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Warren County, Pennsylvania, Genealogy

Warren State Hospital for the Insane
Conewango Township

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Undated postcard of Warren State Hospital building
Undated postcard

Pennsylvania's 3rd State Mental Institution




History, Newspaper Clippings, and Postcards


March 16, 1881 - from the Wednesday edition of The Forest Republican (Tionesta, PA), page 3, column 3:

--Owing to the destruction by fire of the Danville, (Pa.) Insane Asylum about 400 patients were placed in the new hospital at Warren during the past week.



Front Gates, State Hospital, Warren, Pa.

Postcard of State Hospital, Warren

Postcard image courtesy of Warren County Historical Society, Warren, Pa.

Postcard is undated.



June 24, 1881 - excerpt from the year-end report of the trustees, dated November 30, 1895.

The first meeting of the trustees, under the organic act, was held at the residence of Hon. L. D. Wetmore, in the borough of Warren, on June 24, 1881.

Source: Source: State Prisons, Hospitals, Soldiers' Homes and Orphan Schools Controlled by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Embracing their History, Finances and the Laws by which they are Governed. Compiled by direction of Amos H. Mylin, Auditor General of Pennsylvania, published 1897. Page 96.




1892 - excerpt from State Prisons, Hospitals, Soldiers' Homes and Orphan Schools Controlled by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Embracing their History, Finances and the Laws by which they are Governed. Compiled by direction of Amos H. Mylin, Auditor General of Pennsylvania, published 1897. Page 92.

In 1892 a building called Hygeia Hall was completed for the occupation of convalescent patients. The purpose was to separate from the mass of patients such as, though not entirely cured, were so far recovered that they could be given greater liberty. The structure was pleasantly located, properly arranged with porches, furnished with a supply of books, works of art, and means for amusement and agreeable labor. The water supply of the institution had always depended upon the Conewango river, but was now changed. Several artesian wells being sunk, and an abundant and permanent supply was furnished the hospital.

Hygeia Hall Building, State Hospital, North Warren, Pa.

Postcard of State Hospital, Warren

Postcard image courtesy of Warren County Historical Society, Warren, Pa.

Postcard is not dated.



June 16, 1893 - from the Friday edition of The Evening Democrat, page 1, column 3 in the middle of the page:

Hospital Trustees Meet.

The Trustees of the Warren Insane Asylum held their regular quarterly meeting last night in the parlors of the Hospital.

The entire board with the exception of W. H. Osterhout of Ridgway was present. Those attending were T. J. Smiley, Titusville, President; G. H. Parmlee, Secretary; S. R. Mason, Mercer; J. D. Hancock, Franklin; Issac Ash, Oil City; R. B. Stone, Bradford; C. C. Shirk, Bradford; L. D. Wetmore, Warren.

Nothing except the routine business wa [sic] taken up and all matters relating to the hospital were reported in a very satisfactory condition. Over 850 patients are being accomodated at present, which is 250 more than the buildings were intended to hold. But this same overcrowded condition is experienced by all the hospitals in the state and the authorities are compeled [sic] to constantly make additions.



September 21, 1894 - from the Friday edition of The Evening Democrat, page 4, column 2, under Brevities:

--The stone and brick work for the addition to the North Warren Hospital for the Insane has been completed and the building will probably be completed by the middle of November or 1st of December.




November 30, 1895 - excerpt from the year-end report of the trustees:

The composition of the board has been comparatively permanent, five members of the original board continuing in office until the year 1895, and to that fact, doubtless, has been due in some measure, the prevalence of one accord in the pursuit of a consistent, progressive policy. The following names, alphabetically arranged, include the names of the present members as well as of all those who have at any time served as trustees, and the names of the respective counties from which they were appointed:
O. C. Allen, of Warren.
Isaac Ash, of Venango.
John Fertig, of Crawford.
J. W. Greenland, of Clarion.
R. S. Hunt, of Jefferson
J. D. Hancock, of Venango.
S. R. Mason, of Mercer.
W. H. Osterhout, of Elk.
G. N. Parmlee, of Warren.
John R. Packard, of Mercer.
J. O. Sherred, of Crawford.
Charles C. Shirk, of Erie.
T. J. Smiley, of Crawford.
Geo. W. Starr, of Erie.
R. B. Stone, of McKean.
S. W. Waters, of Warren.
L. D. Wetmore, of Warren.
Geo. W. Wright, of Mercer.

