I received the Lunatic Inquest Book on microfilm last week, and finally got to a microfilm reader today. I found my ancestor James W Towns on a record pretty near the beginning of the tape. The information was interesting, if not really useful. The pages were in "negative" format, so the partiuclar reader I was on made it pretty hard to read. I plan to go back and use the better reader and either enlarge and change to positive, or print it out and bring it home, scan it and manipulate the image in a photo program. I had hoped to be able to extract most of the tape and post it, but that will have to wait until our genealogical society gets their portable reader that makes it easier to create a jpg of a page directly. Here's what I could read:
22 March 1890
James W Towns
[some legal verbage and an indication that he'd been found to be a "lunatic"]
[condition] originates from unknown cause
Born in KY
Resides in Lyon County Kentucky
48 years old
He has a small run of land, too poor to make a living, no other estate of any kind.
Father and mother are both dead and hehas no estate except the little piece of land and a _?_ cheap handcart ....
[some other legal verbage and an indication that they're committing him to the Asylum in Hopkinsville]
Date of first attack: about five years ago [and some other words I couldn't read]
How exhibited p_?_ some time in _?_ then for a time lucid
Has it changed in character at any former period? He imagines his family and friends are trying to poison or kill him. Want to get rid of him.
Subject of its? no
Natural temper: even tempered man when sane
Attempt at Suicide? threatens suicide
Viilence toward others? Has attempted to do injury to his wife and children. Has struck them.
Periodic frenzy? yes
Restraint imposed? Has had to be _?_ restraint to prevent _?_ to himself & others
Treatment used? unknown - refused to take medicine
Injury about head? None
[There was an additional statement on item #9 that I could not read.]
That's it. Rather sad I think, knowing that he was in the institution in Hopkinsville Kentucky until his death 20 December 1921.