed Jerry Sedgwick's name in the book pertaining to yesterday's post about Theron Emmons Sedgwick. In 1895, Jerry was serving the Nebraska Senate as an appointed Messenger to Secretary Sedgwick (see p. 296). Theron and Jerry, it appears, were second cousins, once removed.

You can download a PDF of The Norfolk News' Christian Science article at The Vertical File.


sedgwick2graham said...

What a great commentary: "...not a safe person to be circulating about the community."! At least it came out that she was sane.
So many in the genealogical community never take the time to really uncover the information buried in old tomes and magazines about their family members. They are more concerned with collecting huge volumes of names and dates instead of really getting the record straight.
Thank you very much for mentioning my site and my blog.

T.K. said...

You're most welcome, Mike.

Yup, that line really cracked me up... as if she were an axe murderer or something. That crazy doctor is the one who shouldn't have been circulating!

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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