The office of president of the board has been successively filled by the following members:
L. D. Wetmore
Geo. W. Starr
J. D. Hancock
R. B. Stone
W. H. Osterhout
S. R. Mason
T. J. Smiley
Mr. Shirk was nominated for the office, but declined.

There has been but one secretary, G. N. Parmlee, until the present year when, upon the retirement of Mr. Parmlee from the board, S. W. Waters, the incumbent, was elected, and but two incumbents of the treasurer's office, M. Beecher and F. E. Hertzel, excepting a period when the duties of that office were discharged by Mr. Parmlee.

Occasionally, special committees have been appointed, but the work of the board has been chiefly done by the following standing committees:
Executive Committee.
Committee on Employes and Salaries.
Committee on Supplies.
Committee on Buildings.
Committee on Farm.
Committee of Audit.
Weekly Visiting Committee.
Monthly Visiting Committee.

The principal building was so wisely designed and thoroughly constructed under the direction of the supervising architect, John Sunderland, that no important change has been found necessary. The trustees did, however, erect a Porte-Cochere of stone at the front entrance, and by the proceeds of oil produced on the farm, procured books, pictures, and other articles for the instruction and amusement of the patients.

They have erected several additional buildings, a steel-lined water reservoir and pump station, enclosed yards and summer houses for patients, an amusement hall, or building for men (known as Curwen Hall) and another for women (known as Eckert Memorial), a greenhouse, barn, carriage house and an iron boundary fence.

They have furnished the institution throughout with furniture made in its own shop. They have graded the grounds and set them with trees and shrubbery in accordance with plans prepared by the landscapte artist, Donald G. Mitchell, and have purchased, repaired, altered and refitted the building now known as Hygeia Hall. They have added about eighty-one acres to the hospital land which originally embraced three hundred and forty acres. The have, with exceptional years, kept the farm in a profitable state of cultivation, and maintained a system of bookkeeping by which they have been constantly apprised of the state of receipts and expenditures in every department and separate account of the hospital.

The hospital has been fortunate in the services of its distinguished superintendent, Dr. John Curwen, whose life has been devoted to the study and treatment of insanity, and whose experience and authority are well recognized by his long contined service as secretary and latterly as president of the American Medico-Psychological Association.

Source: State Prisons, Hospitals, Soldiers' Homes and Orphan Schools Controlled by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Embracing their History, Finances and the Laws by which they are Governed. Compiled by direction of Amos H. Mylin, Auditor General of Pennsylvania, published 1897. Pages 96 - 98.




State Hospital for Insane, Warren, Pa.
Main building designed by architect John Sunderland

Postcard of State Hospital, Warren

Postcard image courtesy of Warren County Historical Society, Warren, Pa.

Lower left caption: " No. 871 Published by S. Langsdorf & Co., New York. Germany"
There is no date on the postcard back.



February 22, 1908 Died, David Sword, a long long-time gardener at the hospital. Read his brief obituary.



June 30, 1908 - under "Daily Reflections" in the Tuesday edition of the Warren Evening Mirror, page four:

Committed To Hospital--In proceedings at Court Monday before Judge Lindsey and the Associate Judges evidence was produced sufficient to commit to the State Hospital for the Insane Geroge Vollmer. He has been placed in the institution for treatment and will probably be released after a short period.



May 20, 1909 - under "Daily Reflections" in the Thursday edition of the Warren Evening Mirror, page four:

More Land for State Hospital--The purchase was completed this week by the Trustees of Warren State Hospital for the Insane of the Beaty farm, formerly the Rollins, adjoining the Eddy farm in Glade township, which was bought about two years ago. The two farms combined make a splendid and valuable three hundred acre farm, with two good houses and several barns and outbuildings, and are a valuable addition to the State Hospital property. A ferry boat and row boats on the Coneawngo [sic] make the crossing very easy, but a public bridge near these farms is greatly needed, and should be erected as soon as possible. With this bridge, the street railway on Conewango avenue could be extended and connection made with the North Warren line, thus making a very profitable and convenient belt line.




Corridor in State Hospital, North Warren, Pa.
Photo by Geo. H. Monroe.

Postcard of State Hospital, Warren

Postcard image courtesy of Warren County Historical Society, Warren, Pa.

Handwritten on the back:
"September 18, 1909.
The corridor looks prettier now than the picture."


Dining Room, State Hospital, North Warren, Pa.
Photo by Geo. H. Monroe.

Postcard of State Hospital, Warren

Postcard image courtesy of Warren County Historical Society, Warren, Pa.

Handwritten on the back:
"September 18, 1909.
The dining room is changed now."




November 26, 1910 - on page one, column one, of the Saturday edition of the Warren Evening Mirror, and continued on page 3, column 3:


Were Held on Charges of Assault and Battery.


Frail Girl Patient Was Made Victim of Seemingly Unnecessary Cruel Treatment.

Through the testimony of nurses and former nurses employed at the State Hospital for Insane at North Warren, given Friday afternoon in Justice of the Peace J. E. Wheeler's court, when Misses Emma Long and Margaret McFarland, nurses at the State Hospital, were given a hearing on the charges of assault and battery and aggravated assault and battery, a case of extreme and seemingly unwarranted cruelty, as been brought to light.

Since the recent change of Superintendents at the State Hospital, when Dr. M. S. Guth was discharged by the Board of Trustees and W. W. Hawke elected to the position, rumors of mismanagement and unnecessary illtreatment [sic] of patients have frequently reached the ears of townspeople and relatives of patients confined at the institution, but not until Thursday has any legal action been taken. Upon that day, as stated in Friday's Mirror, H. P. Rice, a resident of this city, caused the arrest of the two nurses who were alleged to have ill-treated his daughter, who until Wednesday was a patient at the hospital. Miss Rice is not insane but was placed in the institution by her parents, who paid for her keeping and treatment.

Miss Rice is a frail young lady, weighing but little more than 100 pounds. She was first confined in Ward No. 1, and was upon Saturday last transferred to Ward No. 8. It was during her removal to the 8th Ward that she was subjected to illtreatment. Frail and weak as she is, evidence was produced at the hearing Friday, showing that the services of four nurses were deemed necessary to carry her to the room which she was to occupy, and even with that number of hands it does appear that the task was done in a manner above reproach, as evidence was submitted at the hearing proving that Margaret McFarland, a stout, buxom lady of about 30 summers, with one hand under Miss Rice's head and the fingers of the other gripping the patient's throat, choked her until, as two witnesses swore, she was "very dark in the face." On the stand Miss Rice corroborated the statement. When asked by Attorney C. E. Bordwell, counsel for the defendants, how long Miss McFarland choked her, she replied, "Until my eyes stuck out and I got black in the face and when released, could hardly get my breath."

Later in the afternoon of the same day Miss McFarland and Miss Long, who kept her hands beneath her apron, entered Miss Rice's room and, after closing the door, one of the two pulled the bed from the wall, and the girl, with her wrists strapped one to each side of the bed, was given the "soap treatment." This was done by forcing her to breathe soap suds from a towel held firmly over her nose and mouth. Miss Rice testified that Miss Long held the soaped towel over her head while Miss McFarland held her feet. Miss Rice also testified that with a crash towel or "something" they rubbed her knees until they were nearly raw and pained her terribly.

On the witness stand Misses Nellie Griffin and Caroline Korb, nurses recently discharged from the hospital, and Ethel Mitchell, who, Wednesday, resigned her position, submitted testimony corroborating every iota of evidence given by Miss Rice. They had visited the patient immediately after Misses McFarland and Long had left her, and found her face inflamed and her mouth sore with soapsuds still issuing from her mouth and nostrils. They examined her knees and found them nearly raw. Miss Rice stated that she had been given the "soap treatment" twice before.

The defendants were placed under bail, $500 being required of Miss McFarland and $200 of Miss Long, for trail at the December term of court. Bail was furnished. Edward Lindsey assisted the district attorney, Mr. Lyons, in the prosecution and C. E. Brodwell represented the defendants.

Five nurses who resented the treatment accorded Miss Rice were discharged, no reasons for their dismissal being given, but it is presumed that it was because they expressed their opinion regarding the unjust punishment to which Miss Rice was subjected. Another reason for their dismissal, which the nurses entertain is that it was in keeping with Superintendent Hawk's oft-repeated boast of "We'll show them who is running this institution," as the affair was reported by one of their number.

In December a thorough investigation of the management and affairs of the State Hospital will undoubtedly be made by the grand jury, and it is not at all improbable that before State Legislature adjourns in the spring an investigation by a body even higher than the grand jury, will be made. This should and no doubt will be done before any appropriation is granted. It would be but fair to the State and to the management of the hospital that an investigation be made. If it be found that Superintendent Hawk is not competent to fill the high position he holds, it would be right and proper that the only course open be pursued. And if it also developed that members of the Board of Trustees are not filling the positions in a satisfactory manner, their successors should be named. In that step it is not probable that the action would be censured as trustees have been heard to complain of the large amount of time they devote to hospital interests for no remuneration, although they doubtless would miss the many delicacies that find their way onto their tables from the State Hospital.

On the other hand, should it be found that Superintendent Hawke is the right man for the place, and that the management of the institution is above reproach, that frail girl patients should be choked into insensibility now and then, and that the present Board of Trustees are the best men in the entire State for the offices, that it is right that their tables be supplied by the State and that their private dining room at the hospital be always open to their guests,--all well and good, the citizens of Pennsylvania and the relatives of patients confined at the asylum should know it.




November 29, 1910 - the Tuesday edition of the Warren Evening Mirror, page one, column four:


Inmate of State Hospital Devoured Shoe Strings.

Dr. W. S. Pierce, coroner of Warren County, held an inquest this forenoon at the Warren State Hospital for the Insane, upon the body of a patient, William L. Miles, who died Monday evening, under suspicious circumstances. The coroner's jury comprised J. C. Brown, H. J. Bierce, S. E. Walker, H. H. Wyman, D. C. Ittel and Willis Cowan, who, after hearing the evidence of several witnesses, returned a verdict that the said Miles came to his death from peritonitis, caused by his swallowing several foreign substances.

The deceased came from Madera, Clearfield county, to the hospital on October 7, 1901, and was about 34 years of age. The evidence of the witnesses showed that he was very much demented, untidy and filthy in his habits and had often eaten filth and drank dirty, foul water. He was discovered to be seriously ill early Monday morning, was given all needed medical attention. An operation was begun about 7 p. m. and he died about forty minutes after.

The evidence of Dr. Paul G. Weston, who made a post mortem examination of the body this morning, was to the effect that there were no signs of external evidence, but that there were two large ruptures of the intestines, and in the intestines he found small balls of string, seven prune stones, a shoe string, and two pieces of bone, the largest being about two inches long, and an inch wide and rough and jagged in shape. The injuries were enough to cause his death, he said, and that the other organs were in a good condition.

The superintendent, Dr. Hawkes, furnished the jury all the witnesses desired, and District Attorney Lyons was present and questioned the witnesses in all material matters.

[Warren County coordinator's note: William Miles, age 34 and single, was listed as an inmate at the "State Hospital for the Insane, Warren, Pa." on the 1910 U. S. Federal census enumerated on the 15th of April.]




February 7, 1911 - the Tuesday edition of the Warren Evening Mirror, page one, column three:

Included in news of the legislature in Harrisburg, Pa., was an appropriations bill for "Warren State hospital for the insane. $411,500."

Other proposed appropriation bills for nearby facilities: Warren hospital $34,000; Bradford hospital, $30,000.



February 10, 1911 - the Friday edition of the Warren Evening Mirror, page one, column 4:


State Is Asked to Appropriate Lage [sic] Sum for North Warren Institution.

The Board of Trustees for the State Hospital for the Insane, at North Warren have in mind a great many things to do in its endeavor to build up a finished institution at that place. While they have already erected and are in use the best buildings of the kind in the state, they find that many buildings are needed to round up and complete the institution in accordance with the plans which for some years the Board has had in view to fully equip the Hospital in all ways and to make it the finest institution in the state.

To this end they have found it necessary to make application to the State Legislature through a bill drafted for the purpose and introduced into the senate by F. M. Knapp and in the house of representatives by Joseph A. Schofield, both residents of this city, for a large appropriation to be used for the many things which in the judgement of the board are actually necessary to accomplish their desires.

For several years past the necessity for a large industrial building in which the various workshops at the Hospital can be placed, together with carefully prepared rooms and apartments where the working patients of the institution may be kept employed for the benefit of their minds and the general improvement, and may be permitted to engage in all manner of work, making clothing, boots and shoes, mats, upholstering, and in fact providing all manner of articles which are needed by the institution, thereby saving a large amount of money to the state and greatly improving both male and female patients who can be furnished with exercise from day to day.

As the public is greatly interested in the State Hospital, the Mirror deems it proper at this time to present its readers with a list of the various needs which appear at the institution for which the Board has made application for appropriation as set forth in their bill and earnestly hopes to secure a large sum. This money, when appropriated, will cover the expenses for two years thus permitting the Board during that time to have ready for occupancy all buildings which will be erected from such appropriation. Below is a list of the needs and the various sums asked for to cover cost of same:

Needs of the Hospital

For the erection, completion and equipment of an industrial building for the employment of the inmates, $30,000 [newsprint is faded, so this figure might be $50,000] or so much thereof as may be necessary.

For the erection and completion of a barn upon land of the hospital located across Conewango Creek, $23,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary.

For the erection, completion and equipment of a power house including engines, boilers and machinery, putting in railroad siding and trestle work for the delivery of fuel, $100,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary.

For the erection of an improved incinerating and deodorizing plant, $20,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary.

For covering reservoir at water plant, $10,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary.

For the creation of a new bake oven, $2,500 or so much thereof as may be necessary.

For the erection and installation of an elevator in the main building, $5,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary.

For the erection of a dwelling house for the use of the Superintendent and family, $20,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary.

For the purchase and installation of screens for windows and doors in the main hospital building and annexes, $3,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary.

For changing from the use of natural gas to other fuel, $10,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary.

For the erection of an improved sewerage, drainage and sewage disposal works, $45,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary.

For the erection and equipment of a surgical infirmary, $45,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary.

For the erection and equipment of a tuberculosis building, $35,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary.

For the erection and equipment of an isolation building for the care and treatment of infectious diseases, $18,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary.

For the erection and equipment of a dead house, $2,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary.

For the erection and equipment of a dairy house, $3,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary.

For the enlargement of the present laundry building $5,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary.

For installing fire protection, equipment, consisting of high pressure fire mains, with hose, pipe, hydrants, chemical engines, trenching, constructing undergoing duct, manholes, etc., $15,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary.

For the erection and completion of a barn and implement house, $10,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary.




Infirmary Building, State Hospital, North Warren, Pa.

Postcard of State Hospital, Warren

Postcard image courtesy of Warren County Historical Society, Warren, Pa.

Postcard is undated.



July 31, 1912 - under "Local and Miscellaneous" in the Wednesday edition of the The Forest Republican, page three, column two:

--Monroe Clark, who disappeared from the State Hospital for the Insane at North Warren, June 30th, has not yet been discovered. The thorough search of the woods for miles around the hospital dispells the theory that he met death while on a stroll through the woods and the belief now is that he left for western states. He was seen near the hospital in the afternoon of the day he disappeared.



May 7, 1917 - under "Youngsville" in the Tuesday edition of the Warren Evening Mirror, page one, column three:

YOUNGSVILLE, May 3.--Funeral services of Miss Pearl Blodgett, who died Sunday morning at the North Warren State Hospital, were held at the home of her sister, Mrs. W. H. Hay, Tuesday afternoon. Interment I. O. O. F. cemetery.

[Warren County coordinator's note: Mrs. William Howard Hay was the noted singer Lucile (Blodgett) Hay, younger sister of Pearl. Lucile married Dr. Hay in December of 1901. In 1920, the Hay family was living in Corry with their two children, Marjorie, 15, and William L. Hay, almost 4. If three years earlier, the family was in Corry, I assume the funeral for her sister took place at their home in Corry although the newspaper article does not say specifically. Read more about the Youngsville Blodgetts.]




August 31, 1917 - under "DAILY REFLECTIONS" in the Friday edition of the Warren Evening Mirror, page 2, column 1:


Larson and Lundquist have Men at Work on Fine Trees at State Hospital

Larson and Lundquist have a force of men at work on the trees at the North Warren State Hospital. There are a number of fine old trees about the grounds at North Warren and some of these have been attacked by rot and threatened by death. The "tree doctors" are hard at work digging out the rotten parts, trimming and pruning and the change that will be wrought will be wonderful indeed.



October 8, 1917 - under "DAILY REFLECTIONS" in the Friday edition of the Warren Evening Mirror, page 2, column 1:


Owing to Scarcity of Help Visiting Days Will Have to be Changed at the Big Institution.

Superintendent Mitchell, of the North Warren State hospital, has issued the following letter, which is self-explanatory:

Warren State Hospital
October 6, 1917.

The shortage in the medical and nursing force of the Warren State hospital occasioned by the war compels many changes to meet the new conditions. The friends of patients and the public must co-operate with the hospital in order to reduce the unnecessary work and confusion necessitated by visiting at all hours on each day of the week.

On and after October 20, 1917, the Warren hospital will follow the custom established in nearly all similar institutions, and two days of the week will be reserved for visiting during the hours that make the least interference with the rountine [sic] ward work.

Patients seriously ill may be visited at any and all times.

The regular visiting days will be Wednesdays and Saturdays, between the hours of 9.30 and 11 a. m., and from 2 to 4.30 p.m.

For the benefit of those who cannot see relatives on week days without losing time from their work, visits may be made between the hours of 9:30 and 11 a. m. on the last Sunday of each month. For such reason a pass may be previously secured upon the written request to the superintendent and must be presented at time of the visit.

Money, clothing and articles for patients' use must be left with persons designated by the hospital to receive the same, and not given directly to the patients.

In special cases variation of the above rules may be necessary and, if so, will be explained to the visiting friends at the hospital office by the attending physician.





July 3, 1918 - from Wednesday edition of the Warren Evening Times, page 4, column 6 under "TOO LATE TO CLASSIFY:"

WANTED--Attendants for the insane. Young or middle-aged men. Qualified men may enter the training school for nurses. Wages $35.00 per month and all living expenses; with liberal increase of pay if services satisfactory. Annual vacation given with pay. Reference required. Address, Superintendent, State Hospital, Warren, Pa.




March 1, 1928 - under "DAILY REFLECTIONS" in the Thursday edition of The Warren Morning Mirror, page 2, column 1:


The directors of the poor of Erie county are anxious to locate relatives of one William Warner, 73 [or could be 78, newsprint is faint] years of age, word of whose death at the Warren State hospital was occured [sic] Monday. According to records at the office of the director of the poor, Mr. Warner was transferred from the county home to the Warren State Hospital May 26, 1920.

[Warren County coordinator's note: Whether or not relatives were found, William Warner was buried in the Warren State Hospital Cemetery.]



April 17, 1928 - on page one of the Tuesday edition of the Warren Morning Mirror, column 7:


Chief Executive Will Spend Tonight at State Hospital; Just Business

Governor John S. Fisher is expected to arrive in Warren late this afternoon to visit the Warren General Hospital and the Warren State Hospital on his tour of state-aided and state-owned institutions.

Arthur P. Townsend, budget officer, and A. Boyd Hamilton, secretary to the governor, are also members of the governor's party.

A telegram to the Mirror, sent from Wellsboro by Governor Fisher last night, stated that he would spend tonight at the State Hospital at North Warren, It is presumed he and his party will be guests of the superintendent, Dr. H. W. Mitchell.

It is emplasized that Gov. Fisher is making a hurried business trip and is making no engagements, either social or business, which will cause any departure from the stated itinerary. This trip will determine, to a large extent, the appropriations which are to be made for state institutions in the next legislature.

No public receptions of any kind are being tendered the governor on this trip. It is strictly a business affair and his stop in Warren will be solely devoted to hospital visitation.




Caption: "8070. Bird's-Eye View, State Hospital near Warren, Pa.

Postcard of State Hospital, Warren

Postcard image courtesy of Warren County Historical Society, Warren, Pa.

Looking west, with Conewango creek in the foreground.



May 5, 1928 - on the front page of the Saturday edition of the Warren Morning Mirror, column 2:


Herbert Johnson of Jamestown, Said to Have Abused Insane Patient

A coroner's jury which investigated the death of Elvin Roberts, 40, of Coudersport, an inmate of the Warren State Hospital for the Insane, North Warren, late Friday afternoon, said the man died as a result of exhaustion resulting from his weakened physical condition and use of unwise restraining methods employed by Herbert Johnson, an attendant, contrary to the established customs of the institution.

Coroner Ed. C. Lowrey empanelled [sic] following citizens in the jury for the inquest, which was held at the court house: Frank Witz, Percy Gilson, Aubrey Hodges, James H. Berger, A. N. McCausland and W. R. Kopf.

Johnson, whose home is in Jamestown, is being held in the county jail on a technical charge of murder in connection with the death, but District Attorney L. C. Eddy said this might be changed to involuntary manslaughter on arraignment today. Clifford Delf of Clarington is being held as a material witness in jail unable to secure $5,000 bail. He was one of the attendants in charge of the hospital ward in which Roberts was kept.

Testimony taken during the coroner's inquest revealed that Roberts was a very violent patient and great difficulty had been experienced by attendants in restraining him. Delf, one of the attendants involved, admitted that Johnson had placed a towel about Robert's neck early Wednesday morning in order to place him in bed when he became unruly. He said that while the towel was twisted in the process the pressure was slight.

Roberts was admitted to the hospital Tuesday, May 1, and according to Dr. Willliam K. Skinner, a physician at the State hospital, who was versed in Roberts' case, he was unruly Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning. Dr. Skinner testified that Roberts raved he had "committed an unpardonable sin" and once Wednesday had broken a window in the ward in an attempt to leap to the ground. He said Roberts refused food because he thought it poisoned.

Dr. Skinner told the jury that Wednesday morning he saw the patient and reported bruises on his chest and abdomen. He left orders that if he could not be restrained during the night that a quarter grain of morphine might be administered to enable him to sleep. At 2 a. m. on Thursday morning, Dr. Skinner said he received a call from the night supervisor to the effect that Roberts was thought dead. He examine the patient and corroborated the report.

Viewing the body in the hospital morgue later in the morning, Dr. Skinner said he saw abrasions on each side of Roberts' neck.

Dr. H. W. Mitchell, superintendent of the State Hospital for the Insane, told the jury of the facts as submitted to him of Roberts' death. Dr. M. V. Ball, who performed the autopsy, testified that he had discovered bruises about the neck, three abrasions on the chest, one being over the heart. A slight heart disorder was also reported by Dr. Ball. He said an examination of the brain disclosed that it was apparently nearly normal. He also discredited the theory that Roberts' neck had been broken.

Relatives of Roberts, arriving in Warren today for the inquest, were shocked to learn of the complications surrounding his death. Three brothers-in-law of Roberts, who were in Warren today were: Glenn Corey of Coudersport, Pa.; William Whiteman of Salamanca; and Ray William Bowes of Cleveland, Ohio. A brother, Claude Roberts of Coudersport, will remain in Warren to return with his brother's body.

The relatives stated that Elvin Roberts was unmarried and owned a 300 acre farm near Coudersport, which he worked. Last year he suffered an attack of pneumonia, and a subsequent relapse is thought to have been the cause of his mental derangement.




June 1, 1928 - from the Warren Morning Mirror, page 9, column 3:


Graduates Hear Code of Ethics of Japanese Doctor at Commencement

Annual commencement exercises of the Warren State Hospital training school were held last evening in the chapel. The principal speaker of the evening, Dr. Charles G. Strickland of Erie, gave a very splendid address on the code of ethics of Koan Ogata, a great Japanese physician. This code was used by himself exclusively. He told it to a few friends and eventually it leaked out and has been recognized as a very splendid code and is some what used by physicians and nurses today.

A class of ten was awarded diplomas, including Mrs. Mildred Long and Miss Beatrice Johnson, Warren, Miss Bessie Trenton and Miss Harriett Morgan, Smethport; Mrs. Elizabeth Arnold, North Warren; Miss Frances Hendrickson, Crosby; Miss Anna Carlson, Ludlow; Miss Anna Nowak, Erie; Miss Roxie Schwab, Duke Center; and Miss Rachel Whitlach, Cleveland, O.

The following program was given:


Invocation--Rev. J. C. Howenstein.

Address--Charles G. Strivkland [sic], M. D., Erie

resentation [sic] of Diplomas--Burgess Chapman.


Following the program a very fine reception was held in the Social room on the fourth floor of the hospital. The floral decorations were beautiful. About three hundred were present, including the friends and relatives of the graduates.



Bird's Eye View of State Hospital, Warren, Pa.

Postcard of State Hospital, Warren

Postcard image courtesy of Warren County Historical Society, Warren, Pa.

Postcard is not dated.




May 31, 1939 - the Wednesday edition of the Warren Morning Mirror, page 8, columns 2-3:

Work on New Buildings, Changes In Old Structures at Warren State Hospital Completed Under PWA

Final inspection and acceptance of new buildings and alterations to old buildings of the Warren State Hospital, announced Monday by Harry B. Traylor, resident engineer inspector for the Public Works Administration, brought to a close a $1,400,000 project which has been going on for the past year and a half.

Of the total cost of the project, about $450,000 was spent for labor according to Mr. Traylor. All of the labor that could be secured in Warren county was employed on the job and preference was given to men on relief rolls in order to reduce relief expenditures in the county.

Those men employed from outside Warren county were forced to contribute a considerable portion of their wages to the rooming and boarding house owners and merchants of Warren and surrounding communities.

A total of $950,000 was spent on materials on the project. Some of the items were: Moving of 35,000 cubic yards of earth, 250,000 board feet of lumber for form work and finished trim on buildings, 2,600,000 pounds of steel; 7,200 cubic yards of concrete composed of 11, 500 barrels of cement, 1,100 tons of sand and 8,600 tons of gravel. 1, 270,000 brick-cinder block and tile were incorporated in the work requiring 2,300 barrels of cement and 1,300 tons of sand, 86,000 feet of various kinds of plumbing and heating pipe, 146,000 feet of electrical conduit and 345,000 feet of electrical wire and cable.

Local firms furnished a great portion of the above-listed materials. M. Beshlin Estate cement; Charles A. Cole, mortar sand; General Concrete Products Company sand and gravel, United Lumber Company, sewer pipe, drain tile, lumber and cement; Pickett Harware, miscellaneous tools and equipment, DeLuxe Metal Furniture Company, metal shelves and cabinets; Keystone Brick Company, Youngsville, brick; Bradford Building Block Company, cinder block from Warren plant.

Local contractors have had a large part of the work on the project. On Part I of the project, Anundson and Peterson, of Sheffield, built the laundry building and the Walter Hardware Company of Youngsville placed the roofing on the building. C. Beckley Inc of Warren, furnished the electrical work.

On Part II, Ludwig Peterson local building contractor, built three doctors residences; Brown & Rapp furnished some brick work, Duff & Ellberg took care of all excavating work and Emory Jensen did part of the painting.

Mr. Traylor stated today that if the state of Pennsylvania desires to continue construction of additional buildings at the State Hospital the federal government no doubt will appropriate money in their new program.




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